The Killing Season 3 Finale Recap: The Killer Is...

The Killing Season 3 Finale RecapWarning: If you have yet to watch the Season 3 finale of The Killing, hop on over to another TVLine URL. Everyone else, jump on in!

To me, The Killing has always been more about the journey (of Linden and Holder methodically working and charmingly vibing) than the destination (of solving the titular homicide).

RELATED | The Killing‘s Peter Sarsgaard on Ray’s ‘Cosmic’ Guilt, ‘Flawed’ Sense of Heroism — Plus: The Scene That Made Him ‘Black Out’

Oh sure, executive producer Veena Sud & Co. tested us — and how! — by dragging out the “Who killed Rosie Larsen?” storyline for all of Seasons 1 and 2 (and cooking up enough red herrings to feed the entire population of Seattle for a year). But Season 3’s meditative march toward taking down the Pied Piper — the brutal serial killer of teenage prostitutes (and perhaps the wife of wrongfully executed Ray Seward) — has been an altogether different animal. The implicit promise of a resolution at the end of 12 episodes has allowed us to bask in the sad, sombre, overcast mood (punctuated with bursts of Holder’s cheeky humor). Along the way, we’ve been treated to some of the most subtly powerful (or should we go with powerfully subtle?) acting work on the small screen all year.

And yet in tonight’s back-to-back finale installments — “From Up Here” and “The Road to Hamelin” — the time arrived to recount the evidence against a certain member of the Seattle Police Dept: Yep, Detective Carl Reddick, Holder’s former professional partner and Linden’s frequent verbal sparring partner. As Linden and Holder outlined to their boss, Lt. James Skinner, the proof was damning (albeit circumstantial).

* Reddick initially tried to dump the case on the hapless Jablonski
* He used to live next door to the Pied Piper’s first victim
* He took Bullet’s final calls to the precinct, before she turned up murdered
* He let the only survivor of the serial killer, Angie, slip out of the hospital before she’d met with a sketch artist

But — whoops! — maybe they shouldn’t have shared with Skinner and Skinner alone, a fact Linden learned when she stopped by her boss/lover’s home to discuss the case and the subsequent disappearance of little Adrian Seward, the boy whose mom had been presumably killed because he’d seen the murderer from his tree-house perch several years back. When Skinner’s family arrived home, Linden spotted his daughter sporting the gaudy turquoise ring once owned by missing teen Kallie — tying everything together in one bloody (convenient) (horrifying) (slightly contrived) knot.

The season ended with Linden holding Skinner at gunpoint as he took her on a verrrrry long drive to the secluded lakehouse where he was allegedly holding Adrian. But it turned out the boy was merely camped out at his dead mother’s gravesite. After a long night of head games, though, Linden gave Skinner the Old Yeller treatment, putting a bullet into him — much to the shock of her just-on-the-scene partner Holder. “No!” he cried. “No, no, no.” And just like that, we cut to black.

The ending was so abrupt, in fact, I half wondered if there’d be some kind of epilogue after the final ad break. But nope, this is how The Killing ended, not with crisp certainty, but with typical fuzziness. (Whether the ending is just for now or forever, we won’t know until AMC announces either a Season 4 pickup or an ill-advised cancellation.)

And yet as much as I hope we’re treated to the Further Adventures of Linden and Holder, I’ve got to be honest: The two hour finale was a letdown after an otherwise outstanding season of television. To that end, let me jump in and offer my picks for the three best and worst aspects of the finale — plus the resolutions of several key subplots:

Three Biggest Finale Complaints
* Haven’t we seen the “But the lady cop was sleeping with the killer the whole time?” plot development on at least a dozen throwaway Lifetime movies? And in this case, Linden is a fantastic detective with incredible instincts, which makes the math even harder to work through. On some level, it felt as though the show’s writers ended up pinning the murders on the least likely character (aside from Linden or Holder) for mere shock value, rather than having our fearless duo’s detective work from the last several months pay off in any significant way. The overall effect was like having your Mensa-member child score a 70 on his math test. “Kid, you could’ve done better!”

* OK, so let’s say that we’re buying Skinner as the killer. And let’s say that we’re also buying that Linden agreed to take the car ride on the off chance that Skinner was truly leading her to a kidnapped Adrian. If Linden’s sole motivation at that point was saving the boy she’d promised to protect, then why in the world did she respond to Skinner’s “you loved me, Sarah” nonsense by stumbling out of the car, turning her back to the killer, vomiting on the dusty shoulder of some almost-abandoned road and giving Skinner an opportunity to kill or incapacitate her? And speaking of which, how come Skinner didn’t at least bonk Linden over the head with a rock and run for the border, instead of inexplicably handing her a tissue? It would make more sense if McDonald’s tried to market the McGriddle as 100% organic.

