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The Killing: Orpheus Descending

“Every piece of this place hurts me.”

Look on the season finale of The Killing, ye Mighty, and despair!

I've put off writing this review because even thinking about this episode just made me so angry I couldn't type. I can't remember the last time a TV series pissed me off as much as this. I'm actually surprised that I managed to hold back on the excessive swearing and ranting. But there's been enough excessive swearing and ranting about this finale already (not that there won't be some swearing).

So I'm going to keep this review short and to the point. This episode was bad. Really bad. Maybe the worst season finale I've ever seen. After enduring thirteen weeks of endless rain, numerous red herrings, perpetual misery and Darren Richmond we got absolutely zero return on our investment. Instead all we got was a great big slap in the face. Let me try and explain its awfulness in completely made up television mathematics. Basically, you take everything Heroes did after season one + Lorelai marrying Christopher in Paris x THIS ÷ ARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!! = 'Orpheus Descending'.

To date we still don't know who killed Rosie Larsen. That's been saved for season two. It wasn't enough that the writers made us wait this long, now they expect us to wait a whole year to find out who killed bloody Rosie Larsen. Well, to paraphrase Howard Beale, the eminent philosopher and poet, I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to watch The Killing anymore.

I'm done. Finished. No more for me, thank you very much.

The final deal breaker for me wasn't the show's refusal to finally reveal whodunit. My spider-sense had been tingling for a while on that one. No, the deal breaker was that 'shocking' final twist; Stephen Holder is working with a mysterious someone to actively frame Richmond for Rosie's murder.

I think I speak for everyone when I say, “What the fuck, Veena Sud?”

When I first started watching I feared I'd get something like this. That the writers would end with season with a massive twist that was more shocking than it was logical. But I never in a million years thought they'd do something this absurd. Holder was the only reason I was even considering reviewing season two. Now we're being told he's a traitor. And a really stupid traitor at that. His plan to frame Richmond is so deeply flawed it's almost moronic. Did he not think that someone might notify the police about the cameras being broken that weekend? He's the one who gave them Linden's number for Christ's sake!

Other Crimes and Misdemeanours

--Yesterday Linden was threatening Helo with child abduction. Today it was all “I hope you guys are having fun.” Again, What the fuck, Veena Sud?

--Gwen, of course Richmond would've been soaking wet when he got back to the hotel. Because in Seattle is never, ever stops raining.

--Mitch decided that her family didn't need her and left to walk the earth like Kane from Kung Fu or something. Stan didn't object or try to explain that he'd spent their savings on a house. So after losing their sister, Denny and Tommy have now been abandoned by their mother and will likely see their father go to jail for a very long time. I see a lot of therapy in their respective futures.

--Oh, and just so they could end things on a cliff-hanger, Belko, upset by the collapse of the Larsen family and all out of rocks to punch, watched Taxi Driver one too many times and decided to Jack Ruby Darren Richmond.

And so ends my time reviewing The Killing. It's been an up and down experience to be sure. Thank you to everyone who's stuck with me on this seemingly endless Odyssey of disappointment and rage. If any of you want to continue, then I wish you the best of luck and offer you my deepest sympathies.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.


  1. I'm all for the idea of a more personal type of murder mystery, with the emphasis on a single murder and its effect on a family and community. (Like Twin Peaks.) But I feel like the writers and producers of The Killing don't understand how to write an effective twist. As you said, Mark, Holden was the best character; he was the reason I kept watching. And they just ruined him as a character. There can be no excuse whatsoever for what he did. So any interest I had in continuing watching the series is now gone.

    Actually, the opening scenes where Linden and Holden were going, hey, we could check the mileage of the murder car and there could be credit card receipts just infuriated me. I don't follow procedural cop shows and even I know that it's the first thing a cop will do.

    Thanks for hanging in there with the first season, Mark. It really did have promise at first. I'm surprised at AMC for allowing this to happen when they're known for such quality shows.

  2. I had finally convinced my husband to watch one of "my" shows. It indeed started sooooo promising. But as we sat through the never ending rain (which I'm sure the Seattle tourism board LOVED) each week, I was truly getting more and more depressed. As we sat down to watch the final two episodes on the DVR, my husband was still in so I was happy too. NOT ANYMORE!!! We were both appalled as Holder got in that car and drove off. I'm afraid I'm back to watching "my" shows alone during my 2:00 am insomniac moments after that absolute fiasco.

  3. I don't think it's possible to take an existing crime drama, follow 80 percent of the original storyline, and then deviate at the last minute. The stories and threads just peter out into nothing, the weeks of build up are for naught, and the characters start acting out of character. Which is exactly what happened.

    The show didn't take enough chances and deviated from the source material at critical moments. The things which made Forbrydelsen such compelling watching were excised completely. All that was left was a story with its heart cut out, some shit jumpers, and an entirely unsatisfactory conclusion. Thirteen weeks and we still know sweet Fanny Adams? Are you serious? I want my money back!

  4. My favorite part of this finale? The ads for the new season of Breaking Bad.

    Mark, I've been eagerly waiting all week for you to rip this to shreds, so that we could all vent together. You (unlike The Killing) did not disappoint! Much thanks.

