Thursday, 9 June 2011

THE KILLING, 1.11 - "Missing"

Thursday, 9 June 2011

I'm going to abandon my usual review format this week, echoing what The Killing itself decided to do with the antepenultimate episode "Missing". This was a very strange episode considering what's come before and how the show has fed its audience their weekly dosage, but I'm in two-minds about it. Taken as part of the season as a whole, it was nothing but a ridiculous detour featuring only two of the regular characters—Linden (Mireille Enos) and Holder (Joel Kinnaman) —in a character-led storyline that had almost nothing to do with the show's usual concerns. For that reason, it felt slightly redundant and pointless, and could easily be skipped without damaging too much of the show's larger storyline. However, taken as a singular episode, it was actually The Killing's best episode in many weeks, and certainly a very belated way to make us care more about the two lead investigators we've been following around for over two months already...

Linden found the Wapi Eagle Casino she believed Rosie Larsen visited on the night she went missing, but found herself stonewalled by the casino manager Nicole Jackson (Claudia Ferri), who wasn't too happy about Linden's intention to interview her customers. And unfortunately for Linden, the casino being built on Indian territory meant only a federal warrant (that would take a week to come through) could force the casino to open its door to the Seattle P.D. However, Linden instead decided to get a warrant on the casino's many ATM machines, which are owned by the banks, and may have recorded Rosie using one to confirm her movements.

But while Linden and Holder waited for the ATM warrant to come through, which may take a day, a distraction was provided in the sudden disappearance of her own son Jack (Liam James). From there, the whole episode dropped the Rosie Larsen mystery and instead focused on Linden and Holder using their free time to search for Jack. And, along the way, they got to know each other a little better, too. In particular, we learned that Linden was abandoned by her mother at the age of five and grew up as a foster kid (passed around to various families growing up), how "mother figure" Regi is actually her probation worker, and that the case that obsessed Linden involved a boy who was taken into child protection when his father killed his mother and never got out of the system. We also learned that Holder has a sister called Liz, but isn't so dependable as an uncle, and heard more about his past addiction to crystal meth.

The frustrating thing about this episode is that, to be perfectly honest, this was the kind of character-building hour we needed much earlier in the season. I can see how difficult it is to find time away from the murder case (especially given The Killing's episode-to-day format and serialized focus), but perhaps that goes to show that the format itself is flawed. I'm glad we got some firm insights into Linden and Holder, and the episode was entertaining in its own right, but it was unfortunately reliant on the audience caring about Jack and Linden's relationship with her son. Unfortunately, we don't really. The previous 10 episodes haven't done a very good job developing Linden from the character she was introduced as in the pilot, with only a few moments scattered around that existed to shed light on certain family areas.

Overall, "Missing" was both irritating (so close to the end and we're given a character-building, mostly extraneous diversion?) and very enjoyable (the show actually found room to breathe and develop the two central character who have previously just been plot-devices to keep the mystery rolling along). I enjoyed it, but I wish this had been episode 4.


  • The ATM machine footage amused me, as we'd previously discussed how US cop shows don't rely as much on CCTV as their British equivalents—so more often investigations use nosey neighbours and ATM cameras. And now this episode proves it!
written by Veena Sud / directed by Nicole Kassell / 5 June 2011 / AMC