* My other pet peeve from the finale was that final red herring of Linden and Holder finding a photo of Reddick with his arm around the first Pied Piper victim on her family’s living room wall — and then discovering Reddick used to be the dead girl’s neighbor. Combined with all the other coincidences above — plus that bandage on his hand during his fight with Holder and his discovery of the killer’s trophy collection — that photo felt like one detail too many for it to not end up being Reddick in the end. Who’s with me?

Three Best Moments of the Finale
* The Linden-Holder chemistry never fails to delight me, and this week found the duo at their absolute best. I loved Linden commenting on Holder switching from his tattered grey hoodie to a darker and more stylish counterpart: “You look nice. I see you changed your thingie and shaved, kinda.” But even better was Holder figuring out Linden’s affair with Skinner and teasing her with his serial-chiller charm: “Oh c’mon Linden, I don’t gotta be my sleuth par excellence to see the cat’s got a hand in the jelly jar — and it ain’t the first time, neither!” he giggled. “You’re a human being! I’m just as surprised as you!” Everyone honk your horn and yell “Oh snap!”

* It may have been a brief scene, but Bullet’s funeral — with Danette and Holder briefly connecting in a distant back pew, banished so as not to remind the dead girl’s family that she didn’t turn out to be the awkwardly normal kid in the memorial photograph — really moved me. “Bullet woulda hated that photo,” sniffed Holder, keepin’ it real. But as he later noted, pit-bull fierce as Bullet was, “She was just a little kid. They all were.”

* OK, so I didn’t love the twist of Skinner as the killer, but man, Mireille Enos said so much without a single word during Linden’s moment of realization. Her panicked, widening eyes, juxtaposed with the ice cream truck, the kid on a bicycle…I just dug how it all played out, before the music dissipated and all we were left with was the ominous sound of those lawn sprinklers. (Also really creepy, Skinner’s subsequent confession to Linden: “Their eyes — when they know it’s the end: They look at you like…like…like no one else. When you go past the pain and past the animal terror, there’s nothing else in the world like it.”)

Crucial Resolutions
* Our final shot of the prison found Becker cleaning out his locker and calling it quits, while warning Henderson not to get too comfortable on the job. Spend enough time in there, and “you’re just as much a prisoner as the rest of ‘em,” the bald (former) badass grumbled.

* Lyric scored a job at a fast-food joint, but despite that nifty new apartment of hers, found herself wandering the rough streets again. As we left her, she leaned in toward a car window and exchanged shy smiles with an on-the-prowl john. Twitch, meanwhile, learned to cook eggs — and after finding an old baggie of drugs, took it to the roof and shook it into the wind. Who’d have thunk he’d be on the most promising road among our kids when it was all said and done? Danette, for her part, continued to wander aimlessly, still shellshocked that her little girl won’t ever be coming back, and offering free haircuts to Lyric in what was perhaps an attempt at cosmic restitution for her maternal shortcomings.

* Holder apologized to his ADA girlfriend for his outburst after Bullet’s death, and to his surprise, she hugged him and welcomed him back to her life. “We had a fight. It happens,” she smiled. And me, not being a Linden-Holder ‘shipper, smiled right along with her.

* We learned that both Kallie and Angie (the girl who’d initially got away) were murdered by Skinner. While Kallie’s body was never found, the sight of her ring on Skinner’s daughter’s finger was all the confirmation needed; Angie, meanwhile, wound up shot dead and burned in an abandoned vehicle after Skinner tried to tie up loose ends. But it was her corpse, of course, that started our crime-solving duo on the path that would ultimately lead to Skinner.

And with that, I turn it over to you: What did you think of The Killing‘s Season 3 finale? Do you buy who ultimately dunnit? What about Linden shooting her former lover instead of letting him rot in a jail cell? Take our poll below, then off in the comments!

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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274 Comments
  1. jake says:

    I just remembered the scene in the first episodes where she sees a cow out in the woods suffering and she runs all the way home to get her gun, just to go back and take the cow out of it misery. That image was a foreshadowing of her drive into the woods to basic put done another animal.

    • Dave says:

      Ok I think everyone on here is missing it…the killer is …wait 4 it…Skinner’s wife! That’s why he couldn’t say where Kallie was…because he didn’t know. That is why he drove Linden way out to the cabin and was giving a phony confession (he stumbled over his words several times e.g. he said they were all teenagers/young adults and Linden had to correct him they were 12, they were children…and he hesitated again)—this the point of the long car ride.

      Skinner’s wife’s motive…easy…she was insanely jealous…hints of her being aggressively violent were in an earlier episode when she threatened Linden and knew that she had an affair with her husband. Skinner probably had an affair with a young girl on the street (or the girl he was helping as he didn’t slap her in the way he said and kill her out of fear) and she found out driving her into a cereal homicidal rage where this was her violent outlet. He found out and was protecting her out of guilt for his infidelity, in which he feels he triggered her.

