The Killing Recap: Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone, Only Darkness Every Day

The Killing Recap Season 4This week’s episode of The Killing allowed several supporting players to take center stage — emotionally, if not in terms of actual screen time.

Kallie’s mom Danette came to a horrifying realization. Seward’s prison buddy Alton made a heartbreaking confession. Bullet’s walls came down, if only for a moment. And Holder’s girlfriend found she’d made the list of nominees for Worst Valentine’s Day of 2013. (Sarah Linden: Messing Up People’s Personal Lives Since 2007. Badum-bum.)

In other news, if it wasn’t raining this week, it was unrelentingly overcast. Everybody got their hopes up for Kallie — but that hope is looking more and more like an unwanted interloper. And honestly, I don’t know how exactly the show’s writers are going to extract themselves from the end-of-episode cliffhanger with more than half the 12-episode season left to go. But let’s cut to the action, shall we?

THE CASE | The episode (“Scared and Running”) kicks off in harrowing fashion: A driver on a dark, rainy road collides with a terrified, battered girl who promptly sprints away. When he turns back to his car, he can make out the figure of a man (?) against his headlights — and Holder and Linden spend the hour trying to A) track down the victim (presumably Kallie?) before she’s apprehended and killed, and B) catch the shadowy figure and determine if he’s the Pied Piper.

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Along the way, our protagonists interview Mama Dips and discover she’s Joe Mills’ mother; realize Mama Dips has attempted to reach her son at the home of Kallie’s mother; score a warrant to search Danette’s place (where Linden hisses “People like you shouldn’t have kids” to the defiant wretch); and discover one of those red medical bags the serial killer uses to dispose of his victims only yards from the site where the driver collided with the girl. (Side note: Isn’t it remarkable how vividly the show paints characters like Mama Dips, Danette and even the runaways — people on the fringes of society who are hanging on by a claw?)

Running mostly on instinct (and close to three days with no sleep) Linden drives around alleys near the crash site to look for Kallie, and lo and behold, she and Holder discover a severed finger in an alley right behind the Beacon shelter — home to the kindly/still very suspicious preacher who provides beds for homeless youth. (I’m not the only one who still finds him a little creepy, right? Although maybe I’ve just been trained by too many years of Law & Order reruns to be suspicious of any character who gets interviewed not once, but twice in the course of an investigation.)

Holder and Linden run into Bullet, who feels like she’s fallen into an episode of “CSI: Seattle” and pretty much demands that she get to ride along and take her detective pals to all the places where Kallie might hide out. (Smart girl doles out directions one line at a time — the better to not get ditched by Linden.) From there, Holder’s zen interlude with a meth addict’s sad pit bull leads to a bloodied drainage pipe — and Linden suspects it was Kallie’s last stop before the killer rediscovered her and dragged her away. Bullet, though, throws a punch into Holder’s gut and calls him a “quittin-ass punk” when he tries to tell her to prep for the worst. (Anyone else find that choice of insult to sound slightly…inauthentic?)

Bullet, though, remains undeterred, and doing her own detective work reports back on the sighting of a grown man carrying a bleeding girl down a dark alley. Linden and Holder bust in (never turning on the lights) and find what appears to be a vet tech performing some kind of patch job on a deeply terrified girl with slashed arms, a missing finger and severe lacerations to her neck. “She’s seen him,” Linden later reveals, which means that next week we might get even closer the truth. The girl, though, is not Kallie, and the vet tech (I’m 99.7% sure) is not the killer.

THE KIDS | No Lyric, no Twitch…but a lot of time with Danette, who early in the episode discovers she’s had a missed call from (!) her daughter Kallie. What she eventually learns from Linden, though, is that Mills, the man who’s occasionally sharing her bed and her apartment, is The Voice from the child-porn tape starring her daughter. She doesn’t believe it, or refuses to believe it, or believes it and chooses to ignore it, because after a drive through Seattle’s red-light district, she’s back home and asking Mills if he’s “coming to bed.” He’s got to shower, though, so she takes the opportunity to call Kallie one more time, and — YIKES! — Kallie’s phone rings. It’s there in Mills’ bag. And as she reads the display — “Incoming Call: Mom” — the bathroom door opens and Mills sees her. THIS DOES NOT BODE WELL.

Bullet, meanwhile, having been on the scene outside the vet clinic, begins to realize Kallie’s extended absence just might mean the worst. “She’s probably dead, isn’t she?” Bullet asks Holder. “Yeah,” he says. And then Bullet allows the detective to pull her head onto his shoulder for a brief moment of comfort. Quietly heartbreaking stuff.

THE CONVICT | The jail gives us three distinct tales. Alton decides to try to earn forgiveness from his victim(s)’ family — noting eight examples of death-row prisoners who’d gotten their death sentences reduced to life imprisonment after reaching out in similar fashion. A new prisoner, Dale — who believes he’s found God’s forgiveness — is excitedly anticipating a meeting with his new “intended” wife. (Seward, unimpressed by the idea of divine forgiveness, tells Dale that God “can shove it up his holy rectum.”) And bald prison guard Becker announces he’ll need seven volunteers for Seward’s hanging. (“You’re all a bunch of damn psychos, so I doubt we’ll have to outsource any of this,” he notes, making me wonder if either he or Henderson could be the “psycho” in question.)

What Seward isn’t prepared for is a visit from his son Adrian’s foster mother — who after some skittish small talk, reveals, “Adrian wants to see you. He’s forgiven you.” Seward laughs, hangs up the prison phone, and calls for the guard to take him away as the woman’s pleas fall on deaf ears. Later, though, he seems uncomfortably moved when Alton quietly confesses how he’d murdered his own father and mother in a safe heist gone wrong, and that somehow, he’d gotten forgiveness from his brother and sister.

THE DETECTIVES | A few details worth noting…

* Holder “casually” mentions to Linden that he’s been chatting with Jack (living happily in Chicago) and does everything but say, “Call your damn son, you lousy excuse for a parent!”

* Linden accidentally meets Skinner’s daughter at the precinct, and subsequently receives serious shank-eye from Skinner’s wife. (Can’t blame the wronged party on this one.)

* Linden misses the ferry and decides to take up Holder’s offer to drop by his place, where he’s having a pasta dinner and getting ready to watch Catfish Kings on the DVR with his lovely ADA girlfriend Carolyn. It’s a little stilted, but OK, until Carolyn brings out a glute-free, vegan, heart-shaped red-velvet cupcake. Yep, it’s that V-Day catastrophe that Holder’s old partner predicted! He tries to squirm out of it saying he celebrates on the 15th, the better to ignore the commercialism of the holiday, but soon he’s taking a call from the precinct and he and Linden head to the crime scene. It’s hard out here for a homicide detective homicide detective’s girlfriend!

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