The Killing US Series Two: Episode 2 Review *SPOILERS*

by Matt D

Last week’s series opener of the American version of The Killing primarily focused on Sarah Linden’s paranoia as she didn’t know who she could trust with the information about the tampered evidence. This week though Linden is busy getting her detective on as she searches for an alibi for Darren Richmond on the night of Rosie Larsen’s murder a night on which his girlfriend Gwen claimed he came back to bed sopping wet. This week’s episode is mainly centred on Rosie’s father Stan, who has to try and cope with the fact that the police arrested the wrong man, as well as the news that his best friend Belko committed suicide at the end of last week’s instalment.

The episode opens and closes with Stan as son Denny finds Rosie’s blood-stained backpack on their doorstep he realises that the police haven’t found the killer, later he gets frustrated when the corrupt Holder doesn’t fulfill his promise of sending a car around to check up on the family every few hours. When Richmond is finally acquitted of the crime Stan feels he has no choice and goes to his old mob associates, asking them to find the killer and finish him off. Brent Sexton is really the star of the show here, as he plays a tortured man here who realises that his two young sons are really scared but still has to get justice for his murdered daughter. The scene that particularly struck me was when Stan learnt of Belko’s suicide and realises he can no longer help his friend, he suddenly starts punching the lockers at his work having a mini breakdown in the process. The two young actors who play his sons are also mature for their years, especially Evan Bird as Tom who is able to act terrified when he sees a shadowy figure through the wing mirror of his aunt’s car, that turns out to be a journalist, and he perfectly put over a character of a child who no longer feels safe at home any more.

Onto the investigation, which was re-opened this series, as Linden went rogue talking to Gwen about her evening with Richmond before travelling to the cabin to try and get to the bottom of how he spent his night. These scenes let Mireille Enos really portray Linden the brilliant detective, as opposed to the slightly paranoid woman who may or may not have mental issues. The big scene this week is where Linden finally tracks down DA Christina Nillsen and presents her with evidence in a shadowy car park, a scene which pays homage to All the President’s Men as well as being shot absolutely beautifully. As a fan of the Danish series I was a little bit alarmed to see Sofie Gråbøl, the actress who originally played Sarah, as the DA mainly because it was a bit odd to see her talking to herself. On one hand I didn’t really like Gråbøl turning up here as The Killing is meant to be a serious drama and this felt like an in-joke that you may find in an off-the-wall sitcom such as 30 Rock or Community. At the same time though Sofie Gråbøl is a fantastic actress and the handful of scenes she does appear in have a certain gravitas to them as she herself gets frustrated with the American Sarah’s lack of gratitude.

Sarah also has to deal with the fraught Holder who himself is now as paranoid as she was last week, after he swaps Rosie’s backpack for his but gets back false analysis from the bag stating that there Rosie’s blood was on said item. We learn more about why Stephen Holder was chosen to be a detective and it turns out it wasn’t for his skill but for the fact that he could be easily manipulated by those who wanted to plant fraudulent evidence such as the tollbooth photo of Richmond. Personally I never warmed to Holder as I didn’t like the fact that a villain was essentially working in the police department and I was also not a fan of Joel Kinnaman’s twitchy turn as the dodgy detective. It seems that this series though Holder may redeem himself in some way, as he seems to have realised what he’s done wrong and the scene in which he frantically tries to breakdown Sarah’s hotel room door demonstrated that.

As we learnt this week poor old Richmond looks to have lost the use of his legs after being shot by Belko however when he comes around his advisor Jamie struggles to tell him the news instead deciding to go off to the gym and get in a fight with one of the mayor’s advisors. The scene at the gym was also one of my favourites mainly due to the cinematography as the cameras zoomed in on Jamie’s legs while he was working out making the point that his boss had now lost the use of his. Thankfully The Killing hasn’t lost track of its Danish roots completely as Richmond’s alibi is the same as it was in Forbydelsen as was the introduction of a new boss in the form of Lt. Carlson the American equivalent of Lennart Brix. Though actor Mark Moses, best known for his roles in Desperate Housewives and Mad Men, didn’t really have a lot to do here he still was able to get across a new character who wouldn’t take any nonsense from Sarah in the same way that Brix does in the Danish version.

Overall this was a plot-heavy episode which counter-balanced last week’s slow opener fantastically and moved on all the character’s plots as the murder investigation was reopened. The discovery of Rosie’s rucksack will obviously be the piece of evidence that the police will be able to use to find a new suspect while on the political side of things it seems that Richmond will now have to deal with not having the use of his legs for the rest of his life. However for me the most interesting thing to come out of episode two was the continued struggles of the Larsen family and Stan’s reliance on his old mob boss to do the job that he feels the police are unable to do. This episode has certainly done enough to hook me in at least for a couple more episodes just to see where the Americans go now they’ve differed themselves in so many ways from the Danes.

Are you a fan of The Killing? What did you think of this second episode? Leave Your Comments Below.

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