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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Hello Dear Readers,

I have a new essay up at called "Life Lesson: What I Learned from Philip Levine." He is a poet dear to my heart, Please consider checking it out.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Past Animal Terror: Season 4, Episode 1 of The Killing: Blood In the Water

Life is load of weirdness and that is all I can say about my disappearance act. However, I thank you for checking in and re-discovering my blog. I won't count the days or state the 'nearly' of how long I have been gone, but I finally watched the last season of what was once AMC's The Killing but became Netflix' The Killing. Here we go.

We last left off at the end of season three -or at least I did- where Holder catches up to Sarah and Skinner, but not in time; he cannot talk her out of killing him even though he reveals that Adrian is alive. Skinner works his psychological voodoo in order to convince her to kill him. We see that "look in her eyes... past animal terror" akin to Skinner's retelling of murder.

Episode 1, Blood in the Water, picks up Sarah removes her clothes, steps into a hot, steaming shower and slowly washes the blood from her hands, dirt from her feet.  We can don't know if she is doing this at the Lake House or if she and Holder moved the body and she is in a hotel. As she stands beneath the running water, for a moment her face is centered, pale, her wet hair clings to her bag and shoulders as steam fills the air. There is something quite Shakespearean in this moment. I don't think I would call her a Lady Macbeth, I have to think about it. She is emotional, confused, but this is Linden and she knows what to do. She gathers her clothing and throws them into a plastic garbage bag. . Her image in funerary black prominently stands out and attracts the eye to absorb nothing but her. Linden stops in front of the mirror, catches her reflection with a look that suggests, Who are you? She pulls the light string before exiting the stark, white bathroom. Soon she stands above a flaming barrel and dumps the garbage bag. She hears a car roll by and takes out her piece.

Looking around a high hedge, she sees Holder approach her. Now we know: they're back at her house. She steps toward him and the outdoor light comes on. Two and half minutes into the episode we hear the first bit of dialogue:

Holder: We just gotta keep our stories straight Linden. No one's gonna find out. No one's gotta know what we did.

Fantastic opening scene. Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman still got it; maybe Netflix let cast and crew do their job.

Sitting at her kitchen table, Holder paces the floor, revisiting their invented story to keep everything straight. We learn that they plan to dump her gun in the ocean, she'll fake breaking a car window and file a report stating the gun was stolen from her vehicle. They also plan to tell their peers that once they discovered Adrian was found alive Skinner took off-- he was going on vacation so this buys them a little time. Of course Linden poses an important questions: what happens after the two weeks are over and he doesn't come back? While Linden takes slow drags off her cigarette (she's back to the habit, who can blame her) she notices blood on Holder's jacket. Both of them freak out-- they need to cover their tracks, they cannot leave a single clue. Linden takes the jacket and says she'll wash it out. End scene.

Holder and Linden show up at Adrian's foster mom's house, Reddick (Gregg Henry-- thank goodness he's still around!)  is sitting at the table reading the paper. "Where the hell have you been?" Linden asks to see Adrian (Rowan Longworth), the foster mom leads the way and Holder navigates the q&a with Reddick with sarcastic banter. Reddick finally leaves. And what? Flash over to Linden sitting on the edge of Adrian's bed. He opens his eyes from sleep and she begins to tell him, newsflash- we got the guy who killed your mother, but of course he says, "the man in the car?" and Linden tries to tell him that he is confused, that he was wrong. This poor child will never trust an adult. I must say that I don't understand why she is telling him any of this, regardless of Holder's idea to 'set the kid straight' because the kiddo is never going to believe that the killer is actually caught. Linden says, "You don't have to be afraid anymore, we got him." Adrian gives her a look that has 'bullshit' written all over it. If Linden walks away from him even considering he believes she is wrong. Unfortunately, this tactic reflects the the conversation between Linden and Skinner in the car when he talks about their love-making, how he was willing to change for her. The psychological disturbance of lies and guilt are stunningly portrayed in both scenes. She knows he doesn't believe her.

As they sit in Holder's car making you can see terror overcome Linden's face because she reveals that they buried Skinner's body in the same area as his victims. "No one is ever going to find those girls" she says. After all these episodes she cannot reveal what she passionately and obsessively wants to do: give these girls peace, give their families peace. But her decision to kill Skinner has changed all that, just as he knew it would. Let's face it: he knew that if Sarah killed him she could never reveal to his family or colleagues his maniacal, murderous engagements with all these young women. She is trapped.

Holder fiercely tries to set her straight on what to do; they need rest and they need to keep it together. After this verbal exchange, she listens to Holder and goes home to sleep, but she can't. Holder goes to see his girlfriend, Caroline (Jewel Staite) and she wakes to find him there. Linden goes to a pharmacy and gets a Plan B type medication to hopefully protect her from sexual relations with Skinner. A brilliant crane shot looks down at her car in an empty parking lot, parked across the lines. Scenes weave between Holder and Linden. Finally, we're at the station like nothing happened.

Linden walks to her office, flips the switch and the faces of all those deceased girls stare back at her. Reddick walks in-- they got a new case.

