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'The Killing' Season 1, Episode 12 Recap

by Maureen Ryan, posted Jun 12th 2011 11:00PM
['The Killing' - 'Beau Soleil']

You have to appreciate the title of this episode, which is also the name of Seattle's finest high-end escort service.

'Beautiful Sun'? That's a good one, considering the entire series has been drenched in rain from day one.

This week, it was back to police work after last week's segue. There was solid progress in the Rosie Larsen murder case -- to the point where I'm wondering where things will go next week.

So do we know who murdered Rosie Larsen? Can it be anyone other than Darren Richmond? If it wasn't him, it'd have to be someone who has access to his email account to arrange dates, but that seems like a stretch, given that the pictures Gwen got from the mayor seem to prove that Richmond frequented escorts -- or at least had a lot of dates behind her back.

I'm not emotionally involved in the hunt for this killer -- the show's been to inconsistent on a character basis for that kind of investment to take place -- but I've stuck it out this long, so I'm still interested in who killed Rosie. So if we're going to accept that Richmond did it, from a purely clinical perspective, why should we buy that?

He's had flashes on anger and he's not the perfect, square-jawed candidate that he appears to be in his campaign ads, but there's a difference between playing dirty in a campaign and murdering a young woman. I look back at the season and I think Richmond is both too obvious as murderer and kind of inexplicable.

On the one hand, he was one of the first character we've met, and a lot of time has been spent on his campaign, so if he's the killer, we spent a ton of time on digressions that were there to serve as red herrings. Red herrings in and of themselves aren't a problem -- the finest mystery writers employ them regularly -- but they need to be interesting and add to the proceedings. Not many of 'The Killing's' segues fit the bill and turned out to be ponderous wastes of time.

On the other hand, as I said, considered from a character perspective, how does Richmond make sense as the killer? I saw a darkness in Belko and Stan, and there was even some ambiguity in Bennet Ahmed. But it doesn't feel as if we've delved deeply enough into Richmond's mind and heart to know that he's capable of murdering a young girl. Because he punched a mirror once? No, that's really not enough exploration of this guy's character.

So where does the show go from here? Will Linden be menaced by Richmond in his apartment for the next hour? (By the way, it sure was a lucky coincidence that she happened to stop by and hear those emails arrive. She couldn't have told him to avoid Drexler on the phone?) Or will someone else emerge as the suspect? Or has 'The Killing' actually solved the murder and we'll spend the next hour wrapping things up?

I still wonder if Drexler could be the murderer. He's a tech titan, so sending emails from Richmond's address wouldn't have been that hard for him to figure out. But why frame the one guy who could drive the mayor he hated out of office? I fully admit that doesn't make a ton of sense, but I sensed more lurking evil in the entitled Drexler than Richmond ever projected.

What did all of you think of the way the Richmond plot thickened? I'm torn between thinking that at last there was some real progress in the case and thinking that a lot of that progress came out of left field and introduced brand-new, somewhat unbelievable elements to the story in literally the eleventh hour (or the twelfth hour, as it happens). Truth be told, both of those things are true, but why belabor the issue? We're near the end and though I didn't mind this hour, and indeed liked parts of it, the hopes I originally had for the series had subsided into a hope that the final resolution simply makes sense.

We'll see next week if that's the case, I suppose.

A few bullet points:

* So now we know how Mitch's sister knew Jasper's dad -- he was a customer.

* So do we think that Rosie was taking on some of her Aunt Terry's clients -- and giving Terry the money? Are we assuming the sister knew about that? The episode seemed to indicate that Terry did not know that Rosie was using Beau Soleil or even knew about the service, but didn't Terry notice the balance in her account growing? And why didn't Rosie keep the money for herself? Some of that part of the story still seems a bit confusing to me.

* If Rosie was hooking on the side, it demonstrates another way in which the show failed to develop a character. As was the case with Richmond, there's a leap involved here. It's one thing for Rosie to be doing things her parents didn't know about, but to be sleeping with men for money? That seems extreme, and we had no indication that she was capable of that kind of behavior previously.

* Well, at least they explained where the shoes came from -- that had been bothering me for weeks.

* Nice work from Brent Sexton calling out Mitch on her hypocrisy about the attack on Bennet Ahmed.

* How lovely of Richmond to talk about his love for his ex-wife -- and credit her with his success -- with Gwen sitting right next to him. Even if he's not a murderer, he's definitely a douche.

