catching up

An Exhaustive List of All the Things You Missed by Skipping Season Two of The Killing

Photo: Frank Ockenfels/AMC, Carol Segal/AMC

To those of you who stopped watching The Killing after season one, we’re impressed. It takes a lot of willpower to look away from a car crash as big and long and fascinating in its awfulness as this one. But since you might end up tuning into Sunday’s season finale — when the killer of Rosie Larsen is due to be revealed — we’ve decided to offer a quick catchup on the major (and ridiculous) moments from the past twelve episodes.

  • Grieving, overprotective mother Mitch abandoned her husband and young sons in order to go live in a seedy motel room for two weeks and read her paperback novels in peace.
  • Belko was arrested after shooting Senator Richmond, did a few scenes’ worth of fetal-position rocking while handcuffed to an interrogation table, and then killed himself.
  • Holder and Linden’s former boss, Oakes (whom you felt ambivalent toward at best), was fired for no concrete reason and replaced by Duck from Mad Men (whose character you feel ambivalent about at best).
  • Holder’s former partner/NA sponsor turns out to be a corrupt jerk, which sends Holder into a self-destructive spiral.
  • Holder does it with a junkie in a car.
  • Holder beats up a junkie drug dealer.
  • Holder throws a junkie’s mom across a room.
  • Self-destructive spiral ends and Holder goes back to being the same guy from before that you had a crush on.
  • Rosie’s backpack turned up on the Larsen’s front porch, with her blood on it still wet, a month after she was killed.
  • Linden smiled twice.
  • Oh, she also gets committed to a mental hospital.
  • We learn that it’s actually the second time Linden’s been declared crazy. The first time was during a case about a dead prostitute whose son witnessed the crime and just kept drawing a picture of the woods when asked who did it. The prostitute’s husband went to jail for the murder, despite Linden’s belief that he didn’t do it. She has apparently felt so guilty about sending away the boy’s father that she’s been determined to neglect her own son ever since.
  • Linden’s son Jack lives off hotel vending machine snacks for most of the season, still manages to ace a math test, and then is finally shipped off to Chicago to live with his dad Helo from Battlestar Galactica.
  • Senator Richmond is paralyzed from the gunshot wound. He spends three episodes refusing to get out of his hospital bed and promising us he’s going to drop out of the mayoral race. He flirts with a nurse and is taught how to brush his teeth now that he can’t move his legs. Then Jamie gives him a pep talk about his disabled grandfather and Richmond leaves the hospital to resume his campaign less than a week after getting shot. He is in remarkably tip-top shape.
  • Gwen quits Richmond’s campaign after telling Linden and Holder that he wasn’t with her on the night that Rosie got shot. She flies to Washington, D.C., to work for her dad Charles Whitmore from Lost. He insists she takes the red eye because that’s how this show rolls.
  • Linden talks to a salty fisherman who informs her he saw Richmond tried to kill himself on the night Rosie died. He has no insight whatsoever into what Richmond or the show’s casting director ever saw in Gwen.
  • But since the people of Seattle are not interested in the assassination attempt on a mayoral candidate or his subsequent life-altering paralysis and miraculous instant recovery, Richmond decides he has no choice but to rehire his secret weapon Gwen. She flies back. This takes at least two whole episodes.
  • At her motel, Mitch befriends a septum- and eyebrow-pierced teenage runaway girl who dreams of becoming a ballerina. They rock out to the song “Gloria.” Then Mitch does the girl’s laundry and stares mournfully off into the distance, lost in the memory of washing Rosie’s Las Vegas T-shirt. It does not prompt her to call those of her children who are still alive.
  • The runaway girl may or may not make a pass at Mitch while they take a nap together in the motel room bed. It is impossible to determine even upon repeated viewings.
  • Sterling who?
  • Jasper who?
  • Jasper’s dad, Michael Ames, on the other hand, turns out to have been at the Indian casino the night Rosie was killed. He was also the contractor for the waterfront development that is one of Richmond rival Mayor Lesley Adams’s main platforms. If you are having a hard time remembering who Mayor Adams or Michael Ames are, you’re in trouble, because they emerged as major(ly boring) characters this season.
  • Michael Ames bought a candy bar on the ferry back from the casino on the night of Rosie’s murder, so he is temporarily cleared of charges.