      Six more episodes in season 4 will tell you this. Ask yourself this—everyone thought it was Richmond after season 1…same going on here after season 3. Think about it…and no one on the planet got who really killed Rosie Larsen UNTIL it was revealed. Best ending ever in a murder-drama series.

      • Dave says:

        PLUS my girl Jeannette (so proud of her)…just pointed out that is why the ring finger is cut off on the girls…to symbolize the break in infidelity….wow over 250 posts and none of you mention that and I just told my girl the story and she pointed (no pun intended) out that fact…This DEFINITELY backs up it’s Skinner’s wife!

    • Bulldog Mitchell says:

      (SPOILER ALERT!)…Ok I think everyone on here is missing it…the killer is …wait 4 it…Skinner’s wife, Jennifer! That’s why he couldn’t say where Kallie was…because he didn’t know. That is why he drove Linden way out to the cabin and was giving a phony confession (he stumbled over his words several times e.g. he said they were all teenagers/young adults and Linden had to correct him they were 12, they were children…and he hesitated again)—this the point of the long car ride. His protection his for his wife, over his guilt leads him to want to die, that is why he enrages Sarah right up to the final lie…”my only regret is killing that boy…”. He didn’t kill any boys, but that is why he said it.

      Jennifer Skinner’s motive…easy…hell hath no fury, but a woman scorned…proof is hint of her being aggressively violent were in an earlier episode when she threatened Linden and knew that she had an affair with her husband. Skinner also probably had an affair with a young girl on the street, the girl he was helping get into the police department (as he didn’t “slap her” in the way he said and kill her out of fear). Jennifer found out (because a woman knows) driving her into a cereal homicidal rage where this was her violent outlet. He found out and was protecting her out of guilt for his infidelity, in which he feels he triggered her. This is also why the ring finger is cut off on the girls…to symbolize the break in infidelity….so this definitely backs up that it’s Skinner’s wife. And yes she gave the ring to her daughter or her daughter found it as it was lost amongst the other rings.
      Also, Kallie is alive…as the whole thing is building up to her mother closing her eyes and counting to five (like fingers on a hand) and Kallie will be there.
      If you paid attention the whole series had an underlying theme of “Infidelity”…the Security Guard’s wife , Seward’s wife, Lyric, etc. etc.

      Six more episodes in season 4 will tell you this. Ask yourself this—everyone thought it was Richmond after season 1…same going on here after season 3 with everyone thinking its Skinner. Think about it…and no one on the planet got who really killed Rosie Larsen UNTIL it was revealed. Best ending ever in a murder-drama series…but I got you this time Veena…Sherlock Holmes would find this dare I say, elementary.

      • Jen says:

        Omg!! Also a small tiny addition to your theory. Right when linden joins skinners team again, she asks him in private in the room with the two way mirror ” you told your wife?”. I was surprised that he was so confused by what she meant by that question, until now. I remember thinkin…. Duh, what else would she be talking about.?.. … He was thrown off by the question because to him at that point it could mean many things.

    • Jen says:

      Smart call!

  2. VQMtl says:

    Please fix your headline you totally ruined the finale for me, I wasn’t searching for spoilers and yet the link to this article appeared with the name of the killer as fourth result in my google search of “The killing season 3″ I was only looking to find out if this was the last episode and your poor article naming ruined the ending, thank you very much! Please fix this so that it doesn’t ruin the ending for everyone that google the killing season 3.

    • caliiangel says:

      Yeah…I’m so glad I watched the episode before seeing this article. You gave away the killer IN THE TITLE, but then told people not to read further if they hasn’t seen the show. Why? You completely spoiled it before they had the chance to read it!! Lol

  3. Chris H says:

    That was a horrible ending. If that was the series finale I rank it only slightly better than the Sopranos end and Seinfield end. Booo such a great season destroyed at the end.

  4. Diahbeetus says:

    AMC has spent three seasons trying to get this season to stick to the wall. It is what it is, and it’s not happening. Time to put a bullet in the head of this show already and spend some time and money on something new that might not be complete crap.

    • caliiangel says:

      …it’s a shame you feel that way, but there are others who love the show so no need to come here to dump all over it. Why come to a blog post about a show you hate so much??

  5. caliiangel says:

    ***To answer your question… Skinner didn’t bonk Linden on the head when she got out of the car because his whole plan was to lead her to a deserted place where he could get himself some suicide by cop action.

    He knew his goose was cooked and he didn’t want to end up on death row like Seward. He wanted to die and took the cruel and cowardly way out by having Linden do the killing. Something she will be tortured with for the rest of her life.

    If you think about it, his cruelest act was what he did to linden. Not letting her gain traction on the Seward case which haunted her and put her in the mental hospital, allowing Seward to be executed in front of her for his crime, making her love him only to have her discover he is a homicidal monster. To top it off he knew exactly what buttons to push to get her to pull the trigger which will haunt her to no end.

