The Killing: Super 8

The Case:
In the last episode, Rosie’s teacher and love letter pen pal Bennett was looking pretty guilty. I actually missed the first 3 minutes due to a PVR malfunction, but I gather that the cops confronted them him at the beginning of this episode. He maintained his innocence and claimed to have been at home waiting on flooring guys who were working in his house. He said the flooring guys ended up cancelling on him, but the detectives discover that he was the one who told them not to come.

Bennett also has a history of being sweet on his young female students. His current wife, who is extremely pregnant, met him when he was her English teacher. But it’s totally cool and everything because they totally waited until she graduated to have sex and stuff. Voyeuristic janitors, pervert teachers … do they not screen anyone at this damn school?

But the most damaging evidence against Bennett is that his house is full of flooring chemicals. Which would make sense considering he’s renovating his home right? Yes … except that those same chemicals were found all over Rosie Larsen’s body. They were used to wash away any DNA evidence and it’s starting to look like the killer could be a professional. Are we looking at a serial killer and if so could there by a connection to one of Sarah’s past cases? There seems to be a lot of unresolved issues that are connected to her job.

The detective’s only other lead at this point is an ‘avant garde’ film of Rosie’s which Bennett gave to the cops. (I assume he gave it to them, but again I missed that part). Rosie was a budding young artist and Sarah is carefully studying her work to figure out who was behind the camera and if it contains any other clues.

The Richmond Campaign:
I’m still having an issue with all the story time being devoted to the Richmond campaign. The ties to the Larsen murder are so weak at this point and the entire plot feels like contrived intrigue to fill time so the mystery can continue to unfold slowly. I wasn’t at all interested in who ‘the mole’ was. If anyone else cares, it turned out to be some guy named Nathan (who was working for Yitanes, the woman who endorsed Richmond earlier). I think he was mentioned once before, but I can’t fathom why I’m supposed to be invested in his betrayal.

Having said that, Darren Richmond as a character is only getting more interesting as the show progresses. I love the space he occupies; wavering in the middle of political success and moral superiority. His campaign staff continue to nudge him toward a cut-throat attitude, but his conscience keeps him rooted in the centre. It leaves him in a constant state of limbo. His campaign is no longer in free-fall and Gwen’s latest bright idea to gain support is for Darren to not only reach out to the Larsens, but convince them to appear in a campaign commercial. He retorts, “Any ideas that won’t leave me feeling like I need a shower afterwards?”

I’m so used to him steadfastly refusing to cross the line that when he bumped into Mitch Larsen in the grocery store, it actually never occurred to me that it was a set-up. It’s fascinating that despite his gut instincts he agreed to stage the meet-up, then couldn’t go through with it and lied to his Gwen about Mitch not being in the store. I love that it’s becoming harder for him to stick to his guns … that the line is getting blurrier.

The Detectives
Stephen Holder’s crass attitude has just got to be bravado. Who actually makes remarks like “Unless this is a snuff film we’re wasting our time.” I refuse to believe he’s that much of a dick. Also I could be reading too much into this, but while everyone else was calling Bennett by his first name, Stephen kept using his last name Ahmed in a snarling tone that was kinda racist!

Sarah Linden inadvertently witnessed a transaction between Stephen and a stranger who handed him an envelope full of cash. He claims he won it betting on a game, but later slips up and makes an offhand comment about how he’s not much of a gambler.

Sarah’s fiancé Rick is getting more worried about her behaviour. He stops by the police station to visit her and watches as she plays Rosie’s film over and over, desperately searching for clues. He’s trying to tear her away from the case by making her commit to a Sunday BBQ in California.

“Are you going to put this girl’s drawings on your wall?”
“This isn’t the same thing. It’s not. I’m a different person now”

… but is she really? At the end of episode we see her pinning still frames from Rosie Larsen’s film up on her wall. After Rick heads off to the airport Sarah books a non-refundable flight for her and her son to California on Saturday night. It seems like she’s trying to prove she is capable of walking away from the case … more to herself than to Rick.

The Larsens
This is a family that is coming apart at the seams. Mitch and Stan can’t see past their own grief and they can’t even take comfort in each-other because they’re scared to openly speak about it and risk bringing everything to the surface. That leaves two little boys who are essentially parenting themselves while they struggle with their own feelings.

Denny wakes up at dawn and sneaks into his parent’s room to borrow money. He treks to the corner store in his pajamas because they are out of cereal. Tommy is wetting the bed and too embarrassed to tell anyone, so he tosses his pants and sheets in the trash. One of Stan’s friends/co-workers Belko finds them in the garbage and cleans them for him. He tells Tommy he wet the bed until he was 17 and promises not to tell him his mom. I noticed that Tommy only said, “Are you going to tell my mom?” and didn’t mention his Dad. Is it just embarrassment or is he afraid that he’s going to give his heartbroken mother something else to worry about?

I loved the scene with Denny in the bathtub. The poor kid was just enjoying his nightly bath, splashing water over the sides of the tub, when Mitch walks by the doorway and stares at him. He turns to smile at his mother, but she’s in a middle of a post-traumatic stress episode and starts screaming at him to get out of the tub … ”GET OUT!”

Brent Sexton (Stan) was incredible in this episode! The Larsens had to sit through another awful visit to the funeral home where they gave the director the dress they picked out for Rosie’s service. Stan has a hard time handing it over and looks like he wants to make a run for it when the director asks, “Would you like to see her in the dress?” What a horrible question! Stan already has one foot out the door, but Mitch is turning back. She’s still clinging to any opportunity to be with her daughter, whereas Stan doesn’t want to associate his little girl with death.

On the way home, Mitch makes a bizarre comment that could only come out of terrible anxiety and stress, “She looked pretty … our Rosie … didn’t she?” Stan pulls into a gas station and says he needs oil. He makes into the bathroom where he starts pacing, hitting walls and sobbing on the floor. When he gets back to the car he has completely regained his composure and just says they were out of oil. Stan is sticking with the role he feels he needs to play. His wife in the fragile one – who needs strength and support – so Stan’s the one breaking down in locked gas station bathrooms.

There’s a good reason why many marriages don’t survive the loss of a child. It’s easy to think it would bring you closer to your partner but it becomes this hole in your life and in your relationship that you simply can’t fill. If you’re barely surviving yourself, how can you be responsible for someone else’s happiness? I wonder how Mitch and Stan’s relationship will fare throughout the season.

Stan’s grief is taking him down a dangerous path. He initially told Belko that he didn’t want to know the details of the investigation because it wouldn’t change the fact that his daughter was dead. But by the end of the episode he’s changed his mind and asks Belko to find out who they are investigating at the school. A confrontation between Stan and Bennett should make for a powerful scene!

Where it Ended:
The detectives haven’t arrested Bennett yet and he’s free to do whatever he likes with his time … like appearing in Darren Richmond’s campaign commercial with his basketball team! So first his campaign car is used in the murder and now he’s palling around with a suspect … nice going Darren!

Photo Courtesy of AMC

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