  • Stan finds out that Rosie might have been a Beau Soleil escort at the casino and he’s sad. His former/current mob boss Janek burns down a warehouse where the Beau Soleil computers were kept and lies to Stan about Rosie being just an innocent girl. Although later we find that the lie was true because it turns out Rosie was just a maid at the casino, not an escort. Which makes total sense because what average teenage girl doesn’t take a minimum wage job that involves taking a midnight ferry over to a gambling hall? Presumably all the Orange Julius positions at the mall were full.
  • Linden is still using her flip phone. Jack calls from Chicago to tell her that his dad gave him an iPod. Burn. Burn!
  • Linden gets fired, and has to turn in her gun and badge. She keeps working on the Rosie Larsen case because she is OBSESSED. By our tally, all she has consumed all season is part of a doughnut, a tray of mental hospital food, and hundreds of Holder’s cigarettes.
  • Some super-8 footage is discovered on a camera in Rosie’s backpack. On it, she’s riding her bike with a mysterious stranger. A glimpse of an anime-inspired tattoo is seen in her rear-view mirror. It belongs to a Red Herring named Alexi who was a former foster kid just like Linden. Unlike Linden, though, Alexi’s dad was killed by Stan, who stuck his body in the trunk of a car, just like Rosie! It’s a promising lead. Or at least it would have been on another show that doesn’t get off on playing games with its viewers. (Law & Order, you’re the best and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.) Linden and Holder pursue Alexi for two episodes before finding out that he loved Rosie and never would’ve hurt her.
  • Alexi shows up in the backseat of Holder and Linden’s car, while they sit on a darkened street, even though he’s innocent and could probably have just asked them to lunch. He tells them that Stan wasn’t Rosie’s real father!
  • Mitch opens up a little box that she brought along to her hotel room and rereads a letter she wrote to Rosie’s dad before she was born. Then she goes and visits him, and they share a lovely French pressed cup of coffee and reminisce about how much she used to love Free Willy. We love him and want to move into his house and do crossword puzzles with him. Mitch still doesn’t call her family. Also, we never see this man again.
  • Holder and Linden go stake out the casino some more. Holder gets the shit beat out of him by Nicole Jackon, the badass (not in a cool way) casino boss lady, and Linden arranges a search party to find him. Some orphans living in a truck point her toward the woods, where an extremely banged-up Holder is lying in a way that makes him seem like he might be dead He’s discharged from the hospital the next day and running down mobsters the day after that.
  • Veena Sud discovers YouTube. Richmond is trailing in the polls, so he goes and plays basketball with his old urban teenage league. Gwen posts it to Scenevid (!) and it goes “viral.” (1, 232 views. We’re talking viral.) Richmond’s campaign team cheers!
  • Linden discovers a butterfly book at Holder’s house and puts it together that Rosie was going to leave home forever on the night she was killed in order to go chase monarchs.
  • Stan and Terry kiss and it’s gross. Then his cell phone rings and they stop kissing.
  • Stan buys the family a dog.
  • Stan spends all season trying to sell that house he bought, the one with a yard, and he finally gets an offer but still hasn’t sold it.
  • Mob boss Janek tells Stan he must kill a man, but Stan sees a baby in the dude’s backseat and doesn’t go through with it. Alexi then shoots Janek in the back of the head so Stan is a free man — except for that manslaughter charge from season one. But whatever.
  • AMC continues to list the high school janitor and Bennet and his wife and everyone else whom we’ve never heard from again on its online Suspect Tracker page.
  • Linden sneaks into the casino construction site and stands on the balcony. She “gets into Rosie’s head” and realizes she has solved the mystery of why Rosie came to the construction site (which is, again, a ferry ride away and also filled with nothing but building materials) on the night she was murdered. The answer: Rosie came to take in the view and “say good-bye” to Seattle.
  • Holder uncovers a plot by the casino to sabotage Mayor Adam’s campaign by planting Native American bones on the land.
  • Gwen tries to blackmail the mayor but then doesn’t. Then she blackmails her dad.
  • The badass casino boss, Nicole Jackson, turns out to be a lesbian who is dating her security guard. They get into a fight and she breaks the guard’s hand. Linden discovers another ex-girlfriend whose arm was once broken and she decides that hands and arms are basically the same thing and it’s a pattern.
