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The Killing Recap: Video Killed the Incumbent

After last night’s episode, I might have to take back my statement that Richmond’s election plotline has been the most sluggish one of the season. I care very little about the grand reveal of what he was up to the night Rosie Larsen was killed, but man, could I watch the characters on This Show fiddle around with his uploaded basketball video forever. The only thing that would’ve made those scenes more entertaining to watch is if Ray the tech guy had been in my living room, teaching me how to zoom in on the screen.

For those of you who don’t have a DVR at home, I need you to understand that the previously uploaded Richmond campaign videos, clearly visible on the side of the page, have titles like “Richmond speaks to people at public library” and “News conference on Saturday” and that they were uploaded by user 24,251 and each have 24,523 views (more than twice as many as the basketball video got). You might think I’m nitpicking here and that no one except me would ever bother to watch and rewind this scene as many times as I did, but I am actually making a real point here which is this: just because The Killing can get away with phoning it in doesn’t mean that it should.

The page-view thing is especially important because it was the impetus for one hell of a convoluted plot development. It seems that Mayor Adams is finally feeling a little nervous about Richmond’s comeback and it all has to do with that pesky uploaded video! See, if Richmond can get just 2 percent of those 10,723 people who watched it to show up at the polls, he’s got a real shot. At least according to Jamie, who also thinks a dog wearing rolling blades is Richmond’s stiffest competition over at Scenevid headquarters, making Jamie’s offline recreational activities about as current as his online ones.

Just so we’re absolutely clear here, though: Richmond’s life being unjustly altered forever by a mad man’s bullet has, up until this point, not been enough to generate either enough sympathy in the voters or worry in the mind of Mayor Adams, but now that footage of him shooting hoops with a few random teenagers has been unleashed on the world, the game is on? This is what has Mayor Adams shaking his fist at his computer screen?

All this leads to Adams playing hardball, for real, and threatening to go public with Richmond’s attempted suicide the night of Rosie Larsen’s murder. Richmond feels he has no choice but to back out of the campaign. Joe Biden’s recent, very moving speech about the grief he felt after losing his wife and daughter very reluctantly brought to my mind this particular plot device and made me even more resentful of how forced it seems. I’ve never bought that this revelation would trump Richmond’s getting paralyzed a week before, and the end of this episode strongly suggests that I was right.

Meanwhile, Linden’s back to sleeping in the car, except now she has Holder by her side, ready with a glazed doughnut whenever she wakes up. Can I just say that I have never craved doughnuts more than when I watch This Show? In that one regard, it has succeeded. The Simpsons has nothing on it in terms of the case of munchies it inspires in me.

Linden is hovering somewhere at Defcon 2 on the Crazed and Consumed meter. She’s muttering a lot and doing a lot of sad staring into space. If I were her, I’d definitely want to go curl up at Holder’s place and watch a Party Down marathon while he made me omelettes for three days, but she only has eyes for the casino. She wants to go back and get that key card. Holder tries to gently break it to her that she’s nuts, but the cat’s out of the bag on that one and so she doesn’t listen.

They drive to her old friend Richmond’s campaign headquarters, and convince Gwen and Jamie that they need to get into that casino. I feel like the fact that it was possible for this to have been done at all means that it could’ve been done half a dozen episodes ago, but (all together now) whatever. Apparently we had to wait for Gwen to find out that her father, Charles Whitmore, saw her kissing Mayor Adams when she was 14 so that she could feel properly pissed enough. The scene where she blackmails her dad was another case of This Show backing itself into a major plot development. The leverage she uses against her dad is how would it look to the public if they found out he saw his daughter kissing Mayor Adams twenty years before and did nothing about it? Gwen claims it would surely destroy her father’s entire political career even though two episodes ago it wasn’t enough information to even slightly harm Mayor Adam’s reelection campaign. The logic is just so blurry that I feel dizzy even typing it out.

