The Killing "Scared and Running" Review: Lucky Breaks

By Noel Kirkpatrick

Jun 24, 2013

The Killing S03E05: "Scared and Running"

The Killing's third season is five episodes down with seven to go, and so to propel the show into the second half of its season, "Scared and Running" opened up a couple of new avenues in the search for Kallie/the Pied Piper case. Unfortunately, the bulk of the episode relied on luck and coincidence, as opposed to narrative sense and a feeling of legitimate police work from Linden and Holder.

It's lucky that a girl escaped from the who is presumably the Pied Piper, and it's lucky that those kids were gathered around the severed finger as the two detectives drove by, and thank goodness that that gang of punks had camped themselves in one Kallie's favorite haunts to provide Holder with a gang member to mention La Llorona, and in doing so directed the two detectives and Bullet to some blood-stained pipes on the other side of the river.

For a series that has, since its inception, prized itself on showing audiences the slow and occasionally grueling nature of police work, these helpful occurrences demonstrated the cracks in that approach. When the answer to the question of "How do we get the case moving again when we have to stall it so that another part of the story (Danette and Joe) can have a suspenseful cliffhanger?" is "Let's have a random victim escape!", you're writing yourself out of corners in a ways that aren't consistent with your show's normal standards of storytelling.

Narrative shortcuts are necessary to move things along. Bullet obtaining some information off-screen about the vet from a couple of sources or the quickness of obtaining a warrant to search Danette's home are examples of reasonable shortcuts. Sure, I would've liked to have seen Bullet working her contacts and chasing down leads, but that's more because I like Bullet rather than because I think that it was narratively necessary for us to see her doing that. 

Even if you see Bullet's off-screen leads as another handy contrivance to move things along to Linden and Holder finding the girl, it was at least established earlier in the episode that the homeless kids don't even use the dwindling number of 24-hour clinics in the area if they need medical attention since it can catch the eye of the authorities. It's motivated enough by the dialog and the show's world -- talk of broken systems and fear of institutions -- that Bullet locating a vet that helps out people on the side doesn't strain the show's step-by-step approach to investigative work.

So while the set-up for the episode was incredibly frustrating, at least its execution was entertaining. Linden and Holder fell into easy rhythms that weren't interrupted by Reddick, and so following the chain of helpful plot points wasn't a drag. And then Holder broke out the hoodie so as not to look so much like a cop in front of the gang, and I didn't even realized I had missed it until he had put it on. I'm hoping he wears it in every episode now. 

If there was one other thing apart from Holder's hoodie that thrilled me, it was Bullet. Bex Taylor-Klaus is getting better with each and every episode, and she's very good in this one, providing lots of terrific energy when she's on screen. It helps that, in similar ways to Holder, Bullet's not as dour as Linden or as everyone else on the show. Yes, her life is nothing but hardship, but there's an optimism and a drive there that allows her to keep her head above that dark, dank water. It may be a coping mechanism, but it's one that doesn't involve shutting herself off to those she cares about. I mean, hell, she made Linden smile two or three times in the episode. That in and of itself is pretty damn impressive.

Feeling decidedly more disconnected from the big plot of the episode than usual was death row. I still don't have a bead on what's going on with Gabe, the prison guard played by Aaron Douglas. I kept waiting for the episode to circle back to him and Becker's clipboard after that lingering shot of it, but it never did. We learned what Alton was in for, and that Adrian, Seward's son, has been asking to see his father. It was light on much in the way of developments, but I do like how Seward just can't escape his pre-death row life. It keeps intruding upon him, forcing him to think and feel when he'd rather just two weeks be over and he'll be hanging from the gallows.


– I'm happy that the series showed Holder screwing up his personal life a bit. His calling out of Linden about her parenting coupled with his mention of talking to Jack was undercut a smidge by totally forgetting Valentine's Day with Caroline. That Linden suddenly found the fishing show totally interesting as Caroline presented the cupcake to Holder cracked me up.

– On a related note, I love that Holder loves noodling.

– No Reddick this week, which means he must be the Pied Piper! Nah. It's probably Pastor Mike.

What'd you think of "Scared and Running"?

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  • DavidJackson8 Jun 25, 2013

    Yeah, I keep wondering about Douglas' character, too. I can't really get a sense of what he's really up to.

    I also agree that Bullet is getting better... or, at least, more tolerable. I hated her in the first episode and the couple after that, but I found myself being okay with her in this one.

  • aravindshivar Jun 24, 2013

    What I love most about the show among other things? Subtlety.

    Take a look at the way they unfold the characters (even the small ones) & plot devices. For example, we had a vague glimpse of the 3rd inmate in the death row cell in the first 4 episodes. He never had a close-up shot or proper dialogue. I could hear his voice in few scenes, that's it. But in this episode that guy finally gets revealed. He's shown speaking to both Alton & Seward in this episode!

    Similarly, there was another scene in last episode (or before that) where Linden smiling at a moment shared by Holder and his female colleague. These scenes last only couple of seconds, but look at the effect of these small, subtle moments!

    Does that show the confidence the writers/creators have on the material? If then, we are in for an amazing season ahead.

