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.