Episode 4 of "The Killing": "A Soundless Echo"

Slate's Culture Blog
April 18 2011 9:58 AM

Episode 4 of "The Killing": "A Soundless Echo"

[Caution:  There are spoilers ahead!  So ifyou haven't yet watched "A Soundless Echo," come back when you haveand share your thoughts and theories. Read ourwrite-up of episode three here .]

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Lastweek , The Killing gave us lots ofcharacter development and one whopper of a clue the cell phone video thatsupposedly showed Rosie being sexually assaulted by her ex, Jasper, and hiscreatively coiffed friend, Kris. But given that we were only three episodesinto the season, it was pretty unlikely that the video was going to turn out tobe the case's smoking gun. (As Todd VanDerWeff noted at the L.A. Times , what would happen ifit were? "We'd watch the rest of the season be about Sarah planning her dreamwedding, while staring moodily at cake toppers as the score rose ethereally onthe soundtrack?") This week, we got a slew of smaller revelations, which seemslike a much more satisfying way to go each clue seems like it's hinting atsomething more complex, rather than setting the audience up for a deflating psych-out.

Early on, welearn that the video is, indeed, not quite what it seemed: The girl in the pinkwig was Rosie's best friend, Sterling. (Kudos to reader Dania Dominguez forcalling that one.) Sterling explains away all the blood that Linden and Holderfound in the Cage by saying that she gets really bad nosebleeds. (Is there adoctor in the house? Is that really plausible?) We still don't know why theymade the video, though. Was it a prank on Rosie? An attempt to frame Rosie'sEnglish teacher, Bennet Ahmed? Some kind of weird extra credit project? We dolearn, however, that Sterling was motivated by a very believable mix ofjealousy and yearning. When she's being questioned by Linden, she says, "He wasnice to me.  No one was nice to me.I mean, not like they are to Rosie. It's like I'm not even there when she'saround. Don't you ever want to feel like you're here?" It wasn't clear to mewho "he" is, though given how mean Kris was to her in the premiere, I'mguessing she means Jasper, who seems more manipulative in any case.  

The biggestrevelation is that Bennet had a much more complicated relationship with Rosiethan he let on. After learning that Rosie used to ride a particular bus all theway to "the end of the line" on a route that doesn't get a lot of young, white,female passengers Holder discovers that Rosie and Bennet used to be regularvisitors to a well, I'm not entirely sure yet what they were visiting, but theschoolroom that Holder discovers has banners for both the Richmondcampaign and an after-school basketball program. Bennet also sent Rosie lettersin which he suggestively referred to her as "an old soul trapped in a youngbody" and urged her to "try everything, feel everything, if only once" which hesigned with his first name! A clear indication that teacher-student boundarieshave been crossed! Not to mention the fact that Rosie was hiding the lettersinside a globe in her bedroom. (In a nice example of how being a mom actually helpsher as a detective, Linden got the idea to re-check Rosie's bedroom afterfinding a pack of cigarettes I think they were cigarettes, anyway inside herson's pillowcase.) Bennet quotes Beryl Markham's autobiography Westwith the Night in his letter to Rosie. Anyone who's read the book careto wager a guess on thepassage 's significance?

Finally, somecommenters last week expressed frustration at the Larsen storyline: MichelleForbes and Brent Sexton's acting may be magnificent, but the grieving sceneswere starting to feel repetitive. I started to get that sense, too, this week thescenes in the funeral parlor and the church felt unnecessary and less thansubtle. But it was worth it for me to get to that heartbreaking moment in theFort Washington hallway when Mitch sees Sterling and, after hugging the girlfor a little too long, smooths her hair and says, hopefully, "I'll see you?"However, this episode was really about Stan the solid,chocolate-chip-pancake-making father clearly has some kind of nasty, presumablyviolent past. Standing outside the pretty white house Stan had bought as asurprise for his family, his young friend and employee Belko Royce assures himthat, if he just says the word, "we'll take care of it just like old times." Towhich Stan replies sternly, "I don't do that anymore." Later, though, he visitsJanek Kovarsky, whom the AMC website helpfully identifies as a Polish mobboss , to ask for money. They haven't spoken for 17 years (since Rosie wasborn), but Janek still thinks of him as "family," a description Stan stronglydisagrees with. The show seems to be setting Stan up for some sort of vigilantetemptation I'm going to make a wild guess that his two boys are going to get introuble at some point as a result of Dad's choices but what I really want toknow is: How much does Mitch know about Stan's criminal past?

Some final thoughtsand questions:

- What's Linden's dark secret? When thedetective's fiancé surprises her on Reggie's houseboat, he becomes concernedabout something on her wrist (it's just a scratch, she assures him) and thenasks, "It's not happening again, is it?" He makes reference to "chasing a deadgirl" and then tells her, "I can't compete with a ghost." Later, a post-coitalLinden who knew she had such shampoo-commercial hair inside that ponytail? pullsout a drawing of a bunch of trees and contemplates it briefly. I'm assumingthere's some unsolved or otherwise traumatic case in her past. Does it have todo with her own bad girl days, which were hinted at very briefly in the lastepisode?

- I'm still not sold on the fiancé storyline yet,but I did love the scene where he and Linden's son bond by shoving cake intheir mouths.

- Now that we know Jamie isn't the mole (or atleast, that Richmond doesn't think he is), is it possible that Gwen isdouble-crossing her candidate boyfriend?

- What was the book that Bennet gave Mitch the onethat was supposedly Rosie's favorite?

Photograph of Liam James as Jack Linden and Callum Keith Rennie as Rick Felder by Carole Segal/AMC.

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Nina Shen Rastogi is a writer and editor, and is also the vice president for content at Figment.