Review: ‘The Killing’ – ‘Reckoning’

I’m taking a few days off to recuperate between Comic-Con and press tour, but I wanted to acknowledge what was a pretty special episode of “The Killing” last night. Spoilers coming right up…

So “The Killing” still tends to be not so great with the plotting, last week employing the outdated trope of the character who desperately has to convey a crucial piece of information to someone who won’t answer a call from them. Had Bullet simply texted Holder “I KNOW WHO THE KILLER IS” (or, better, “THE KILLER IS JOE MILLS AND HE IS LOOKING FOR ME”), things go very differently.  Basically, the creative team wanted Bullet to die so Holder would have his breakdown, and they were going to get that by any means necessary. (Though at least we found out she also left messages for him at the station, even if they weren’t also of the “I can give you the killer right now if you come and get me, jerks” variety.) 

But… the show has been very good at the character work this year, and in particular at showing the relationship between Holder and Bullet. Bex Taylor-Klaus was a great casting find, and Bullet wound up being everything the show wanted Rosie Larsen and her family to be in the first two seasons: an unwavering emotional tie to the case and a victim we would feel a genuine sense of loss about.

And in playing Holder’s reaction to Bullet’s death, and then to finding out that Carl could’ve saved her, Joel Kinnaman was as good as we’ve ever seen him on the show – which is pretty damn great. He was also helped out by Very Special Guest Director Jonathan Demme, who knows a thing or 12 about handling the emotions around violent crime, and Demme was helped by a script that brought several stories – Seward realizing he’s been manipulated by his fellow Death Row inmate, the arrest of Mills, Linden’s discovery that Mills didn’t kill Seward’s wife – to major turning points.

“Reckoning” was easily the highlight of what’s been a very good third season of this show. It’s not perfect, but give credit to Veena Sud for genuinely learning from the mistakes of the first two seasons when she was given another shot at things.

What did everybody else think, about both this episode and season 3 as a whole so far?