(But wait: did they ever say what they did with Skinner's car?)

The new case is brutal. They arrive at a gorgeous home on the water-- more white interiors; from Linden's bathroom, to Caroline's bedroom, and now this. Also the continuous white exterior of the Seattle skies. White as a symbol of innocence is anything but in this episode. Slaughtered: parents and children. We see blood splatterings on white walls, glimpses of white sheet covering body. Most shocking: the cut piano strings. According to the officer relaying information to Holder and Linden, the murderer is a seventeen old son who than shot himself but lived. Sudden, bizarre transition to Joan Allen dancing with a dashing, young gentleman. She receives a message and goes to the hospital in military uniform with a group of young men in uniform behind her; she is the superintendent of St. George's  Military School for Boys. Colonel Margaret Rain. She doesn't grant them permission to talk to him so Linden says they'll arrest him. "Nobody talks to him before me" announces Linden. Swagger is back.  Back at the station they review the family's history and security tapes from the house.

The victims are the Stansburys:  both parents, Phoebe, Nadine (6 years old, the youngest victim), Kyle, the accused perpetrator. The officer that originally ran the plate on Skinner's car walks into Sarah's office and says the were able to get a partial on the plate numbers. She visibly freaks a bit, basically says the case was solved and takes the picture.

Another bombshell: Caroline is pregnant. I knew this was coming when she overslept and said she was tired!

Back at Linden's place, the gun and shells remain on the table. She rolls them in her hand, leaves them behind. Goes upstairs, tears up the bed. She slept with a murderer. We all know that Linden's state of mind was never controlled and she also spent time in a hospital. Is it possible she is headed in the direction again? She smells the pillow, and the conflict over a man she fell for being an evil bastard is a twisted game. Holder wakes her up and the camera shows Linden holding the pillow, laying on the stripped white mattress. Wow, they do a good job of making her look like shit.

Holder reports on the current case including the piano strings; it turns out they were cut a long time ago. They get a call from the hospital, Kyle is awake. The camera angles on the back of his head where it's shaved and stitched. She doesn't tell him she's a cop, she just says she's with the city. He doesn't seem to know anything--- he doesn't remember being home, or what happened. He says he hasn't been home since Christmas. Finally, when Holder walks in she reveals they're with the Seattle Police. They haven't said anything about his family. Kyle worries about his youngest sister, Nadine, she is like 'a little bird' he says, please tell her I'm okay.  And .... enter Patti Smith as one of the hospital doctor. She asks Holder and Linden to save their interrogation until the end of the week.

Cut to the military school: morning inspection. Colonel Rayne walks the line as the detectives pull up. She is peeved they spoke to Kyle.  They want to see Kyle's room and she questions why. In traditional Linden style she lays it out. A brief consultation on St. George and the Dragon, interesting use of mythology. They enter Kyle's room. The young office stays in the doorway. Linden asks him questions--does he know Kyle, why didn't he make his bed? As she flips through a notebook there's a G clef-- perhaps he plays the piano? Holder spots a student with an untucked shirt and follows him out: a smart, reflection back to season 1 when Holder interrogates the girls near the high school bleachers. The student comments that Kyle is a "loner, a loser. Keeps to himself."  Holder asks him if Kyle had any enemies and he says, "Look man, no one even knew that kid existed."  After the kid gives Holder a hard time and threatens that Holder can't touch him, Holder tosses his cigarette at his face.

Back at the hospital, an attorney reports that the excess of the family estate until he is thirty-five. He turns 18 in three months so that indicates that he's likely going to be tried as an adult. The Colonel sits in on this report and is pissed. Kyle has an uncle that he doesn't know so he doesn't wish to be with him. Rayne says she'll bring him  some more books and assignments as he's been progressing and doing well. We know through Linden's previous questioning that he ended up at St. George's because he wasn't doing well in school. The Colonel goes back to his room, sees Kyle's body turned beneath the sheets, but his johnny is open on the back and you can see red marks; are these new or swollen scars?  Someone has beaten this kid.  Back at the station they discuss the family and Linden comments that Nadine is ten years younger than Phoebe and Kyle and suggests she was probably a mistake. Of course, Holder thinks of his pregnant girlfriend. Linden goes to visit Kyle. He's getting out of the hospital the next day. He's reading Steinbeck's East of Eden and they talk about the book. Kyle mentions that the book is about trying to find a way home and about being an outsider. Linden presses him to remember what happened. He gets defensive, can't remember. She asks about the piano wires. "I miss my little sister," and Linden says "I know what it's like to miss someone. Wait, someone was watching, a POV shot from behind them.  At dusk they stand on the deck looking over the water as a search for the gun continues. "Maybe he didn't do it" she says. She mentions livestock, farmers abandoning their cattle. She worries about her own service weapon, which she also used to kill a dying cow. Holder insists she get rid of her gun and shell casings tonight.

