Let me start off by saying – I loved this episode! It quickly became a smoldering return of just about everyone we encountered in season one – the first two weeks of the investigation. And those still smoking ashes – now with a few new coals thrown in – feel like they are bringing the whole pot to a boil once again.
First off we have the Larsens, who continue to struggle to hold their family together. Mitch is still gone, and Stan and Terry are both running on frayed nerves and little sleep. To top it off, Stan has to deal with the body of his friend, Belko, and is pushed into action by a phone call from the morgue, which he takes alone in Rosie’s room. The call is partially overheard by his intuitive youngest son, Denny, who later asks about Belko, but Stan isn’t ready to tell the boys that he’s gone from their lives, too, so he lies and says Belko’s been sick.
Tommy, the oldest boy, is more overt in demonstrating his trouble in dealing with current events, and soon takes all of the attention upon himself. Terry notices that Tommy hasn’t wanted to go to school the past two days, but no one seems to know why. And Tommy is angrily lashing out at everyone around him – his sarcasm and snug sneer at odds with the youth and innocence on his face. When he locks his brother in the trunk of the car while Stan and Terry discuss Belko upstairs, Terry loses patience with him and shakes Tommy until he screams at her that she’s not his mom, and to go home.
Terry later places a phone call from her car, but when a woman picks up, she gets upset and hangs up. It took me a moment to realize that the person she’d try to call was Jasper’s dad! Jasper was the rich ex-boyfriend of her niece, Rosie , and in a brief moment of Rosie’s wake in season one, Terry almost gives away what many of us thought was evidence of an affair between her and the boy’s father – a moment which had quickly been all but forgotten again. Until now.
Jamie calls Gwen to ask for her help in filling out a questionaire designed to help the doctors get Richmond out of bed and mobile again. The form calls for details about his morning routine, which Gwen begins to provide haltingly before her tears start and Jamie cuts her off, saying he’ll figure it out. Gwen says that Darren never had any interest in little things like daily routines, and that the only thing that will get him out of bed is being Darren Richmond again.
Later, Jamie wakes from a nap in the hospital to find the Mayor’s aide sitting nearby in the waiting room. Mayor Adams is paying a visit to Richmond, telling him that – once his second term is over – he’ll endorse Richmond in another run for Mayor. Richmond wastes no time telling him to leave.
Is it me, or does it seem possible that Jamie is in love with Richmond? I probably should have noticed other signs, but the interaction between the two of them in this episode – especially in the scene where Jamie tries to help Darren into his wheelchair for the first time – made everything seem a little more intimate on Jamie’s part, to me. Also, Darren firing Jamie and withdrawing from the race – Jamie’s reaction to being discarded by the man he’d given 10 years of his life to was completely heartfelt, I believe. I don’t know why I just thought about it now, but I’ll be keeping an eye out in the future to see if that is in fact the vibe I’ve been getting off Jamie this whole time, and I just didn’t recognize it until now.
On another note, the mention of Darren’s watch keeps coming up in this show, as it has right from the pilot episode. He couldn’t find it the morning after Rosie’s murder, and there was something about Jamie’s looking like the same watch. This episode showed him trying to reach for it in the hospital, and Gwen mentioned how it was one of the first things he looked for when he got up in the morning. Just sayin’ – they keep bring up the watch in little ways, and it might actually be important. Or not. We’ll see. 😉
Meanwhile, Linden and Holder are having a very busy day. They had staked out the Larsen’s overnight while going through the contents of Rosie’s backpack, and see a group of men arrive in a car. When several of them get into Stan’s copmpany trucks and drive off, Holder notices they’re not wearing the usual coveralls of Stan’s guys, so they follow them off into the night. Holder photographs the men loading large boxes of possibly cigarettes from the Larsen trucks into Janek’s restaurant, prompting them to wonder if Stan is now back with the mob.
The next morning, they meet with an FBI friend of Linden’s who they hoped could help them track down the identity of Tattoo Boy through the FBI’s mob files on Janek. Although not spotted among the group the night before, both realize that while Stan Larsen may be back with the mob, it’s possible that he doesn’t know Janek used Stan’s trucks when his people burned the Beau Soleil headquarters to the ground (FBI guy tells them that arson is Janek’s specialty). They get some background on Stan Larsen’s previous time with Janek, and are told the rumour that the price Stan had pay in order to get out of the mob 17 years ago was to kill a particular man, named Piotr Michaelski, for Janek. Stan’s involvement in the murder was never proven, but Michaelski’s body was found stuffed in the trunk of a car, hands bound, single bullet wound to the head. Much like Rosie Larsen.
They decide to talk to Michaelski’s widow, Monica Krol, and Linden tosses Holder his detective badge as they approach her door – a symbolic gesture which tells Holder that Linden believes he’s achieved his detective status, even if he’s sometimes not sure he’s earned it anymore. I think that was the moment things were actually mended between them, and they’re back on the same team again. Krol is chain-smoking and angry about the lack of resolution in Michaelski’s death, and tells them that they should have arrested Stan Larsen 17 years ago. She also admits to feeling no sympathy towards Larsen now that his daughter has been murdered.
