gut reactions

Let’s Talk About the Final Season of The Killing

Joan Allen in a scene from Netflix's
Joan Allen in a scene from Netflix’s “The Killing” Season 4. Photo Credit: Carole Segal for Netflix. Photo: Carole Segal/Netflix

Did you watch the full new season of The Killing on Netflix this weekend? If so, grab a cigarette and let’s talk. Here are a few early impressions on the six-episode fourth and final season. Spoilers from here on out.

• Hey, Billy Campbell! The reappearance of the king of Bockmail was a nice item of closure, but I wish it had been a surprise: Seeing Campbell’s name in the opening credits sort of ruined it.

• We need to get Joan Allen on another show. The Good Wife? The next season of Fargo? Scandal, even? Joan Allen is a good actress, and however else one might feel about this season of The Killing — for me, less than great! — it’s not like that’s Joan Allen’s fault. The whole “he’s secretly MY SON!!!!” reveal was bullshit, though.

• Sweaters! Rain! Sad cars! The aesthetics of the show didn’t change a bit. Though, mercifully, there was a lot less chewing this season.

• Broadly speaking, I am against militarizing children, but the show went to great lengths to make everyone at that dumb military school a cartoon villain. I get it. Kids are assholes, and when you make them participate in a faux militia, they haze each other and are really mean and basically reenact the parts of A Few Good Men that land everyone in trouble. But torturing a kid whose whole family was murdered? What is this, 4chan?

• I want Linden to get some therapy. A lot of therapy, ideally, but she can start with some. I’ve seen a few people refer to the show’s time jump as a happy ending, but I’m not sure how happy Linden can really be: She’s haunted by her crappy childhood, her own failures as a parent, and the fact that she was involved in a murder. The happiest ending for me would be her sitting down on a therapist’s couch (ideally Dianne Weist’s from In Treatment?) and saying, “I am ready to start working on my shit.”

• Holder < Jesse Pinkman. Sorry. But it was nice to see him have a good dad moment there at the end. Also nice to think that he got good at doing hair — his daughter’s little Princess Leia buns were adorable, and if he and Caroline split custody, that means he was on hair duty.

• So there’s just some pederast dude who has hundreds of photos up on his crazy wall, but he’s not really part of our story in any meaningful way? Cool.

• As always on this show, it didn’t seem like there was too much actual police work going on.

• Everyone’s lips seemed extra-craggy this season. In Holder’s big finale speech, her lips looked like a ruffled potato chip. Kyle’s lips were super-chapped. I get that everyone is a husk of a human and not paying attention to his or her appearance, but yikes. Chapstick is our friend.

• R.I.P., Bullet. Glad to see last season’s standout character get a brief acknowledgement.

• What is The Killing’s fundamental philosophy? When the show started, it was about how tragedy affects ordinary people. But then, as that first season wore on, our characters turned out to be less and less ordinary — not because we discovered their richer interior lives, but because the show invented crazy twists and pulled the rug out from under us. I miss some of that “every day people doing the best they can in trying circumstances” attitude.

Let’s Talk About the Final Season of The Killing