Holder goes to Caroline. He embraces her, she is awake, not smiling. He says, "Marry me. I want to be there for you. Have a baby. I want to be a good man. I want to be a good man." Holder too, is struggling with his participation in crime. It doesn't look like Caroline will say yes, but she agrees. Linden is still at the murder scene: she turns on the light, stares at the blood on the wall, a blood stream in a hall, another POV shot from the bushes. She walks to the next room, follows the crime scene. In reflected class a large stain of blood. She stand with her back to the piano. She turns and walks outside- another POV shot from the distance. "It's a glass house, you can see everything," she says in a message.

Oh no. Linden gets home. We see it before she does: a shell case is missing from the table. A knock at her door, she tells Holder to wait, but he doesn't respond. Something is wrong. She slowly goes to the door. Oh wow-- it's Skinner's daughter. She said you left with him I saw you. Linden looks at the ring. The daughter lingers, pounding at the door, calling for her dad to please talk to her, why haven't you called, I know you're in there. And I need a break before episode two. Intense. But I do have a question or two:

What happened to our rainy Seattle setting? Will Caroline actually marry Holder and will she keep the baby? Where is Kyle going to go after he leaves the hospital?

Okay, go have a doughnut with kale sprinkles and come back for the next post (it won't be two years from now-I hope!)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

From Up Here; The Road to Hamelin-- The Season Finale (& Hopefully NOT the Last) of AMC's The Killing

Tonight's episode was incredible. I couldn't wait to post, and sacrificed a little editing time because I couldn't wait to post. 

From Up Here
Opening shot: the trees, Sarah running through the woods; it looks like she's being watched; it's effective camera work. She runs faster and faster into the mist, bends forward, erects her body and stares with sadness at a single tree at the center of a clearing. She is grief stricken, guilt is heavy on her conscious. As the sky darkens she heads back to her house to find her ex-lover and boss, James Skinner, waiting for her. He was concerned that he could not reach her. Then reveals that his marriage is over. Sarah does not look that interested, yet when she walks into the house she leaves the front door open for him to enter. "Time off huh? And people say being relentless is a bad thing."  They talk about Skinner's deteriorated marriage, his unwant for retirement. "Sometimes I think, people like us, are supposed to be alone." "That's not true," she  says. They kiss. People like us. 

Holder sits in his car outside a church. The bell tolls; he enters to find a small gathering of sitting in pews close to the service. Near the coffin is a large photograph of Bullet, but not the Bullet we know from the street, not the transgender young woman, but of a straight, colorful, smiling girl. Danette sits next to Holder. They talk solemnly about Bullet's friendship. A couple in the front that appears to be Bullet's parents, sob. Lyric is there as well. "Bullet took care of her," says Holder. He soon leaves as the parents sob.

Next morning, Sarah's kitchen, Skinner walks in. Sarah looks hopeful, well rested. She is happy to have him there, but he seems uneasy. Something isn't right.

Holder show up at his girlfriend's workplace. She is surprised to see him.  "I'm sorry. I messed up," he says. "I should have told you about my past. You're a step up for me. And I"m a step down for you.. like five steps down... I just want you to see the good stuff." "That is what I see," she says.  He is surprised that she'll see him later. "We had a fight, it happens." "And for what its worth you're a half-step up for me." Holder is brightened, lovely to see the immediate change in expression.

The prison is next----- is cleaning up Seward's cell, packing up his things: a copy of Lonesome Dove, a blanket. The cell door remains open, empty; waiting for the next prisoner to occupy a place on death row. Like Seward's remainders, the Becker is packing his things, leaving the job. "Don't get to comfortable here..." he says. He wishes 000 good luck.

Holder arrives on the scene. A body has been found in a burned up car. A bullet from a 45 was found by Linden.  "You're my ride, so I guess you're stuck with me." The body is burned, legs slightly curled inward. An arm appears to be over the head.

Kallie's mom shows up at Lyric's job where she's waitressing at a fast food restaurant or diner.  "It's good to have girls around. remember that." Danette tries to make connections with her, offering to do her hair like a plea for love. I would not call this a search for a replacement, but an attempt at amends and forgiveness.

Twitch is in the new apartment trying to cook. He takes a packet of drugs, probably heroin, from his coat as he drags on a smoke and deliberates over use. 

Holder apologizes to his partner who requested a new partner. "Cops don't rat on cops."

At the station Sarah walks into the Captain's office. They chat about work, then he turns the conversation to this morning. He recalls Linden's incessant under her breath singing, the same song. He invites her to come to the lake with him, but she declines. He tries to lure her in with romantic notions, but Holder interrupts-- the coroner has something for them on the body.

In the car, Holder teases Sarah about her relationship with "the boss man." She gives his some background and the playful banter between them continues. Everything seems emotionally back on track for both of them.

Danette stands on a bridge, looking down at the water, then ahead. She watches to giggling girls walk by. She turns back and closes her eyes, counting to five. Her grief is unbearable.  Is she considering suicide? Lyric walks through the streets in her uniform. A car pulls up, she debates. Twitch sits on a rooftop, or overhang, the drugs still in his hand as he smokes. Everything is broken in their worlds as Holder and Linden seem happier and moving forward in the worship of a false God called 'normalcy.' But from up here, you can see that all is not what it appears to be.

