The Killing: Vengeance

What would you do if you were standing in front of the person you thought killed someone you loved? If you had the chance for “Vengeance” would you take it? Stan Larsen was consumed by vengeance when Belko whispered Bennet’s name at Rosie’s wake. He was fixated on vengeance as he drove Bennet into the middle of nowhere. But at the moment Bennet was at his mercy; all that seemed to be left was sadness. The fire in his eyes, the rage in his voice, it all just fell away. Bennet pleaded that he had a wife who was pregnant with a little girl. He swore that he wasn’t he one who hurt Rosie. The only thing Stan said was “A daughter is different than having sons; sweeter, more gentle. The way she looks at you, like no woman ever will.” Then he got back in his car and drove away …

Later Mitch asks him, “Do you think he did it?” and Stan doesn’t answer her. Finally having something tangible to focus his anger on – of having someone to blame – was what drove Stan to abduct Bennet. When he backed down, I don’t think Stan was considering guilt or innocence. The moment of truth came and he still felt empty. He could taste vengeance and he knew it wouldn’t save him.

The Case:
Sarah Linden paid Amber Ahmed a visit, but quickly determined that despite her bizarre behaviour she couldn’t be Bennet’s accomplice. Amber’s medical records confirm that she suffers from placenta previa and is unable to lift heavy objects, including bodies. She shifts the focus of the investigation to one of Bennet’s friends, Muhammed, who Amber claims could have been at their apartment the night of the dance.

In the last episode, Bennet told Sarah and Stephen that Rosie came over to return an English novel, but Amber produces a copy of the Koran as the book she borrowed. Nobody really mentions the discrepancy, but it seems odd to me. We know Bennet was lying about meeting Rosie at the house because footage places him at the dance. But why go out of his way to lie about the reading material?

Since Muhammed is pretty much the ‘John Smith’ of the Muslim World, the detectives start poking around at the local mosque to uncover his identity. The Imam isn’t very helpful. He puts them in their place by producing a photo of a Muslim girl, Aisha, who disappeared a week ago. Apparently the police department isn’t quite as eager to locate missing girls of the non-white variety. Ouch! I can see why he would be cold.

There have been a lot of racial and religious references in these last few episodes. First Amber’s sister hinted that marrying a Muslim wasn’t a good idea while ‘this war’ is going on and then an Imam accuses the police of ignoring minority crimes. We listened to a racist radio DJ ranting about Bennet and we were treated to this lovely quote from Mitch’s mother, “Blacks, yellows, whites; nothing good can come from all that mixing.” Is this part of a larger theme in the story or just a comment on modern society?

The detectives don’t completely strike out at the mosque. Someone slips an address into Sarah’s shoe while she’s talking to the Imam – 106A Renton Avenue. We don’t see who it was, but from what I can tell the only person who walked by was a woman in Islamic dress.

The Detectives:
Sarah Linden is so wrapped up in the case that not only does she miss her non-refundable flight, she completely forgets about it! It’s Stephen who jogs her memory, but even a mad dash to the airport can’t get her there in time.

For the first time, Sarah admits that she wants to see the case through – that she’s not ready to walk away and let someone else handle it. “I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m finished with this life, but I have to wrap up this case!” But Sarah’s pattern has always been ‘one more case’. Reggie points out that the last time she said that she nearly lost custody of Jack. That explains the ‘you nearly lost him’ comment from the last episode. I’m dying to know what is at the root of Sarah’s obsessive behaviour? She must have screwed up pretty badly for the judge to consider revoking custody. I don’t think she’s learned her lesson and I’m intrigued to see how careless and unglued she becomes as the case progresses. Her relationship with Rick is already in jeopardy. He’s refusing to answer her calls after the missed flight.

Since Sarah has pretty much decided to stay in Seattle until Rosie’s killer is caught, Stephen Holder is still stuck in second chair. The exasperated expression on his face when he saw that Sarah was at the police station – and not in California – was priceless! “Yo Linden, you got fear of flying? You got commitment issues, that’s fine. But don’t be using it to mess up my career.”

The Richmond Campaign:
We learn that Darren’s late wife was killed in a drunk driving accident by a woman who is up for parole. He tells his mother-in-law that he doesn’t believe some people deserve forgiveness. She suggests that he’s having trouble forgiving himself for his wife’s death. So … that’s it? It’s not that a drunk driving accident isn’t horrible, but it’s pretty straightforward. I was hoping for something a little murkier with a mystery behind it. Perhaps an unsolved murder and implications that Darren was involved. I’m kinda disappointed.

After crushing Darren in the TV debate, the Mayor makes another power move and demands that Darren, as President of City Council, suspend funds to the All-Stars Program for as long as Bennet Ahmed is involved with the organization. Darren, of course, refuses and makes an impassioned speech, but the council outvotes him while the Mayor looks on with a smug self-satisfied expression.

The Larsens:
In spite of his pain, Stan is remembering who he is and the kind of man he wants to be. Lying in bed with his wife, after his failed vengeance mission, he opens up to her: “You said you’d never raise a child with a man like me. You said I had to change if we were going to get married and keep the baby. Funny thing, once Rosie came along I didn’t even have to try. I don’t wanna be that man again. I can’t. I don’t know what to do. I didn’t keep her safe.” I loved to see Stan and Mitch connecting because they’ve kept each other at a distance so far. Even when they’re comforting each other it feels like they’re going through the motions. This was the first time I felt like they were actually seeing each other. They shared a tender moment, softy kissing. So nice to see some passion and romance amidst the wreckage.

But Mitch isn’t comfortable ‘connecting’ all the way yet. Stan later tries to initiate a sensual encounter; coming up behind her when she’s brushing her hair, putting his arms around her waist and kissing her neck. But she stiffens and squirms out of his embrace. She backs away saying “I’m sorry, I’m doing the best I can.” I can imagine how hard it would be for Mitch to be sexual at this point in her grief. The idea of allowing herself to be happy and feel pleasure would feel like a betrayal of her daughter’s memory.

While Stan tries to rise above his anger, Mitch is starting to give in to hers. She’s been staying out of the case thus far, not talking to reporters and letting the cops do their jobs. But learning that Bennet Ahmed is a suspect awakens something in her. She has a fabulous scene with Belko where she practically spits venom at him because he didn’t tell her about Bennet and threatens him for more information. “That man was in my home. He was eating my food and he was talking to my children. So help me God if you don’t tell me, you will be out on your ass so fast!” So I guess Belko actually lives with the Larsens. It’s really creepy how eager he is to please. He offers to ‘do something’ about Bennet if Mitch wants him to.

By the end of the episode Mitch is parked outside Bennet’s apartment, watching him and his wife through the window as they laugh and smile together.

The final twist?
Sarah and Stephen break down the back door of 106 Renton Avenue, a halal butcher shop. They are exploring a large meat locker and they appear to see something of interest … but before we can tell what they are looking at, they are dropped to the ground by an entire team of FBI agents. Awesome. I didn’t think they could top last week’s cliffhanger. Well played!

Photo Courtesy of AMC

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