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The Killing Recap: Employee of the Month

I have a new candidate for Employee of the Month on this show (I also would like to file a petition to have the title officially changed to that, as in “Tune in Sunday 9/8 central to This Show.”) Last month it was Ray the tech guy. Now it’s whoever is responsible for all the labeling done in Seattle. You know, the person who made the I.D. tags at the hospital that said physical therapist and the sign on the dock that Linden jogs past that said the name of the ferry. Whoever it is, they did a very, very good job writing “Project manager: Michael Ames” on the billboard for Mayor Adam’s waterfront development proposal. If it weren’t for that sign, Holder would’ve never fit together all the pieces that make up the world’s most boring motive. If this show were a jigsaw puzzle, the final image would be a pack of ankle socks, in three shades of beige, from your aunt.

The cold opener for this episode is Linden waking up in an institution. For a minute I was really confused, but then I realized I must have been so blinded with apathy over last week’s “Rosie was coming to say good-bye” reveal that I’d barely processed Linden getting caught snooping around the construction site. Just like Linden hasn’t processed being abandoned by her mother when she was 5! But, hey there, I am getting way ahead of myself here. What do I think I’m watching, Jackass or something? No, on this show we take our time.

So Linden’s in the hospital because she’s being framed. She’s accused of attacking that lady who is the Kobeyashi to Nicole’s Jackson’s Kaiser Solsei and then of trying to take her own life off the balcony. The hospital is only keeping her for 72 hours, but we’re now being told that if she and Holder don’t solve Rosie’s murder by then, the case will get buried forever. The mayoral election is three days away and apparently, as of this episode, Richmond’s pitiful press conference is the only thing keeping the still totally unsolved murder of a teenage girl open. God, the logic is so airtight it should be used in place of a plastic bag when an asthmatic is hyperventilating. Or, put another way, that sentence I just wrote makes 100 percent more sense than this latest ridiculous plot device that is being used to generate a false sense of urgency.

Holder comes to get Linden out, but he’s told to leave her be. So he goes and finds Reggie, whose name I’m going to just go ahead and enter IN PEN onto the “Bad at Their Job” column that I’ve been keeping on a modified Yatzee score sheet (Ray and Sign Labeler are the only names in the other “Too Good for All Y’All” column.) Social worker Reggie tells Holder that this is how it started last time Linden ended up in the psych ward. She got consumed by a case and let her life fall by the wayside. When Reggie finds out Jack’s in Chicago with his sterling example of a father, being given, horror of horrors, regular meals and his own bed and an iPod that he doesn’t have to pay-per-listen each song on, she gasps and refuses to help Holder get Linden out. He asks her for, at least, Linden’s psychiatrist number and she says no to that, too, which completely bugged me at first but then, by the end of the episode when I understood more, felt like one of the few actions on this show that retroactively held water.

More on that in a minute, though, because in the interest of staying true to the intricate structuring of this show, we first have to talk about Stan. LOTS happening over at his house. For starters, he’s forgiven Aunt Terry. He’s come to his senses about Rod and Tod needing a mom and also he really misses her recaps of all the Seventh Heaven reruns he misses while he’s at work. She tells him about one she just watched where Mr. Camden told Jessica Biel to “Fix what she can and then forgive herself” after she T.P.’d some nerd’s lawn during Spirit Week. Stan thinks this is good advice that should be taken literally and so he drives over to Ahmed’s house and fixes the broken light bulb over his front door. The teachers in Seattle must have some bunk health care because Ahmed’s still wearing that neck brace. He clearly wasn’t able to afford the hospital where Richmond and Holder went since, 48 hours after having his ribs crushed in, Holder’s able to outrun a mobste. I wish this show were the movie When Harry Met Sally for many reasons, but mainly so I could watch a scene where Ahmed sees Holder bolt past him and then turns to his wife and says, “I want what he’s having.”

Stan also calls Rosie’s cell phone and leaves a message on her voice mail telling her he’s sorry. It’s not the worst idea for a touching moment and I could see it being pulled off on another show, but the way it comes so late in this season, after all we’ve had to wade through, I just can’t. All I could think while watching was that the writers were trying to figure out a new format to recycle the information we already know. Also, I thought it was kind of hilarious when he said “bye” at the end of the call. Later Stan gets a new dog for Rod and Tod in a scene that felt like buying a puzzle at a yard sale for a quarter and then finding all these mismatched pieces inside the box once you get home.