Shot to the head. The victim is likely a female.  He took out all her teeth postmortem. Her ring finger is missing, but the coroner says this wasn't a new injury; it happened two weeks ago which means the body is likely Angie Gower, the girl they interviewed a few episodes back. In the car, they talk it through. "Who would have known Mills was our number one suspect...only a copy could have found out about mills... gotten to the storage unit before us, planted those trophies."  Sarah gets out of the car. "What do you want to do, let the state take another guy who didn't do it?" back at the station: Sarah scans the room, weighing the options: is the killer a cop?She even looks at Skinner. Holder gets a file and they leave. Everything's with the DA; holder suggests he could call Carolyn.  Most of the file is about Joe Mills. The review the file, the facts. Holder thinks the cop could be chasing the first kill-- placing the girls in the backseat   to watch them. They go to the first victim's home.

They interview the dad, ask some questions. Linden and Holder they claim they're there to prepare for the trial. He tells them that she was even picked up by an undercover cop. Holder scans family photos on the wall and see a picture of Carl with Bridget (the victim). He was also the one that told him they identified the body. Could Carl be the serial killer or is this a red herring?

Leaving the house, Holder says Reddick never mentioned knowing the victim.  Sarah looks up, sees a tree house. ".. was never after Trisha?    Trisha and Ray used to fight all the time... "Adrian's a runner too." This season has opened up more and more about Linden's past. They go to the woods and the platform for an older tree house still exists. Linden climbs the ladder to the tree house, Ray built it for Adrian.  Initials are carved into a tree. She looks across the water where the bodies were found. Sarah mentions the trees would have been bare--Adrian's drawing! Holder goes down to the water and sees something from his ... he was going to the apartment to kill Adrian-- he's in danger because he saw something. 

Adrian is leaving school, soccer ball in his hand and he's being watched. The car follows him as he bounces the ball down the sidewalk. I hope Adrian is a runner this time too. Th car moves slowly, in the background other kids are crossing sidewalks. Adrian is alone. Turns around. The car goes by Adrian knows something is wrong. The car is driving toward him, he stops in his tracks, drops the ball and recognizes the man--- honestly, the silhouette looks more like Skinner. Even the color of the car is slightly unidentifiable and could be tan or gray... commercial break! Intense! What a phenomenal season of storytelling.

Linden and Holder run to the house. The foster mom comes up the walk. Adrian is not home. Adrian's backpack is there, but he is not. A set-up to look as though he were home.  The backdoor to the house was wide open. Next shot, we see Skinner picking up his daughter. She asks where to mom is.  Is Adrian gagged in the trunk? His daughter is distraught by her parents break up and asks him if it's because of Sarah. "I can't be something that I'm not, I'm tired of it... but I'll always love you." Double meaning? His phone rings and it's Linden. Adrian's been gone for an hour and half. "Jimmy, we got the wrong guy." They reveal it's a cop. Skinner pulls them aside. Holder and Linden reveal the connections between Angie and Reddick.  Holder suggests he talk to Reddick, Skinner says no. "We keep this quiet between us," he says. All the more reason to point the finger. "I promised to keep him safe," Sarah says. 

They interview the mom of a friend. Adrian had come to there door. Adrian said to her that Adrian said he was being followed. She gave him a ride home therefore he was taken from his foster family's home. They go to the station to check the traffic. Holder gets stopped by internal affairs-- they're arresting him. Sarah calls Skinner hoping to clear it up. Remember-Reddick said he wasn't pressing charges against Holder: "Cops don't rat on cops." Is this Skinner's work?

Sarah goes to the station looking for Skinner. She tries calling. No contact.Traffic cam-- grey car shows up in the background over and over again. Sarah asks the officer to blow up the image of the car to get a better make of it. IA interviews Holder: they accuse him of making harassing phone calls, that Holder has his eye on Reddick's talk. They ask Holder for his phone.

The Road to Hamelin*
Sarah knocks on a door-- Skinner's house. The door is unlocked she walks in. She hears something upstairs and sees Skinner packing upstairs. She shows him the traffic cam; she continues  He berates her then apologizes. "I believe you, of course I believe you." "You should call IA."  His wife and daughter walk in as Sarah and Skinner are coming downstairs.  His daughter asks if he's really leaving. She's wearing the ring-- Kallie's ring! She walks out ahead of him, stunned, thinking, notices Skinner's car. Everything is a shock slow motion, he gets in his grey car and Skinner turns to look at her and sees the recognition in her face and knows she's figured it out. She pulls her gun. "IF you want to see him alive you'll come with me." "Hand over your weapon." He gives it to her.  She frisks him. "Where is he." "Arrest me now and you'll never see him alive again." She tells him to get in the car. They drive away. Skinner is the Pied Piper.

