The Killing Recap: Written in the Stars

The Killing Recap Eminent Domain“We’ve been going at it all Copernicus when we need to be Galileo on this bitch.” –Det. Stephen Holder, The Killing

Oh, Holder, sometimes your philosophizing makes Linden look like she’s about to “stroke out” (as you so hilariously put it), but there’s quite frequently a lot of insight in your rambling. And in this week’s installment of The Killing, “Eminent Domain,” you got the idea to view the case not through the eyes of the teenage girl victims of the “Pied Piper,” but rather to try to figure out what the murderer in question looks for when it’s time to kill.

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That shift in logic may have led to a new suspect, while another astronomy lesson — in the form of some glow-in-the-dark star decals — quite possibly absolved another. Let’s cut to the action, shall we?

THE CASE | The episode kicks off with Kallie’s mom Danette — who survived last week’s cliffhanger (discovering her pervy boyfriend Mills was in possession of her missing daughter’s phone) — arriving at the police station and trying to report her discovery. Trouble is, she’s such an addled mess that the cop on duty wonders if she’s on drugs — “my bullshit needs have already been met tonight,” he sighs — and eventually has her locked away for trashing his desk. Later, Linden stops by to question Danette in an interrogation room, and her disgust is evident. (“Shame you didn’t give us this info sooner,” she says, in place of the more obvious “I told you so.”) Danette, though, launches into a story of how she used to take young Kallie swimming back in the day, and it’s clear underneath the woman’s hard, alley-rat exterior lies the heart of a mother who — at least at one point — felt love for her little girl.

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Linden and Holder also interview Angie — the brutalized girl they rescued from the vet clinic — but her details on the killer are fuzzy at best. He’d told her to stay in the back seat of his car while he drove. He’d said that he’d “save” her. And then, as he clambered into the back with her, she wondered “Why am I sitting on plastic?” It’s all too horrifying, but Linden is singularly focused: Does the girl recognize her would-be murderer from the sheet of perps in her hand (among which is Mills’ mug). Angie’s not sure. Linden raises her voice: It’s a six-minute drive to the park, after all. “How can you be sure it’s not one of them?” Linden demands. But Angie seemingly dismisses Mills and all the faces in front of her. “I know his eyes,” the girl says, noting that the Piper looked at her as if she wasn’t there. And then, considering her missing ring finger, she looks to the detectives and asks the kind of heartbreaking question that could only be asked by a kid who doesn’t want to focus on the immediate horrors of her situation: “If someone wants to marry me, do you think it matters?”

Exiting the room, Holder makes a good point: Everybody thinks Mills is the killer — except for the girl who got attacked. Goldie’s been ruled out. The vet tech doesn’t look good for it. If not Mills, then who?

Later, when Linden discovers that her playground visit to little Adrian has sent him back to sleeping in his closet (more on that in a minute), she and Holder return to the scene of Seward’s (alleged) crime — and Linden lies down in the kitchen closet, peppered with glowing stars, where the boy slept even before his mother was murdered and his dad was convicted for the crime. Linden realizes that the night his mom was killed, Adrian was in a perfect vantage point to see the killer. This sends Linden to the prison, and things do not go well. In a nutshell:

Linden: “I know you didn’t kill your wife”
Seward: “You came to this realization, what, three years after the fact? Just 12 days before I hang?”

Oh man, how about the visual of Linden exiting the prison and getting into the car while Seward returns to the depths of his cell block? Harrowing.

Back at HQ, Holder is staring at the victims’ photos, lined up so sadly on a corkboard. The killer is the shepherd, the victims are his flock, and he goes after the lost ones, Holder theorizes. When Angie flees the hospital on her way to radiology, Linden and Holder head to Pastor Mike’s Beacon shelter, thinking that might be a logical stop for a terrified girl in trouble. Oh, and what’s on the wall? Pictures of so many lost girls. Ladies and gentlemen, we have an alternate suspect to Mills, although there are at least two more to come.

THE KIDS | Danette tracks down Bullet (or Trigger, as she thinks she’s called) and asks for help tracking Kallie. It’s an eerie bonding session for two lost souls searching for someone who’s probably not coming back. Later, Bullet goes to Lyric’s squat, finds her abandoned (again) by Twitch, and huddles with her crush for warmth. “You don’t have to be tough all the time, you know,” says Lyric, before planting a tentative kiss on Bullet. Danette, meanwhile, goes home and locks her deadbolt, then undoes it. Is she hoping maybe Kallie will find her way back? Or that Mills might return to dole out some kind of cosmic punishment for the sins of the mother? It’s hard to say.

