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The Killing Recap: Pick Up the Phone!

Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) - The Killing _ Season 3, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Cate Cameron/AMC

The Killing might very well be the most original show on television. It certainly reinvents the rules of narrative. It does stuff that other shows would never dare, like revealing exactly who the killer was at the beginning of the season in such a blunt, sloppy, backed into way that viewers didn’t believe it for a second. Last week’s comments were filled with people guessing that one of the two prison guards or maybe somehow Skinner or even Carl was the killer. Any of those twists would’ve been ridiculous but at least we could’ve had fun watching them try to wedge what we already knew about the character into the crevices of the crime. I’m not sure if it’s more or less disappointing to have Joe Mills be actually guilty instead of just another red herring. But in either scenario, the entertainment value is still zero.

For one thing, his capture lay bare what is one of the most confusing elements about this show: that Linden and Holder are dreadfully awful at their jobs. When Skinner told Linden that she did great work, I reached for a glass of water and rewound, just so I could do a spit take. How grumbly was Holder at the beginning of the episode when he found out he had to go investigate their lead suspect’s storage unit where, it turns out, Mills had been hiding out all along? If they had ever taken the time to do a real interview with Callie’s mom, they could have discovered the existence of that unit by the third episode. It also appears that Mills was driving his cab around town this whole time. Did they ever even put out an APB on his plates? Surely even this police force is capable of doing that. Was the station’s one lone computer too tied up with searching his LinkedIn account for leads?

And of course, there’s the matter of Holder’s ignored voice-mail box, overflowing with unheard messages that promised to reveal Mills’s identity if only Holder would call back. Didn’t Bullet know that Mills was a suspect? I mean, if traumatized yet crafty Adrian saw Mills on television at some point, it seems that the information was out there. Once Holder didn’t call her back, couldn’t Bullet have tried a different tack by saying something like, “That guy you think did it. Yep, he did it.” And is there any reason, beside the writers of this show paying her off, that Angie didn’t just I.D. Mills when she saw his picture? Because of the psychological sway this tater tot adverse kiddie porn auteur/single mom wooer/Alaskan fisherman had over her?

Last week, I pointed out that nothing had happened this season and it seems that they were trying to make up for that in spades with this episode. A season’s worth of action was crammed into one hour. The stairwell pursuit of Mills by Linden and Holder! The two scenes where someone’s getting the crap beat out of them! (Holder must have still not checked his voice mail when he arrived at Carl’s surprisingly harmonious domestic doorstep to punch him the face.) The completely out-of-left field, weirdly truncated, topical shooting by Becker’s ever-morphing son! Or at least it was a surprise in the sense that it felt incongruous to the rest of the show. The real-life version of a kid whose dad dragged to him about the garret he was building would probably end up as a violent criminal. The moving into the only apartment in Seattle that gets light by Lyric and Twitch, two street kids who up until this episode were only able to afford a single bottle of hair dye between them! The breakneck running of Linden down yet another stairwell so that she can tell Holder not to do the thing that he had just announced through a much speedier mode of communication — a walkie-talkie — that he was about to do! The reveal of Bullet’s body in Mills’s trunk, which didn’t have nearly the weight that this show was probably hoping it would! Holder’s dramatic lashing out at his now more fake seeming than ever girlfriend. The long-awaited move in for a kiss between Holder and Linden, following by the harsh robbing of the only happiness this show could still manage to give us! The equally long awaited conversation between Linden and Adrian, where she once again failed to ask him enough questions, such as, “But if the only light in the room was coming from the Christmas tree, how is it that you drew a picture of the stretch of woods where all these girls bodies were found, especially considering I’m about to find out that your mother’s murder had nothing to do with these other deaths?” And the crazy, desperate, eleventh hour, what the what?!! reveal of Seward’s Bible thumping cellmate being a cold-hearted psychopath who is most likely going to end up somehow also being the man who killed Seward’s wife!

Now that the grand mystery of how many pillows Joe Mills needs to sleep (one) has been solved, we can move on to tying to tie up our last two frayed threads: Where is Callie and how will Seward be spared? He’s right to feel let down by Linden. We’ve all been there, pal. I don’t even know how many hours he has left because The Killing has a loose way of dealing with time. I swear it bounced between day and night and back to day at least once in this episode. Skinner was rather nonchalant about asking Linden’s if she’s going to the execution of the man they both earlier agreed was innocent. Linden had no problem going against the rules when it came to showing up at a little boy’s elementary school and freaking him out but now she’s Miss Protocol when it comes to saving his dad. I don’t know what’s up with that Ziploc bag of rings but judging by the way her eyes got extra sad when she looked at Callie’s photo, I’m guessing she has a plan that doesn’t involve re-interviewing Adrian or calling Seward back. Time to stretch those legs, guys. We’ve got two episodes left for a total of three hours and in order for those to match up with Seward’s timeline, we could be sitting in Linden’s car for a while.

Photo: Cate Cameron/AMC