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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!)

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