Episode 6 of "The Killing": "What You Have Left"

Slate's Culture Blog
May 2 2011 7:48 AM

Episode 6 of "The Killing": "What You Have Left"

[Caution:  There are spoilers ahead!  So if you haven't yet watched "What You Have Left," come back when you have and share your thoughts and theories. If you need a refresher, read our write-ups of episode  three , four , and five . You can also check out AMC's  helpful plot recaps .]



It's day six of the Rosie Larsen murder investigation, and things are not looking good for Bennet Ahmed.

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First, the detectives catch him out on yet another doozy of a lie. A local storeowner tells Linden and Holder that he saw a girl arrive at the Ahmeds' around 10 p.m.; after looking at a picture, he confirms that it was Rosie. When the detectives confront Bennet at home, he says, why yes he plumb forgot, but Rosie did stop by that night. She was returning some schoolbook, but he can't remember the title; he thinks it was by "one of the Victorian novelists." When the detectives try to come inside, he blocks the way and insists they get a search warrant first.

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The plot thickens when the detectives have someone go over the footage from the Halloween dance and learn that Bennet was there until 11:20 meaning he couldn't have met Rosie at his apartment at 10. Holder learns that Amber didn't arrive at her sister Grace's house till nearly 1 a.m.; according to Grace, Amber was "real upset" about Bennet "keeping secrets" and had been crying.

An eccentric, possibly pervy neighbor with a telescope tells Linden that he saw Bennet around midnight with a girl who was "wrapped in a blanket, not moving" and that Bennet and a "smallish type person" a woman, Linden confirms bundled the girl into a black car and drove away. But I wonder: How could he tell it was a girl if she was "wrapped in a blanket"? IS THIS A CLUE?! (Side question: Did the writers visit some kind of Wacky Neighbor Warehouse for this episode?)

Finally, Linden and Holder visit the Ahmeds' apartment and start pounding on the door. The camera cuts to Amber crouching in a corner of the nursery, looking wary and holding a hammer. The detectives' working theory now is that Amber met Rosie at the door at 10 p.m., freaked out and hurt her somehow, and then carried her off with Bennet's help around midnight. *

This is the first episode where the writers have really called attention to Bennet's ethnic and religious background, besides the moment last week when Holder asked him what kind of name Ahmed is. (It's Somali.) One of the neighbors, a black woman, notes that Bennet's "got that white wife." Creepy telescope guy calls him "that man with the dreads" and says, before Linden interrupts him, "I don't make assumptions, you understand ..." At the funeral, Belko ID's Bennet to Stan as "the black guy standing behind you right now." Most pointedly, there's the scene in which Holder is talking to Amber's sister, who is clearly not a fan of Bennet's. Grace is fingering the cross around her neck; Holder shows her the one tattooed on the back of his. Grace goes on to say, "The world what it is? I mean, there's a war on. I don't mean to sound prejudiced, but it seems pretty clear which side is which." Most Somalis are Muslim does anyone remember the show ever mentioning Bennet's religion? Actor Brandon Jay McClaren learned how to speak Somali for the show, so I imagine Bennet's background will become more significant as the show goes on. Maybe it'll play into whatever nefarious plan Stan has for him at the end of the episode, Bennet is essentially being held hostage in the passenger seat of Stan's truck. I don't think Mad, Sad Dad is  planning on driving his dead daughter's shady teacher home any time soon.

Reader (and sometime Slate contributor ) Matthew J.X. Malady noted in an email a few weeks back that, for a city with a high population of ethnic minorities and foreign-born residents , the Seattle we've seen in The Killing is pretty lily-white. I've avoided watching or reading much about the show's Danish precursor, Forbrydelsen , but I wonder how much of this Bennet thread has been imported from that earlier show. (If you have seen it and want to comment, please be careful about spoilers!)

Remaining questions:

- Who's the "old buddy" Holder was talking to in the car? He sounds like an A.A. sponsor-slash-old narcotics colleague. AMC's recap notes that it's the same man who handed Holder the envelope in the last episode.

- We learn in this episode that Regi is a social worker. Are we to assume that that's how Regi and Linden met all those years ago? And if so, was she Linden's social worker, or a social worker involved in that case Linden can't seem to shake? AMC's character breakdown , which is otherwise pretty comprehensive, doesn't have an entry for Regi ... suspicious? Or meaningless oversight?

- What kind of relationship does Mitch's sister Terry have with Jasper's dad, Michael Ames? I would have said they had a romantic past, but it seems kind of dumb to make such blatant puppy-dog eyes at your lover in public, especially in front of the woman I'm assuming is your lover's wife. Are there clues to be found in the Neko Case song that plays out the episode? ("The most tender place in my heart is for strangers / I know it's unkind, but my own blood is much too dangerous ... In the end I was the mean girl / Or somebody's in-between girl ...)

- When am I going to start caring about the political wheeling and dealing? Don't get me wrong, I don't mind looking at Billy Campbell's pretty face for 10 or 15 minutes every week. But I still don't care much about him or his campaign or Gwen Eaton's various machinations.

Photo of Stan Larsen (Brent Sexton) and Bennet Ahmed (Brandon Jay McLaren) by Carole Segal

* Update, May 2: The post originally said that the new working theory is that Amber killed Rosie that night, but of course, as reader ABT_Urbana notes, we know Rosie was still alive when she was in that trunk.

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