The Killing: Finale

At long last, The Killing has come to a conclusion, and the murderer of Rosie Larsen was finally revealed. Spoiler Alert!

Or, I guess that should be murderers. It didn’t quite take a village to kill Rosie, but we discover that more than just Richmond campaign consultant Jamie Wright was involved. The final twist, and one that I am still having trouble being convinced by, is the revelation of the complicity of Mitch Larsen’s sister Terry. After Jamie caught Rosie observing a meeting between himself, Chief Jackson, and Ames, Jamie knocked her down, accidentally killing her (or so he thought). Ultimately, she tries to escape, he catches her, beats her, and puts her back in the trunk of the campaign car. Ames, who is having an affair with Terry, gets a call (and here the coincidental connections become a bit too much) from Jamie while in Terry’s car. The two of them go lakeside where Jamie and Ames argue about what do with the girl in the trunk. Fearful that leaving the girl alive will put a stop to her relationship with Ames, Terry is the one that puts the car in gear and lets it drive into the lake. As she tearfully tells Mitch after her confession, “I didn’t know it was Rosie,” and, setting aside for the moment the wrongness of causing the girl’s death whoever she might be, how could she know it was Rosie? How likely would it be that aunt and niece in this city of 600,000 would converge at this inopportune moment? There was too much coincidence and accident here. It was already an unfortunate coincidence that Rosie just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time (and that that was the cause of her murder), but that her aunt would also end up in the wrong place at the wrong time and as a result end up as Rosie’s murderer?

As much as I enjoyed season one of The Killing, and at least the first part of season two, I found the last 5 or 6 episodes disappointing, for multiple reasons. Leaving behind the template of the Danish original to go off in a different plot direction (and a completely different killer) was perhaps not the best idea—or at least the reinvention of the story did not match the original version in either emotional impact or clever plotting.

Two other elements of the finale bothered me as well—the complete and unexpected turnabout of Richmond, who, after insisting on doing the right thing regarding Rosie’s murder throughout his campaign, no matter the cost to his political fortunes, suddenly gets in bed (metaphorically) with the political insiders he’s been fighting against, and sees to it that both Jackson and Ames are freed from charges for their complicity (obstruction of justice) in Rosie’s murder. This made little sense in terms of the character established for Richmond for the past 23 episodes. I’ve been seeing this happen a lot in television lately. For the sake of a surprising plot twist, prior character development is abandoned.

Finally, we see Rosie’s Super 8 film that she completed on the night of her murder. For inexplicable reasons, Wright had hidden it away (where it was easily found by the police), and Lund sees that it gets processed. After watching the film, she (presumably) has it transferred to video and delivers it to the Larsens. The scene of the family watching Rosie’s film, which includes shots of Rosie on a boat holding up handwritten placards explaining “What I Know” intercut with shots of family members, butterflies, etc., makes for a nice emotional catharsis for the Larsen part of the plot line, but, while watching it, all I could keep thinking was, how did raw film footage taken from a single reel of film suddenly get edited into a montage? There was no logic to explain how this film came into being. To produce the film edited in-camera, Rosie would have had to make 7 or 8 boat trips (or more), stopping the camera each time she revealed a placard, returning home to shoot another snippet, going back to the boat, etc.

We do have two nice Holder and Lund scenes. In the first, Sarah is sitting in their office in the dark after the death of Wright, unhappy that the details of the case haven’t been completely uncovered, when Holder comes in, turns on the light, sees her there, immediately turns the light back off, and takes a seat in his desk chair, joining in her in-the-dark dissatisfaction.

The second nice Holder and Lund scene is near the end. The two of them are sitting in Holder’s car. Lund asks for a cigarette, but Holder is out. It’s a nice Holder and Lund moment, emblematic of what the series did well (casting these two actors to play those characters and letting their unique chemistry develop to the point that their best moments are when they aren’t saying anything or seemingly saying little of importance).  They get a radio call that a body has been found. Sarah gets out of the car, and lets Holder go to work, having decided finally that enough is enough. Rather than riding off into the sunset as do most western heroes at the end of the film, Lund walks alone down a nearly empty city street. . . . and off into the drizzle. An appropriate ending for this rainy series.

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