Holder is still stuck with IA. He tells them to call Skinner and that's how Holder finds out Skinner filed the complaint. He knows something is wrong.  The door is locked. "Admit what you did to Reddick." Holder tries to tell them his partner is in danger. He gives IA a big story that he's planted a bomb in Reddick's car, but it's all BS. It's a way to get Reddick at the station. "Holder's an idiot, he's not Al-Queda!" Holder needs help.  Sarah's phone rings. Skinner has complete control and Sarah is letting it happen. His threats about Adrian are effecting her. He tells her he notices Sarah's shaking hands . Holder goes to Skinner's house.  And he discovers Linden and Skinner left together. he knows Sarah is in serious danger.. Where's the lake house? Back to the car. "Why couldn't you walk away," Skinner asks her. "You used to trust me implicitly." He continues to manipulate her, talk bout their recent intimacy. "You and I are nothing alike." 

Twenty-seven minutes left! 

It's dark. Hours have gone by. Holder continues to try and reach Linden. No answer.  We hear more about Bridget, how all this began. "I make her get in my car. She spits at me. So I hit her... a reflex... she's bleeding... I know she's going to tell, bring me down... I take her out to the woods and um, I don't remember much after that... it was quiet... she didn't cry, she didn't scream, she just looked at me." He continues talking about the final look from the victim and Sarah comes to realize the psychosis. Sarah mentions his own daughter-- "I save them from the inevitably of their lives." Sarah calls him a monster. The scene is quiet, disturbing. 

Reddick's at the foster family's home.  He's on the phone with Holder.  Back to Skinner's car and they talk about Adrian. He says he didn't kill Adrian  he didn't think he was able to see from the tree house  but because Sarah was helping Adrian to remember so much, Skinner felt he had to go after them. Skinner is an arrogant, psychotic, manipulating ^&*^. He brings up Sarah's own hospitalization and she flips out, starts punching him. They veer off the road, but not before nearly hitting another car. She gets out and throws up. he gets out, walks over to her and tries to give her tissue. She is distraught, crying, kneeling on the ground. He steps closer and I cringe, he rubs her shoulder. She looks up, face soft, eyes nearly thankful and I can only hope she is now playing along and not succumbing to his manipulation. "Where is he." A statement. "Not far, " he whispers. This season has reminded me so much of the Green River Killer from the 1980's. I felt this about seasons 1 and 2, but here, with the discovery of the bodies, the victims being young women-- prostitutes, runaways; it's hard not to think the writers didn't consider those horrific events when developing this season.

Holder reaches a fork in the road and chooses to go right.  Skinner and Linden are still driving. I keep thinking Adrian is in the trunk. She brings up Kallie-- he doesn't remember her, or claims not to. Their headlights round the corner. "Are there more girls in the lake?" And other places he remarks. It gets worse and worse. Finally the car stops at the lake house. The long ride is over, then ending is near. Will he kill Sarah? He admits to everything. He killed Bullet too. Of course he did. She asks where Adrian is and he tells her to get out of the car. Holder is getting close. He parks the car at the house number. Turns off the lights and gets out. He begins walking through the darkness, trees brush over his face and I fear he isat the wrong house.  He calls Adrian's name, flashes a light in the darkness. 

Adrian is in the trunk. Is he still alive? Sarah asks for the keys. Reddick is at the cemetery  finds Trisha Seward's grave, hoping to find Adrian and he's been there the whole time! He's still a runner. Holy crap-- he's going to kill Sarah when she goes for the trunk. Is Holder back on the trail? Sarah fires her gun, shoots him as he talks about 'how he doesn't kill little children. Holder hears the shot. Or is Sarah going to kill Skinner? Holder talks her off the ledge. She kills him. Holder is witness. There's three minutes left on the clock. Holder is in disbelief. Sarah stands tall, smug, angry. Commercial-- is this how the season ends?


Now argument in my household commences over whether AMC will present a season 4 or dump the show. 

* I think episode two started here-- tonight is so intense that I lost track of time. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Six Minutes: AMC's The Killing

Note: I know I am very behind in my posts, but here's a recap of tonight's episode. I'll be posting my recap and thoughts of last week's "Reckoning" sometime tomorrow.

Tonight's episode, directed by Nicole Kassell, opened with an intense intro of not only what is to come, but also redefines the title of the series. Witness the practice of killing. And here we stay, inside the prison, waiting to see what happens in the last few hours of Seward's life and what actions remain to be taken by Linden to make things right.

Sarah faces Seward in jail.  It's eleven hours before his execution. Sarah asks him to identify a wedding band. He sarcastically recalls memories associated with the ring and after she hangs up on him he positively identifies the ring as belonging to his wife. Sarah continues to believe that Seward is innocent.  She tries getting in touch with Holder who is continuing to mourn the death of Bullet in last week's episode.  Sarah eventually speaks with Seward again, telling him she was in touch with the Attorney General's Office. 

Seward's son Adrian is waiting to see him. Seward seems to know things about Sarah, which comes to a surprise to her, perhaps startles her into the slightest eruption of fear. He asks if her son plays baseball and you wonder how he knew she has a son to begin with. "Sometimes it's better that way." His response to Sarah and her son not living together. Eventually some prison guards including Becker interrupt their conversation and tell him to put his hands behind his back. Linden tries to stop it telling them she's a cop, but they ignore her and take him away.

