Just like detective work, the sweet, sad success of The Killing lies in the sometimes terrible details:
A request from a battered street kid for popsicles in any flavor but orange. The proud defiance of a haggard old woman complicit in an unspeakable child pornography ring. A little blue teddy bear in a wooden trunk, its arms and feet chained in a submissive pose.
Yep, all these moments arrived like the thwack of a billy club to the torso during tonight’s episode, but at least our central crimefighting duo got reunited — and from the barely suppressed grins on their faces, it felt so good. Linden + Holder 4Eva! (Professionally, not romantically, obviously.)
Anyhow, let’s break down the key components of “Head Shots”:
THE CASE | I’ll be more than OK if we never again see the opening shot of Kallie’s harrowing sex tape, with that awful, awful voice asking, “Are you a virgin? Why are you crying, little girl?” In this instance, though, repetition proves a necessary evil, as Bullet identifies the scene of the child-porn tape as that motel that Holder and Reddick had previously visited. (You remember, the one with the creepy old lady behind the counter?) More startling? Bullet notes the ring on Kallie’s finger was one she’d given her just three days prior. Cue: Warrant! And cue Linden and Holder discovering a secret room behind the old woman’s (perp name: Mama Dips) office — complete with lights, camera, grim bed and aforementioned teddy bear. The old bat won’t crack, though, insisting it’s her voice on the videos. “I’m a heavy smoker,” she sneers by way of explanation. Hope they like her one-liners in hell.
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Later, Reddick and Holder’s stakeout of Goldie goes awry when the pimp/kiddie pornographer/rapist/waste of oxygen leads them on a chase that ends up at the serial killer’s dumping grounds — and proceeds to make claims to the assembled media that the real murderer is on the lam, and might have another girl (Kallie) in his clutches. (Am I the only one who felt like this interlude could’ve/should’ve wound up on the editing room floor? Discuss.)
Linden and Holder, meanwhile, match the face of one of the girls in the porn tapes to the body of one of the murder victims. Things get murky, though, when a vice-cop friend of Linden’s identifies a second girl from Goldeo’s stash of videos — a pregnant, chain-smoking prostitute named Tiffany who’s very much alive and very well and still soliciting johns in Seattle. Linden tries and fails to get the young woman to identify the man who’d made hers and Kallie’s tapes; Tiffany notes they had Carl’s Jr, that the guy “let me have his fries,” that he was “one of the good ones.” (Also, he’s white and short.) But Linden feels like the woman is holding back. She brings Holder for a second pass, and our charming young detective notes how wrong it is that this john/videomaker ditched Tiffany after she’d grown into an attractive young woman. Girl can’t resist. She gives up a name — “Mills” — and as the episode ends we see the dude’s face. If that bit about the fries rings a bell, it’s because he’s the “kindly” perv who’d hooked up with Lyric in his cab last week. Oh, and if that’s not bad enough, we also learn he’s casually “dating” Kallie’s mom. What the what? Maybe he’s a red herring, but something is very much not right with this picture.
Oh, and this recap wouldn’t be complete without a huzzah to Linden for what may have been a verbal TKO in her icy relationship with Holder’s new partner. “He’s getting pretty good at it now that he’s learning from a pro — finally,” Reddick says as he and Sarah watch Holder grill Mama Dips. But later, after Reddick questions her methodology and lack of experience, Linden delivers an upper cut to the jaw that’s impossible to see coming. “Haven’t you ever wondered why you never made sergeant?” Linden asks. “Twenty-three years of experience, and all you are is in the way.” My big question though: Are Holder and Reddick kaput after Holder chose to accompany Linden to the Tiffany interview? Or is an official Holder-Linden partnership still a ways off?
THE KIDS | Another week, another round of setbacks for our Seattle runaways. Bullet, though, spills an interesting detail to Holder: She took zoology in “boarding school.” Could that be why her tough-girl slang sometimes sounds like a priveleged kid who’s trying to pass as a street scamp? (No kid without some education would be describing Holder as “a big, hairless albino Bugs Bunny,” that’s for sure.)
In other news, Kalie’s mom continues to be useless with regards to the investigation into her daughter’s whereabouts. “It’s just a phase. She’ll grow out of it,” she shrugs when Linden mentions the girl had been working as a prostitute. And she doesn’t even look that embarrassed admitting to Linden she hadn’t bothered to answer the door for her little girl on the night she disappeared.
And finally, as if our teenagers aren’t living the most dismal lives ever, Twitch gets raped by his parole officer; goes on a drug bender; ignores Bullet’s pleas and picks a fight (then loses very, very badly) with a gang of skateboarders; and realizes his dreams of modeling in L.A. are even less realistic than they were before his visage became a collection of gashes and bruises. Lyric comforts him, promises him first aid and popsicles, and they begin to kiss passionately, forgetting (or not caring) that Bullet is standing a few feet away. Sigh.
THE PRISONER | Seward gets closer with his neighboring convict Alton, and it doesn’t sit well with Becker. When the bald and angry prison guard confirms that Seward also refused to take his antibiotics for newbie colleague Henderson, he stages a little “intervention” by violently pummeling Alton until Seward swallows his pill. “I knew you’d see my way,” the uptight guard smiles.
By the bye, how is it possible that Becker inviting Henderson to his house after work for drinks and dinner would be a contender for the week’s creepiest moment? Watching Becker’s wife awkawardly cozy up to Henderson in the living room, with her son only yards away, while Becker fetches a case of beer his colleague didn’t even want…it was all a little too American Beauty by way of The Stepford Wives. Or Saw. Or something. I’ve never even seen Saw, so what do I know? I know I’m not even sure how I feel yet about the prison-guard subplot. And I’m still not sure where this is all going with Seward, but it’s becoming more clear that he’s past the point of trying to clear his name. “The truth is we all have a death sentence,” he tells Alton, “whether we’re innocent or guilty.” I’m guessing he’s a pinch of the former mixed with a heaping tablespoon of the latter. You?
What did you think of The Killing’s latest hour? What burning questions will keep you up tonight? Sound off below!