It works on Gwen’s dad, though, and Linden and Holder are able to obtain their long sought after FBI warrant. It’s some sort of special Groupon warrant or something, though, that is only good for a short period of time. Nicole Jackson hovers at the doorway while the FBI guys tear up the construction-site floor. Linden pretends she didn’t find the City Hall key card, even thought she did, so that she doesn’t have to turn it in as official evidence. She flashes the card to the elevator surveillance cameras so that Nicole Jackson and Kobeyashi will be sure to see. Nicole Jackson doesn’t like that one bit and she crushes Kobeyashi’s hand in a doorway, using footage that I’m pretty sure was borrowed from the student film I made freshman year.

Holder’s confused about why Linden doesn’t want to involve the other official police channels and Linden explains, basically, that no one’s to be trusted and they’re on their own. This thing with her being Sherlock to his Watson isn’t my favorite, since I think he’s a better cop. When I saw her flash the card in the elevator, I thought it was so she could lure Nicole Jackson into some sort of trap but then doesn’t really pan out. Nicole Jackson calls someone who The Killing thinks it is convincing us to believe is Mayor Adams but because we have been watching this show for almost two seasons, we don’t fall for it. We do our best Mayor Adams fist shake at the screen impression while saying, “Not this time The Killing, we are on to you!” Then we go online and try to find a 24-hour doughnut place that delivers.

Mayor Adams does get a call from someone, but I guess it pertains to the information he has on Richmond. Or it’s about the mobster guy whom Holder chased down. Feel free to tell me all about it in the comments below but also, in the wise words of Bill Murray in Meatballs, “It just doesn’t matter.” The takeaway is that Mayor Adams wants Linden off the streets and so he offers Duck from Mad Men career incentive to arrest her. Which Duck from Mad Men of course does because that is the only defining trait of his character on this show. He acts like a bad guy in one scene and then he talks to either Holder or Linden and acts like a good guy. And both of those guys act exactly the same.

Stan is also in this episode, by the way, and the business they have him getting up to feels just as jumbled. Janek has chosen this moment to act like the head of the mob again and threaten Stan’s family, including their new dog unless Stan takes out that junior mobster guy from the construction site. Why he’s never threatened Stan in the nearly twenty years since Stan’s last hit and why he now needs him to do what sounds like a pretty routine offing, in the fictional world of mobsters at least, is unclear. What isn’t unclear is Stan’s reminiscing about the time he killed Alexi’s dad, as per Janek’s instructions, which Alexi conveniently hears. Stan can’t go through with the killing of the mobster dude because he sees a baby in the backseat, but that’s okay because Alexi shoots Janek in the head. We, the audience, don’t care about any of turn of events except for maybe the Janek one because it means we will never have to see him again, and that’s something we can really get behind. I will gladly wear a shoddily made, easily fallen off campaign pin with the slogan, “No More Years With Janek” on it, if you can find me one.

There’s been a feeling in these past two episodes that Stan is in real taking-care-of-business mode. He’s been checking off his to-do list one by one: apologize to the man you almost killed, apologize to your daughter whom someone else killed, bribe your kids whom you neglect and/or tell you hate with a new dog. That other house he bought just got an offer, which reminds Terry of the time she and her fake boyfriend Michael Ames once almost bought a house. Oh. Terry, you are so broken and doomed. Stan tells Terry she needs to raise Rod and Tod “in case anything happens to him.” and she looks horror stricken and is all, “Why would you ever say that. Stan?!!!” We, the audience, feel a weird tickle of a memory of Stan getting arrested and told he’s going to go to jail for a long time, but we decide that that must have been on another show. Also, Mitch comes home.

Richmond gives a big speech at the local junior high where he mentions Ted Wright and how he had the strength inside himself to fight all along, but Richmond didn’t find that strength until he jumped off the bridge and realized he wanted to live. Personally, I think he could’ve made the exact same speech without the Ted Wright part. If anything, it would’ve sounded much less confusing to his constituents, especially the ones who were just showing up for the first time. I’ve seen all of Richmond’s speeches and I’m still pretty fuzzy on the Ted Wright front. Anyway, the speech seems to work, Richmond is going to win! Except that now it looks like either Gwen or Jamie killed Rosie Larsen. Or were involved in the cover-up. Or have a secret smoking habit that involves them taking a ferry to the casino so that they can sneak a cig on the construction site balcony. Knowing This Show, it’s probably that last one.

Photo: Carole Segal/Copyright: AMC 2012