    It was the ultimate serial killer long con. Pure psychotic, evil genius.

  6. Pinklip says:

    Still thought it’s weird how Ray Seward was so uptight in trying not to reveal anything to Linden shortly before his execution, despite the fact he wanted Linden so bad to save him for hanging, which pretty much screwed him at the end.

    Other than that, it was a decent solid second story, with a superb ending, with a good lead in to the next story (if there will be one..).

    If they could wrap this up so well in 12 episodes, gotta wonder how the Rosie Larsen story would be like if they could shrink it to 12 episodes as well. The series overall would’ve been pretty decent if they had done so.

    Acting has always been a strong part of the series as well.

    • Pinklip says:

      Nevermind, guess thinking back about it, guess it’s because Ray knowing the killer was Skinner and knowing Adrian saw him, he didn’t want to put his son on the spot, and risk Skinner going after him.

  7. Leela says:

    Great, great show with excellent performances. Enos and Kinnaman are up there with the best on TV individually and as a working partnership. The ending was a bit unsatisfactory, but as I thought about it and grasped that the reason the case (that we only heard about vaguely in Seasons 1&2 and that so unnerved Linden she ended up in the psych hospital) was never solved was because Skinner had been killing, possibly for years, before that. Now that’s truly creepy.

    Linden’s reaction to that truth and Skinner’s essential resignation to being caught (although I’m sure he planned on killing her at the lake house) spoke to her self-disgust and anger at being naive, betrayed, and used, not to mention the guilt and grief she felt for the deaths of Seward, his wife, and possibly Adrian, while Skinner realized killing her was something he couldn’t do. So although this might have been a “seen it before” plot twist, having Reddick be the killer would have been much more banal and essentially predictable and expected.

  8. Eric says:

    How will they prove that Skinner was the killer?

  9. jenferner8 says:

    For this being the first time I’ve even watched the show I really liked the finale. I didn’t like that Linden and Skinner had a “past” because, well, because he grossed me out from the get go. I don’t believe that Linden was “in love” with him but could possibly see a future with him in it. She told her old boyfriend in the beginning of the season that she “breaks everything”. Frankly, if Linden hadn’t killed him I was liable to do I myself.
    I don’t know that Linden will have to serve time for this murder, there is plenty of evidence that Skinner was the murderers and literally let a man (Ray) die for a murder he (Ray) didn’t commit. I also think maybe and a case could be made that Skinner abducted Linden in forcing her to go with him with the promise of taking her to Adrian, which he clearly wasn’t going to do.
    I loved the way the show connected the two cases in a way that actually made sense, without insulting the viewer.

  10. Jack Burton says:

    I knew it was Skinner from the first episode. Watch when they have a meeting with all detectives and cops and Holder asks Skinner about Kallie…Skinner looks down. Then an episode or 2 later..they mention Kallie again while the Hotel owner is being questioned and Skinner puts his tongue to his front teeth, signaling uncomfortable or deceitful body language. It makes sense that he put Linden on the case because he knows she will tell him everything and it keeps her close. However, I don’t know that they did enough to explain Skinner’s true motives.

  11. Suzanna O'Sullivan says:

    I didn’t read all the replies on this, but I am still unsure who killed Mrs. Seward! Did Ray kill her, or did Skinner, when he went to the apartment after he knew Adrian had seen him?

  12. Al says:

    Too many questions remain.

    1) Why was Kallie’s phone discovered in Joe Mill’s backpack if Skinner supposedly killed Kallie?

    2) Why go to extremes to remove all identifying traces of the burnt corpse (supposedly Angie or Kallie) if you are going to leave the serial killer’s signature mark?(removed ring finger). Did Skinner want to get caught?

    • Vicki says:

      Those questions were answered:
      1. Joe said she was in his car at the motel and she took off, leaving her phone behind.
      2. Angie’s finger was removed when killer had her first time, it was found in the alley. It was already gone when she was burned, it wasn’t removed at that time.

  13. Lawrence says:

    The ending was second rate and NOT a shocker–at least compared to the “Who Killed Rosie Larsen” finale. Throughout this season, the pacing and build up of “tension” were sporadic at best. The characters overall were less compelling than in Rosie. Writing and directing did not match the previous seasons. Peter Sarsgaard’s excellent performance was for naught but the Holder character kept it going. At the risk of infuriating the fans of the Linden character, Linden was at times the shows worst liability with her never ending look of constipation or zombie like expressions. But I know many of you think she makes the show work. I don’t know, and I don’t know if I want to invest in another season of watching.

