I have to admit, as gutted as I was when The Killing was cancelled after a brilliant and heart-breaking second season, I actually never thought that the day would come when I could see Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) back on my screen. I am ecstatic to have been wrong about that, and it was with a giddy sense of glee that I was finally able to sit down and watch the 2-hour season 3 premiere of my favourite AMC offering. Both parts of the premiere aired as one huge episode, with only a faint nod to the change-over evident as we moved from Day 1 to Day 2 (and that wonderful musical cue that tells you the final moments of the episode are upon us), and other than that, I actually didn’t notice any difference, despite the fact that each part had a different writer and director. To me, that bodes very well for the rest of the season, as it indicates the strength of the team working together to bring this case to our screens each week. Part 1 – The Jungle – was written by series creator Veena Sud, and directed by Ed Bianchi. It flows seamlessly into part 2 – That You Fear The Most, which was written by Dan Nowak, and directed by Lodge Kerrigan.
My mind is swirling with questions and conspiracy theories already, so I’ll apologize now for the fact that this won’t be the best episode recap ever! It’ll be more a string of thoughts that I had both while watching the premiere, and since the moment the end credits rolled.
We open on a rainy day (haha back to rain right from the start!) inside a car, wipers squeaking across the windshield, as the car pulls up to a young girl. She appears to speak very briefly with the unseen driver before getting into the car. Next thing we know, Holder and his partner, Carl Reddick (Gregg Henry), are on the scene where that same girl’s dead body has been found. Holder’s in a suit and tie, so that’s new, and I was thrilled to see Gregg Henry at his side – is there anything that guy can’t do? Though, writing this, I’ve just realized that he doesn’t appear to be in any of the credits….not on the AMC page for the episode, not on IMDB. I wonder if that means he won’t be with us long? It would suck not to at least have him around for this one, but hopefully if he disappears from the show, it’s because Holder is working more officially with Linden as a partner, rather than because Reddick gets killed off early!
Anyway, there is also mention that Holder is going for his sergeant’s exam, which is cool, because he definitely seems to be on his game nowadays. His entrance alone into the site where the girl’s body has been found is reminiscent of Linden’s entry into what turned out to be her surprise going-away party. Lots of visual parallels to link the start of season 3 to the previous seasons, and then we are suddenly given our first verbal cue to take us back, as well. Without showing us the body (we get hints of a bloody hand, a dark pink plastic sheet, etc), Holder remarks that her head has been cut almost right off. This detail hearkens back to the case that drove Linden crazy, wherein a man had killed his wife by almost cutting off her head, and then left his son locked in a room with her body for 6 days until they were both found. The little boy drew the same picture over and over while he was there, and that photo/case haunted Linden all through the Rosie Larsen case of the previous two seasons. Which we can assume is what will draw Linden back in this time. She’d told Holder that she was never sure they’d caught the real killer, and even then I wondered the same, and if it would ever come back to haunt her all the more.
Looks like it has now.
Before we get to Linden, however, we find out a little more in the morgue – the girl was in her mid-teens, and has suffered some vaginal bruising, a broken finger, and her spinal cord was nicked by a serrated edge. Reddick wants to pawn the case off on Detective Jablonski (Phil Granger), but you can already see Holder’s mind working on it, and know that he’s not going to let it go for long, if at all. We also meet a few young street kids – Bullet (Bex Taylor-Klaus) and her friend, Kallie (Cate Sproule) – who discuss spending the night at Beacon Home, a shelter for homeless youth. Bullet likes another homeless girl, Lyric (Julia Sarah Stone), and has stolen a ring that she wants to give to her, but Kallie warns Bullet that Lyric is with Twitch (Max Fowler), a homeless kid who aspires to a modelling career if he can get himself to LA somehow.
Finally, we join Sarah Linden working on the ferry docks, and catch a few glimpses into her current life. She’s got a cute boyfriend, Cody (Andrew Jenkins), who works with her at the Vachon Island Transportation Authority, and lives in a little house on the island. She’s received a letter from the Department of Corrections, but she doesn’t open it. When she’s putting dishes in the sink, Cody sneaks up on her from behind and the couple laugh as they go upstairs together. That scene was totally reminiscent of Rick’s introduction as Linden’s fiance in the first season, as well, so naturally, I suspect Cody. 😉
Ray Seward (Peter Sarsgaard), the man found guilty of murdering his wife in the “Picasso” case that nearly ruined Linden’s career, is now on death row awaiting execution. He wastes no time in messing with his new captors, and proving to be less than a model citizen. He asks to speak with a pastor, then bashes the man’s head against the bars when he leans in too close. Seward tricks a prison guard (Aaron Douglas!!!) into letting him make a phone call, and when asked by his lawyer to use his one remaining appeal with the Governor, Seward declines and instead asks to be executed by hanging, as opposed to lethal injection, a request which infuriates Becker (Hugh Dillon!!!), the veteran death row C.O.