    I had pretty much the same reaction you did. As soon as it was over, I made a disgusted noise and said to my husband (in the adjacent room), "That's it. I'm out." And, as you said, it wasn't really the lack of resolution on the murder front that did it. (At this point I don't honestly care who killed Rosie Larsen.) What really finished it for me was the twist with Holder. Do NOT take the ONE character I have invested in and turn him into a villain (or make it appear that you have)! If my investment in the characters is little more to you than a tool you can use to jerk me around, then consider me an ex-viewer. I've got much better shows to watch.

    Another "Crime and Misdemeanor" you missed: Bennet's wife somehow didn't recognize the man that turned himself in for beating her husband almost to death. Even if she didn't recognize him as the dad of the prominent murder victim her husband was accused of killing, she certainly should have recognized him as her husband's confessed attacker. Gimme a break.

    And it started out with such promise. What a disappointment.

  5. Yes, yes, yes. I wanted so badly to like this show, given that I love detective stories.

    But this really wasn't one. There was very little detection going on, as you noticed. So much real detective work was left until this final episode. Holder and Linden worked apparently in a vacuum, having been given no uniformed or junior-detective support, on what was portrayed as the most shocking murder Seattle had seen in a while, given the emphasis on news coverage. Staring tight-lipped at a picture of a victim and touching the computer screen is not detection.

    Unlike the rest of the world, I wasn't too enamored of Holder. But the sudden reversal was still offensive, because it might mean everything we'd seen him do, including his emphasis on truth-telling and integrity, was a lie. If so, why go to the bothersome extent of lying to an entire NA group just to make yourself seem trustworthy to your partner? If not, how does his willingness to falsify evidence, badly, relate to his emphasis on honesty?

    Finally, why didn't Stan just tell his wife he bought a house?!

    Some of my anger had dissipated during the week, but it's coming back now as I'm reminded of how maddening this finale was.

    Mark, props to you for sticking it out. Getting a dud on your first currently running show isn't fair. Way to go, Mark!

  6. Happy to know that everyone's been enjoying the reviews. At least we can say something nice came out of the disaster that was the season finale of The Killing.

    Jess, nice catch, forgot about that one. Usually I watch an episode at least twice before writing a review, just in case I've missed something. But with this one I thought that once was more than enough.

  7. I just built up the courage to watch it. I didn't get angry. I started apathetic and stayed that way. This was truly a waste of time.

    I have another equation for you, Mark: Twin Peaks - charm - interesting plot/characters + pointless storylines = The Killing.

    There were more red herrings than you can fit in a Sea World tank.

    When I heard the name of this series, I though it referred to the killing of Rosie Larson, not of the audience. With boredom.

    Is it too late for AMC to cancel season 2 and give us another season of Rubicon, instead?

  8. I would really suggest that everybody watch the original The Killing by the way. Without doubt one of the most gripping (and dare I say best?) shows I've ever seen. Series 2 of the Danish Killing isn't as good as the perfect first, but seriously, watch it!

  9. Wow, I did not get the reaction you guys did. I thought it was a really good show. I loved the acting, the writing and the setting. I was concerned about continuing on when I read this review. However, this show had been highly recommended by several people I trust and knowing it was one of the most critically acclaimed shows out there kept me going. Obviously, this show isn't for everyone, but for those reading this who are still enjoying it, I am halfway through the second season and love it still.

  10. I finished 2nd season. It was awesome and the third season looks promising as well. Give it a chance. It is one of my favorite shows I have binged.

  11. Season 2 wasn't my favorite, but I really liked season 3 and thought that season 4 was great. Mireille Enos's performance was the reason that I kept watching. She was always great, even if some of the plotting wasn't.

  12. Well, I just watched the first season and I'll give my take on what worked and didn't.

    What worked: The Larsens were mostly great, particularly Stan's arc. Honestly, if it had been a short (say five or six episode) series about the strain of a murdered child and a very public murder investigation on a family, it would have been a good one. Though I can't for the life of me understand why you would use your life savings to buy a house without consulting the rest of your family.

    What sometimes worked: The investigation (until the end anyway). Sarah and Holder were great, but it's telling that their best episode was Missing...in which the investigation was on hold. It started off okay, but when they made progress it was more by chance than good investigating, and when they were stalled it was because people lied to them needlessly. Bennet Ahmed could surely have told them when Rosie came and went without mentioning the Somali girl that the police had no interest in. Belko could have told them about the phone call; he really had nothing important to hide at all. Hell, the cab driver could have called them up day 1 after seeing Rosie's face on TV. And the FBI thing was just dumb: by random chance they just happen to show up the day the FBI raids the place. If they wanted the FBI in there at all, they should have been investigating the missing Somali girl as part of a possible human trafficking operation, which would have at least tied in to the rest of the plot. And the final twist just doesn't really make any sense...if we didn't have an explanation for the other leaks it could have been that Holder was working with the mayor all along, but we do. So it seemed like it came out of nowhere. For that matter, the Beau Soleil girl thing seemed improbable, too.

    What never worked: the mayor election plot. As Mark has said repeatedly the politics plot was just terrible. Dull characters, ridiculous plot devices. In a sense, I welcomed Darren as the killer because otherwise there wasn't any justification for him being in the show at all.


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