* Could the mayor be setting Richmond up somehow? I don't know, that really seems like a stretch, but nobody was more attached to the waterfront than him. I guess I'm just looking at Richmond as the killer and going, "Really? It's the most obvious guy?"

* Nice work by Alona Tal ('Veronica Mars') as the working girl and Tahmoh Penikett ('Battlestar Galactica,' 'Dollhouse') as Linden's ex.

* A lap pool that people can see from below? That is some crazy-insane rich-guy stuff right there.

The season finale of 'The Killing' airs 10PM ET Sunday on AMC.

Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.

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Jon Garrison

I believe that parallels with Twin Peaks have been commented on before, but the moment that it became clear that there was some casino factoring into Rosie's final hours, I slapped my forehead and groaned "OK. And I suppose next week we'll find out that Rosie was working as a prostitute there." It took two weeks, but yeah, it went there.

It's not a perfect parallel, but some of the plot elements, themes, and trajectory dovetail with Peaks. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it turns out that Drexler is the secret owner of the Wapi Eagle Casino. But if "the cage" turns out to be some sort of freaky mystical "lodge," Lynch/Frost better be getting a "story by" credit.

June 16 2011 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jon Garrison

I believe that parallels with Twin Peaks have been commented on before, but the moment that it became clear that there was some casino factoring into Rosie's final hours, I slapped my forehead and groaned "OK. And I suppose next week we'll find out that Rosie was working as a prostitute there." It took two weeks, but yeah, it went there.

It's not a perfect parallel, but some of the plot elements, themes, and trajectory dovetail with Peaks. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it turns out that Drexler is the secret owner of the Wapi Eagle Casino. But if "the cage" turns out to be some sort of freaky mystical "lodge," Lynch/Frost better be getting a "story by" credit.

June 16 2011 at 4:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
micahwood

The whole planting emails under someone else's account was all foreshadowed in an earlier ep between Richmond's two political lackies, right? My best bet is it's Gwen, who killed Roise AND Richmond's 1st wifey (big twist?). I get a lot of the negatives around the plot of The Killing, but I've very much enjoyed it, however it ends up. Really my only gripe is that hoodies < a good rain coat.

June 15 2011 at 10:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
smkennedy1963

Richmond sought the company of Beau Soleil girls because he is a lonely widow and he has a fixation with drowning because that's probably how his wife died. That does not make him the killer. Rosie probably started her night with Richmond but my money's on Drexler as the killer. He seems like the kind of entitled, sick perv that would chase a girl through a dark forest and then kill her for sport.

June 14 2011 at 9:12 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
jarial2

Agree that Richmond as the killer would be a total disappointment because he's been so obvious from the start. His two assistants seem too obvious, too. I'm wondering if all the serious points (bank account, Richmond as Orpheus, distant balcony photos of Rosie - maybe, etc) we think we "know" are as much red herrings as Ahmed's guilt because he was reluctant to discuss what he was doing the night Rosie died. And I also wonder if Linden's visit to Richmond was to see his reaction when the emails arrived.

Terry sure seems to be undermining her family, but perhaps this is another red herring.

I, too, was so happy to see Stan come back at Mitch for her part in the beating of Ahmed. I've seen Brent Sexton in other shows, but never really appreciated his acting until now. And I liked Michelle Forbes in Star Trek: TNG and loved her as Admiral Cain in BSG, but think this show is the first to showcase her talent. The interplay between these two actors may be the best scenes in the series.

Unlike most viewers, I like the pace of the show because the writers are not "synopsizing" how a police investigation works, as do most shows (do you really think CSI's quick answers to forensic evidence are realistic?), but are following an investigation's progression somewhat realistically. As much as I felt last week's episode was a digression, I think that's exactly how a mother would react, no matter how engrossed she was in her job. I guess I'm too old to need instant gratification, a requirement that has led to cancellation of a number of shows I thought were well done. (Yes, I loved Caprica's many strands, and felt it was cancelled just as they were beginning to come together).

I would love to see the show go full circle and come back to Rosie's boyfriend from the first episode. Wouldn't it be a trip if the killer were actually his Dad, the billionaire? But that's just me, because I'd love to see Battlestar Galactica's kindly, honorable Colonial One pilot (played by Barclay Hope) do a turn as a cold-blooded killer. But that plot, too, has already been done, in a Law & Order: SVU episode...

Until you mentioned it, I didn't even realize that was Tahmoh as Linden's ex. I'll have to go back and watch again.
Thanks for that heads up.

June 13 2011 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jarial2's comment
Jacob

I think I speak for a lot of people in that I wouldn't mind the slow pace of the show if that pace was actually done well. You mention the forensic testing of 'regular' series, but wasn't all the testing done on Rosie finished up pretty quick in the first few episodes?