Holder shows up on Linden’s door, and I got a little misty-eyed at seeing them together again, even if it was only for a brief time (I do know, after all, that there is more coming). The pair make some small talk – Jack (Liam James) lives with his father in Chicago, has a girlfriend, and is doing well in school, both Linden and Holder have quit smoking 9and then they both start back up again as the day goes on), and both appear to be doing well. Then Holder gets down to business, suggesting that his Jane Doe case may be related to the “Picasso” case of Linden’s past. Linden shoots his theory down, but it’s clear that she’s not telling Holder everything, so when he heads back to the city, he leaves thenew case file on Linden’s desk. It seems as though the broken finger may have held a ring, which the killer may have taken as a trophy, and when Linden finally breaks down and digs out the original case file for Seward’s wife (of course she has it in her personal belongings – even when Sarah Linden lets go, she doesn’t really let go), she notes that Trisha Sewell’s finger had also been broken post-mortem, and that her wedding ring was never found.
Linden and Holder start working both cases separately, and in their own ways. Linden visits the abandonned factory where the Jane Doe (later identified as homeless teen Ashley Kwon) body was found, and discusses the Seward case with her old partner, Skinner (Elias Koteas) from that time before visiting Seward himself in prison. She also toasts Regi (Annie Corley) and her fiancee Ellen (Hillary Strang), and has a conversation with Jack, who asks why she doesn’t move to Chicago so they can see each other more. Holder and Reddick ask around The Jungle (an area where homeless teens hang out and sometimes prostitute themselves) to see if they can find any clues there. Holder and Bullet have a machismo encounter which sets them at odds, but Holder and Reddick eventually end up asking questions at Beacon Home, where they meet Pastor Mike (Ben Cotton), who has an interesting tattoo. I Googled it to find out what the passage for Ephesians 1:7 actually says: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace”. Hmmm.
Also, Kallie got into a car the night before (again after only a moment’s discussion with an unseen driver), and now Bullet can’t find her nor reach her on her cell phone. She’s set on the trail of Goldie (Brendan Fletcher), a pimp who apparently has a new girl in his apartment. Bullet sneaks in and hears a girl crying behind a locked door, but before she can get it open, Goldie attacks her with a knife and rapes her. Holder remembers seeing Bullet at the station earlier looking for Kallie, and wonders if they should talk to some more street kids after having gotten very little out of the woman running the 7 Star Motel, where kids also sometimes stay the night, but Reddick refuses.
There was a cool but disturbing scene of Linden jogging through the forest (like the opening of the pilot episode) and when it starts to rain suddenly (ha like it’s ever sudden there – it rains all the damn time on this show!), she takes shelter in an old barn. There are cow carcasses everywhere – just like when she saw the dead seal on the beach in the pilot – but one poor creature is still alive and suffering. I hated the images of that scene, but appreciated the correlation to the pilot, and the fact that Linden went right back with her gun and put the animal out of its misery was good, too.
I’m babbling – there was so much in these episodes, I’m trying to get it all in! Basically, the Kwon (Keira Jang) case and the Seward case end up possibly colliding with one another at the end of the premiere. Linden decides to visit the “Picasso” kid, Adrian, to see how he’s doing with his foster family now that his father is a month away from execution for the murder of his mother. She watches him playing in the backyard for a moment with his foster mother, but decides not to talk to him directly. As she’s leaving his room, however, she spots yet another drawing of trees, almost exactly like the ones he drew when his mother died. This new one has a significant difference, however – there are buildings next to the grove of trees. Linden recognizes them as the factory where Ashley Kwon’s body was found, and goes back there to work her way through the surrounding forest. As the episode comes to a close, Linden comes across I don’t even know how many bodies in varying stages of decomposition strewn about a clearing. All of them are wrapped in dark pink biohazard sheets.
A freaking amazing episode that I am hoping to watch at least once more before the next one airs, because I know I didn’t catch nearly everything that was in it. I was too distracted by my glee to concentrate very well, apparently! Oh! And the loveliest of lovelies, Jewel Staite, was spotted playing the role of Holder’s girlfriend, Caroline! She even pointed out a Serenity tattoo Holder is sporting – said it sounded like a stripper name. 😉
A killer cast, our fave detectives back in action, and all of the brilliant writing and gorgeous shots that made the first two seasons stand out -The Killing is BACK!!!
For now, all I really have left to say is welcome back, Linden and Holder! You have been sorely missed!