The Killing Season 3 Review “Six Minutes”

The Killing Season 3 Episode 8 Try (1)

It feels like a long build up for next week’s finale of The Killing. In its penultimate episode, the Ray Seward storyline came to a shocking conclusion: Linden couldn’t save him. The episode focused almost entirely on Seward’s execution, so let’s break that down.

An emotional end. The tone of the episode suggests that series writer Veena Sud is not a proponent of the death penalty. The episode is set entirely at the prison, where Linden has gone to visit Seward and try to obtain a stay before his execution. As the hours tick down, Seward becomes increasingly agitated and emotional. Knowing that he did not kill his wife makes it far easier to sympathize with his plight than if he’d been a callous murderer. No matter what your opinions are on the death penalty, if you have any empathy for other human beings, watching Seward’s march to the gallows is heartbreaking. Sud takes the horror of watching someone die a step further by not allowing Seward a quick end. Seward swings from the rope and asphyxiates after what feels like several excruciating minutes. The tension of the scene is maintained by the silence in the room, broken only by Seward’s choking. Peter Sarsgaard gives a truly astounding performance.

Linden’s prison visit. One thing I did not like about the episode was the persistent back and forth with Linden running out and then returning to talk to Seward. Even though it was his final day, it seems unlikely that the prison guards would shuttle someone to and from death row so many times. It also seemed like a weak chance that she was going to convince the DA to request a stay of execution based solely on the photo of the ring. However, I think the point of the tête-a-tête with Seward wasn’t about trying to save him. It felt like it was more about both of them seeking redemption. Seward may not have murdered his wife, but he admitted he was not a stand-up guy. He had beaten his wife in the past; even in front of his son. In a continuation of her struggles this season, Linden hinted at her own shortcomings as a parent. But, for Linden, what she really wanted was redemption for helping to put Seward in prison. As dogged as she was to get him in there, she hasn’t necessarily been as dogged in getting him out. She tried, but ultimately it was too late. The last exchange between the two occurs during Seward’s last words. He comments that Salisbury steak isn’t really steak – it’s ground beef. Linden smiles and nods. I like to think that Seward was telling her that he wasn’t angry and she was letting him know she wouldn’t give up.

Holder’s descent. Things aren’t going well for Holder. He’s drinking and still having a hard time getting over the death of Bullet. However, there were some moments in the episode that show all hope is not lost for his recovery. One thing that is always endearing about Holder is his connection with children. As he waits with Linden at the prison, he interacts with Seward’s son. They have a sweet exchange in the bathroom when the boy is nervous about meeting his father. Holder helps smooth down his hair. This illustrates why the Holder/Linden relationship is so successful. Holder falls into the role of caretaker while Linden is the one that maintains the typically male stoicism.

The killer. All signs are pointing to someone in the police station. One thing that is nagging at me, though, is why would the killer need to frame Mills for the murders? If the police are truly clueless about the killer’s identity, what is the benefit to setting someone else up for the fall? Also, it seems odd that the killer would abandon all of his hard earned trophies (i.e. the rings). As I’m writing this, I’m also thinking back on the hazard bags that the bodies were all found in. Is that something that could have come from the coroner’s office? Could the coroner be the killer?

All questions will be answered in next week’s 2 hour season finale. It will be interesting to see if they can wrap up all the pieces and where Linden will end up in her struggle with returning to the police force. I just hope the killer isn’t some random person that we saw once and had no meaningful connection to the story.

Follow me on Twitter @LaVaudreuil