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The Killing Review: “The Good Soldier”

(Episode 4.03)

TV Reviews The Killing
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<i>The Killing</i> Review: &#8220;The Good Soldier&#8221;

It occurred to me while watching the third episode of this final season of The Killing that I’m not exactly sure what I want to happen with Holder and Linden. Do I want them to get away with the crime? Or do I want them to be caught, and forced to face the consequences of their actions? I honestly can’t decide (this is not exactly a show where you expect characters to ride off happily into the sunset), and that makes for some compelling television.

In the last episode, Linden was falling apart. Now it’s Holder joining her right down the rabbit hole. Linden runs a stop sign chasing Bethany, and then texts Bethany from Skinner’s phone. “He’s alive and well, and clearing his head in Wyoming for a few weeks,” Reddick says.

Linden, who spent the previous two episodes in a state of paranoia, now seems to think the text will get them out of many problems. She insists that now everyone will think that Skinner is fine. But a text isn’t going to stave Bethany off forever. And how long until Reddick determines that the text message didn’t come from Wyoming, but from Seattle? By the end of the episode, Linden is throwing the phone (without taking out the SIM card) into the lake by Skinner’s lake house. What? She can’t think of a less conspicuous place to dump the phone? And, of course, Skinner’s wife is watching from the lake house window. Maybe that perpetual grimace on Linden’s face is there because she insists on making stupid choices.

Linden continues to compete for Mother of the Year by not only forgetting to pick up Jack at the airport, but also forgetting entirely that he was visiting. I’m not sure why we needed a reminder of what an awful mother Linden is, but maybe it was fun for the actor who plays Jack to come back to the set one last time.

Holder is on shaky ground and pushed further over the edge when Reddick asks him about Skinner’s lake house. He viciously fights with his sister Liz when he and Caroline have her and her children over for dinner. Then he’s snorting drugs in his car, and confessing in an NA meeting. “God checked out on me. I’ve got a body on my grill. You tell me what I’m supposed to do with the shit that’s on my score card,” he says. The informant that Reddick has been dealing with is in the same meeting, so it probably won’t be long until he talks to Reddick. Holder’s downfall was inevitable, but it doesn’t make it any less fascinating (and stressful) to watch.

Meanwhile, more secrets about the Stansbury family come out. “I was raised by an exacting father,” Kyle says. When his younger sister Nadine had night terrors, he was the only one who came to comfort her. Linden takes Kyle back to his home and makes him relive the horrors of their deaths. “This was a house of silence. No one told the truth about anything,” he tells her.

Colonel Rayne is true to her word about wanting to help the detectives. When she learns that Kat visited Kyle in his room, she immediately reports this. They track down Kat, and learn that Philip Stansbury hoped to rehabilitate her. When he failed, and Kyle came to her defense, Philip beat up Kyle. “They were mean, hateful people,” Kat says of the Stansburys.

Colonel Rayne bonds with Kyle, inviting him to her house for dinner and telling him how she likes to ballroom dance. We learn that she’s rumored to have been dishonorably discharged from the army. And I did get a little uncomfortable during their dinner scene. Could something inappropriate occur between Colonel Rayne and Kyle? Whatever is going on with her character, right now she’s my primary suspect.

Kat also tells them that Mrs. Stansbury was fired from her volunteer tennis coaching position at the high school because she was accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 16 year-old. And just who was that 16 year-old? None other than Lincoln Knopf, the same cadet who has been torturing Kyle. Could this be another red herring? Probably. But it’s a good one.

Other thoughts on “The Good Soldier”:

•Holder quote of the episode: When the school’s headmaster says that he doesn’t like to speak ill of the dead, Holder replies, “Ah, go ahead.”

•LOVE this description of Holder courtesy of Skinner’s wife—“the greasy one with the chin hair.”

•Kyle’s eulogy is the worst. “I guess some people think I did it.”

•Revelation of this episode: Sterling Beaumon, who plays the despicable Lincoln Knopf, played young Ben on Lost.

•There are already quite a few similarities between The Killing and the new WEtv series The Divide. Mass murder of a family’ characters that experience night terrors; the wrong man being put to death. And now Marin Ireland, who plays Christina Rosa on The Divide, pops up again as Holder’s sister Liz.

•Seriously how many vacation days did Skinner have? Why is no one else concerned about his whereabouts?

•Linden’s shell casing is still missing.

What did you think of the third episode of The Killing? Talk about it below.

Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and a regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.