‘The Killing’ Review: “Ogi Jun”
This week Linden and Holder try to find the owner of the Ogi Jun tattoo, while Richmond copes with his new paralysis, and the Larsen family continues to unravel in Mitch's absence. "Ogi Jun" is a much more basic, procedural episode, but is it a help or a hindrance to the already bumpy show?
This week's episode of 'The Killing' reads more like an episode of 'Law & Order.' Largely procedural with the kind of expository banter and interactions that have come to define that series. Like last season, one of the problems with the show remains that most episodes are filled with slow-moving plots and exhaustive melodrama, but the end of each episode brings a thrilling reveal that compels us to continue to tune in week after week. Thankfully, last week and this week seemed to dispense with the mini-red herrings that were becoming an issue in the first two episodes, but is the reveal at the end of this week's episode just a big red herring?
Holder continues to maintain his innocence in the forged Richmond toll booth photo while he and Linden try to track down the owner of the Ogi Jun tattoo, who turns out to be a law-breaking foster kid by the name of Alexi. Stan's son Tommy is acting out, first with petulance and then by stuffing his brother in the trunk of a car. As it turns out, Tommy is taking regular beatings from the kids at school, who torment him over the death of his sister. Stan later discovers that Kovarsky paid for Belko's funeral and burial, and that he also lied about his involvement with the Beau Soleil fire. Meanwhile, Linden is dealing with a joint custody lawsuit from her ex.
It's good to see Linden and Holder getting along again, even if Linden has justifiable reasoning for reserving her trust. With all the corruption they're facing within the police department, a unified front is a much more enjoyable presentation than warring partners, which might give the plot a little overkill. Their relationship continues to be a highlight of the show, and both actors elevate dialogue that otherwise feels too basic at times.
AMC has made a name for itself with elevated material, taking in shows with familiar formulas that have unique perspectives or twists and fantastic writing. 'The Killing' fits in with the unique perspective angle, but not so much the fantastic writing. 'The Walking Dead' is another show that's been problematic until recently; with the exit of Frank Darabont it was assumed the show would worsen, but instead it's only solidified and started to (slowly) course correct.
The big reveal this week is that Alexi's mother was the girlfriend of a man that Stan had to kill in order to sever ties with Kovarsky and get out of the mob the first time around. A hand-drawn picture of Rosie is found in Alexi's room with her face scratched over. Was Alexi a jaded boyfriend of Rosie's? Perhaps he found out about her involvement in Beau Soleil and became enraged. His mother confronts Stan at the end of the episode and tells him he deserved his daughter's death -- perhaps she was in on it too?
Is the show finally introducing us to the killer of Rosie Larsen, or is this just another in a string of red herrings? These misdirects haven't always been terrible. As mentioned in last week's review, some of them have been potent and even jarring in their conclusions -- like Bennett Ahmed -- and like real life detective work, it's only logical that Linden and Holder follow every lead to its inevitable conclusion. Even if Alexi and his mother turn out to be innocent, we might be facing an interesting and not at all expected plot line. Worst case scenario: another sloppy, stereotypical turn, like Belko and his resentment toward his mother.
On the Richmond front, Darren has withdrawn from the running in the election and fires Jamie, the one person who is doing everything in his power to help Darren, even when met with apathy and resistance. Gwen makes a brief reappearance this week in a phone call with Jamie, but it doesn't look like she'll be coming back any time soon.
Stan stops by Tommy's school and finds his son being picked on by bullies, so he tells his son to go for the biggest guy in the group and hit him hard in the bridge of the nose. It's terrible advice and possible foreshadowing for an accidental schoolyard death, which would be an agonizing plot development in the unrelenting Larsen melodrama. Also problematic here is the notion that any kids would pick on another kid in this situation and tease him about his dead sister. It just rings false.
Looking forward to next week, when we'll hopefully get to know Alexi a little better and discover the mystery behind his connection to Rosie, who appears to have been a very busy girl in the weeks leading up to her death.