Oof. That was brutal. But so, so, so very good. Despite all of Linden’s very best efforts, even when she wasn’t sure of her course, Seward was executed at the end of “Six Minutes,” and Becker proved what we always know to be true of bullies–they’re the biggest cowards of all. Seriously, though, y’all, everybody here did such good work.
We begin with a mock hanging as the execution crew does a test drive of the trap door and noose drop. Then we pick up with Linden coming in to see Seward, and thus begins his final day as he attempts to humanize himself before her while she plays all her cards in trying to get him a stay. She never tells him that Adrian ID’d Mills, instead she goes the route of the rings–asking him to ID Trisha’s silver wedding band, and he does, so off she goes to send photos to the AG and wait some more.
While they talk on the phone, Seward alternately rages, and jabs,and softens, and Linden takes it. He worries that the rope won’t break his neck and that it’ll take him six minutes to die. She says it won’t, and that they may not even get to that. Outside in the waiting room, Adrian and his new mom sit and wait and wait some more as Seward isn’t ready to see his son yet.
Holder finally arrives, mid-bender, and Linden calls him on it, and even Adrian calls him on it, and he doesn’t deny it. He brings Trisha’s box, which has the photos she needs and that finally give her the leg up. Then he chats with Adrian and heads out for more beer, but when he comes back with it, he has a meltdown in the pauper’s field graveyard and instead hurls the cans at the makeshift grave marker crosses.
Linden finds Adrian alone in the waiting room and they touch on his witness statement and he tells Linden that his dad was there the night his mom died. That sinks in and she has her own meltdown and heads back in to Seward demanding he tell her why he was there. He isn’t straight with her and she storms outside telling Holder to surrender his keys. He talks her down that if she leaves she won’t be allowed to see Seward gain. Then he hits home that she’s always running away and he calls her on doing it as a preemptive move before somebody can leave her, or stay with her. She gets in the car to get away from him and then he teases that he’s not going to try to kiss her again, she missed her chance. She laughs and cuts the engine and starts to get out of the car as her phone rings. She listens and says thank you and then tells Holder the AG’s answer is no.
She goes back in and tells Seward the news and he hears it and is grateful for the attempt. She tells him the governor can still call for a stay, and then she changes the topic, still wanting to know why he was there when Trisha died. He’s cagey and bratty and then he finally tells her that he came back for his son that night, to take him so they could start a different life, but Trisha was already dead. He didn’t kill her. What’s unsaid there is that he then turned around and locked the door behind him and left his son in the apartment with her body, and that’s where he stayed until they were found days later.
He breaks down and Linden tells him he has to see Adrian because if he doesn’t, Adrian will never see the other side of his dad, the whole picture of who he is. He acquiesces and they sit out in the visitor’s room and wait for the boy. Adrian comes up the hall with his mom and Holder and stops in the restroom to prep. Holder sweetly helps him gel his hair and then he’s ready. They get to the gate and Becker tells them no. In the visitor’s area, the guards come for Seward and Becker has a pissing match with Linden, who starts screaming at him–retaliation for her earlier recitation of the penal code he was flouting when he interrupted her interview with Seward. He tells her visitations end one hour prior to the execution and it’s now 58 minutes on the clock over hear head.
Seward is hauled out yelling and Linden tries to tell him to be quiet because Adrian can hear them and to look out the windows at his trees; that he can still do that. Then she starts screaming herself when she hits the hall and Holder tells her the same thing. She grows quiet and sobs as Adrian stands there with his mom and Holder paces.
The squad walks Seward to the chamber and he keeps buckling and it’s Henderson, not Becker, who finds his backbone and tells him to man up. He’s growing increasingly hysterical when they stop level with the bank of windows. He looks out toward the east side, at the view he told Linden about, and there, outside under the trees, he sees her standing with his son, who gives him a small, sad, final wave goodbye. Seward stands up, dries his tears and smiles at his son.
In the chamber, Seward is walked up the steps and everybody does their thing as the warden recites the charges and Linden takes her seat in the witness box. Seward’s last words are that Salisbury steak isn’t steak, it’s ground beef, and “let’s get this show on the road.” When it comes time for Becker to hood him, he can’t do it and steps aside, so Henderson does it. The clock strikes and the phone doesn’t ring and Seward is dropped through the floor. The noose doesn’t snap and he chokes for a minute or so as Linden watches, pained, until she can look no more, and then the chamber is quiet. And that’s where we end.
This was a hard, hard episode to watch, and as we inched closer to the end, I wondered if it was pre-set that Seward would die and if everyone knew that for the run of the season, because we spent so much time on him and watched him devolve (evolve) from his convict swagger to a fearful man. We saw Dale try to break him, and maybe succeed, and we saw a role swap between Becker and Henderson on the guard side of the house. It was an interesting dovetail–especially when Becker caved at the end, maybe realizing his son could be there, too.
I was glad Mireille Enos and Peter Sarsgaard finally got to play off each other–it’s a shame it took until now to have them really throw down, but that’s the way it had to be given the larger mechanics of the season. I’d love to have seen Kinnaman go at him, too.
I think we had just the right amount of rabbit hole Holder–we know he’s taken Bullet’s death hard and backslid, but he’s recoverable and not lost. And Linden called him out immediately. And I liked that he had the clarity even while drunk to nail her on her primal flight instinct. I don’t think it’ll change who she is, but she at least knows she’s not fooling him, and she knows he’ll call her on it every time she does it, so maybe she’ll do it less. I love that they don’t scare each other with their flaws.
We have two episodes left, airing back to back as the season finale, beginning Sunday at 9/8c. Unfortunately, we are not getting a pre-finale marathon of the season this year, but you can rewatch “Six Minutes” throughout the week on AMC.
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