The something that rhymes with Brit (as well as mitt, fit spit and wit) hit the fan on this week’s episode of The Killing:
Ray Seward’s carefully hardened facade began to crack as the sounds of gallows construction filled his cell block; Holder began to be at one with his hoodie; and most importantly, a suspect in the murder investigation was found to have a fake identity, bloody car upholstery and a major infestation of the creepy-crawlies. So how come I’m suddenly feeling like Linden and Holder — 2013’s answer to Mulder and Scully, I’m more and more convinced each week — are suddenly on the wrong track?
“Sometimes what you get isn’t really what you want,” says Holder, in one of his darkest hours. It ain’t exactly the Rolling Stones — but let’s use it as our jumping-off point to discuss this week’s major plot points.
THE CASE | The episode picks up where we left off last week — with Pastor Mike (whose whispery voice sounds oddly like Ray Seward) telling Linden and Holder about “the throwaways” he tends to at the Beacon shelter. Holder, transfixed by Pastor Mike’s wall of teenage runaway photos (so disconcertingly similar to his wall of victims’ photos), is convinced he’s found the Pied Piper, but Linden offers a different and intriguing perspective: “That’s a lot of work for access to kids who aren’t hard to get access to.”
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Holder, though, seeks a second opinion from new BFF Bullet, who confirms Linden’s theory: Pastor Mike is “the only guy in Seattle who’s not a pedophile.” Later, she innocently tells the good reverend, “I told the cops to lay off,” thereby tipping him off that he’s a suspect.
Kallie’s mom Danette also shows up at the Beacon — unannounced and unwelcome — and while Pastor Mike reassures her that her daughter is a survivor who took cosmetology classes (just like Mommie Dearest), another teen slips a pizza menu under the woman’s windshield wipers: “He’s lying.” Say WHAT now?
Danette makes a special delivery to Linden, and it doesn’t take long to track down the girl (or the boy who’s dressed like/beginning to identify as a girl?) who reveals she saw nine-fingered Angie at 4 a.m. in an alleyway near the Beacon the night the girl was seemingly on the run from the Pied Piper. Strangely enough, Pastor Mike was already in his car when our skittish witness called to inform him of Angie’s whereabouts. And even stranger, Angie ran screaming from Pastor Mike’s car when he pulled up to tend to her. (Granted, the bloodied victim had the same response when Linden found her patched up in the vet clinic.) (Also, cigarette-smoking teen might want to consider a future in law enforcement, since no detail seems to escape her.)
It’s enough circumstantial evidence to get Linden and Holder an OK to dig deeper into Pastor Mike’s background, and it doesn’t take long to cook up this whopper of a clue: Mike Sheehan died four years ago. A visit to the suspect’s home prompts Holder to notice dude’s Biblical tattoo — Ephesians: Chapter 1, Verse 7, to be specific — and a subsequent hit that “Pastor Mike” is actually Mark Ellwood, who was arrested for kidnapping a teen in Arizon a few years back, but who escaped imprisonment when the girl died before her case went to trial.
Wouldn’t you know it’s the same day Bullet and new girlfriend Lyric score a spot sleeping in Pastor Mike’s spare room? When Lyric is left alone with the dude, he starts waxing philosophical (and deeply uncomofortable): “I know what it’s like to be alone. I’ve had nowhere to go before. Nowhere to turn. That’s no way to live.” (Does he think it’s a way TO DIE???) Then he talks about how some days he doesn’t recognize himself, wonders if anyone else does, adding, “you realize people only see what they want to see anyway.” Lyric (no dummy) is all, “I just talked to Bullet: She’ll be right back from a meeting with her parole officer,” but when the SWAT team busts in to Pastor Mike’s house, all that’s left is Lyric’s empty ice cream container and a spoon.
The cops trace Pastor Mike’s car to the train station — and find some shockingly deep blood stains in his back seat. Me? I’m wondering why no one raised this question: Could Mike have delivered Angie for down-low surgery with the vet tech, gotten blood all over his car, and have had no further link to the string of teen murders? Is it possible Mike’s on the run now because — with that Arizona case flapping in the breeze behind him — he’s got limited options of where and how to live now?