  14. Pamela says:

    I love the dark gritty undertones of this show and it’s unique feel, but I was longing for a “YES!!!” moment in the end that I just didn’t get. For one thing, Linden didn’t fight very hard for the condemned man she believed was innocent (couldn’t she have said “you can always execute him later, but you can’t unexecute him later.”???) And I found it so contrived that Skinner would dispose of Angie’s body in a way that would set bulldog Linden right back on this case, considering he confessed to dumping bodies in his “very deep lake, among other places.” where she never would have been found.

  15. Jay Beaux says:

    I’m willing to suspend belief for fiction, as long as it’s internally consistent. The Killing Season 3 was excellent until the last hour, when it broke my rule.

    Linden’s supposed to be a good cop. So she (1) doesn’t search Skinner’s car; (2) doesn’t ask him to open the trunk; (3) buys the well-worn “come with me and you can rescue the victim” story when she should have cuffed him, called for backup and THEN had Skinner direct them to the kid; (4) gives Skinner multiple opportunities to overpower her, take her gun and kill her (the vomiting outside the car was just one example); (5) after Skinner says he killed others and Linden is overcome with grief, she kills Skinner, guaranteeing that if there are other victims they will never be found and betraying the parents and loved ones of any other victims.

    That was bad TV writing at its worst.

  16. nonnie9999 says:

    I’ve read several blogs on the finale, and I haven’t seen anyone mention this yet–if Skinner was a ritual serial killer, why did he take Mrs. Seward’s ring? Taking a ring was part of a ritual Skinner went through with his victims. However, Mrs. Seward was not one of his usual victims. She was merely a witness who had to be done away with so she could not identify him. She was not someone he considered to be human garbage as he did the girls who were walking the streets. He didn’t kill her to get a thrill as he watched the life go out of her eyes. She was simply in his way, and she had to go. He wasn’t in the middle of nowhere or in the comfort if his own lakehouse. He had to get in and out in a hurry before he got caught. If that was not the case, he would have torn the apartment apart looking for Adrian. Therefore, why take the time to take the ring? It doesn’t make any sense.

  17. C W says:

    Bad form to put a spoiler in your headline. I came across this on Google results by accident!

  18. charles says:

    excellent! i just finished season 2 and wanted some more information on the series, and my first Google hit was your headline “THE KILLING SEAON 3 FINALE RECAP SKINNER ELIAS KOTEAS IS THE KILLER” good job on making me not have to watch it now, i guess.

    • cw says:

      Same thing happened to me. They changed their headline, but their URL includes the original text so that result still shows up. I believe they can do something, however, in Google to supress the result, which they should do, if they are at all responsible to TV viewers. Really, how incompetent can a TV reviewer be to put a spoiler in the headline?

  19. Matt says:

    Wow. Season 3 is ruined completely for me now. My father has seen season 3 but I have not. He asked me to find out if AMC were going to make a season 4 so I googled “the killing season 4 and this article pops up as the second result. Now this wouldn’t be so bad normally but the title on the google results page reads “‘The Killing’ Season 3 Finale Recap: Skinner Is the Pied Piper Killer …” in big blue letters. I was looking forward to watching one of my favorite shows but now it just won’t be the same. You give us a nice big spoiler alert when you open the article but the google results page blatantly reveals the biggest spoiler of them all. Please fix this so others don’t encounter the same issue.

  20. Prost says:

    Actually I simply don’t get it..Are these journalists complete morons to know that once you put a headline like that and once Google cache it, even if you change the headline, the older one will still be there?.. Or are they intentionally doing it to spoil it for for the people who may want to buy it on DVDs or may want to watch later..Whatever be it, these people are really sadists..The same thing happened for finale of “Elementary” also. So I see a pattern here..

  21. John says:

    I still think there is a wider group involving Miles/reddick and the druggie kid that maybe attracts the girls in/introduces them.

    • jake says:

      I feel the same way. Remember when Lyric and Twitch get the apt. Really, how did he get the apt so quickly? What are his connections. Remember the shot as Lyric looks up to the ceiling. She almost looks like she is about to cry. Like her new found freedom is just another level of jail. My first thought is that there is a camera in the ceiling that’s going to be watching her and Twitch 24/7 like those online voyeur cams. Next level porn stuff. Stuff that the priest might have known about, stuff outside Skinner’s reach or control. Maybe he saw himself as putting these girls out of their misery much like Linden when she went into the woods and shot those slowly dying cattle. He saw no end to the cycle, like the priest. It is obvious that this “city” is full of animals. You can list the animals from great to small. We’ve yet to see the top of the chain feeder. It stands to reason that if there is going to be another season they are going to focus on next level feeder and it has to involve some larger machine at work.

  22. RG says:

    Why did Skinner not appear to remember Kallie? How did that ring end up on Skinner’s daughter? Why would he do that? Why did Blomski make a point of saying that cops don’t rat on cops, my TO taught me that? Was his TO Skinner? Have they been working togther to murder and/or cover up the murders? Too much left open here. I assume that leaving these questions opened is a way to sell the need for a Season 4. Here’s hoping.

