Friday, 6 April 2012

THE KILLING (USA), 2.1 & 2.2 – "Reflections" & "My Lucky Day"




Less a review, more a statement of intent. I won't be covering The Killing season 2 every week, because (a) it never caught the imagination of this blog's readers, and (b) I've lost interest in this series. It's been well-documented how season 1 annoyed many viewers; first with an annoying red herring (that in retrospect made the mid-season largely pointless), and then with a frustrating refusal to answer its question "who killed Rosie Larsen?" in the finale.

This turn of events probably wasn't as irritating for viewers who don't read and trust promotional material (where a season-long story was inferred), but, for knowledgeable critics who'd been led to believe The Killing would tell a complete story ever season, it was the final straw. At least showrunner Veena Sud has guaranteed the murder-mystery will conclude this season, but is there enough of a reason to keep watching beyond curiosity about the identity of Rosie's killer?

I'm not sure, but I'll likely keep watching this stylish AMC drama out of dogged loyalty to something I've already invested a lot of time in. I just won't be keen to watch every episode the week it airs, and certainly won't feel any enthusiasm when it comes to blogging The Killing. I may check-in occasionally, if something memorable happens one week, or for the finale with some retrograde thoughts.

Still, this two-part premiere made improvements to how the show typically plays out: there was a clearer attempt to give Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) meaningful character moments; crooked (or is he?) Detective Holder (Joel Kinnaman) wasn't attached to Sarah's hip for once; a conspiracy surrounding the murder case was gently introduced (someone taking covert photos of Sarah, obstreperous cops); and Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell) was emphatically removed from suspicion after the attempt on his life. (Plus we got a clear answer explaining why he came home soaking wet the night Rosie was drowned, which was very much appreciated.)

But one of the show's key problems remains: do we even care about the Rosie Larsen case at this point? I was sympathetic to begin with, because I'm not a heartless monster and the tangible grief of her parents dealt emotional blows, but we still don't really know Rosie ourselves. We never met her before she was murdered, and the show doesn't deal in flashbacks (which I can totally understand), but it also hasn't done much to make us feel a desire to see her killer/s brought to justice. A few home videos of Rosie's happier times would help, at the very least.

By the by, for fans of the Danish drama The Killing is based on, "My Lucky Day" contains a fun crossover when Danish star Sofie Gråbøl appears in a scene alongside her American counterpart Mireille Enos. It's not even a blink-and-miss nod, either, which was great to see.

So, are you watching The Killing? Or have you given up because of the increasingly tedious games season 1 played? Or did the lack of a closure not bother you last year? Is the show worth sticking with just to see who killed Rosie and why? Is the slick production and decent performances enough to keep you glued? Or will you simply read reviews to keep tabs on the latest news about this investigation? Were there enough improvements in this two-hour premiere to lure you back with fresh optimism?

written by Veena Sud (2.1) & Dawn Prestwich & Nicole Yorkin (2.2) / directed by Agnieszka Holland (2.1) & Dan Attias (2.2) / 1 April 2012 / AMC
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