Episode 8 of "The Killing": "Stonewalled"

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
May 16 2011 9:20 AM

Episode 8 of "The Killing": "Stonewalled"

[Caution:  There are spoilers ahead!  So ifyou haven't yet watched "Vengeance," come back when you have andshare your thoughts and theories. If you need a refresher, read our write-upsof episode  three four five , six ,and seven .You can also check out AMC's  helpfulplot recaps .]

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Last week I finallyexpressed my fear, which had been simmering for a few episodes, that TheKilling was not in fact the riveting drama we'd all hoped it would be at the outset. Last night's episode won me back abit, though, because it pushed some of the main characters into new emotionalterritory.

I've beenmoaning about the boring political subplot, but last night, Richmond finally startedto get interesting. Already frayed by the fact that his campaign is going offthe rails, he authorizes Jamie to do some digging into his opponent'sbackground but insists that they stick to policy and not go personal. But youcan tell that he's starting to tip. Later, he sits in on a parole hearing forDebbie Cantwell, the woman who killed his wife Lily with "her selfishness." (Ican't recall if they ever explained exactly how Lily died it sounds like adrunk-driving accident, but does anyone recall more specifics?) After thehearing, in which Debbie sounds quite forthright and sympathetic, a grim Richmondwalks into a men's room and punches the mirror, shattering it. Cut to shot ofblood running over his wedding ring. (Which makes me wonder: Does Gwen mindthat he still wears it?) Richmond then authorizes Jamie to go ahead and releasea damning bit of news heretofore unrevealed to the audience about his opponent:Mayor Adams is allegedly keeping a young mistress in a rented apartment. Cut toshot of Richmond sitting in his campaign HQ, stone-faced, as the voice of thedistressed young woman plays on the nightly news. The emotional link betweenthe hearing and the decision to release the news makes sense on paper, thoughit didn't quite feel grounded to me; it was almost a little too pat. But I'mrelieved to see this new dark side of Richmond here's hoping it signals a trueshift for this static character.

As far asthe investigation goes, I'm still wary about the terrorism subplot, if justbecause we've been burned so many times before and it still seems like a questionablewrench in the murder investigation. WillI be more or less annoyed if it turnsout Rosie is caught up with some kind of Islamic terrorist ring, which seemsimplausible but would at least mean the whole thing wasn't a huge narrativedetour? (The fact that Rosie's pink Grand Canyon t-shirt was found in the meatmarket doesn't really tell us much; we already know that Bennet and Rosie havesome kind of relationship, and if he really is connected to whatever "MuhammadH." has got going on, couldn't he just have picked up the t-shirt at some pointand brought it there?) But I do want to see how this plotline wraps up withBennet, who we catch at the end making an agitated phone call to someone in Somali,and then, in English, saying, "The passports will be arriving tomorrow. Call mewhen they do, then this will all be over. Don't worry about the police, theydon't know anything."

We got somegood Linden moments in this episode. I want to learn how she does that thingshe does with her face when she's mad, when she manages to look sort of sweetand menacing all at once. Clearly she like Richmond, like the child-endangeringMitch is reaching a breaking point. I wish the bit with Jack who sent grislycrime scene photos to all of his friends, getting his mom in a heap oftrouble had gotten a bit more development; it had great potential (I loved thecutting remark she made to him in the car, about his father having left them 10years ago) but the whole thing felt rushed past, like last week's interactionswith Rick. The dots are all there, but I'm still yearning for more.

Finally, Ifully agree with TV Squad's Maureen Ryan that thereveals this week weren't that satisfying ; it was clear that the Larsenboys weren't going to die in the garage, and that when Linden followed Holderand the mysterious bald man down to the basement of that rundown building, shewas going to find him testifying at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. I was happyto see Joel Kinnaman get his bigEmmy Bait scene, because my crush on him remains as strong as ever. Wouldn't you be pissed,though, if someone who's been giving you crap for days brazenly listened in onsuch a personal confession? If Holder is that comfortable with Linden knowing,why didn't he just tell her in the first place?

Fiveepisodes to go. Like AlanSepinwall at HitFix and Meredith Blake at theA.V. Club , I'm finding myself increasingly less invested in discovering theidentity of Rosie Larsen's killer (or Rosie Larsen herself, for that matter,who remains a total cipher). Will the home stretch convince me otherwise?

Photograph of Liam James as Jack Linden and Mireille Enos as Sarah Linden courtesy of 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.

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