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The Killing Recap: You’ve Got Mail

By far the most frustrating argument made by The Killing’s vocal fan base is that those of us who point out the show’s flaws somehow can’t deal with its slow pace or that we’d be happier watching a less “adult” television procedural like, say, Bones. To the former, we say: Slow-paced things can be great! After all, we love baseball and the films of Ozu — heck, sometimes we even repaint our apartment just to watch the walls dry. (The Yarmouth Blue in our bedroom was actually more entertaining than Rubicon.) To the latter, we say: how dare you! The problem with The Killing has never been the pacing. It’s been the aforementioned storytelling flaws. And hoo-boy, you guys, did this episode ever have a lot of them! We could start with what a letdown it was to see the old gang again after last week’s strangely pleasant respite from them all. Or about how the fortunes of the (endless!) mayoral race seem to have swung definitively not on anything that actually happened over the last eleven weeks but over a random skull found by the waterfront in the first five seconds of the penultimate episode of the season. We have much to say about Mitch’s endless reign of bitchiness, the sudden appearance of a high-class Internet escort service that is key the show’s mystery and yet hadn’t even been suggested until now, and how even Linden’s vanilla ex seems to have come down with a nasty case of Richmond’s Batman voice. But, look, there was the ending. Right? We have to start there.

As many of you know, we’ve been railing for weeks about Linden’s inability to silence her cell phone — “I don’t use my phone as a computer” she admitted last night, to which we say: You barely use your phone as a phone! — but little did we know it was all prelude to the most jawdroppingly silly reveal in the history of television crime stories. Let’s set the scene: Richmond’s apartment, evening. He’s just opened a bottle of ’77 Petrus Pomerol (A bargain at $329 a bottle. That’s only .007 percent of a free throw at Drexler’s house!) and has a lovely spread of fruits and cheeses. Linden stops by for no apparent reason whatsoever. He gets a call. She confers with Ray, the policeman who has nothing better to do than hit “resend” on her anonymous I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER taunt to the killer. Ray hits resend. And there’s an instantaneous “message received” trill from the other room. Be careful, Linden! The e-mails are coming from inside the house! Hahahaha. No, wait seriously. Seriously? We suppose it could have been worse: The big reveal could have come in that old “You’ve Got Mail” voice. (Darren Richmond is trying to shut down Meg Ryan’s bookstore! Wait, no, sorry. It couldn’t have been worse.)

To sum up: Darren Richmond maintains an Orpheus@bockmail.com e-mail address for his dalliances with high-price, underage call girls. This e-mail address funnels directly into his main e-mail address that he uses for work. And while he suspended his membership with Beau Soleil (more on that in a minute), he maintained the e-mail address. Fine. Sure. But let’s take it a step further: He leaves his desktop computer open and has it set to make a noise every time he gets a message. Now, one might think this might annoy Gwen or any of the other underpriced, high-aged girls he has over. A sitting city councilman and high-profile mayoral candidate must get a lot of e-mails, you know? But, ha-ha, no. Because Linden wanders into Richmond’s office and scans his desktop. He has ten e-mails. One is about his schedule tomorrow. (Okay.) The second is from Jamie telling him to check out a blog post (LOL dude did you see what Carles said about Best Coast today? Burn city!). The third is about the lunch with the governor tomorrow (maybe redundant from the first e-mail?). The fourth is from Gwen letting him know about the pub date of a daily newspaper (Spoiler Alert: tomorrow morning and every morning after that!). That’s it. E-mails 5–10 are from Linden. (Okay, e-mail six is from Jamie and is about “Unions Strategy,” but still.) You guys. YOU GUYS! This is too much. Why does he only have four e-mails? Why does he leave the sound on his computer on? Why was Linden even there to begin with? Why is he pairing red wine with cheese?!? Preposterous on absolutely every level, a cheap reveal like this makes Khloe Kardashian’s nip-slip seem like the dance of the seven veils.

