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Sunday, May 27, 2012

And the second time it wasn't that hard... : The Kids On AMC's The Killing Are Not Alright

AMC's The Killing is no longer about the Rosie Larsen case. With each episode we have seen the influence of adult children on their own, exploring the detrimental side effects of bad decision making, loss, but even more so, the cycle of behavior that began in their own childhoods into this adult world an how their behaviors filter down into their children's lives.

I've taken some time to digest the outcome of Sarah's relationship with Jack (Off Reservation). The ending was predictable; Linden's interrogation of Alexi (episode Ghosts of the Past; see May 6th post) was a step toward the outcome: we witnessed the sad, heart-breaking good-bye between Sarah and Jack, placing him on a plane to his father's in Chicago. Sayonara, Hiawatha brought us back to the reality of loss as Sarah finds Jack's shirt and/or jacket in the backseat of her car. She pulls it to the front seat, stretching it out in front her saying her son's name, then grasping the shirt with love and tears. Holder finds her asleep in her car the next morning. Sarah's life has never changed from her own childhood- transient, unfulfilled and an inability to accept the love of others. One can assume that Jack, with the exception of the occasional phone conversation is out of the picture in the filmic world of The Killing. He is still in Sarah's life at arm's length, but one can only hope that his experience of living in hotels, being in unknown constant danger due to his mother's actions involving the Larsen murder, and  her physical and psychological absenteeism will become memories that Jack can digest as a young man  through other avenues including therapy. The Killing makes you care for these characters, examine the root of social problems in America: the foster care system, the lack of justice surrounding the death of children.   

Last week's episode, "Sayonara, Hiawatha" continues with Linden and Holder following the latest clues concerning the Larsen case despite the fact they no longer have access to the files, which have mysteriously 'disappeared' as they were never received by county. All of this follows the vicious assault committed by Chief Nicole Jackson's people and left him for dead on reservation land. When Holder went to the station Lieutenant Carlson told him he was off the case and that Linden was bad for him. "Do you know she spent a month in a psyche ward due to a previous case?" Finally, we receive a strong indication of the approaching breakdown in Linden's life. There was certainly breadcrumbs leading up to this revelation, but it was still unknown as to what degree her life had been altered so severely by a previous case, but the continuing storyline and character development have quickly led us down this path to discovery this season. When Holder receives this information he appears shocked, suddenly realizing who his partner is and what she has experienced. Holder's obtuse affection for Linden reminds us of his own upbringing: raised by his older sister (who we finally met in the Off Reservation episode while he was recovering in the hospital following the assault) only to let her down through his addiction.

With Linden and Holder no longer legally attached to the Larsen case, they take matters into their own hands through Linden's directive. Holder, breaking and entering into Gil's apartment, tears the place up. We don't see any of this off-screen activity, but Gil walks into his place and realizes someone has been there only to hear the slight sounds of Holder eating Gil's leftovers at the breakfast table. Holder basically threatens Gil wanting access to the Rosie Larsen case files. Linden plots to return to the reservation; they need to access the 10th floor of the casino in order to gain the next possible clue.

Meanwhile, Stan Larsen continues to keep himself in control and work on his own to find more information on Rosie's murder. Unfortunately, his previous announcement to offer a reward brings only greed to his door steps (Keylela). His oldest son, Tommy, has been having trouble in school with other students picking on him over Rosie and the possibility that she was a prostitute. Anger and frustration builds in Tommy and Stan gets called to the school (Sayonara, Hiawatha) only to discover that Tommy has been suspended for killing a nest of baby birds, "Boy's will be boys." Stan's focus on trying to unearth Rosie's killer causes his neglect for the boys to grow. Stan believes that he can still provide for them, take care of the family business, but truthfully he cannot do all of this on his own. Terry is no longer in the picture, and as we know Mitch left the family, creating a deeper chasm of loss for the boys. Walking from the school to the truck Stan lays down a series of punishments for Tommy and an argument ensues between them, the kind of painful words said in moments of anger that children never forget:

Tommy: "You would never do something like this to Rosie... I hate her and I'm glad she's dead." 
Stan: "Because Rosie never pulled crap like this."
Tommy:"She did a lot worse. Everybody at school know's what she did."
Stan: "Shut your mouth."
Tommy:"I hate her and I'm glad she's dead." Stan slaps Tommy, Tommy throws punches at his father. "I hate you. I wish I could leave you like mom did. I hate you."
Stan: "Guess what, I hate you to. Do you think I wanna be here? I don't have a choice and neither do you. Now get in the truck."
Forgiveness comes later in the episode before dinner:

Stan: "I love you boys. You will never be alone, I promise you that."
Denny: "Does mom still love us?"
Stan: "Mom didn't leave because she doesn't love you. Mom left because she has stuff to figure out."

Tommy: "I miss her. I miss Rosie."

 However, these verbal exchanges never leave you as a child and stay with you growing up. The words between Stan and Tommy back at the school will not be forgotten, and unfortunately hate is a more powerful than love.  Nothing is easy in this world except physical and emotional neglect between adults and their children. Although we don't know much about Stan's childhood or his background as a young man, we do know that there is a chance he murdered Alexi's father, which damaged Alexi tremendously. Thus far, his actions during the course of season one and season two have only suggested his ability or wanton desire to kill another human being (i.e. the attack on Bennet Ahmed in season one).  Other adult characters in the show also provide examples of the broken nature in which they continue to live in the memory of their childhood. 

Gwen meets with Mayor Adams at Richmond's office, suggesting she has a proposal for him.  Here, we witness yet another example, this time of an adult child damaged by a parents' secret. Gwen's intention is to try and blackmail the Mayor by recalling an incident from her childhood:

"I've been thinking a lot about the summer before my freshman year of high school. Dad was running for senate. You were working on that campaign, spent all that time at our house. That night after the rally... I was fourteen years old...  I wonder how my father will see it ."  

"You think your father didn't know?"

As Gwen's face hits the floor we realize this suggestion, and likelihood,  of rape was known by her father all along; a memory that has obviously haunted Gwen for many years. He allowed his daughter to be used for political gains. 

Sayonara, Hiawatha is all about secrets- the secrets we keep to protect others, but when the truth is revealed, such as Rosie's discovery that Stan was not her real father, Gwen's rape, Tommy's painful inability to cope with the death of his sister and his mother's abandonment. Linden's decision to let Jack go. There is nothing one can do, but continue watching the emotional evolution of these characters and the consequences of their actions.  

Recommended meal: Leftover dinner for breakfast served cold.

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