  • Mitch comes home and gets mad that her sister, Terry, did her laundry in the house while she’s away. She tells Stan that dads don’t love their children as much as mothers do, which is why she left hers to go live in a hotel all season.
  • Did we already mention the part when Linden says that her one childhood memory of her mother was of being left alone with the lights off because the electricity bill didn’t get paid and that’s why she’s so consumed with the Rosie Larsen case? Yeah, that happened.
  • Linden somehow doesn’t jump Holder in his bed or hug him or even just try to brush her fingers again his while she’s bumming her millionth cigarette from him.
  • Linden and Holder find out that Jasper’s dad, Michael Ames, was planning on boxing his rich wife out of the waterfront development deal and that he’s in cahoots with Nicole Jackson. Also, he really was going to run off with Aunt Terry, just like she kept saying all season, so maybe she did have something to do with Rosie’s murder after all, we still don’t know. What the two of them could have possibly found to talk to each other about also remains a mystery.
  • Mayor Adams threatens to go public with Richmond’s suicide attempt so Richmond makes a speech where he fesses up to it himself. He talks about Jamie’s disabled grandfather, who lost a leg but didn’t give up. Then Richmond, who is in his wheelchair, just drops the mike he’s holding to the floor. If there is one moment you should probably go back and see for yourselves, it’s that one. (It’s at 39:38 in episode 211. If you’re having a bad day, we promise it’s hilarious enough to cheer you up.)
  • Linden finds a bloody City Hall key card in the construction site. It falls in the cracks of the floor and she isn’t able to reach it. She is caught and committed to the mental hospital. It takes three episodes, but she finally gets that card!
  • The key card doesn’t have a name on it, so Linden and Holder drive to City Hall, while dodging police who want to arrest Linden, and try the key card on all the doors. The key card hasn’t been deactivated, even though it’s been a month since it was lost, and so Linden and Holder are able to use it to open Senator Richmond’s campaign headquarters. The camera zooms in on Gwen and campaign manager Jamie, the two least likely and thus most tedious suspects.
  • Linden and Holder spend the penultimate episode uncovering all sorts of evidence against Gwen and Jamie that didn’t exist on the show before. They find out that Gwen was driving the campaign car that Rosie was killed in on the night of the murder. She claims that she only drove it earlier that night, but Jamie is involved in Michael Ames’s waterfront contract so this is a draw when it comes to suspicious behavior. They’re also identically terrible at their jobs.
  • The election happens. Richmond is so far tied with Adams. That basketball video is powerful stuff! But he doesn’t realize that one of his staff members either killed Rosie Larsen or ate so much spoiled Red Herring that they’re going to be too sick to attend his victory party should he win.
  • Richmond gets a call from a mysterious stranger. He tells Richmond he has to see him immediately.
  • Holder and Linden gain possession of the casino’s elevator surveillance tapes from the night Rosie Larsen was killed. They load it up, and see Nicole Jackson and Michael Ames ride up to the construction site. Then a man wearing a hood gets on the elevator. It’s Jamie. Now that he’s a bad guy, he stares menacingly into the surveillance camera.
  • Richmond shows up at the mysterious stranger’s house, and the stranger asks him if Richmond wants to put him in any more speeches. This makes it seem like he’s Ted Wright, Jamie’s grandfather who is supposed to be missing a leg. This man is not missing a leg. Jamie shows up and Richmond asks him why he lied. It’s a very cryptic scene even if you’ve been watching all season, grinding your teeth down to nothing in frustration.

It’s all very incriminating, but the chances of Jamie being the killer are still only at about 50 percent, considering there’s still one episode to go. This show is not shy about leaps of illogic, and so it’s still almost anyone’s murder. We’re hoping it’s going to be Mitch, because she’s the worst. We’re also expecting to see next season’s case established or at least hinted at, although there’s still no word on whether the show will be picked up for a third go. We’re honestly torn about whether or not we want it to stay or go. But not for nearly any of the right reasons.

What You Missed on Season Two of The Killing