‘The Killing’ – ‘Vengeance’: Fear of flying

Senior Television Writer
05.08.11 71 Comments


A quick review of tonight’s “The Killing” coming up just as soon as I use my commitment issues to mess up your career…

“I’m sorry. I’m doing the best I can.” -Mitch

After a couple of weeks of slightly more unpredictable material, “Vengeance” was back to the formula I’d been worrying about earlier in the season, where the previous episode’s cliffhanger is resolved very quickly, then not much happens plot-wise for a long stretch, and then Holder and Linden make a big discovery at the end of the episode that will presumably be rendered moot 10 minutes into next week’s episode.

And while I continue to enjoy the sense of atmosphere and a number of the performances, at this point I can’t escape the feeling that “The Killing” is what it is: not a reinvention of the police procedural formula, but an elongation of it, and something I might have cut the cord with already were it not for the tremendous brand loyalty I’ve developed for AMC in the last few years. As it is, we’re now past the halfway point, so I’ll stick around just to see how well they stick the landing – and because the show still can do strong individual moments, like Stan lurking outside the car in the pouring rain while Bennet scrambles to find his missing cell phone, or Stan and Mitch having their first real conversation since Rosie’s death – but I’m struggling to care about either the mystery itself or the different characters connected to it.

Trying not to be too negative, but as I think on the episode, my mind keeps going more to the scenes that bothered me than the ones that worked, like Richmond visiting the mother of his late wife, who neatly psycho-analyzes the problem with his campaign by explaining that he would fight if he thought he deserved something; “Are you sure it’s just that woman you can’t forgive?” And then there’s the never-ending story of whether Linden will actually get on a plane to Sonoma before the case is closed. I appreciate that the show is actually working to get us invested in these characters so that the show’s not just one big plot engine, but the way it’s gone about that has been (outside of some of the stuff with the Larsens) clumsy far more often than it hasn’t.  

I realize I haven’t discussed much of the details of this one – including speculation on what terrorism-related case the FBI is investigating that our two cops have stumbled across – but, again, my enthusiasm level isn’t particularly high this week. If you’re feeling more engaged, by all means, go to town in the comments.

What did everybody else think?

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