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‘The Killing’ Review: “Keylela”

The Killing
AMC

Holder appropriately pokes Linden this week on ‘The Killing‘ by cruelly teasing that if she thinks she can talk to dead people, why doesn’t she just ask Rosie who killed her so we can get this over with already. Holder: the voice of the audience.

‘The Killing’ is still suffering and it’s hard not to wonder if show runner Veena Sud and her host of writers haven’t dug themselves a hole that they can’t work their way out of. Last week made some emotional progress with Mitch and her new wayward teen companion and that — coupled with Linden being stalked and the peek at someone watching Linden and Jack from afar — went far in renewing some goodwill.

This week Gwen plays a tricky little game, convincing Stan Larsen to publicly absolve Darren’s guilt for the good of his campaign; she promises Stan that in doing so, he’ll receive a lighter sentence for his participation in the beating of Bennett Ahmed. This, of course, isn’t true, and Darren doesn’t like the way a freshly returned Gwen is running things. Stan refuses to help, so Gwen tells Darren they should focus more on his restored health, but that doesn’t keep Darren from going to Stan personally and expressing remorse. In a touching moment, he tells Stan that his people lied to him and they can’t promise lesser charges, and so the two men commiserate over their loss.

Stan has become grating this season, with his mopey listlessness becoming a burden to the show’s overall narrative structure. With Mitch and Stan apart, it feels like there are too many plot threads dangling about again, when last week looked to be trimming them a little.

That turns around a little this week, though, when he questions why Terry’s married boyfriend Michael was interrogated by police. When she admits that they met through Beau Soleil, hinting that Rosie might have had an affair with him as well, Stan unleashes his fury in a moment of intensity.

Linden, inspired by a book on Holder’s shelf and new evidence from Rosie’s frantic voicemail, decides to head to the land around the casino where Rosie filmed butterflies to see if she can figure out what spooked Rosie that night. Did she see something she shouldn’t have? While Holder checks out the interior and tries to discern how closely tied the casino is to prostitution (answer: very), Linden is interrupted by Nicole, the owner of the casino.

Nicole tells Linden a dark tale of Keylela, a local legend and warning to Natives, whose curiosity enticed her to wander further and further off until the water swallowed her whole. The truth was that Keylela was a little girl who wandered away and was found beaten and tied to a tree. The lesson here is that the attraction of curiosity is deadly, regardless of how it’s dressed up. You could say the same for Rosie as you could for Linden, as it seems that Rosie may have discovered a secret, and Linden is on the verge of unlocking one of her own. Nicole explicitly tells Linden, “You’ve been warned.” It’s an unfortunate, on-the-nose capper for a perfect moment of metaphor.

Linden also takes heat this week from Holder, who thinks she needs to keep her emotional involvement with the case in check, and pokes at her sensitive spot regarding her mysterious suspension and institutionalization from a previous case. Holder wonders if Linden thinks she can communicate with the dead, and if maybe she feels that she can empathize too much with Rosie.

Holder hilariously tries to find a prostitute in the casino that can net him more access, and when an older woman turns him down he hilariously hits up a man. A maid follows Holder into an elevator and hands him a matchbook, asking him to meet her at 11 the next morning, but before she departs she tells him that she hopes Rosie’s family received her backpack. The casino. The mayor. All the political intrigue, and how men in power love their prostitutes. Maybe things are worse than we thought over on casino island.

But that will have to wait because someone has called child protective services on Linden to try and remove Jack from her care. Jack excuses himself to go to the bathroom and runs off, forcing Linden to high tail it with him. In a heartbreaking scene, Jack devolves into frustrated tears.

Stan agrees to speak at a press conference for Darren, and he uses the moment to scold the press for their sensational coverage of the case and dismissing the humanity of their family. He then passionately offers up what little money he has to anyone who will help him find the killer and bring them to justice.

This week continues the slow burn build to a riveting conclusion, as casino security take Holder out to a field and beat him mercilessly while Linden listens over the phone.

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