Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Killing and the Twist You Didn't Ask For


   I don’t know what initially drew me to The Killing but I also don’t know what could possibly drag me away. As an avid watcher of The Killing for all of its four seasons (and honestly, one of only four watchers I know of this underappreciated drama), I feel the series’ only problem was its last few minutes. If you didn’t like the last season, you probably didn’t like the previous three. It did everything the show did well: season long mystery ala Twin Peaks, in-depth protagonists that were easy to dislike, supporting characters that were both complex and well-acted, and a bleak and hopeless tone.

       However, the last few minutes of season four were basically a complete copout for what the show was and represented, but more on that in a minute. This was a show that offered no hope and no happiness. And goddamnit, that’s okay. There was absolutely no positivity to this dark presentation; only an unhappy and, arguably accurate, view of humanity (and the rainy, dreary, Seattle). The end of each season offered answers (and some didn’t even do that) but they tended to stray towards the unhappy. And this was completely and utterly consistent with the direction we were led for 12 or so episodes each season. Rosie Larson’s murder was wrapped up neatly and particularly dishearteningly, as the revelation of her killer was someone so close to her, and someone seemingly completely innocent. The fact that this revelation took two seasons was a bit disappointing, but still worth the time and journey.

       Season 3 was equally tragic as the Pied Piper ended up being none other than Linden’s former lover and also current (as of the time) lover: Lieutenant Skinner. MY first thought when beginning season 3 was that every single male character on the show would be at one point suspected (except Holder) including new main character Lieutenant Skinner. Turns out I was more correct than I could have anticipated.

       For the series as a whole, the fact that every single episode offers a new possible “suspect” only to be exonerated by the end of the 42 minutes, which happens far too often, actually weighs lightly on the viewer as each new suspect presents the observer with an in-depth look at a disturbing character, even though they often have absolutely nothing to do with the case at hand. This does make most of each season predictable to a point, as you know the real killer (or any possible clues/details about the killer) will not be revealed until the last two episodes. However, these revelations are always (and I mean that for all four seasons) worth the wait as they wrap up all questions, suspects and details.

       The end of the series changes the dreary, bleak, gray, unhappy tone of the show to one of hope and looking to the future by placing the miserable-unless-looking-for-a-murderer Linden and the street-savvy former drug addict Holder in a suggested romantic relationship. Wait-what?! The show that placed almost no importance on romance (save for Holder’s relationship with Kaylee from Firefly turned District Attorney) decided to shove the two main characters together for….for what? Why did they do this? There was never for a second a hint of a will-they-won’t-they relationship between Holder and Linden. This was not Sam and Diane or Ross and Rachel. This was a heavily serialized murder mystery show that showed the darkness of the world. Not once did it suggest a happy, romantic ending for the two protagonists. It pained me to do it, but I had to give this show four out of five stars on Netflix because of the last three minutes of the show. Everything up until then was completely consistent, but the ending offered the viewer an ending it did not ask for or want. Or indeed make any sense at all. That being said, this was approximately 2000 minutes of fantastic drama with 3 total minutes of head-scratching resolution. You’ll have to forgive and forget the creators their last second faux pas and enjoy the show as it was.

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