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The Killing: Beau Soleil

“Nothing beats dead Indians. Didn't you see Poltergeist?”

My friends, last week The Killing had never risen higher. And now it has fallen so much further.

I really didn't like this episode. In fact, I'd almost go so far as to say I hated it. All week long I've been struggling to muster up the energy just to review it (and I think it shows). The whole thing felt clumsy and rushed as the writers tried to cram in as much plot development as they could into a less than 45 minutes. Considering that Forbrydelsen gave them an established blue print to work with, the writers on this show have done a pretty lopsided job plotting out this season. The series hasn't so much as built up to this point as stumbled in drunk after getting lost. And now its desperately fumbling to make up for lost time.

Let's break down what I liked and didn't like about 'Beau Soleil'.

What I liked

--Cami, Holder's old partner. She was practically a female version of him. They even chewed gum in rhythm. More of her for season two, please.

Huh, that's it. I could've sworn there was more than just that. Oh well, moving on...

What I didn't like

--This week Linden and Holder learned that Rosie Larsen had been working part time for a online escort service – wait, wait, wait, the who whatting how with huh? Rosie Larsen was a call girl? Rosie Larsen? The same artistic, poetry loving, likes to make arty 8mm films Rosie Larsen? Okay, can't say I saw that coming. Came a little out of nowhere that one. Then again, that is the point of a twist, its meant to be a surprise and catch you off guard. But twists should also make sense. This twist did not make sense and was a little too Laura Palmer for my liking.

--The political storyline was more evident than usual. This is never a good thing.

--Mitch Larsen. I'm starting to really dislike Mitch. For the majority of the season she was almost catatonic with grief, but in recent episodes she's become a right spiteful bitch, lashing out at anyone unfortunate enough to come into her orbit. I'm so glad the boys didn't have any scenes with her this week.

--Beau Soleil. For eleven episodes we've heard precisely sod all about this online escort service. Now, all of a sudden, it turns out everyone is connected to it. Which brings us to...

--Randy Politician. For much of the season Darren Richmond has been a walking cure for insomnia. But now the writers are trying to make him more interesting by revealing that... he's been having sex with prostitutes? Really, that's the best they could come up with?

--Stan's Dream. Purely a personal one but I hate it whenever I character starts talking about this strange dream they had.

--Linden's parental paranoia. Come on, Sarah, I know what Helo did was bad, and that 'beautiful family' comment was low, but if you keep Jack away from his father that's just going to make him want to see him even more.

--The collapse of the Mayor's campaign in the space of one morning. This all rang false, like a quick fix designed by the writers to give Darren a lead over that evil Mayor. You would've thought being accused of having an young (and pregnant) mistress would've been enough to scuttle the Mayor's re-election chances. No, it took a curse from a freakin' Indian burial group to really ruin Mayor Adams.

--The Twist Ending. So Darren Richmond is Orpheus, a regular customer of Beau Soleil and possibly the killer. Wasn't much of a shock since they've been pointing at Darren for a while. But did he kill Rosie? I don't think so. Seeing call girls and being creepy around them does not make someone a murderer. I'm expecting a further twist.

Notes and Quotes

--Jumperwatch: After last week's hiatus the knitwear was back in action.

--In Greek mythology Orpheus was a musician who descending into the underworld to bring back his dead wife, Eurydice. After impressing Hades, Persephone and Randy Jackson with an emotional version of Adele's 'Someone Like You' the judges of Underworld Idol allowed Orpheus to return to Earth with Eurydice, but on the condition that he should walk in front of her and not look back until they both had reached the upper world. He set off with Eurydice following, and, in his anxiety, as soon as he reached the upper world, he turned to look at her, forgetting that both needed to be in the upper world, and she vanished forever.

--Lots of familiar faces this week, Alona Tal (Veronica Mars, Supernatural), Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica, Dollhouse), Alisen Down (Smallville, Battlestar Galactica) and Bill Dow (Stargate's Dr Bill Lee).

--In Forbrydelsen the politician, the more interesting and brilliantly named Troels Hartmann, used an online dating service not an online hooker service. And his username was Faust, not Orpheus.

Holder: “So good little dead girl was a bad little live girl.”