Becker and Linden stand-off between bars. Finally, Becker lets her in to talk with him again after she throws state or federal regulation in her face. Seward stands, shifting from foot to foot, angry and scared. He tells her that they weighed him again; it takes up to six minutes to die by hanging if the neck doesn't break. She asks him about the ring again, anything else he can tell her. "If you go, they'll just send me back to my cell," he says. Sarah stays on the line. "Your son is here." He sighs. Now they stand-off between the glass, perhaps reflecting the previous image of her and Becker; they all share similar characteristics in the distance they place between themselves and others. "I don't have any qualms about you... I'm here because I made a mistake." Sarah keeps bringing the conversation back to Adrian. Her phone rings, she tells Seward she'll be back and she exits the visiting room to take the call.

Holder is at the prison with a cardboard box. He's been drinking since yesterday. He tells Linden that he's there if she needs him-- smokes, whatever. Adrian walks outside after Holder. He offers Adrian a smoke. I love Holder "serial chiller" that he is, but after last week's episode I was already hoping that he wouldn't fall back into his darkest depths. His attempt at making a connection with Adrian at least ends with the child's curiosity. 

Sarah presents a picture to Seward, a birthday party picture with his wife wearing the ring. Sarah leaves again, Adrian is alone near the vending machine.  "I saw your dad, he was real curious about you." Adrian asks if he can still see him. He continues to tell Sarah that Seward, his father, was the one that "was there that night," that killed his mother. Linden's face drops, looking to the floor. 

Holder stops at the cemetery outside the prison, dirty white crosses with numbers (I think) carved into them. Filled with anger and disgust at himself and the situation he throws cans of beer, kicks the box. One can only hope that he's done punishing himself for Bullet's death. 

Sarah goes back, picks up the phone. She's pissed. "You're not telling me everything about that night... why were you there?" She throws the phone at the glass. She storms out-- runs into Holder.
"He played me."

Her emotional state is heightened, out of control. We've seen this before. Holder tries to talk to her, she accuses him of being drunk and gets in the car, wanting to leave, run away. "We never stay and in the end we lose everyone. I'm not gonna try and kiss you again. Keep dreamin'." He keeps going until she cracks a smile. He opens the car door. The chemistry between these characters is absolutely wonderful. Finally, this is Linden's opportunity to not walk away. She gets the call-- no stay. Seward is going to die.

And we're back. Sarah is on the phone, waiting for Seward to pick up. "You're still here?" he says. "For Adrian, not for you," she replies.  His execution is a little over an hour away. She says, "I'm sorry." She continues to badger him about why he was in the apartment that night. "If you didn't kill her... what are you hiding?"
He went back to get Adrian. "I was gonna bring him with me... I went back and she was lying on the floor..." Sarah continues to tell him to see Adrian as Seward cries in the reminders of how he wanted something better for his child even though he went through heavy moments of not caring for him, reminders of impending death. 

Adrian dips into the men's room on his way to see his father. Holder follows him in, helping with his hair, perhaps one of the most poignant moments this season captured in ten seconds or less. Sarah and Seward wait. "Do you think it will hurt?... I know you did everything you could for me. Thank you. What should I say to him?" We hear the cell doors rolling back.

Adrian, Holder, and the foster mom wait outside the final cell door. Becker looks down at the child and immediately you know something is wrong; Becker denies the entry and he walks into the room where Sarah and Seward wait and revokes the visit. Adrian can hear his father screaming to let go of him, 'I'll kill all of you." Sarah tells him to keep looking toward the trees outside his cell, referencing Adrian's pictures, Seward's final story. The moment happens so quickly, and it is so devastating. Holder takes the phone from Sarah as she tries to buy him that time. "It's over." 

And we circle back to the opening sequence, but this time Seward is being dressed for execution.  You can see him try to hold back, and as they turn the corner, he retreats into himself and collapses to the floor. He gets up, walks with hesitancy, eyes creased with fear and he looks to the window and sees Sarah with Adrian. Adrian waves to his father and Seward continues. His sight is blurred, the camera shifting and out of focus as he walks to steps to the top of the gallows. Sarah enters and stays for the execution. When asked if he wants to make a final statement, he says, "Salisbury steak is not steak; it's ground beef." Brilliant, up there with milkshake. He tells the warden to move on. He breathes deeply. Henderson places the bag over his head, the noose follows as Seward's gasps and tears, breath and the floor let's go. Sarah looks away, then turns back on hearing sound. His neck did not break. The camera stays on Sarah as we hear Seward's gasps in the background. Can Sarah live with his death on her hands? What will happen to Adrian? Did Holder stop himself from digressing into addiction? 
I can't wait to see how the writers transition from this week's ending into the next episode.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

And We're Back: Episodes 1 & 2 of AMC's The Killing: The Jungle and That You Fear the Most

Linden and Holder are back! And I'm already behind with blogging the show... yikes! Life happens, and other things take precedent, but I have not given up on AMC's The Killing

Episode 1, The Jungle is written by show developer Veena Sud and introduces several new characters, and we also get to see what is happening with a few old favorites that will likely have less of a presence this time around. I am so excited The Killing is back for a third season!