  23. jake says:

    The Killing. The Killing is about more than “the killing” which we are involved with. The killing of a person, but also different “metaphors” of killing. Killing of the self, the soul, of a lifestyle, a future, an identity, the truth, the false, the other, an idea, history, pain, cultural, a city, a relationship, relationships, of freedom, of the body politic. It goes beyond the specific “killing” at hand. So I feel for people to be all caught up just the one murder and its resolve I feel those people are missing the bigger picture, the bigger message. Every season, every show can’t be what it is really all about. It is a long procession, a long wake . . . to death, the title The Killing. Remember this a Danish original and this our retake on that version and we’ve tweaked it a little to make it USA ready. For another view on a retake with similar angles watch The Bridge on FX. This is another Danish series making it to our shores. I like the Bridge, but it is trying to be The Killing and its not even close. After watching the last 5 episodes on demand I am hooked but it gives me a glaring perspective on The Killing and how good that show really is.

  24. Whylie says:

    Disappointed with season 3 which never seemed to really develop any real story line that was interesting but ran helter skelter around in all directions.. I’m over fed up with the dark and gloomy setting altho at least they didn’t do that rain drenching like the last ones.. The darkness makes it hard to watch and it adds nothing at all to the story line. For me at least.

    Very disappointed in the “hurry up and finish” ending which really had no steps leading to the real killer but just ended quite ridiculously with an unjustified killing. I found the street kids more annoying than interesting. And the prison scenes made no sense at all in relation to the rest of the story. All those prison scenes did NOT add one good thing to the story. All in all this season felt disjointed as tho 3 or 4 different people were taking turns writing a script that just didn’t match up.

    But hey that’s just my opinion after watching season 1 and 2 which I quite enjoyed.

    • jake says:

      The prison scenes were metaphors for what was going on with Linden. It was a way for her to exercise some demons. She has always been a prisoner. You people just don’t get it.

  25. Ben says:

    SUCKED!!!! I joke to my wife when Skinner and Linden hooked up, “well I guess we know who the killer is now.” As usual, the writers tanked the end of the season. And, sorry, Linden WOULD NOT shoot Skinner in the end. Just bad, weak writing.

  26. charmaine says:

    i want to see Linden and Holder disclose their feelings to each other on Season 4. Not much related to the KILLING. Just a heck of it! :) I love them both!

  27. Killer says:

    The series was good, and I think a lot more believable than the first two TILL

    (a) the hunt for Joe pornographer went on hold completely as they followed the pastor lead, and
    (B) the last episode – Skinner being the murderer was contrived and unraveling of it + the car ride was painful.

  28. Patrick says:

    Are you aware that if you type “season 3 the killing” into Google a hit comes up for your site with A FREAKING SPOILER FOR THE KILLER IN THE SEARCH RESULT? This just ruined the entire season for me. FIX. IT.

  29. chris says:

    DON’T PUT SPOILERS IN HEADINGS! I was saving The Killing season 3 for a rainy day, I absolutely love the show. I googled ”the killing season 4” just to see if it’s been renewed and this was one of the top results…….with the heading “SKINNER IS THE PIED PIPER KILLER”………..thanks so much, how idiotic do you have to be to realise that spoilers should come AFTER people click on the article, not before. You have just ruined a show I have looked forward to watch for months. Thanks.

  30. And says:

    i thought it was him way back. made a certain sense. his careful, methodical, intelligence. his kinda moralistic boredom and yet duty-bound sense of ‘order’, etc. His casual delegation of power at times etc. What i never really got is why she was so into him. Not once did it seem that they shared much of anything particularly special. I feel like the way the writing worked, shirked actually convincing us that *she* could really be into the guy, by putting this deep past up (they supposedly shared) in the place where a real scene showing how she could honestly find him the cat’s meow to her heart, ever took place. It just felt like a shallow device to create this dynamic of her being caught beyond her control. Kinda boring, but i suppose neccesary for plot purposes. It just seemed a weird anomoly for her. I had no idea she was so easily tempted by this kinda daddy/authority figure complex! We have had no impression that this was the case before! Just doesn’t seem consistent with her character, at least as we have been shown forever and a day. She doesn’t trust ANY authority– and yet she can just fall right into this daddy authority love thing so that it blinds her to her instincts…? weird. Are we to believe that she never once in their love story before had a weird sense about him..? Pretty far fetched! Similarily the choice the writers have made, to maker her be always sorta suspect of her partners recovery is kinda weird. I feel like it makes her be sorta stupid and petty. She is kinda beyond that level. So, unfortunately these rather ‘plot-driven’ choices do bring this show down a bit. Makes it more confused pulp fiction sorta thing, but great in many ways, then something truly epic.

