The Killing – “Orpheus Descending”

Season One, Episode Thirteen

Unfortunately, I’ve been insanely busy and haven’t had a chance to write my review of the season finale until Tuesday. This is unfortunate because my ears have been bleeding from the polarizing responses and comments about the finale, and now I feel like I have to chime in based on everything that has been said on the Internet.

But first and foremost, let me briefly recap the episode. We pick up where the second-to-last episode left off, at the surprising realization that the e-mail of “Orpheus” was coming from Councilman Richmond’s home. Linden knew she was in trouble when Richmond’s silhouette stood in her way to safety, but remained calm and stern and squeezed her way out of a potentially dangerous situation. Of course, it didn’t help that all of a sudden, Richmond was talking in his creepy-whispering voice.

So Linden and Holder are on the mission to gain enough evidence to arrest Richmond. Like what the entire season of The Killing has taught us, that’s a lot easier said than done. The two detectives are keen to find some kind of surveillance picture of Richmond that would put him inside of the car on the night that Rosie Larsen was murdered. That would destroy Richmond’s alibi and give enough evidence to at least lock him up for the time being. The detectives visited numerous gas stations, but to no avail.

Meanwhile, Stan finds it hard to come back home to Mitch after Terry bails Stan out of prison. When they do meet, Mitch admits that she hasn’t been herself since Rosie died and she’s not responsible enough to take care of the family. With her bags packed, she sadly leaves the household. It pained him to see her go, but knowing everything that she put him and the family though, he didn’t argue too much.

While Richmond was eagerly awaiting his victory as the new Mayor of Seattle, his campaign managers start to question whether he was hiding something important about his past. Like the politician he is, he shrugs it off and changes the subject, but I don’t think it fooled Gwen and Jamie. In a pivotal scene, Gwen confesses to Linden about Richmond’s alibi and hands her the disc that Mayor Adams gave her.

Then finally, the nail in the coffin was Holder slamming down a picture that was taken on a surveillance camera at the bridge that Richmond crossed that breaks his alibi on the night Rosie Larsen was murdered. The detectives had all they needed to put away Richmond, and they did so during his rally. Richmond warned Linden something on the lines like “You have no idea what you’re doing.”

However, when we all thought things were wrapped up in a semi-satisfying finale, The Killing springs its stunning conclusion. While Linden and Jack were finally seated on the plane that would bring them to her very patient fiance, she gets a revealing call on her phone about how the cameras on the bridge haven’t been in service for years. Then we see Holder take a seat in the passenger seat of a car, implying to the driver that “They bought it.”

And television remotes around the nation flew across their living rooms as the credits rolled. Okay, now I believe it’s time to give my assessment and either jump on the angry bandwagon of fans declaring their hatred towards the finale and swearing to never watch the show again, or to defend The Killing’s honor of unconventional and creative television. Honestly, I was one hundred percent satisfied with the finale. I, along with every other television-viewer my age (and older), has seen dozens of cop shows with their murder mysteries and investigations. That being said, we’re accustomed to the process and have expectations when a new cop show hits our TV-screens.

But nothing prepared us for a show quite like The Killing. There was a point around the eighth episode of the season when I discussed with a friend about how we might not know who the killer is by the end of the season. I dismissed this possibility as silly because let’s face it, EVERY show reveals who the killer is at the end of the season. But The Killing has done things so unorthodox throughout, and that’s why I wasn’t entirely surprised when the credits rolled and we were still stumped about who killed Rosie Larsen. Sure, this frustrated fans who stuck with the show from the start, but I’m actually shocked that anyone could be genuinely blind-sided by the way the finale ended.

I’m not saying that The Killing is a perfect show. Like all shows, it has its flaws, but ending the season the way it did was not one of them. I would’ve taken this direction over a formulaic, season-long murdery mystery arc any day. The Killing is one of the most honest shows I’ve had the pleasure to watch in recent memory. And what a lot of people don’t understand is that The Killing isn’t only about finding the murderer. This is just another reason why I’m not upset that the case is still open. Plus we have characters that are so rich and full of depth, I feel like I’m growing up with them through the two weeks after Rosie’s death.

And let’s face it. There were approximately 2.3 million people who watched the finale on Sunday. Do I really think more than half of that audience isn’t going to tune into the second season? Not a chance. Let this controversy spark a new group of viewers to catch up in time for Linden to crack down on the real killer.

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