Now we know. We finally got the answer to “Who killed Rosie Larsen?” and it was as sad, horrifying, and surprising as you’d expect. I genuinely never entertained the idea that it was someone in the family. After being so irked last year that we didn’t get an answer at the end of the first season, I was happy that before this season even started, TPTB told us we’d have to wait until the end of it for that. That was a tremendously freeing choice.
With that completely off the table, I was able to appreciate the show’s nuances on their own. The mystery was still rambling along, but I could just watch the show for the same reasons I get hooked on a lot of shows–the characters, the performances, the writing. I realize this isn’t everybody’s cuppa in terms of summer programming, or any programming, but I consistently dug the hell out of it.
The finale was really, really, well done and seemed to be a gift to the viewers who rode out both seasons. We begin with Rosie’s last day, and Rosie’s last glimpses of her family, which we’d heard in snippets from Mitch’s and Stan’s recollections. We saw those moments now, informed by everything that followed, and paired with the heartbreaking scene last week of her riding up the elevator to the 10th floor, we saw a girl on the verge of a life.
Alongside that, Jamie did truly unravel, telling Richmond that he had discovered Rosie was a witness to his meeting on the 10th floor, that he knocked her to the floor to silence her, and then stashed her in the car. When she escaped, he chased her through the woods and beat her unconscious and then put her in the trunk.
Richmond is stunned and devastated and calls Jamie out for what he did so cavalierly. Jamie goes down swinging with some wounds of his own–condemning Richmond for being unable and unwilling to do the things that Jamie could get done.
Holder, Linden, and Gwen arrive just as it becomes apparent that Jamie is done. He points his (unloaded) gun at them and Holder drops him. In the aftermath, Gwen finds her peace, and she thinks, possibly a future with Darren, until she watches him icily switch gears to get into bed with Ames and Nicole.
Linden hangs onto the fact that Jamie didn’t confess all of it. He stopped at the beating. She brings in Ames and Nicole, determined that one of them must have finished it. When she can’t turn them against each other, she and Holder finally go see the Larsens, who are busy with closure of their own, having decided to move to the new house, only to find Terry there alone in the garage.
They tell her they’ve solved the murder and she tells them their timing sucks and leaves them to go upstairs. Linden chastises Holder for smoking in the garage and then she stops short when she sees Terry’s broken taillight. Then it clicks for her that the car that brought Ames home the night Rosie died wasn’t a cab; it was Terry’s.
She and Holder go upstairs and find Terry on the bed in Rosie’s room. Linden sits down opposite her. Numb with grief and guilt and relief to finally be unburdened, Terry tells the rest of the story about the night Rosie died. Jamie had called Ames after putting Rosie back in the car. Terry and Ames had been on their way to the airport, as she’d previously said. He’d finally nutted up to leave with her when Jamie called.
Out in the pitch black, while Terry sat quietly in the car watching her future fall away, Jamie pleaded with Ames to call Janek to take care of the girl. Ames said no, he said he was going back to his wife and they were done. Terry listened and then got out and walked over to the Town Car, opened the door, put the car in drive and it rolled into the lake. Terry heard the unseen girl inside who was her roadblock start to scream and she turned back to her car.
Terry finishes her story and collapses into a mantra that she didn’t know it was Rosie as Stan and Mitch come into the room. Holder steps up to keep Stan from launching himself into her, and something in Terry seems to break as Linden cuffs her and she pulls away to hug Mitch, who starts to hold her and then lets her hands fall.
At the station later, Linden and Holder get the developed film Jamie had taken from Rosie. Linden starts to watch it but we don’t see it until she leaves it for the Larsens, who watch it as a family and we find out with them that she did tell them goodbye and that she loved them.
Outside, Holder and Linden sit and watch the house as a call comes in for a homicide. It sinks in and Linden realizes she’s done. She silently gets out of the car and Holder tells her to keep in touch since she’s his ride. He drives away and she starts walking, peaceful.
And that’s that.
If we don’t come back, I’m good with this as a series finale. We had a complete arc for everyone and it was such good storytelling. I love the shows that are allowed to ramble and meander and get there eventually. I’ve talked about Davinci’s Inquest here before, and The Killing had some of those same cadences, helped significantly by the Vancouver locale and the outstanding pool of Canadian talent for the supporting roles.
In the sense of being a terribly sad case where one right move from one person could’ve made all the difference, it echoed Without a Trace and Cold Case. There are very few shows that get to do this kind of thing, and fewer that do it well. I’m grateful we got two seasons. Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman were new to me. I can’t wait to see what they do next.