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The Killing “Reckoning” 

Photo Credit: Carole Segal/AMC
Photo Credit: Carole Segal/AMC

Have you ever watched an episode of a show that you love, and it was so good that you want people to sit down for 47 minutes and take it in, even if the show’s not in their rotation? “Reckoning” is the first hour of television this year to elicit that response from me. Directed by Jonathan Demme (the man has an Academy Award for Silence of the Lambs, y’all), this episode of The Killing was just taut and creepy and so, so, so good. If Demme and Joel Kinnaman do not secure Emmy nominations next year (sadly it’ll be a full year from now), I don’t know what the ATAS members are watching.

When we left off last week, Bullet was trying to get Holder on the phone, sure she knew the ID of the killer and waiting alone in a diner as Joe Mills pulled up outside. We pick up this week with a forlorn Danette walking among the cars of her trailer park, placing flyers about Kallie on windshields. She comes home to an open door, afraid but hopeful that it’s Kallie. It’s not–it’s Joe.

Then we segue to Holder and Linden at an elementary school, waiting for a therapist to sign off on Adrian’s interview to potentially spare Seward. Holder grouses a bit and Linden checks him on it that this is life and death, so he sits down to wait. Linden gets a call about Danette and they go to her to find that she’s been slapped around and Joe’s taken her car and her money. The trail leads to a storage unit complex where Linden finds a still-smoking cigarette.

She and Holder give chase and Joe gets the drop on Linden and punches her in the face repeatedly util she’s bleeding all over the place. Holder gets to her and rolls Joe off and kicks him several times for good measure, and while Holder cuffs him, Linden lands a few kicks of her own.

Once the place is swarming with police, a cigar box of rings is found. Holder comes over the radio from downstairs to say they’ve found Joe’s cab and it looks like someone’s in the trunk because there’s blood on the bumper. Linden is going through the box and finds a crystal necklace and suddenly realizes who owns it. She starts screaming for Holder not to open the trunk and barrels down the stairs as Holder breaks the driver’s side window and finally gets the trunk open. Before he can look inside, Linden rushes up and asks Holder to come to her, to move away from the trunk.

The softness in her voice belies what she doesn’t want him to know and he comes no closer so she joins him as he opens the lid and we see their point of view and then return to the trunk, only to glimpse Bullet’s Faith tattoo on a bloodied wrist.

Back at the station, the scene opens on Holder’s face–quiet rage mixed with grief and guilt–as they wait to interrogate Mills, who has asked for Danette. Holder leaves, unable to watch, but Linden stays, as Danette begs him to tell her where Kallie is. This corresponds with an increasingly frantic Seward trying to get her on the phone and his creepy death row companion Dale espousing God and forgiveness.

Holder goes outside to his car and his long-unseen girlfriend gets in with him and half-assedly consoles him when she says these kids just lead that kind of life. He rages at her and confesses he was a junkie before telling her to get out of the car. Linden finally talks to Adrian and he IDs Mills, but her joy is short-lived as Danette fills in the blanks later that Mills was in Alaska that Christmas.

She goes to see Holder, who’s sitting in the dark, smoking. She lets herself in and bums a cigarette and then sits beside him on the couch, repeating the mantra that it will be OK and that it’s not his fault, An awkward moment comes and goes as he moves to kiss her and she gently doesn’t let him. He apologies and collapses in sobs as she keeps repeating that he’ll be OK.

Later Skinner tells Linden she should stay–that this is where she belongs. She looks at the board of victims, Bullet new among them and Kallie still missing, and picks up an evidence bag with four unidentified rings. At the end of the hour, she sits outside the prison holding them as Seward looks out from the inside, newly duped by Dale into confessing to God (his perverted way of killing with words vs. killing with his hands).

In the city, Twitch tells Lyric about Bullet and decides to pack in his LA dreams to help her pay the deposit on assisted housing. She twirls in joy at their clean, safe new place, and then it crashes in on her that Bullet is gone. Holder goes to the morgue and stands with Bullet when another detective comes in and makes light of her death and a numb Holder lets it slide until the detective tells him Reddick logged several calls with her at the station on the night she died.

Holder goes to Reddick’s house as they eat dinner, and when Reddick answers the door, he rails and punches him as his wife and daughter scream and Reddick says futilely that he tried to reach Holder. Holder goes home, likely in deep sh-t, and sits on the floor inside the door of his apartment.

At the prison, Evan unwittingly finds himself on the execution team and then gets a call from Francis’s wife that someone’s been shot. Francis pulls up to his house and Evan tells him his son killed a man who came to visit his wife, as they march him out in handcuffs and Francis has to look at the monster he created.

So we had A LOT going on. I was glued to my couch, and it was an hour where I kept watching and thinking that this was just so very, very good.

First, it SUCKED that Bullet was killed (I can’t wait to see what Bex Taylor-Klaus does next, because, frankly, she’s full of awesome), but I think it had to happen to trigger whoever it is that Holder is going to become–she is to him what the Adrian experience was to Linden. In the excruciating minutes where Linden went flailing down the stairs and Holder was fumbling to get the trunk open, I was uneasy to the point that I motioned to my TV for Holder to walk away from the car, but I hadn’t yet twigged to who was in the trunk–my brain had gone somewhere else, thinking the car was booby-trapped. The reality of why she wanted him to back away was so much worse.

I knew that Nick Lea was going to have to flip a switch at some point because there was no way he signed on to play a milquetoast born-again convict. It was totally shades of Krycek when he laughed after he got Seward on his knees, pleading with God.

Demme unleashed his trademark run-and-gun in the storage unit, and it worked to build the tension we needed before they found Joe, and Bullet. I’d wondered if Holder would have his “come to Jesus” this season, and the answer is yes.

I was perfectly OK with the near-kiss on the couch–I thought that was where the scene was going, but it didn’t escalate and nobody went screaming out of the apartment–it made sense when these two characters really only have each other. I so dig these two together, and as I’ve said repeatedly, I don’t ship them at all. I think they’re family to each other.

We still have three episodes left (the season finale is two hours, back to back) and our outstanding questions are: where is Kallie, who killed Tricia Seward, and will Ray Seward be executed? I hope we get all of those answers and a fourth season.

“Reckoning” repeats several times this week  Click here for the full schedule. Even if you don’t watch this show, DVR the episode and check it out. It is that good.

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