Richmond is returning to his core values in the final days of his campaign, which means visiting the after school program kids that he and Ahmed were mentoring. He says “Yes, I can.” We think, “No, they didn’t.” Since no one on Richmond’s team knows how to use the internet, Gwen pays a shadowy figure an envelope full of cash to upload a cellphone video of the senator shooting some hoops to hip happening Scenevid (all the kids are using it.)  The fact that the writers had Gwen announce that the video had gone viral while also showing us that it was viewed just a little over a thousand times leads me to believe they really must think that that’s what that word means. Which explains an awful lot about this show’s relationship with technology.

Getting back to Linden, she has a shrink at the hospital who wants her to talk about the case she was working on that made her end up in the hospital before. The shrink pulls out a copy of the trees drawing that Linden found stuck on her fridge and tells her she has to talk about it in exchange for being released early. Linden weaves a moody tale of a prostitute who was murdered in her apartment and her six year old son who was trapped inside. The chain on the door was too high for him to undo which sounds fishy to me, I mean couldn’t he have climbed up on a chair, but whatever, I’m not even going to get into it. When Linden found him, he drew those trees over and over again. The shrink wants her to talk about why she was so attached to him and that case, since she’d worked on more gruesome ones before, on child murders even, but Linden just wants to know when she’s getting out. The shrink tells her she has to stay a little while longer and Linden totally loses it. Which FORCES me to add “unable to not act all Mel Gibson both in Lethal Weapon and in real life during an interrogation” to a SUB-list I’ve also been keeping on that Yatzee pad. This list is called “All the Ways Linden would never be allowed to be a cop” and fake written at the top, with a hypothetical sharpie, is “Because she is completely mentally and emotionally unstable, i.e. crazy.” I mean, seriously, if she really acted as bonkers as everyone said she did, why did the series open with her old boss ordering her to take on Rosie Larsen’s case on her final day on the job? Wouldn’t he have been more like, “Uh, why don’t you spend the afternoon organizing your receipts with Ray?” I realize that some of you might accuse me of not being able to see the forest for the trees but if that shrink is allowed to demand answers about that wood drawing, I’m allowed to demand that at least the CENTRAL premise make sense.

The shrink keeps trying to tie that other case and Rosie Larsen’s case together somehow. She seizes on the idea of the little boy being orphaned and put in foster care. Just like Linden but not at all like Rosie so that theory doesn’t add up at all but the shrink doesn’t seem to notice. Linden says that the little boy’s dad went to jail for the murder but that she was convinced he was innocent and that’s, I guess, partly why she’s so obsessed with Rosie’s death because she’s afraid it will get buried, even though that doesn’t track either since she was consumed from the very beginning. Oh, this show!  Then the shrink gets her to talk about how her mother abandoned her and Linden says all she remembers is the darkness after the electricity was turned off and also…oops sorry, time’s up, Linden has been sprung. I’m sure what she was about to say was a super important clue that would’ve cracked this nut once and for all too. Oh well.

Linden’s old psychiatrist is who got her out and he turns out to be her old fiancée as well! I love that guy, she definitely should’ve married him. I bet he’s really good at making new sweaters from J. Crew look vintage. And finding out that he was Linden’s doctor first does feel real to me because I’ve been wondering this whole time how the hell she met him since she doesn’t seem to have any friends or ability to socialize. Of course she met him on the job. But he’s fed up and doesn’t stick around to say hi. He’d rather go hang out at the airport until his midnight only flight home takes off.

Holder’s there waiting for her, though, like always. He’s got a bunch of news to report that my fingers are giving me dirty looks about having to type out. After he saw that billboard, he called Ray and asked if there’d even been any break ins at the casion. Turns out there sure was, on the night Rosie was killed. “You’re reaching,” says Ray. “Shush,” we say, “Let’s just get on with it.” Holder talks to NEXT month’s best employee, some cop who lays out the most clear-headed and compelling argument yet for why Stan’s old mob boss and Michael Ames and Mayor Adams and Nicole Jackson and anyone else we have never, ever cared about were all involved in Rosie’s murder. That cop caught the guy sneaking out the construction site, who worked for the mob and who Michael Ames then bailed out. The mob guy was planting Indian bones, presumably to sabotage the construction of the waterfront developments. As Holder tells Duck from Mad Men, “It goes all the way to the top.”  “But why?” is the question that none of us are asking.

Photo: Carole Segal/AMC