Linden: “What was her name?”
Cami: “Sugar Tits. I don't know.”

Stan: “I'm here because you pushed me here. So don't go acting like you didn't want that man back. Only reason I'm in here and you're out there is 'cause I had the balls to admit what I did.”
---
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

14 comments:

Josie Kafka said...

"Stan's Dream. Purely a personal one but I hate it whenever I character starts talking about this strange dream they had."

I agree. In fact, I think we should add this to Billie's Rules of Television. If a character starts to talk about this dreams (and they're not prophetic), we know the show is struggling with characterization.

What really got me, though, was the clumsiness of the Orpheus/Richmond reveal. His involvement in the story has so far been tangential, and that made him such an obvious suspect that now I feel like we're being told "Surprise! The red herring? Not so red after all!" If, that is, he is the killer. Or if his girlfriend is.

Jess Lynde said...

I hope we're still dealing with red herrings and that the real culprit will be revealed this week. I still think Drexler is a good candidate. He was using Beau Soleil girls in his crazy swimming pool and pointedly mentioned something about powerful friends getting him out of trouble. And would Richmond really be so stupid as to have his escort service email forward to the same account as his work mail? Maybe. If the writers needed him to be. Erg.

Glad to see coverage of the deep "Vancouver genre actors" pool this week! Note: Alisen Down also had a recurring role on SG-1 and SGU as Dr. Brightman. I really liked her character here, too. She'd be fun to see again. Although, to be perfectly honest, unless they really leave us hanging on something I MUST see the resolution for, I don't plan to watch a second season of this show. No matter how entertaining I find Holder.

Also, two small corrections: "Helo" did Sarah wrong, not Halo. And I think you forgot the word "girl" in your quote about the "good little dead girl".

As always, Mark, an entertaining read. Even when the show fails to entertain.

Gus Brunetti said...

If somebody ever asks me "Gus, what series would you say doesn't live up to the hype?", (which is very likely, people ask me questions like this out of the blue all the time) I'd answer right away "The Sopranos and The Killing". And the fact that it's got a second season only makes me angrier at the fact they didn't give Rubicon the same chance. And Rubicon offered something The Killing failed to deliver: slow but steady revelations. By the end of the season, we realized we had few but satisfying answers, and that they were scattered along all episodes.

And if the Super8 film doesn't figure into the final picture in the next ep, I'll be super pissed. They put a lot of weight on it; it was the freaking title to the episode, by the way. They really implied it was an important clue. If they don't mention it again come Sunday, I'll assume it was a sly commercial for the JJ Abrahams movie.

I wish, for one, that I had watched the whole season in a seating (or 2; or 3). Waiting a week for episodes that give you virtually nothing has been a burden. And that's what I'll do for the 2nd season: I'll let the eps pile up; if people start saying S02 feels like S01, I'll just delete them.

I don't love any of the characters nearly enough for that. I hate Linden; she treats everybody like sh*t and never answers a question. I hate people like this in real life, why would I like them in fiction?

Rant over.

Dimitri A.C. Ly said...

Gus, what series would you say doesn't live up to the hype?

Patryk said...

Orpheus as a nickname fits Tichmond so i guess he was using Beau Soleil girls to roleplay his wife to bring her back from the dead and Rosie judging from the pics Linden saw looks similar to Richmond's dead wife. So i call the herring still red.

What i would like as a twist: Rick the fiancee killing Rosie just to test Linden's commitment to him. A test to see if she would again choose the investigation over life. After all Callum Keith Rennie is a killer everywhere he appears.

Mark Greig said...

Thanks for the corrections, Jess. Now been fixed.

Jess Lynde said...

Patryk, you should check out the later seasons of Due South if you ever have the hankering to see Callum Keith Rennie in a non-villain role (although he plays a cop, so the "killer" label could technically still apply --- I don't recall). He takes over as co-lead for the show and acquits himself ably. That's the first place I ever saw him, and even though he was a bit cranky, I'll always have a special place in my heart for Det. Stanley Raymond Kowalski.

Gus Brunetti said...

You know, Dimitri, I've never thought about it, the question took me completely by surprise. I'd say The Sopranos, The Killing and all the LOST wannabes.

