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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Why I Continue Watching AMC's The Killing

Spoiler Alert 

Since last year's season one finale of AMC's The Killing negative commentary continues to appear and according to The Hollywood Reporter ratings dropped 19% from the end of season one to season two's premiere. As a viewer I never anticipated a big reveal at the end of season one, never expected an answer to the hovering question: Who Killed Rosie Larsen?

If there is any criticism to offer on season one it is the show's ability to kill story lines.  After Bennett Ahmed was nearly beaten to death by Stan and Belko, the last we see of Bennett is Stan staring at him in the hospital. We never discover whether Bennett lives or dies (at least not that I recall); any connection between Rosie and Bennett, or Bennett's wife, a dead plot line. And by mid-season it was as if the high school no longer existed, the idea of youth is a far gone conclusion with any ties between Rosie's best friend Sterling, her ex-boyfriend Jasper, and her kindness to tweeker Kris. I keep hoping some of these youngsters will reappear during the course of season two (and we get a glimpse in episode four, Ogi Jun- thank you!). And let's not forget the investigation at the Green Street Mosque which lead Linden and Holder to 106R Renton Street, where they break in and uncover a make-shift girl's bedroom in a meat-packing plant. Will resolution eventually arise from that plot line? Yes, we did learn what purpose the space served and Bennett's role, but what happened? Regardless of these faults, the show continues to erect monumental strides in excellent storytelling. These characters are broken people, each one possessing secrets and intense moral conflict slowly coming to fruition before the viewers eyes. The show, the storytelling is worth time spent in front of the television. 

Season one moved at a much slower, more calculated pace causing realistic riffs in the stages of grief and emotional detachment: we as viewers know how Rosie died, the details of her last breaths in the trunk of a Richmond campaign car. We do not know what lead up to that point except that she was chased and before that she returned a book to Bennett Ahmed's apartment, and prior to that attended the Halloween Dance with her best friend Sterling. Stan and Mitch Larsen seem to move in slow motion as they come to bury their daughter; no emotional understanding is eminent. Each episode revealed tidbits of information about where Rosie was before she died, who she was connected to, and eventually we discover why those amazingly expensive shoes were with her in the trunk of the car. Or at least why she owned them. Season two is moving faster. The premiere returns to Belko shooting Darren Richmond, the aftermath of the shooting; once again, Sarah abandons a flight to Sonoma, drags Jack off the plane when she gets a call that the toll camera was disabled or broken; Holder's character is  completely under fire, mostly due to his inner-self realizing mistake after mistake he continues to make: his trust in Gil, a former colleague and mentor in narcotics, and also his NA sponsor basically tells Holder he's a no good tweeker with no chance of advancement, that he received his homicide badge because of Gil's connections. Belko kills himself in a quasi-hostage situation at the station. Darren is paralyzed from the waste down and so on.  Each episode thus far in season two has contained an abundance of new information regarding the Larsen case as well as character development: we've learned more about Stan's involvement in the Polish  mob and what he supposedly had to do in order to get out: murder. According Linden's FBI friend they never linked Stan to Piota, the man he may have killed. And suddenly by the end of tonight's episode we learn that conspiracy and vengeance are truly viable options in the killing of Rosie Larsen.

The Killing is an incredibly detailed story, and views like a great unraveling novella that is read with attention. Pay attention, the details continue to roll out page after page, scene after scene.It's worth the watch, worth the wait.

Menu items include coffee-to-go, Funions with nicotine gum for the ride.

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