THE CONVICT | In the quiet death-row block, Alton is tearing sheets (or that’s what it sounds like in the dark), while the guards miss bed check at 4 a.m., 4:30 and 5:00. Seward notices, tries to gauge his buddy’s state of mind, and then acquiesces to the horror that’s about to happen. As Alton slings the noose over his neck and throws his weight forward, Seward serves as his encouraging witness: “You did good. The hard part’s over. Now just let it go, kid. Nothin’ worth holding on to.”

As if to drive home the point, Seward arranges a visit with his dreadful convict dad, who’s full of scorn and rage, but also an odd affection. Turns out pops is “proud” of Seward for doing his time and keeping his mouth shut. “Dying in a jumpsuit doesn’t make you a man,” says the son, clearly regretting the face-to-face.

Oh, and getting back to Alton’s death for a moment, what was up with the missed bed check? Turns out bald badass Becker didn’t show up for his shift because he “had to take care of something.” And babyfaced Henderson was late because “the baby” was teething again. But wait: Are we 100 percent certain he has a baby? Until we see said infant, dude remains on my suspect list. How about you?

THE DETECTIVES | Linden and Reddick exchange more barbs, with our brassy rehead coming out on top again. Reddick strikes first, referring to our favorite crime-solving duo as “Linden” and “Mrs. Linden.” But when he mentions that Skinner thought they could use help, Linden lobs back a priceless zinger: “Let us know when it gets here.” Holder, though, shows some solidarity with his old partner, laughing at the way he calls Angie “four-fifths of a hand job” and wondering crassly, “did she finger Mills?” (As the girl with the missing digit lies in a hospital bed mere yards away.) (Also, in my favorite throwaway moment, Holder bums a cigarette from an elderly, wheelchair-bound patient. Why did I love that scene so much? And does it mean there’s something wrong with me? Feel free to refute that theory below!)

And finally, Adrian’s foster mother shows up angry, having discovered Linden visited the boy at his school and noting that he’s gone back to sleeping in his closet — a big, big setback in his progress. Linden promises not to do it again, but her mind has already jumped to that detail about the kid’s sleeping habits (leading to her aforementioned theory about Seward’s innocence). Later, when Linden tells Skinner she thinks Seward was wrongly convicted, he blows up. Is she too close to the case? Is there a difference between following instincts and obsession, he asks? “I’m following the evidence,” hisses Linden. She may not be a great mom. She may not be a great friend. She might even be a bit mad. But the woman has pretty solid crime-solving instincts — and that’s something not even Skinner (who has much at stake if Seward’s conviction is overturned) can’t deny.

What did you think of The Killing’s latest hour? What burning questions will keep you up tonight? Sound off below!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. David Doss says:

    The murdered girl started off with the ring. It was taken as a trophy. Bullet stole it from somewhere. Kallie has it now. Holder knows Bullet had the ring…

  2. jax says:

    another excellent hour! holder is the bomb with the Copernicus/Galileo talk.

    • Rae says:

      kallie’s mom?……….NOW SHE CARES?……….asking for bullet’s help after jacking up her name.
      I have a feeling seward didn’t kill his wife and his kid knows who did it. Holder once again the scene where he’s looking at all missing girls on the board and talking to linden………..HE REALLY WANTS TO CATCH THE S.O.B!

      • Jennifer says:

        I agree about Kallie’s mom. That was my thought when she went looking for Kallie and found Bullet, “NOW the mom cares?!”
        I thought something similar about Seward. He only seems to show any real “emotion” when it comes to his son. He said he put the stars on ceiling, he cares deeply for his son, I think Seward knows his son saw killer and this may be some twisted way of protecting him. It’ll be interesting to see if Seward’s dad fits into this somehow.

  3. Arnell says:


  4. Rsrinva says:

    Did Seward kill the priest? If he’s wrongly convicted, who’s fault is it that he became a product of his environment and killed?

    • I’ve always seen Seward as a fall guy. He’s playing the part not because he’s angrily lashing out (although that might help) but because there are crosshairs on his son, the only thing he still cares about.

  5. Lana says:

    What was the ‘gift’ Seward’s father was talking about?

  6. lydiakj says:

    Loved Holder bumming the smoke from the elderly patient, mostly for this line: “Sup, vintage playa!” The Killing is getting better and better this season, it’s a nice change. All the acting is so good.