Mark Greig said...

Gus, you've got me thinking. If someone were to come up to me and randomly ask me that question (without trying to sell me something first) my answers would be, off the top of my head, Mad Men, Glee, Boardwalk Empire and all the Lost wannabes.

What about everyone else, what series would you say doesn't live up to the hype?

Greg Boyd said...

If hype is measured by critical reaction, I really don't think "The Killing" qualifies. It got strong reviews from many (myself included) out of the gate, but I think most people have become kind of fed up. I actually really liked this latest episode, though: it was very creepy and there's actually some effective storytelling on display.

In regards to series that don't live up to the hype, I would agree with "The Sopranos". Don't get me wrong... it's a great show, one of the best ever. But both "Deadwood" and "The Wire" are better as far as HBO shows go. "The Shield" and "Arrested Development" are too.

Others... I'm probably going to get in trouble for saying this, but "Buffy" would probably top the list. I like the show a lot, but the first season and a half is basically terrible and even the good-to-great seasons (the virtually flawless season 5 aside) have some bad episodes. It's a landmark series, sure, and a really good one. But it's hardly top ten or top five material, which is where a lot of people tend to put it.

"Lost" would be up there as well, for the same reaason. There was too much inconsistency, although much of it was brilliant. And I'll never forgive the show for "Fire + Water".

Among current shows... "Louie" on FX. I love it and will be covering it weekly on my blog, but I still don't understand why it made so many top ten lists last year. Again, consistency is the key, and it's just not there yet.

Among the shows Mark mentioned... not a fan of "Glee" (I quit about a third of the way through season 1 once I realized it was never going to get back to the level of those first two episodes). I would have agreed about "Mad Men" just a few years ago, but not any more after this past season (which was a masterwork). Haven't seen "Boardwalk Empire" yet, since I don't get HBO.

Anyway, that's my take. Sorry if it's a tad long. Now feel free to tell me I'm an idiot for not loving "Buffy" as much as most. I know it's a very popular show on this site.

Billie Doux said...

Greg,

Dissenting opinions are always welcome here, and so are your comments. I tend to get testy when someone just posts "I hate this thing that you loved" without an explanation, because that's what trolls do to upset people and provoke flaming. Your comment is not even close to being troll-like, because you gave your reasons. And your reasons for liking or not liking something are just as valid as mine.

I won't call you an idiot for finding fault with Buffy. As I say now and then, everyone's mileage varies. I forgave Buffy a lot because it was tremendously special to me and I loved it so much. Not everyone can, and I accept that. It would be boring if we all felt the same about everything, wouldn't it?

Jess Lynde said...

I'm with you on Mad Men not living up to the hype. I initially didn't care for it at all, but gave it another try after it was several seasons in. On occasion, it throws down an episode that, for me, absolutely lives up to the hype, but for the most part, I don't enjoy it on a consistent basis as much as say Deadwood, The Wire, or Breaking Bad. I often find myself nodding off during episodes, and I think it is because of the measured pacing and the general feeling that the show is more mood than content. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it just doesn't always hit the sweet spot for me. I still like the show, am quite fond of Don, Peggy, and Joan. (And I find Pete very intriguing at times.) I just don't find it the awesome masterpiece the critical community seems to think it is.

Josie Kafka said...

I'm very ambivalent about Mad Men. It's either a wonderful, brilliant show, or a huge dupe. Increasingly, I lean towards the dupe side of the spectrum. Would we all think it was so brilliant if it had a score?

Dimitri might beat me into a bloody pulp for this, but I vote for Gilmore Girls as overrated. I liked it, sure, but I wasn't amazed by the brilliance of the dialogue like many people seemed to be.

I do think Angel's fourth season is underrated, though. It's a brilliant turgid supernatural soap opera.

magritte said...

Honestly, a lot of heavily hyped shows have disappointed me over the Years. I got board of Lost and the Walking Dead partway through their second seasons, couldn't get into 24 and rage-quit Homeland after Carrie started her affair with Damien. And I'm with Jess Lynde on Mad Men after having seen most of season 1. Sure, it's well written and acted, but nothing much seems to really happen.