The Killing: El Diablo


[Let's welcome long-time best friend of the site Mark Greig! He's going to be reviewing AMC's The Killing for us.]

"No, no flowers. Flowers die."

Three episodes in and I’m actually starting to warm to AMC’s take on the Danish Murder/Jumper show (or Forbrydelsen, as it’s better known to those who can pronounce it correctly). It’s still a little too similar to the original in places but not to the same extent as the pilot was. That, coupled with the sheer quality of the acting, especially the heartbreaking work by the former Ensign Ro, has been enough stop me from playing compare and contrast all the time and just enjoy the show.

Still not loving the jumpers, though. That isn't going to change any time soon.

The Investigation

At this stage it’s difficult to see Jasper and Kris as anything other than a pair of red herrings. The unwritten law of mystery fiction teaches us that the earlier someone is implicated the less likely they are to be the guilty party. I don’t doubt that those two did something very, very bad in that basement but it probably wasn’t to Rosie. We can’t even be certain that it was Rosie on that video. All we saw was someone in a black dress with a pink wig, the face was never once shown. So if it wasn't Rosie, who was it?

Linden’s inability to escape Seattle is starting to put a strain on her relationship with Rick the Cylon. He joked about it before but now it’s clear that he’s not happy she’s keeps putting off moving. Is he right to suspect that she’s having second thoughts about marrying him? Sarah keeps telling her boss that’s she’s not staying but methinks the lady doth protest too much. There isn’t really anything stopping her from getting on that plane. She could leave at any time but for some reason she just can’t pull herself away from this case. Is she worried that if she leaves the case will never be solved? I know that Holder has his faults but he’s demonstrated that he is a keen investigator. Yeah, his fake joint trick is somewhat sleazy but it does get results that Linden’s more stoic, stare driven methods would not.

The Larsen Family

Families can come together in times of grief but far too often they can also fall apart. Mitch is desperately trying to hold on to her dead daughter but as a result she is slowly distancing herself from her husband and sons. She’s practically cocooned herself in the sanctuary of Rosie’s room, listening to the answer machine message over and over again even going so far as to actually simulating drowning in the bath just to feel any kind of connection to her daughter. I can tell you now, if Michelle Forbes name isn’t up there when the Emmy nominations are announced there will be hell on.

The Richmond Campaign

The Richmond plot is still something I’m having trouble getting invested in. Unlike the Larsen or Linden storylines this one is still playing out almost exactly as it did in the original series. So for someone like me there are no surprises, no shocks or twists. It’s no fun watching when you can easily predict every action a character is about to make.Another problem is that, so far, there isn’t really anything that makes me want to like any of these characters. Richmond benefits from the fact he’s played by the Rocketeer but the others are so unlikeable. Jamie, for instance, is such a creepy little tool that I’m glad to see the back of him. Not that I don’t think he’s been set up. Like potential killers, you can easily rule out someone as a mole by how quickly they are implicated.

Notes and Quotes

--Jumperwatch: With her original having been damaged by Lyndon Johnson Rosales, this week saw Sarah show off a brand new piece of knitwear. It’s a bit plain for my liking, lacking in memorable patterns.

--Who is Reggie and what is her connection to Linden? In the original Sarah and her son went to stay with her nagging mother.

--Interesting that Richmond kicked out Jamie but still went and used his idea to win back Ruth.

--Who was Holder talking to on the phone and why doesn’t he want Linden to know?

--Am I alone in thinking chocolate chip pancakes sound vile? Its no fish fingers and custard.

Lt. Oaks: "Look, clear this thing I’m just an address and a Christmas card."

Ruth: "By the time those whores are done with you you’re going to be the punch line of a dirty joke."

Linden: "Let go of the idea you have some kind of BS detector."
Holder: "And how do you know I don’t have one those?"
Linden: "Because you dress like Justin Bieber and eat pork rinds for dinner."

Nurse: "Don’t tell me to chill, this is my ward."

Gwen: "He’s stealing from programs like yours that really make a difference."
Richmond: "Gwen, spare me the soundbite."

Holder: "I mean I never had dinner with my mom and look at me."
Linden: "That’s comforting."

8 comments:

Josie Kafka said...

Great review, Mark!

I'm lovin' this show. Sundays are so busy now: The Killing; Upstairs, Downstairs; The Borgias (which I'm caching on my DVR for summer viewing); Game of Thrones.

One objection, though: chocolate chip pancakes are wonderful. Especially with bananas and powdered sugar.

Jess Lynde said...

Welcome aboard, Mark!

Chocolate chip pancakes are definitely tasty.

I'm totally with you on the Richmond campaign. I don't object to the concept of showing how the tragedy can have far reaching effects, but I find my mind wandering during those sequences. It is just a jarring tonal shift from the crushing/numbing grief of the family to the political machinations.

Also with you on the video. It seems likely that we'll learn the girl in the video isn't Rosie. Sterling is my guess. I'm wondering if we'll also learn all that blood in the Cage isn't Rosie's. We saw her running through the woods at the beginning of the series, and I'm not sure she'd be so spry after all that blood loss. But it is also possible that I missed something or am underestimating the power of adrenaline.

I read somewhere else that Reggie is Sarah's sister. I'd been wondering the same thing, so I don't know if this is information revealed in an episode that eluded me, or if it is based on some other source.

Billie Doux said...

Just saw this one (and now the next one is waiting on my DVR) and I'm again impressed. There's something about the way they're showing evil and grief that is getting to me. Very real.

I'm not warming to Linden yet. I didn't like Holder at first, but when he did that trick on the girls in the last episode, he got interesting. And I agree that there isn't much about the political story that appeals to me yet. But Michelle Forbes rocks.

Mark Greig said...

Huh, guess I really am alone when it comes to my views on chocolate chip pancakes :)

Happy to see everyone is enjoying the show. I’m amazed how quickly it’s managed to win me over after my indifferent reaction to the pilot. Glad I took your advice about giving it another chance, Josie.

Jess, thanks for the info about Reggie. Now that I think about it I can actually see them as sisters.

Billie, that scene with Holder was what first got me thinking about reviewing the show.

Meredith said...

I had to laugh when I read this. I knew that "Rick" guy looked familiar.

Paul Kelly said...

Nice review, Mark. I'm still struggling a bit with the US version, but I enjoyed this one. The problem is, no matter how good it is, Forbrydelsen is always going to be superior. The characters are better, and at twice the length, the plot's always going to be deeper and more complex. I wonder how many red herrings the US version will have to excise because of time restraints.

And you're not alone in thinking choc-chip pancakes sound repulsive. I've tasted them and they're vile. Loved your jumperwatch section. I hope it's going to be a regular (and ever expanding) feature. How about some details on patterns and wool types? It's totally important you know? ;o)

Mark Greig said...

Glad to see you’re enjoying Jumperwatch, Paul. I knew you’d appreciate it.

I think for people like me and you, obsessive Sarah Lund fanatics with unhealthy jumper fixations, the Danish original is always going to be the better series (certainly in terms of jumpers anyway). But I do feel now that the remake has the potential to be a worthy companion piece. And with any luck it’ll encourage more people to seek out and watch the original.

Jess Lynde said...

So I take it that "jumper" is the UK expression for "sweater"? I was really confused when you mentioned the "jumpers" in earlier discussions of the show. I thought the detective in the original was wearing those over-the-shoulder, overall-like dress items that little girls wear over blouses or turtlenecks. I had an incredibly strange image of Ms. Lund and was wondering how she could be considered remotely credible as a lead homicide investigator.

But now all is clear. Whew!