Posted Monday, June 6, 2011, at 9:42 AM
[Caution: There are spoilers ahead! So ifyou haven't yet watched "Missing," come back when you have and shareyour thoughts and theories. If you need a refresher, read our write-ups ofepisode three , four , five , six , seven , eight ,and nine .You can also check out AMC's helpfulplot recaps .]
Every relationship could use a little break sometimes. After abrief hiatus for the Memorial Day weekend, I came back after two weeks feelingmuch more charitable and patient toward TheKilling
. And lo, the show
reciprocatedwith a good faith effort to switch gears and shake up its bad habits. Despite abig misgiving or two, I thought the strategy worked. More detours next season, please.
Very little time was spent on the Larsen investigation lastnight. We open on Linden at the Wapi Eagle Casino, destination of the Adelaferry. Something fishy is going on The manager is unctuously uncooperative and her security chief is stonewalling, but the latter seems to slip up when she says thatshe was on the floor all Friday night and never saw Rosie despite the factthat Linden never mentioned that Friday was the night in question. The managersmoothly explains away the comment, saying that everyone at the casino has beenfollowing the news, but you can tell Linden is all, "Don't piss on my head andtell me it's raining" before she gets unceremoniously booted out of thefacility. Because the casino is on Indian land, she'll have to wait a week toget a federal warrant to search the place. The ATMs on the property, however,are a different story. (Side note: Wouldn't it be nice if the minorities onthis show had more to do than be shady and run these secretive enclaves thenice white detectives can't get access to?)
But after just a few minutes, the episode shifts itsattention when Linden learns that Jack isn't in school, and hasn't been for thepast three days. The rest of the hour is devoted to the Linden-and-Holder show, as the twodetectives try to track down the boyLinden alternately grim-faced and frantic,Holder doing his tweaky Buddha best to support her.
In a lot of ways, the show's narrative conceit her recent piece on the show's depictionof grieving . The Killing replacedmore conventional cop shows' repetitive case-of-the-week format with arepetitive suspect-of-the-day format, before spinning off into the less-than-satisfyingBennet Ahmed subplot for a few episodes. The investigation felt plodding, butit still sucked all the air out of the room, leaving little space for thecharacters to breathe and develop. By taking such a big step back from the maincase, we finally got a chance to really see Linden and Holder a huge plus for me, since Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman have always been myfavorite performers. (In the scene where they visit the playground she used totake Jack to, just watch Enos's face as it melts from a radiant smile to amask of pain.)thirteen episodescorresponding to the first thirteen days of a murder investigation hasn'talways served it well, as Meghan O'Rourke noted in
On a narrative level, it was good to get so much back storyon Linden. We learn that she was abandoned by her mother at age 5 and grew upin foster care; Regi was her social worker and has known Linden her whole life.Linden may bristle at Holder's implication that she's a less-than-stellar mom(or "moms," as he would say) because she didn't have a "blueprint" growingup, but it certainly puts her distrust, her edginess, and her commitment to hercases in a new context. Part of me wishes it had come earlier in the season,when we could have used an emotional hook into the character, but I enjoyed theelement of late-breaking surprise; it makes me want to go back and rewatch theprevious episodes. (Sort of.) And I liked the way the news came out over thecourse of the episode weall eavesdropped on his N.A. meeting .it felt way more satisfying than the stagy data dump wegot on Holder a few weeks back, when
Likewise, I was glad to finally see the two detectives relaxin each others' presence and explore their jittery, on-again-off-again rapport. Thescene in the fast food restaurant was exactly the kind of extended interaction I've beenwaiting for all season. Still, Holder's big emotional choice felt ungrounded tome. Yes, his partner is clearly going through a traumatic moment. But with allthe buildup we've gotten about his desire to re-establish contact with hisfamily, does it really seem plausible that he would completely blow off thiscrucial-seeming meeting to keep Linden company? Linden, who hasn'texactly been the warmest or steadiest of friends? Even if you buy the idea, it'san annoyingly overdetermined bita case of gilding the melodramatic lily, as itwere.
Two more episodes to go. How will Jack's not-so-long-lost dad factor in? Whatwas Rosie doing all dolled up at the casino? And when are we finally going to learnwhat's going on between Terry and Jasper's dad ?Current crackpot theory: Michael Ames was involved with something underhandedat the casino (perhaps something having to do with the"suspicious website" Rosie was connected to ) and Terry was helping him ...until her niece got in the way. Dun-dun-DUN! Leave your best 11th-hour theoriesin the comments.
Photograph of Mireille Enos as Sarah Linden courtesy of Carole Segal/AMC.