Deep breath. That was just the ending! What about the beginning? Well, as last week’s episode proved, The Killing can be enjoyable when the focus is kept on Linden and Holder, and we weren’t immune to their improved chemistry this time out — their banter over dating, say, or the sweetly protective way Holder physically intruded on Linden’s awkward if pointless showdown with her babydaddy. Also, Bones-haters, the pace of the investigation was better this week but then again it had to be — there’s only one episode left! The thing that kept us scratching our head was lice what prompted all this newfound purpose: the revelation that the entire murder hinges on Beau Soleil, a secretive escort website that simply didn’t exist for the first eleven hours of the season. Of course, once it was revealed (thanks to Holder’s skanky ex-partner, the Kreayshawn to his Yelawolf, if you will), it all came tumbling out: Beau Soleil is a discreet service run out of a knockoff shoe e-store in Chinatown. (For people saying this was just like Twin Peaks, please stop. We’ll believe it when Sterling ties a cherry stem into a knot with her teeth and Belko gets abducted by the Dugpas.) Not only was Rosie a vendor on said website — allowing her to amass more than $7000 in deposits in casino ATMs north of the border (do those things even have deposit functions?) — she learned about it from her sketchy Aunt Terry, who finally was given something more to do. It seems that Terry, when not making pasta for her nephews, turns tricks online (which explains why she was so freaked at the sight of Jasper’s apparently whore-mongering dad) and lent her niece her I.D. so she could hook have more fun than her mom allowed.

Also a client of Beau Soleil? None other than our favorite character, Tom Drexler (pictured here)! Now that Richmond is apparently a lock thanks to the aforementioned skull being dug up at the waterfront (Seattle voters are insanely flighty!), Drexler wants to afternoon-party with his five million dollar man. Of course, Darren needs to sit sideways at the world’s most intense editorial board interview so he sends Jamie over in his stead. Drexler isn’t shooting drunk hoops this time, rather he’s having an underage pool party with — you guessed it — Beau Soleil girls. As they swim lazily — and, admittedly, coolly — above the dudes, Drexler explains to Jamie that “people like me can do whatever the hell we want because the Richmonds of the world will always clean up after us.” (Actually, we think he means the Terrys of the world, but still.) Grab a Speedo, Jamie! And post a “guilty” sticker on Tom! (For about nineteen minutes.)

And then there was the Larsen family. Big Stan remains in lock-up and honestly we no longer feel that bad for him because at least it keeps two feet of unbreakable steel between him and his nightmare of a wife. Mitch, you see, is still cleaning the office, angry about the missing money. (It doesn’t help, of course, that the local mob boss leaves a voice mail for Stan. A voice mail! From a mob boss! Doesn’t anyone on the this show watch other shows?) So angry that she fires Belko and refuses to bail out her husband. When she does visit him she mentions the wiped-out savings account. “When were you gonna tell me?” she seethes through the prison glass. Stan, quite rightly, begins to explain the entire situation, about how he had bought a new house for the family (!) with the money and while they money itself may be gone they still maintain equity in the home and thus the money isn’t really gone and — Nope. Mitch actually cuts him off before any of that and hisses “don’t bother!” Don’t bother! Classic wife. Anyway, Mitch’s reign of awful continues back at the homestead with a cruel verbal attack on her sister — the one who saved her children from carbon monoxide poisoning (and later bails out her husband) — which sort of ends with a meta moment about how maybe none of the Larsens ever knew Rosie at all. Which we guess is plausible — but we’re more concerned about how we never knew Rosie! Having characters in the show admit that the central victim was a zero does little to assuage our doubts here.

Meanwhile, Linden and Holder seem to be making quick work of the case — tracking down e-mail addresses, getting the truth from Terry, even locating “Celine,” the missing Beau Soleil girl who disappeared after warning other users about a john named “Orpheus” who once took her down to the water and asked her what drowning felt like. (Maybe Orpheus is just a big PJ Harvey fan?) Holder sets up a “date” with Celine in a motel room and begins interrogating her about Orpheus — assuming all the while that it’s actually Tom Drexler. Celine merely says the perp “didn’t seem like a killer. He seemed really sweet. Kind of sad.” Then she leaves. Wait, what? And Holder lets her go? Without even giving a physical description of the guy? Why would he do this? This is terrible police work! Videogum was right! We can’t bel— oh, she called back. Way to play a hunch, Holder! Anyway, she leads him to a street corner festooned with Richmond-for-Mayor posters. Meanwhile, Linden is in the belly of the ridiculous beast staring at incriminating e-mails. (Incriminating e-mails! This show!) It seems the suddenly moral Lesley Adams was right when he gave Gwen an envelope of photos of Richmond riding around in cars with women — and a warning. Gravelly voiced Darren has been our killer all along! (Wasn’t Rosie’s death the anniversary of his wife’s? And did the drunk driver who killed Lily push her car into some water, thus the drowning fixation?) It was an entirely preposterous road, but it seems like Linden has finally solved The Killing!

Which is why we are now 95 percent certain that Jamie did it.

Photo: Carole Segal/AMC