The final episodes of “The Killing” have slowly begun the build-up to the big reveal of Rosie Larsen’s killer. This episode’s evidence points towards one direction, while the ultimate unveiling of the murderer was shocking; the fact was that it was unearned and seemed to waste an entire season of character development and highlighted the significant flaw in this season: a lack of focus and strong conceptualization of characters.
The episode begins with the revelation that Rosie Larsen had been making regular cash deposits at the Indian Casino. A little investigation reveals that she had become involved with the high-class escort service known as Beau Soleil, through her aunt. One of the hallmarks of this season is the continuous and quite honestly frustratingly telegraphed revelations that no one knew Rosie quite as well as they thought. In fact, the audience still knows little to nothing about Rosie, even with these most recent revelations. The abandonment of the storyline and the school cut us off from the most promising angle to learn about Rosie. The focus on the suspects, rather than the actual murder victim, really handicapped the writers from presenting us a character that we could empathize with during the series. In my opinion, this was probably the strongest element in the first four episodes, and the further the show got away from it the worse off it got.
The other revelation in this episode was that it was Richmond, not Drexler, who was Orpheus. This was the one that really frustrated me, more than anything else. The meandering characterization of Richmond was definitely one who would use high class escorts, but his relationship with Gwen would seem to have filled that hole. It’s just simply confounding that his characterization has been so haphazard. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, all of the pieces for a compelling character are there, but the writers have bungled it at almost every turn. From the signs that I can see, it looks like the show was the victim of either a poorly managed committee of writers or an ad hoc writing style that really were emphasized in the reveal. I wasn’t upset so much at the manner of the reveal, which I actually thought was clever, but rather the lack of reasons behind it. The show is very well written, in terms of dialogue. Even the parts of the show that make little to no sense, like the whole political subplot, kept me intrigued long enough to make it to the end of the season.
Some of the other elements that have upset people, like the investigative techniques and such, I’ve already touched on in previous reviews: they add a touch of realism and work excellently in theory, but like pretty much everything else in the show, the execution has been mediocre at best. Similarly, I’ve appreciated the collapse of the Larsen family. I wanted to use the word ‘enjoy,’ but that would be far too macabre. It’s been probably the best part of the series, watching the family disintegrate as the pressure of the murder cracked the family. It was probably the most realistic and well-done portion, but there were nonetheless flaws in execution. Mitch’s grief, which was so refreshing, became a one note character. The miscommunication between Mitch and Stan that can be so infuriating to the viewer make perfect sense within the context of the show and in the context of an actual relationship.
Ultimately, “The Killing” continues its lurch towards the season finale in typical form: poor story, good acting, excellent dialogue, and the stench of opportunities lost.