Holder is looking sharper, more mature in a long black coat, shirt and tie. He looks cleaned up, professional; we can see that he is moving up the ladder. A dead girl is found in a garbage bag. The atmosphere is dark, rainy, grotesque. When Holder uncovers the body, he steps away from the corpse as if her death is something never seen before. Later we find out through the autopsy that the deceased has vaginal bruising, she is sixteen or seventeen years old, and she broke a finger attempting to fight back. Holder becomes fascinated by the murder of this young girl and immediately senses a connection to an older case.

We find out that Linden is working for the transit authority,and is no longer a detective. She's also in love, or at least finding sexual satisfaction from Cody, who appears to be a younger man; she's moved on from the broken relationships we saw last season. She lives in a small house that vaguely looks like Jamie's grandfather's house (interior) from last season. Perhaps some of the same props are being reused.  Holder show's up at Linden's house, away from the city.  She's been running everyday, she is happier with her life.  Holder is doing great, solving seven out of seven cases with his new partner. and plans to take the sergeant's exam. "Ain't that sweet, Linden's dating." She receives an envelope from the Department of Corrections, but does not open it right away.

Chemistry still rides high between Linden and Holder and it's wonderful. They talk about Jack, he has a girlfriend.   Holder comes to her with his new case and explains the working girl's death that was revealed earlier in the show. He tells her that the file box on a case he was looking for was checked out by someone else. Sarah states that they're always misplacing files. Holder leaves his case photos behind on her table, knowing she cannot resist the psychological impact of the girl's death, nor completely deny that there isn't a connection between Holder's case, and Linden's from three years ago. "Not every victim is worth it," she says, but Holder doesn't buy it. The sound is a bit stifled in this episode, or perhaps I need hearing aids, but he mumbles something about never thinking he would ever hear that from her.

Peter Saarsgard is new this season, and plays a disturbing, ruthless, character named Ray Seward, a man who murdered his wife and left his son with the decomposing corpse for several days. His son is the child we heard about last season with Sarah was hospitalized, hence, Sarah's case from three years ago. Seward is now on death row, thirty days until his execution. Later in the episode we witness something horrible that reveals exactly how dangerous and manipulative he is: a priest sits outside the cell. Seward talks about the trees outside the window and comments about nothing but trees (remember the drawing from seasons one and two?). His name is Ray Seward. "Are you gonna be there when they kill me?... If I was gonna ask for forgiveness... what I did to my wife and my--" He grabs the priest by the head and begins slamming his head against the rails of the cell. Later, we see Ray on the phone with his lawyer. The discuss going to the governor for an appeal.

Holder continues investigating the opening murder and stops street-side to interrogate the two street kids, Callie Leeds (Cate Sproule) and Bullet (Bex-Taylor Klaus). Holder answers his phone, "Hey baby... " maybe he has a new love interest too. We find out later that her name is Caroline. The young butch street kid

We also see that Regi with her partner Ellen for the first time. Jack looks a little older, and definitely taller than his mom. Following a celebratory drink, Jack sits with his mom, who smokes after telling Holder she's quit. Jack is living with his dad. Their conversation is poignant. Jack asks her if she ever thinks about moving to Chicago, "Why are you still here then?" She checks her watch. "We should go, we don't want to miss your plane." Sarah is still controlled by her past experiences, which prohibit her from moving forward and developing closer relationships with the people in her life. Everyone remains at a distance.
Holder and his partner have lunch in the office; he inquires about the Jane Doe and his partner... the ID comes in over the phone. Holder meets with the parents. He finds out their daughter is fourteen. "Your daughter, her body was found this morning. I need you to come down to the coroners office and identify the body."

Callie tries going home. Her mom has changed the locks. Her mom doesn't let her stay there, and doesn't look much older than Callie; they could be sisters. She puts on the TV, cartoons play in the background. "You can't stay here. Maybe this weekend, but not tonight." They argue over the mom's boyfriend. Callie is a red-head like Linden, which reminds me of Linden's own childhood trauma with her abusive mother who came to abandon her. Callie's situation is very similar. We see a child who is unwanted, and mom sees her more as competition than as a daughter.

Later, we see Sarah running and a thunder storm breaks. She finds shelter under what looks like an old barn. Inside is a dead animal, several carcasses. She looks out over and there is nothing by cow skulls. One cow is still breathing, lying near death, but we see the head move slightly, the mouth release a bleating sound. She cannot escape the depravity she has lived with her entire life.

We meet Twitch (Max Fowler). He is the boyfriend of another street girl named Lyric (Julia Sarah Stone). Bullet is jealous. S/he tosses the ring to Callie. Callie's number for a bed doesn't come up. She lies and says she can stay at her mom's. The kids without a bed leave, go back on the street.