But As Linden walks away from the scene and back to her car, she receives a shock of her own: There’s someone hiding in the back seat, putting a knofe to her throat, and making a one-word demand: “Drive.” It sure sounds like Pastor Mike, and methinks the cops’ pursuit of an innocent man has driven him to the brink.
THE KIDS | Looks like Lyric and Twitch are finito, now that the latter finally showed up at his squat and found Lyric cozied up in bed with Bullett. Not a moment too soon, I add, after enduing Twitch’s boastful tales of bedding an older woman for steak dinners and cash.
Danette, meanwhile, runs into her worst nightmare/best reality-check in the waiting room at the police department: The mother of a long-time missing girl who travels with medical files and dental records on the off chance that her hosts from a multitude of jurisdictions will have a missing-persons case that fits her daughter’s bill. “The maybes are the hardest thing,” adds the woman, matter-of-factly, knowing she’ll probably not get herself a happy ending.
THE CONVICT | My latest Killing theory: The murderer is either bald badass Becker or babyfaced Henderson. Why spend so much time on these troubled dudes otherwise? Right? Righhhht.
Becker begins the hour taunting Seward about how a hanging requires perfect weights and measurement to avoid catastrophic results. Seward punches back wondering if “problems with the old lady” are the root cause of his racnor. And it turns out he’s right, as Becker later reveals to Henderson that when his son called and said mom hadn’t come home, he’d found her “at a bar with some guy — not the first time.” So that’s why he wasn’t on duty the night Alton died?
Henderson, meanwhile, performs a weigh-in with Seward, and on the cold scale, our convice begins to tremble with fear like a Chihuahua at a Doberman convention. Henderson is calm yet forceful, noting that if the measurements are taken carefully, “Your neck will break like it’s supposed to. You won’t feel any pain.” WHAT IS THIS ABOUT NECKS AND DEATHS AND THE ABSENCE OF PAIN? Okay, maybe I’m trying too hard to figure out whodunnit.
Then again, Becker brings his son to work to examine the gallows because opportunities
this macabre like this “don’t come around that often.” Um, okay? Poor son has to ask, “Do you pull the lever, dad?” before Becker reveals that, as the nooseman, he’ll be the one fastening the rope around Seward’s neck.
THE DETECTIVES | Holder kicks off the episode looking down his nose at 12-step programs in “stank-ass basements” — seemingly losing touch with himself as a promising young detective on the way to making sergeant. Linden is dubious about her partner’s comments: “I’m gonna get some sleep: You should, too,” she says, world weary and ready for some shut-eye.
When Linden gets home, though. she has to deal with her own demons. Ferry-boat boy toy Cody is waiting in his car, wondering where Linden’s been for three days, why she’s not talking to him or answering his calls. And here, we see the person Linden becomes when she’s fully immersed in a case: “I was pretending to be something I wasn’t with you, and now it’s over. Let go of me. Because you really don’t want me to tell you a third time how things are.” O to the U to the C to the H.
When the SWAT team arrives too late to catch Pastor Mike, Holder freaks out, throws a patrolman into a wall. “You go down this road, you lose things: That’s how this works,” Linden hisses, and there’s so much loss and regret in her voice you’ve got to hope Holder runs home, burns his hoodie and calls that sweet ADA for a nighttime love chat. (Yeah, yeah, I know…he’s probably too far gone for this kind of happy ending.)
Skinner, meanwhile, finally admits he believes Linden that Seward is innocent, but he’s detached enough to know there’s not enough evidence to clear the death-row inmate. The task-force chief, though, drops an interesting detail: The girls in the red medical bags were killed between June and November 2009; Seward’s wife was killed Dec. 26. Linden leans into his shoulder. Their faces touch. They both pull away, knowing a bad impulse when they feel it. Will a post-abduction Linden be so strong? I leave it for you to discuss…
What did you think of The Killing’s latest hour? What burning questions will keep you up tonight? Sound off below!