June 14 2011 at 12:06 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
cgeye

May I vent, please? Thanks....

First, I think the writers want us to believe Rosie set up her account under Aunt Terry's name. But how in the post-9/11 world was she able to do that? Sure you can borrow an SSN card, but a picture ID? One that a bank officer conveniently forgets to check? With no application filled out that requires job data (for a credit check/debit card issue), since Rosie's also posing as someone old enough to work/go to school?

The universe that THE KILLING set up would make this bureaucratic slackness impossible -- they can spy in any public place, set up warrantless wiretaps and worry about the judge later, and have the Feds breathing down their backs? Why wouldn't Rosie just buy a untraceable debit card that she could load/unload much more discreetly, with hefty fees, of course? Why would she involve her Aunt Terry at all, unless Terry turned her out, or demanded she get a cut, through establishment of that bank account?

And don't banks also have tape of their clients? Some even have thumbprint scanners....

Next, howcum Linden gets all the BSG hotties, then dumps 'em like Kleenex? it's not like they're being cloned anymore, y'know....

And all the harshing on Mitch? Well overdue. She wanted people to do for her without lifting a finger or taking moral responsibility, and now the adults she's relied on the most are calling her on it. But how clueless was she that both Terry and her daughter were ho's? And I'll lay even odds that AMC S+P changed the "casino bulldogs" from "casino bulldykes", 'cause that security chief broad was really broad, wasn't she? And that undercover cop wallowing in the grime of her job -- such a lovely girl....

But is this the quality non-femme-exploitative entertainment AMC promised? Really? A bad-mom-shrew who can't keep a man, investigating a freelance teen hooker with her own Crawford-strength mom and a trigger-happy dad? And the nicest guy in the room the violent john with a drowning fetish? This was supposed to be innovative? Really? Mitch was this year's Katherine Rhumor, and all the female roles devolved to irresolvable anger, craziness or sluttiness. This isn't complex characterization, people; this is a thinking-man's show for men like Drexler -- a man willing to put a woman up on a pedestal, to better look up her skirt. Better luck next time, huh?

June 13 2011 at 3:32 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cgeye's comment
moryan

Excellent rant.

June 14 2011 at 10:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Sk1d

At this point, I'm going to be disappointed if I don't see a backwards talking midget and the killer turn out to be the father who was possessed by the one armed man.

June 13 2011 at 11:47 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
RVA

They are all girls that look like his wife.

June 13 2011 at 6:33 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Rhys

While it's possible that the e-mail thing could be a setup, the call girl very clearly fingered Richmond as well by directing Holder to the campaign posters. Also, the way the call girl said the guy had a sense of sadness around him is descriptive of Richmond - not Drexler. One thing I am wondering about, we never got a clear indication as to how Richmond's wife died. It's been indicated that it was an accident that was caused by some woman who subsequently went to jail for it - but I don't think the exact facts of the wife's death have been made clear. My guess is that maybe the accident cause his wife's car to go off a bridge and then his wife drowned in the car. That would give at least some justification as to why Richmond might be obsessed with drowning a woman to see what it was like.

As for Terry - she clearly says she had no idea about the account. It appears that Rosie used her ID to setup a bank account in Terry's name - but Terry had no knowledge of it. Rosie was not depositing the money into an account that Terry used or knew about.

I am also very glad that Stan called out Mitch. Michelle Forbes is doing a great job, but I dislike the Mitch character. I also liked the bit with Stan and the psychiatrist although I wish they'd done more with that.

June 13 2011 at 3:59 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rhys's comment
jarial2

Re the call girl: but did she mean Richmond himself, or was she pointing the police in the direction of his campaign staff?

I liked your insight about Richmond's wife's death. But perhaps this is another red herring? They have me so confused now, I'll have to keep watching the show just to see how they untangle the whole thing. lol

June 13 2011 at 4:13 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Edith Keeler

I don't think Richmond's wife answer was douchey. As a political operative Gwen must know how the tragic dead wife plays. Personally, she might feel a twinge but really, what other answer could he give? I thought it was a good moment showing both the political and personal -- it was politically the right answer but also, as far as we have been lead to believe, completely genuine at the same time. The question from the reporert? Now THAT was douchey.

Enjoyed the ep tho police work continues to be conveniently shoddy. If only the middle epsidoes were as good as the first few and the last few are shaping up to be.

June 13 2011 at 2:34 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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