Sarah gets home from running to find Cody looking at the pictures Holder left behind. Sarah runs upstairs and comes back with a hand gun. Flash over to Holder-- he looks for the rings in the picture the parents brought with them.She goes back to the barn, puts the dying cow out of its misery.  Sarah begins going through the evidence boxes from the case. She looks at photos of a murdered woman and we see the killing is identical. The first hour closes with Callie getting into a car driving away for the night.

Episode 2: That You Fear the Most, written by Dan Nowak

Linden goes to the murder scene. In the dark of night, the rain still pours. Her flashlight moves over the blood that remains on the floor. Net we see her walk into Holder's office. She leaves the photos on his desk, but he flips on the lights. "You miss it?" he asks. He knows she went to the murder sight.  As she walks down the hall, you can see the difficulty in leaving, her expression confused, pained.

Bullet tries calling Callie-- she can't be reached. S/he tries going to her mother's house.  The mother slams the door in her face. Twitch and lyric hang in a room together, she begins to cry while he talks about his fantasy of Hollywood parties and the desire to look sharp and good like the magazine add. Lyric looks so young. "I don't want you working today," he says to her. Maybe he's her pimp. He's a little creepy.

The jungle is a section of the city. The tombs.  Bullet goes to the police looking for Callie. and runs into Holder. Bullet shows her picture and he notices the ring, but it doesn't register with his murder victim. Seward tries to manipulate a prison guard into letting him call his lawyer. And it works. He cuffs him in the the cell.

Linden stops by to see someone-- maybe her old partner that helped put Seward away. Linden says she always had questions. "What if there's a connection?" "What if Ray Seward didn't kill his wife?"  Turns out Seward called him earlier inviting him to his execution. "I just want to be sure we're executing a guilty one." She leaves, gets in her car. His wife comes out and tells her to "Stay away from us. I've forgiven him, but I never want to see you again." Either Sarah and her ex-partner had an affair, or perhaps she entrenched him so deep in the case that his absence was unforgivable.

Sarah is heading back over to the island; Cody jumps in her car. "I break things" she says, "I break them and they never get fixed. But this thing, this one thing..." Cody offers to help her, but she won't allow it. We see there is no relationship going anywhere.

Holder and his partner go to the boarding house in the jungle. Ashley, the murdered girl. The Beacon is the name of the place.  

Twitch is with his probation officer for his last piss test. Twitch isn't interested in getting his GED; he's got Hollywood dreams.  Flash to Lyric, who is telling a girlfriend about Twitch inviting  her to California. This vile guy makes a crack about a girl getting her throat slashed.

The other security officer, Frances Becker,  (Hugh Dillon) lays into the other who let Seward use the phone. He goes to talk with Seward-- "... it's a family business-- prison guards and race car drivers." Frances describes death by hanging.

Holder and his partner go to the hotel on 'nine' as suggested by the Pastor back at the Beacon. His partner gets pissed when Holder decides to look around, maybe talk. He lays on the horn, "Get in or I'm leavin' ya." Holder knows something is up with Callie.

Regi walks in on Sarah looking at case files. Adrian drew that, over and over after I found him in the apartment. He had been trapped in the apartment for six days with his mother's decomposing body."  Sarah discusses seeing him, the boy who drew the tree pictures over and over. She goes to see Seward. He picks up the phone, stares at her through the glass. "I remember you from the trial , you're his partner."  Seward is... "What did you do with your wife's ring?" "I pawned it." Not once does he look away from her.  She asks him about the trees. He immediately breaks his gaze. he calls for a guard to take him back.

Ray spends a lot of time facing away from the cell doors, looking outside toward the trees. A new prisoner comes in that knows Ray.

Twitch attempts to die his hair; he spent Lyric's money on hair die to get head shots with the hopes of modeling. His attempts are delusional. Lyric says she'll go out to turn tricks to get more money. Twitch makes some comment about Callie going with some guy. Bullet breaks in somewhere, it's dark and filthy,  the guy she had an altercation with on the street. He comes up behind her, holds her down the camera pans away and we hear him shush her, slight cry escaping her lips. The knife is wide and curved. bullet had tried to force her way through a locked door when he came up behind her.

Sarah goes to check on Adrian.  the foster mom takes her into his room. He's playing in the backyard. The foster family  haven't ... a copy of the woods drawing is hanging on the wall. Sarah finds the scene, matches the drawing to a real place. I'm not sure where this location is. She walks through the woods, the area is dense with trees, nothing but her own footsteps, peep frogs. A mist grows thicker and the scene becomes more and more frightening. Across the water-- she has discovered  several decomposed bodies, in red trash bags. The camera frames her back centered, moves away and we see this is a killer's dumping ground. How does Adrian know this place?

Drink of choice: Lots of coffee.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Interview with Poet Ivy Page

More news: my interview with poet Ivy Page is up at Late Night Library ! Please consider checking it out. Ivy's debut collection, Any Other Branch was published by Salmon Poetry and debuted at AWP Boston.

New Essay at

Here's my latest essay for I loved writing about this poem. Check it out at: