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.
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!