Good dramas need one thing above all else to be successful: being tightly wound.
In the first season of The Killing it looked like everything fell so neatly into place, even with all of the red herrings that seemed to come out of left field. Now the moody drama appears to be grasping at straws trying to find a new angle and acts as if the entire first season was a prologue to something bigger. But what exactly is the show reaching for?
“Ogi Jun” takes place 17 days into the investigation. In a little over two weeks Linden and Holder had to navigate through a series of suspects including a punk ex-boyfriend out for revenge (the latter of which he wasn’t), an inappropriate teacher (he wasn’t) and a crooked politician (we’re pretty sure he’s just a messed-up guy). One thing about murder mysteries I always hated was that the killer was in the original group of suspects close to the investigation. They show up day one asking if they can help or say something suspicious even though they should just keep their mouth shut.
Needless to say I was excited when they introduced the notion that the killer might be this young mobster with an anime tattoo on his forearm. People cried out on message boards this past week wondering why he wasn’t even mentioned before, as if producers created him out of thin air. For a week I silently defended the new character simply because there’s one way to get away with murder: kill somebody you don’t know and never tell anybody about it. Even though Tattoo Boy does eventually have ties to Rosie, the idea still stands.
The problem lies within Rosie’s friend Sterling, who appeared throughout the first four episodes of the series and was questioned constantly about Rosie’s boyfriend. Now the detectives return to the high school to ask her if she’s ever seen a boy with the Ogi Jun anime tattoo and she remembers that over a year ago a sketchy kid was lurking around Rosie’s house and it really freaked her out because he was in jail.
So you’re telling me that during the initial round of questions a smart girl forgot to mention some creepy kid that was fresh out of jail was creeping on her now-dead best friend? That right there is the only reason I went from defending how tightly wound the show was to realizing the producers had no clue what was going to happen after the first season finale.
Some other reasons include the fact that Darren Richmond, the politician who was basically the face (other than Rosie’s) of the show, is now relegated to a sappy, depressed, bed-ridden character that slows the show’s focus of the investigation. Or the fact that Rosie’s mother fled from Seattle and is sparsely seen. She was the emotional driving force, and while the show is showing a mother in a turbulent grieving process, they’re taking their time with it, and I have a hunch it’s because they forgot about the character in the writing room more often than they’d like to admit.
Even though the show might be coming apart at the seams, it is still gripping, and until it becomes unhinged, it continues to work. In fact, I still harbor hopes that the show knows what it’s doing with perhaps both Richmond and Mitch, and a slew of other minute details, are the pieces that finally bring the question of who killed Rosie Larsen to light. Another reason I have a hunch that The Killing has a grasp, albeit a poor one, on the overall arc of the series is the poetic justice about how Rosie was killed.
She was found with her hands tied in a trunk of a car at the bottom of a pond. It turns out her father Stan, who used to be in the Polish mob, had to kill someone to get out of the family to have a clean life. His victim was shot in the head, bound, and put in the trunk of a car before sinking to the bottom of a pond. If that wasn’t a good enough connection we also discover that Tattoo Boy, whose name is Alexi, was a foster child because his father was the one who Stan killed.
The connection isn’t too farfetched if you believe in everything in a murder mystery being connected, and they usually are. I doubt this mob angle was planned from the beginning, simply because of all the other aspects of the show, but I do believe that The Killing has very few episodes to tie a lot together before they solve the Rosie Larsen investigation.
I’m wary that they’re going to try and put this on a larger scale than it needs to be and that there will be another murder to add to the intrigue, making this a huge conspiracy plot. If they do this, the show will lose the romanticism behind the series and The Killing will get lost in itself.
My red-herring twist explanation:
The drawing of Rosie that the detectives found in Alexi’s room that had scribbles all over her face wasn’t because he hated her and wanted her dead like we’re led to believe. Instead, he drew the photo of her because he loved Rosie and furiously scratched out her face because he couldn’t bear looking at the drawing because it pained him too much.