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The Killing Review: "Reckoning" (Episode 3.09)

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<i>The Killing</i> Review: "Reckoning" (Episode 3.09)

There will be no Holder quote of the week this week. Because Holder is sad. And so am I.

The series killed off Bullet, who was not only the best new character on this third season of The Killing but one of the breakout TV characters of 2013. I know Bex Taylor-Klaus, who so beautifully portrayed Bullet, will go on to play even greater parts. But that doesn’t make me any less sad about her untimely death.

As shock values go, this one worked. I expected the episode to be about Bullet trying to reach Holder and Holder, finally, begrudgingly returning her calls. Was her death emotionally manipulative? Absolutely. Am I furious with the show? You bet. But Bullet’s death did project Holder to an interesting place, where he’s on the brink of using again and blaming himself for Bullet’s death. (Even though everyone told Holder it wasn’t his fault, I blame him a little, don’t you?) With Bullet gone, the show has lost one of the main reasons I still tune in every week.

Now let’s talk about Joe Mills, Danette’s sketchy boyfriend who we all liked for the crime a few weeks ago but has been missing for the past few episodes as the show pursued eventual red herring Pastor Mike. Joe is back, and suddenly Danette remembers he has a storage unit. Um, really? We couldn’t figure this out before? Danette, who is desperate to find her daughter, couldn’t remember this pertinent piece of information. Nothing in the background check of Joe brought this to light?

When Linden talks to Ray’s son Adrian, he identifies Joe as the man who attacked his mom. But when Linden learns from Danette that Joe was in Alaska during this time, she immediately believes Joe couldn’t have killed Ray’s wife. Again, I say, “really?” All she knows is that Danette dropped Joe off at the fishing boat. Linden has no proof that Joe actually got on that boat or spent those weeks in Alaska. The detectives on The Killing rival the FBI agents on The Following for shoddy investigative work. When Skinner told Linden she had done great work, I screamed at the TV, “NO, SHE HASN’T!”

It’s this kind of nonsense that drives me batty and undercuts some truly wonderful and nuanced performances. Holder broke my heart in this episode. Joel Kinnaman was amazing. And, after worrying last week that the show might try to link Holder and Linden romantically, his desperate, sad pass at Linden and her rejection of him made total sense and was handled beautifully and believably.

Anyone who watched The X-Files should have known that Nicholas Lea’s Dale was not to be trusted. But still the moment when Dale started laughing at Ray was truly chilling as it dawned on Ray and the audience that Dale only used religion as a way to truly break down Ray. “In here the words do the killing for me,” he tells Ray. “I’ve been killing you since the day we met.” Shudder.

Other thoughts on “Reckoning”:
• Is Joe Mills the only killer or was he working with a partner? I vote partner, and I say it’s someone we know.
• So Francis’ son shot one of his mother’s boyfriends and will soon be an inmate, just like the ones Francis treats so cruelly. I’m finding it hard to care about this storyline. It’s just too depressing.
• I don’t have the affection for Lyric and Twitch that I had for Bullet, but I still hope they survive the season.
• Also, we need to find Callie alive. There’s only so much I can take.
• I don’t blame Holder for beating up Reddick; the man has been annoying since day one, but this will put an end to his detective career, don’t you think?

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