  31. ofdialogue says:

    Nonetheless the show does thrive in certain moments. The scene where she realizes its him, and it all slows down was incredible. Wasn’t convinced that pulling a gun on him right there was the best solution to the scene, i was rooting for her to hold it together and NOT reveal that she figured it out… But alas, sometimes i feel that the writing lets her character veer too much into this ‘weak-female’ thing when in fact we see how super tough she is again and again and again. its kinda a let down. Her shooting him in the end made a certain sense, given that she was an emotional basket case at the moment, but again yeah, it seems that it was the least interesting choice there.

  32. Rowley says:

    Does anyone get that this ending reflects the ending of season 1 of the original Danish series “Forbrydelsen.” There the killer made someone else off him too at the last scene. That ending was much better than the muddled ending of season 2 of the American version. It works here for me as well.

  33. Angry Viewer says:

    Thanks so much for the spoiler in the title. Googling ‘The Killing Season 3′ brings this up. You moron.

  34. Paul says:

    Season three was terrible… It was as if the gay lobby said that the first two seasons weren’t gay enough so they really overdid it with the third. Also “bullet” was such an annoying character that we really didn’t care that she got killed and couldn’t relate to Holders downward slide afterward… Completely unrealistic. Also why was he so broken up about Linden finishing off Skinner at the abrupt ending… Hey dummy Skinner was already fatally shot… It’s irrelevant if the coroner finds two bullets instead of one. This show really went downhill after season two. Sad.

    • Lawrence says:

      Paul, it was indeed a miserable season, compared to the show’s earlier promise and I agree that Bullet was not developed enough beyond her outside obnoxiousness to be that sympathetic. But I didn’t see the show as being that “gay”. Like it or not, gay characters are here to stay in TV, Movies, etc.

    • jen says:

      I found Holder’s downward slide afterward completely realistic, he would have to be a pretty insensitive jerk (which would be contrary to what we already know about him) for him to not be extremely affected by Bullet’s death. He told her that no one cared about her, including himself, then ignored her calls, as a result she died and it got him further away from tracking down who the killer was. The fight that Holder had with his girlfriend implied he could strongly relate to how lost the street kids were, because of his struggles with meth. Also, having one gay character, who showed her sexuality in a few episodes is pretty realistic. The focus on Bullet’s character had to do with her friendship with Kallie and her relationship with Holder not with her being gay. Your comment seemed a bit harsh.

  35. jen says:

    The finally was pretty good, I just wished they hadn’t ended it quite so abruptly. I’m hoping their is a season 4. Also wished Skinner had explained his reasons for chopping off the fingers, also as to why he took the rings.

  36. Vicki says:

    Where did Twitch get the drugs in the end? Did he take them from Angie (bullet gave them to her at bus station) and help Skinner murder her? Where did Twitch get deposit money for apartment? What happened to his PO? All of a sudden he gets cleared and can go to LA but stays? Twitch holds a bigger part to the untold story!!!!!

  37. Scott says:

    NOT COOL. Way to give away the ending in your title. Amature hour here.

  38. Robert Scotney says:

    Dear Michael Slezak and friends at TV line, you have totally spoiled this season for anyone who hasn’t seen it and who types the words “The Killing season 3″ into Google, as it comes up “Skinner is the Pied-Piper Killer” on Google search. Thanks for nothing!

  39. Dave says:

    Ok I think everyone on here is missing it…the killer is …wait 4 it…Skinner’s wife! That’s why he couldn’t say where Kallie was…because he didn’t know. That is why he drove Linden way out to the cabin and was giving a phony confession (he stumbled over his words several times e.g. he said they were all teenagers/young adults and Linden had to correct him they were 12, they were children…and he hesitated again)—this the point of the long car ride.

    Skinner’s wife’s motive…easy…she was insanely jealous…hints of her being aggressively violent were in an earlier episode when she threatened Linden and knew that she had an affair with her husband. Skinner probably had an affair with a young girl on the street (or the girl he was helping as he didn’t slap her in the way he said and kill her out of fear) and she found out driving her into a cereal homicidal rage where this was her violent outlet. He found out and was protecting her out of guilt for his infidelity, in which he feels he triggered her.

    Six more episodes in season 4 will tell you this. Ask yourself this—everyone thought it was Richmond after season 1…same going on here after season 3. Think about it…and no one on the planet got who really killed Rosie Larsen UNTIL it was revealed. Best ending ever in a murder-drama series.

  40. jack says:

    Hey can you changed the title of this blog please.. reading “skinner is the pied piper killer” ruined season 3 for me before i even watched the first episode.

  41. JG says:

    You claim this is a spoiler alert, but when “The Killing, Season 3″ is googled, this article pops up as the second result, and right there in the title reveals Skinner as the Pied Piper. I watched this season on netflix, and just wanted to say this ruined the surprise for me.