  7. Rook says:

    Does anyone think the guy running the homeless shelter is creepy?

    • Tom says:

      Agreed. I had seen the actor (his name escapes me, sorry) in Persons Unknown, and he played a pretty creepy character so that was already my first thought of him when I first saw him appear in The Killing. I do think that his character in the show may be a red herring though. Or at least he’ll play a role in determining who is actually the killer.

      • CA says:

        The actor playing Pastor Mike is Ben Cotton. He wasn’t in Persons Unknown — but he did play a very creepy person in Harper’s Island — what that the show you were thinking about?

        I think Pastor Mike may be too obvious of a choice as the main Pied Piper but I bet he is somehow involved or at the very least knows who is committing the crimes.

  8. TD says:

    The shelter minister seems a little too obvious as the killer, and it’s too early in the show. I hope we don’t fall into a string of red herrings, which was a major weakness of the first two seasons. One small, not really important detail–they said Adrian slept in the closet near the hallway and kitchen because there wasn’t a closet in his bedroom. What bedroom doesn’t have a closet, even one in an old building?

    • Maria says:

      Actually, not having closets in the bedroom was common in old homes…. you see them all the time on house hunting shows on HGTV. I’m with you that the minister is too obvious for the killer cause frankly, I thought they were trying to foreshadow him as the killer right from the first episode. It’s definitely a been there, done that kinda storyline for it to be him. Way too easy. I hope they surprise us in the end. Great show.

      • Alichat says:

        Yeah, I’m wondering if it will be someone associated with the minister. Perhaps someone we’ve only seen walking around in the background, but will be significant later. It would have to be someone who knows more about the girls than the minister, I think, to determine if they are “lost.” If the minister is telling the truth about not prying into their lives, I don’t think he’d know which girls will turn tricks and which do not. Then again, I agree having the guard Becker disappear for unexplained reasons from the prison does raise an eyebrow about him.

  9. Tricia says:

    Linden has really grown into a great personality this season-Reddick getting burned by her makes the show for me.

  10. Chicago Dan says:

    I loved the parallels: 1) the pictures of the girls in the police room – then the pictures of the girls in the minister’s office; 2) Linden walking through the prison/Seward waling back in; 3) Callie’s mom lamenting to Linden that she (Linden) doesn’t know what it’s like to try to raise a kid on your own, with everything on her (Callie’s mom’s) back. I liked that Linden didn’t even go there.

    I’m so glad that they made Callie’s mom a little more three-dimensional, which is one thing TK does very well.

  11. R says:

    Maybe grandpa did it.

  12. Lora says:

    Didn’t Callie’s mom return to the motel and not her home, which is a trailer, right? Would Callie even know that she’s at the motel, or was unlocking the door so Mills could enter and she could try to catch/harm him?

  13. jeremy brett says:

    The second half of Season 3 will focus more on Adrian. After all, Adrian is the only character who presumably saw the murderer of his mother AND more importantly, drew the picture that led to the discovery of the other 17 bodies. Adrian knows who the murderer is, and Ray knows that Adrian knows. When Adrian’s adopted mother says to Ray, “he forgives you,” Ray knew she was bluffing because he knows that Adrian has nothing to forgive him for. Adrian is the key, Ray is a patsy merely protecting his son. We are still missing information to make a causal connection between the Seward killing and the serial murders, so we don’t know the murderer is Pastor Mike, Joe Mills, the drug counselor, or the Prison Guard Becker. And yes, Henderson has a baby. He had spit-up on his uniform as noticed by Ray and the rest of us.

    • r says:

      Yes, Adrian knows who did it and KNOWS the murderer. So it could be his grandfather. Remember what he said to Ray when he visited Ray in prison. Is Ray’s father involved?

  14. K8 O'Gr8y says:

    I’ve been enjoying this season, and I love that Linden keeps burning Holders partner with zingers…also loved the scene with Holder bumming the cig from the eldery (on oxygen!) patient, and admire him for his philosophical ruminations. The thing that bugged me about this episode was the fact that Linden had this huge revelation that Adrian may have seen the killer from the closet. When they investigated the murder three years previous she said the boy was found hiding in the closet. Why didn’t Linden have this revelation then? She is a great detective, I feel like its a stretch to think it never occurred to her or her old partner to consider that at the time. Thats the kind of plot point that is in half a dozen different Law & Order SVU episodes. Seemed really obvious to me.

