The Killing Season 3 Review “Reckoning”

The Killing Season 3 Episode 9 Reckoning (3)

After last night, there are only two episodes remaining of the third season of The Killing. The lackadaisical pacing of the majority of the season has been abandoned and we are now hurtling towards the discovery of the serial killer’s identity. This means that the body count is going to increase as the suspect list narrows. The newest victim was surprising, if not unexpected – Bullet.

At the end of last week, we saw that Bullet was being stalked. She had learned the identity of Angie’s attacker and wanted to share the intel with Holder. He was still mad at her and not taking her calls, though. My initial reaction was that it didn’t make sense that the killer would know that Bullet had learned his identity. Thus, how could he be lying in wait outside the diner? There is now one plausible explanation. Holder learns that Bullet tried calling him at the station. Reddick did not relay the message. That sets up the possibility that the killer is someone in the police department. Since the beginning, I’ve suspected Reddick. But, there is another potential suspect. Skinner has a connection to the Seward murder and could also be the killer. If that is the case, we should expect to see Linden come completely unhinged.

While Bullet’s murder ups the ante on the relationship between Linden/Holder and the killer, her death was more significant for its emotional impact. It was a brilliant scene when Linden figures out that Bullet’s body is probably in the trunk of the taxi and she races through the station to stop Holder from opening it. It reminded me of the scene with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman in Se7en. It was touching to see Linden trying to protect Holder, and completely devastating when he looked and saw the body. It added to the dramatic impact of the moment that we only saw Bullet’s lifeless wrist. The point of the scene wasn’t about the body per se, it was about Holder’s reaction to the loss, so not showing the body left the focus with him. It was a good decision on the part of the director.

To say that Holder didn’t take the loss of Bullet well is an understatement. He completely fell apart. It was one of Joel Kinnaman’s best performances on the show. He conveyed more than just sadness and guilt. Holder grieved for Bullet not just because of her death, but because of her life. She had struggled and been forced to live her short life on the fringes of society. She was one of the forgotten. Holder knows how it feels to be on the outside. Holder is a drug addict and at one point in his life turned to meth to cope with bigger hardships. He knows what it’s like to struggle. He and Bullet were kindred spirits in that sense.

Sadly, Holder does not find solace with his girlfriend. She says all of the wrong things. She should have listened and comforted and not tried to justify or explain. I don’t have high hopes for their relationship. The only person who did understand was Linden. Like Holder, she is a tortured soul. When she shows up at his house, she keeps repeating that it will be ok. She doesn’t try to make sense out of what happened – she just tries to give him hope. The scene with Holder and Linden sitting on the couch was a turning point for these characters. They have been a team, but now it’s more than that. They are family. I liked that they didn’t kiss, because that would’ve brought unnecessary complication to their relationship.

It was moving that even as Linden is telling Holder that things will be ok, she doesn’t look like a person who is qualified to make that prediction. She is an emotional wreck. Holder has suffered an emotional beating, and she has suffered a physical one. She has very little left to offer in terms of consolation, which is why she sinks back into the couch. Her body language says that she’s defeated, but she keeps saying that things will be ok. That is the hope that Holder needs and the audience needs.

Overall, this episode had some standout scenes and is the best episode of the season to date. The confrontation between Callie’s mom and her boyfriend, Joe Mills, was gut-wrenching. Amy Seimetz gave an incredible performance. Her grief and then anger were poignant and compelling. For Seward, the scene where the other death row inmate emotionally manipulates him was borderline tragic.

When it’s at its best, The Killing can deliver some amazingly powerful performances and deal some severe emotional blows. Last night’s episode checked all the boxes on what you expect from the actors and the writers. Kinnaman gave an Emmy worthy performance. This is the type of quality I expect from the show and have been waiting for this season. It’s what will keep me tuned in for another (hopefully) season.

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