It’ll come as a complete surprise to nobody who reads me regularly (thanks!), that I’m going to analyze the crap out of these episodes. So, we only know via the PR that it’s about 16 months after the close of the Larsen murder because the show doesn’t tell us that outright.Â
Holder is a fast-rising detective, living clean and sober,Â on his way to the sergeant’s exam, and partnered with a detective who’s about 15 years older than Holder and already over he job. When they catch a homicide of a young runaway, his partner is ready to hand it off,Â but Holder keeps the file, and keeps his hand in it. And he goes to see Linden.
Linden is doing just fine on her own. She’s working out on one of the islands manning the ferries, running every day, done with cigarettes, and in a relationship of sorts with a young co-worker. Her son is still living in Chicago. But all of this is OK. And then Holder comes to see her, and their casual friendly vibe is intact even though we realize they haven’t seen each other in a while. He asks her about his case and she tells him she can’t help.Â He “accidentally” leaves his case file, and when she finds it, something in her breaks loose from its mooring.
She goes to Reggie’s wedding and crumbles a bit during her toast as she tries to talk about finding somebody who knows your true self and still stands by you. When Jack catches up with her on the dock, she’s smoking, and he asks her what keeps her in Seattle and why she doesn’t come to Chicago and she can’t answer him.
Later,Â in a bookend to the opening scenes of the pilot when she found herself face to face with the death of an animal (mirrorring Rosie), she comes upon a herd of cows who’ve been left to starve. Fleeing the rain while on a run, she takes shelter under a barn roof and then realizes she’s in a field of carcasses and bones. And then she hears the last cow still breathing raggedly and turns to watch him struggling in the darkness of the barn. She goes home, gets her gun, and comes back and shows the cow mercy when she shoots him.
Back in the city, Holder learns his victim was 14, and something inside him breaks loose, too. This facade that he’s been OK is rattled. We meet his girlfriend toward the end of the second hour and it’s fairly evident that as Linden tells her boy toy that he doesn’t know her, it’s a safe bet that Holder’s lady friend doesn’t know him any better.
Holder ostensibly reaches out to Linden because he thinks his case is related to the death row case that sent her around the bend–the case we learned about last season. He can’t find the case files and we know she has them, and he likely does, too, but she plays dumb, and then no sooner is Holder out the door and she’s back down the rabbit hole. And what she finds this time rattles her further because maybe she really did put the wrong guy away.
And that guy is our inmate, Ray Seward, who we follow closely enough to know that even if he didn’t kill his wife, he was capable of doing so. In our first moments with him, he assaults the prison chaplain. And just because he can, he asks the state to kill him by hanging instead of the needle.
Holder, meanwhile, keeps investigating and has a punk off with a young lesbian, Bullet, when he stops on the street to buy cigarettes and ask around about Ashley, the girl who was killed. Bullet and Holder butt heads over who has the most swagger and Holder remembers her later when she comes to the station looking for Kallie,who goes missing at the end of the first hour. That trail goes cold but she ends up raped but an older street kid who may or may not be guilty of other terrible things. We also follow Lyric, the girl Bullet loves, and her pimp/boyfriend, Twitch, as she seems to want out of the life but is tied to him regardless. Holder goes to see the pastor running a shelter and that sends him to a motel where he finds out Kallie was last seen, When his partner has had enough for the day, Holder stops looking, for now, and goes home.
Linden starts her own trail, which takes her back to her former partner, Skinner, with whom it becomesÂ obvious she had an affair when his wife follows her to her car to tell her never to come back to their home. She goes to see Adrian, Seward’s son, who was the little boy responsible for the drawings she held onto, but she doesn’t talk with him. Then she goes to see Seward and he says horrible things that seem to confirm his guilt but sheÂ gets his attention when she asks about what became of his wife’s ring–a piece of the crime repeated now with the theft of Ashley’s ring as a trophy–and why Adrian drew the trees. He responds that he pawned the ring and he has no son.
Adrian’s drawing sends her back out to where Holder found his victim. She turns to face the trees and sees that they are the same ones in the drawing, so she ventures into the woods and stops cold when she finds skeleton after skeleton in the shallow water, mirroring her earlier encounter with the cows.
And that’s where we leave her.
I’m so glad these characters and this show are back, but I took exception that Linden and Holder were somehow toxic for each other and have only thrived in each other’s absence. I felt like the first two seasons more than established that each was the other’s tether to sanity, so I don’t want that to be insulted/rewritten here. I think it might be more a case of them living as their shadow selves without each other–trying to be somebody new to move past the darkness of the Larsen case. And I don’t even mean that in any sort of romantic way.Â I hope we quickly get back to them working the case together.
In addition to the casting we knew about, I was pleased to see a few additional familiar faces pop up. First, Ben Cotton, who folks may recognize from Defiance and Bates Motel earlier this season and a host of other TV appearances, was the pastor giving the kids shelter during the storm. Grace Zabriskie was the hotel clerk doing the same thing in her own way. And Brendan Fletcher, who’s worked all over the place including on Supernatural, was Goldie, the most likely suspect as we get the ball rolling.
The KillingÂ airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. You can catch repeats of the first two episodesÂ throughout the week.
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