    • Lyn says:

      Yeah, son & I were talking about that last night — how does the murder go down, and the husband land on death row, and Linden maintain an obsession for years with the crime and the kid, but no one wonders WHEN the boy crawled into the closet or what he might have seen? Holey plots, police idiocy and red herrings are just part of this show. (Still enjoy the acting and atmosphere, though.)

    • Linderella says:

      Linden was not lead detective on the case 3 years ago – lover was. She also had a breakdown as a result of the case so she was more of an assistant than investigator. Her partner is the one who blew the investigation or is at least primarily responsible for it.

  15. M says:

    Holder’s new partner is the killer. He disappeared for “coffee” to not be identified by the girl and then “messed up” by letting her run away. He is also the least obvious. After they point to each character as the suspect, they will finally stop at him.

    • STemple says:

      @M. I came to the same conclusion. Gregg Henry always plays great sleazeballs, going back to the movies “Body Double” and “Payback” and recently on TV’s “Scandal.” His character Reddick would be able to get girls in his car with his badge, tell them he wants to “save” them, and direct them to sit in the back seat like cops do (remember when Holder demands that Bullet sit in the back when they are looking for Callie? It’s a cop thing and also a great reveal that most would miss). He would certainly be able to kill the child and thus scare Ray into taking the fall. Ray’s wife could have been sleeping with Reddick and who else but another cop would know Linden’s whereabouts last year when somebody planted that kid’s drawing in her motel room? Could Reddick and Skinner be the killers together, using government issued Hazmat bags? Maybe just Skinner is the killer. That his wife tells Linden she has forgiven him for cheating means he could have cheated with Ray’s wife, too. He is trying to keep Linden from talking to the boy. Why is that? And remember Ray asked to see Skinner, who declined to go. And then Ray called him.

      • M says:

        great point about Reddick and getting the girls into the police car. it was also mentioned that Reddick’s apparent “clumsiness and laziness” essentially stalled the investigation for years. Linden’s boss didn’t do it because there are not enough clues so far into the season for the writters to go “hey, the clues were there all along” in the end. the only other option is his wife, because a woman could also get girls easily into her car, and because everyone in the precinct agreed so readily to the suspect being male. but that’s also not enough clues upto this point, so it is unlikely.

        • Art says:

          At some point early on, the coroner mentioned about the strength required to inflict such wounds with just a knife. (mentioned near decapitation) So that’s why I think everyone is under the assumption the killer is a man.

          • STemple says:

            Maybe Reddick doesn’t flash his badge. He’s a plain clothes cop in an unmarked car. Or he’s using another car and giving the girls a scam line. Then again if he is flashing a badge, the girl would not feel safe telling other cops that one of their own is the killer.

          • STemple says:

            Jodie Arias nearly decapitated her victim.

      • Art says:

        If Reddick were getting girls into the backseat with his badge, then the latest victim, who can’t identify anyone, would at least be able to say that he was a cop, but she didn’t.

    • Skylar says:

      Good catch. But there’s the question of why there’s a gap in the killings of 3-5 years and now according to the coroner’s guesstimate of how long the bodies had been at the dump site and why were they all killed during a 6 month period until now?

  16. feby says:

    I also love that scene when Holder took the cigarette from an elderly on a wheelchair. Its hilarious. Holder is just so awesome in this episode!

  17. Skylar says:

    I’ve been wondering about the motif of rings (missing rings/broken ring fingers/severed ring finger… Twitch wears a gold wedding band on his necklace…. Pastor Mike has a crown of thorns above his Ephesians 1:7 tattoo… Kallie has Bullet’s ring). And the initial victim Ashley was known to wear several rings, all missing, but only one finger, her ring finger, was broken… Rings symbolize… marriage/commitment/fidelity?

    Pastor Mike is a good fit for “the angel of mercy” type killer, but that would be banal. Too easy.

    How did 6 yrs. old Adrian come to see the body dump…in order to draw it? Who brought him there… why would he have had to have been in the closet to know who the killer is, if he’s been to the dump site with the killer?

  18. Max says:

    Welll..I dont want to spoiler anything….and i will type SPOILER with caps…but if you go to imdb and check Peter Saarsgard profile you will find something veryyy interesting……!

  19. bigdave27 says:

    Best episode so far this season. I esp liked when Linden used her finger to “finger” Mills in the lineup photo she showed to the victim. I also liked how they used “Hide and Seek” to let us know that Kallie had been found by the killer, leaving behind her blood in the previous episode in a bad hiding spot. Holder was once again brilliant and his scene bumming the cig was cool.