In the middle of the day’s events, Linden gets a call from a lawyer telling her that Jack’s father is now suing her for joint custody based on her neglect of her son, and her inability to meet her child’s basic needs. Somehow she manages to keep her focus on the case – popping yet more nicotine gum every time she feels nervous or stressed – and she and Holder go back to Rosie’s school to talk to her former best friend, Sterling, about the tattoo, and if she’d ever seen it before. She admits having seen it once – on a boy in a truck outside the Larsen’s home, trying to talk to Rosie at the end of the previous school year. She said Rosie had been kind of freaked out by him because he’d been in jail previously. As the girl turns to head back to class, Linden notices Rosie’s ex-boyfriend, Jasper, watching them angrily from down the hall.
Holder and Linden go to see a kid in a juvenile prison who is rumoured to have done the tattoo they are looking for, and he gives them the nickname “Giffs” (in exchange for candy), as he doesn’t know anyone’s real name when he performs his work. This leads them to a kid named Alexi Giffords – a foster child who’d spent some time in the prison when he was about sixteen years old. He’s one of Janek’s boys now, and the pair head off to stake out the kid’s apartment.
I loved the interaction between Holder and Linden in this episode. Holder said it himself (after she kicked him out of the car at Alexi’s apartment and drove away yet again), that he guessed things were back to normal, and I would have to agree. Little moments, like Holder trying on the FBI guy’s thick glasses while his back was turned, the crack he made about Linden buying Jack dinner from a vending machine, and dial 1-900-LINDEN – all of those things and more had me cracking up in delight at seeing that pair back on the same track again. Even during the times they work the case from separate angles, they kept ending back up at the same place, and I love that about them.
Janek turned up repeatedly in this episode, and showed just how much he’s taken over Stan’s world in this episode. He arranges for Belko’s funeral, takes Stan’s trucks any time he wants, gives him advice about his sons, and told Stan that one of his guys saw Tommy getting picked on by other kids at school. Janek seems to have his fingers in every aspect of Stan’s life again, and Stan’s just starting to realize it. He confronted Janek after figuring out his part in the Beau Soleil fire and, while he didn’t get any anwers, he did leave with a new resolve to take charge where his own family is concerned once again. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing yet, though. When he told Tommy to pick the biggest kid who was picking on him and hit him hard on the bridge of the nose so that they’d learn to leave him alone, part of me wanted to cheer, and the other part felt warning bells going off all over the place. I guess only time will tell on that one.
Alexi – who was with Janek but disappeared quickly once Stan confronted him about the Beau Soleil fire – arrives back at his apartment building to find Holder still there waiting. The two recognize one another, and Alexi takes off running. Holder gives chase, but after a near-Spiderman-like move to leap over a fence fails, he calls in backup to look for the boy, and now has the evidence he needs to gain access to Alexi’s apartment.
Regi is back now, too, and reluctantly agreed to hook Linden up with a friend who could give her quick access to Tattoo Boy Alexi Gifford’s files. She learned that the boy was abandonned by his mother after his father was killed when he was about 4 years old. He was in and out of foster care for most of his life, was adopted by the Giffords and ran away when that situation imploded at the age of 16. He was caught and sent to juvenile detention for a couple of years, then fell in with Janek. His birth parents? The man Stan Larsen allegedly killed to get away from the mob, Piotr Michaelski, and his young widow, Monica Krol, who’d never mentioned having had a child with the dead man to them earlier in the day.
Krol arrives at Stan’s door in the final minutes of the episode. She asks if he knows who she is, and then tells him that he deserves what he got.
Meanwhile, in Alexi’s apartment, Linden flips through his manga comic collection, and in the one he’d requested his tattoo from (Oji Jun), she finds a folded up piece of note paper with a sketch of Rosie Larsen on it, her face scribbled over with angry-looking dark lines.
Who do I like as Rosie’s killer this week? My friend, Leah, suspected long ago that Jasper’s dad, Michael Ames, had something to do with it, and now that we’ve seen him again briefly in this episode, I am willing to put him back on the table. He’s rich, he was part of Beau Soleil (we think that’s how he and Terry met) and could definitely have the status of a power player in the political games we’ve seen thus far. Enough power to manipulate the police department into bringing in Holder and covering up evidence? I’m not sure. But he’s definitely back on the suspect list as someone who at least knows a lot more than he’s telling.
I still think it comes down to the Waterfront, Mayor Adams, and Janek. I’m still not ruling the billionaire out of the running, either. But then again, I’m still stubbornly keeping Rick at the top of my suspect list, too. Just ’cause that’s apparently how I roll. 😉
The Killing can be seen on AMC Sunday nights at 9pm EST