AMC's crime drama The Killing continues, with a slight feeling of formula creeping into the equation, but hopefully things will be given a shake before audiences start to feel too much repetition. "A Soundless Echo" was another enjoyable and compelling hour, all things considered, with strengthening of key characters and their relationships, together with brand new clues bubbling to the surface.
- Kris (Gharrett Patrick Paon) was interrogated by Linden and Holder over the cell-phone video that appeared to show him having sex with Rosie with his friend Jasper (Richard Harmon), all while suffering withdrawals from crystal meth.
- Mitch (Michelle Forbes) and Stan (Brent Sexton) viewed caskets to bury their daughter in, before Mitch berated the priest who'll be conducting the funeral service for his reassuring words about God.
- Richmond (Billy Campbell) learned that Mayor Adams (Tom Butler) now has an eight-point lead in the polls because the Rosie Larsen murder has destabilized his campaign, so Gwen (Kristin Lehman) suggests he secure a donation from entrepreneur Tom Drexler (Patrick Gilmore) to finance more publicity.
- Mayor Adams met Richmond's fired campaign manager Jamie at a bar, offering him the chance to join his "winning party", but it's later revealed Jamie's defection is just part of a strategy with Richmond to plant a mole in Adams' camp.
- Rosie's best friend Sterling (Kacey Rohl) admitted that she's the person in the incriminating cell-phone video having sex with Kris and Jasper, wearing Rosie's Halloween costume.
- Acting on a supposition from Sterling that Rosie was having an affair with someone, possibly an adult, Holder traced her movements on a No108 bus through town, eventually arriving at the end of the line -- the Seattle All-Stars after-school hoops-program HQ, where her teacher Bennet Ahmed (Brandon Jay McLaren) is coach.
- Rick (Callum Keith Rennie) surprised his fiancée Linden by appearing aboard Regi's boat, providing a welcome distraction from the Larsen case.
- Stan was upset he can't afford to move his family into a new home as a surprise, and had to ask for money from a man called Janek Kovarsky (Don Thompson) at a Polish restaurant (someone he's been avoiding for 17 years), before receiving several thousand dollars to help with household bills.
- Linden searched Rosie's bedroom again, discovering handwritten love-letters from her teacher, Bennet Ahmed, hidden in a globe light.
- Kris and Jasper are swiftly removed from being prime suspects after Sterling's admission, and that would also seem to suggest she had no part to play in her friend's death.
- Obviously, Rosie's teacher Ahmed is now the number one suspect, although the fact he was perhaps having sex with an underage student doesn't necessarily make him a killer.
- And what about Stan's mysterious past working for Janek? Was he a hitman or fixer 17 years ago? Did something happen to prompt Janek ordering a hit on his daughter Rosie?
- There's also the possibility someone in Mayor Adams' campaign team killed Rosie, simply as a way of derailing Richmond's success at the polls, although that perhaps sounds too callous.
- Maybe it's just me, but every time I see Callum Keith Rennie, I can't help thinking he'll be the killer, purely because he has a track record playing bad guys (see: Battlestar Galactica, Harper's Island.) Has he been cast as a double-bluff?
This was a stronger episode than last week's, I thought, although I'm slightly worried every episode is following a familiar pattern: investigation, a breakthrough in the last few minutes, then a cliffhanger presenting us with a new prime suspect to exonerate next week. As I said a few weeks ago, the problem with The Killing's format is how you're aware there won't be a genuine breakthrough until later in the show's run. But it's still an entertaining journey through this rainswept city, and the thick atmosphere of misery isn't becoming too much of a problem because there's enough forward momentum.
I also liked how "A Soundless Echo" deepened the relationship between Linden and Rick (who have been separated on-screen until now), and threw a curveball with Stan's probable link to organized crime as a young man. Has something from his past come back to haunt him, or is this another instance of misdirection? It was also great to learn that Rosie wasn't all sweetness and light, but a complicated girl with secrets. It remains to be seen if her relationship with her teacher was wholly inappropriate, or if Ahmed's platonic affection for her had been allowed to slip into questionable areas, which Rosie had taken to heart. Maybe she had a crush on him, which he was encouraging because he was flattered by the attention, but it had never become anything serious? Rosie could have been meeting anyone at that basketball class, too, not specifically Ahmed.
As usual, there were some terrific moments here: like the Larsen's accidentally seeing their daughter's grisly evidence board at the police station, which gave them visual proof that Rosie did suffer before she died, contrary to what Linden told them by way of a small comfort. I just hope Michelle Forbes get more to do than play the grief-stricken mother until the bitter end. Hopefully, once Rosie's funeral is dealt with, the show will give Mitch a slightly different role in events. It might be nice to see her get proactive with the investigation, but the show definitely needs to do something, because another nine hours watching Mitch walk around with a glazed expression could become torturous for the viewers.
I've heard a few US critics complaining about The Killing's measured pace, but that appears to be a cultural difference of opinion. Here in the UK, the two-hour detective drama is a standard format, and we're used to mysteries being told over long stretches of time. The Killing's longer than most crime dramas (but still half the length of the Danish original!), but I don't feel impatient watching each hour unfold, because it does so in an absorbing way, and I know that you'll get more out of this show if you spend time with it. In the latter third, I have no doubt the hours of character-building will mean we're on the edge of our seats, as Linden and Holder get closer and closer to solving Rosie's murder.
- The ubiquitous Alan Dale made an appearance here, which perhaps explained why Rosie's bus was the Number 108 -- that being a prominent number in the TV series Lost he was a key part of.