  42. Yellow King says:

    A. D-bag author still has the killers name in the tag line 6 months after publishing, ever try editing?
    B. James Skinner is the hero of this show.
    C. While writing some of the best characters on TV, this show’s creators have sacrificed them up to a cheap plot and a series of worthless twists for a dumb surprise ending that we never asked for or needed.

    Let me digress. There is a plague in Seattle. Miscreants, murders, rapists, druggies, pimps and whores litter the streets. Enter Linden and Holder, the focus of our drama, “good cops with good instincts” it is reiterated again and again in the show by other players. Yet, the viewer only sees poor police work, jumping to conclusions again and again (all but one wrong by the way).
    They harm and demonize innocents – Pastor Mike, Darren Richmond, Bennet Ahmed, Ray Seward (you can pin that one on Skinner) and others. Ever see Broadchurch? The protags make mistakes there that haunt them, not so with the Killing. Ahmed beaten, sorry, Richmond in a wheelchair, whoops, Pastor goes to jail, aww, shouldn’t have kidnapped the bad cop there Padre.
    They like to ignore leads and phone calls (where are the text msgs?). Super cop Linden is particularly bad at getting decent testimony and leads from witnesses and bystanders that Holder easily gets by “bein real yo”. He shows that he can’t be trusted by putting so much faith in Lindens detective acumen.

    Anyways, so Linden and Holder suck, so who is this tale in season 3 about?
    I respectfully submit James Skinner as our hero. Wait? What do you mean? If you read the title of this article, you know that Skinner is the killer. So how can he be the hero?
    I have been watching True Detective and that puts you in a different mind set than normal for such shows. You can only see the darkness when you turn your face from the light. I feel like I’m mainlining the truth of the universe here.
    Skinner can SEE the past. His daughter. Young delightful girl, innocent, childlike.
    Skinner can SEE the present. Kallie a junkie and prostitute littering the streets, taking advantage and being taken advantage of.
    Skinner can SEE the future. Danette, mother of the year… a once teenage junky turned resentful single mother. Raising a girl who will follow in her footsteps.
    Skinner sees the sickness of Seattle, the unending cycle, and he is the cure.
    He is supernatural in his perception, unwavering in his resolve, and godlike in execution.
    And much like any good hero story, he transcends mortal laws, is reviled for it, then dies.

    Much to the disadvantage of this series, “Skinner” could have been anyone. There was no focus on him, no character study. All his motivations and hopes are summed in less than 5 minutes in the last episode. Why not Reddick? Why not twist everyone up and find out it was Seward all along. I would have much preferred something to do with him since we got a great profile of him and Sarsgaard’s performance was masterful. Instead, he is a side story that basically could have stood alone without ANY of the outside bumbling detective work.

    I’m overall disappointed in this series for prizing twists over substance. Red herrings everywhere. Just give us our cake and we will see how it tastes. Lets take the same story and make it about a sociopath that kills not for the pleasure of seeing the look on the face of some poor wretch, but as a sad duty that no other dare to undertake. A deep character piece that challenges the scruples of society could present questions that no one asks. True art makes the beholder question their very being and all that they hold dear. Skinner could ask us, “is it truly wrong to kill those without a future, to prevent a continuing cycle of pain?” and if presented powerfully, we would be forced to answer, and perhaps not the way we would imagine.

  43. J. S. says:

    Love the show immensely.At times I was somewhat confused in Season 3.Holder & Linden are a great duo. Watching Season 4 now. Suspenseful. I will miss The Killing if not renewed..

  44. Mark says:

    I completely agree. The season as a whole was addictive, and the Linder/Holder relationship continued to develop verynicely. These partners care deeply for one another, and it shows. But the finale was just the same old “gotcha” games we endured in season 2. But even if we buy Skinner (a decorated professional) had the mental illness and time to be a prolific serial killer, are we to believe that Skinner really did get in her head when he said, “you knew”…?suggesting she’s a serial killer groupie? She acted like he was in her head as she barely mustered up enough defiance to say, “I’m nothing like you”. If we agree that the “serial killer wife” archetype craves her own victimization, are we to believe that Linden is that type of gal? She obsessed over cases, gave up her son, smokes like a chimney, dates her boss…fine. But she knew deep down inside Skinner was a killer? The final scenes suggest just that. It would explain the vomiting and probably even shooting Skinner. Was it darkly romantic that she put down her monster lover on his terms as he seduced her one last time? Give me a break. That said, I’ll be watching season 4 for sure.

  45. John Smyth says:

    It’s always said that two ‘no, no ‘cheats’ in thriller plots are to either make the killer a cop – or the narrator. The killer was her boss? pull the other one : just too contrived and unlikely to be a decent ending . VERY disappointing.

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