  • JoshuaFrattar Jun 24, 2013

    I stopped watching this last season. Is it worth picking back up?

  • DavidJackson8 Jun 25, 2013

    Yes, no, maybe so. It's probably gotten better, but not significantly so. It depends on how much you disliked the first two seasons, I guess.

  • ludoTV Jun 25, 2013

    I guess anyone reading / commenting here will tend to tell you YES... I love The Killing so I'd say YES YES YES. It is a brand new mystery now with a serial killer rather than a 'Rosie Larsen' and all in the context of creeps of all sorts using/abusing runaway kids. And the case is somewhat connected to an old (highly traumatising) case of Linden's. Linden is more or less the same, Holder is Holder 2.0 but their dynamic remains interesting. The tone, photography etc. remain as beautiful and dark as before so aesthetically it is a pleasure if you can ignore the ugly side of humanity on show.

  • xubxerox Jun 25, 2013

    The ugly side of humanity is one of the reasons I enjoy this show. It is so very well and beautifully portraied.

    Also on ugly humanity:
    I don't think that all the millions of viewers of Game of Thrones like the show for its white and bright weddings..... more for its Red Wedding and the like :D

  • patsully Jun 25, 2013

    I'm in the same situation, but Holder 2.0 actually sounds intriguing enough that I might catch up.

  • matthew_landry Jun 24, 2013

    This comment has been removed.

  • current Jun 24, 2013

    The mobile/cell phone of Callie's has been bugging me, in that surely the police would've put a trace on it. Emergency services (police/fire/ambulance) have used traces to assist people for years now and this is often used in crime stuff but not here. It's especially weird as Callie's mum made a point of telling Holder about the phone - and in coincidence, there's a pic above of her mum waving her phone at Holder! And no, a mobile doesn't need GPS to be traced but this can be more precise.
    Alton, on death row, should've got onto his lawyer after his beating, especially with his ongoing despair at his prospects, since he's always going on about what to do - not just making his fam' feel sorrow either. His attack must be on security footage.
    I'd like to see more public assists with the police and not just so much waiting on detective moments of zen - Bullet's help was appreciated by me -, as it's well documented that it's the public who lead to the vast majority of crimes being solved.

  • lalaforever1989 Jun 24, 2013

    That's one of the many reasons the killer choose this particular group. Street kids hardly talk to the police.

  • current Jun 25, 2013

    Yeah but my point above is that in the case of Callie's phone they should've been all over it.

  • lalaforever1989 Jun 25, 2013

    Yeah true. As a criminal justice major myself.. I wondered why they didn't do that immediately.

  • Grumpyclown Jun 24, 2013

    I think Gabe was looking at the clipboard because he was going to put his name on the list.
    If it gets as far as the execution, he answers the phone for a reprieve/stay.

  • Grumpyclown Jun 24, 2013

    I liked this episode because they concentrated more on the actual case rather than some backstory or character development. Some of the plot may have had a few shortcuts, but it is still better than the misdirects and slow pacing of the first season.
    Using Bullet to move the case along was also a welcome addition.
    The end was a bit weak for 2 reasons. Firstly, letting the phone ring that long was weak writing. And secondly, that was a very quick shower

    2 things
    1 - Kallie's mum reminds me of the mother in Gone Baby Gone
    2 - Why do i get the feeling that Bullet may also get taken

  • current Jun 24, 2013

    He hadn't got in the shower yet, he was still in his boxers.
    Her mum is an annoying stereotype of a battered woman.
    Yeah, Bullet could well be the trunky/nosey scooby doo kid who gets caught up by the killer, only to be rescued at the end!

  • ludoTV Jun 24, 2013

    Agree with you both that Callie's mum so far is a totally walking cliche of impoverished uneducated single mum with a teenage daughter and who has a creepy boyfriend who looks funny (or worse) at the daughter.

  • ludoTV Jun 24, 2013

    I have a totally OCD but constructive comment about the The Killing page on - the main image is a photograph of the 3 politicians at the centre of Seasons 1 and 2 that no longer appear on Season 3 (to my knowledge) - Shouldn't it be updated?

  • xubxerox Jun 24, 2013

    I'm no detective, but still I have an objection to your observations:
    Yes, almost all progress concerning the case came from "accidental" discoveries, but I don't agree that that is unrealistic. I wo0uld guess that even in modern and CSI-style case solving a good deal of information develops sort of by accident. A witness walking somewhere seeing something - or not for that matter - can heavily impact police knowledge.
    Also, isn't it a cops job to spot things that seem ordinary but are not, like the bunch of kids looking at the finger? Yes it was luck they were driving along that particular street at just the right time. But it was no accident they were in the neighborhood looking for a injured girl.

    I think the helplessness that those "lucky accidents" show fit nicely into the shows dark setup, because they show us, that even the mighty police sometimes has to rely on a bit of luck and you don't always get the results you want even if you put in 72h-days. It also nicely works for the difficulties both Holder and Linden are having with their private lives because they spend to much time at work and with their work-wife/husband.

  • ElisaDiaz Jun 25, 2013

    I totally agree - they are driving around the city (we don't know for how long) hoping to find some kind of clue for the injured girl, and when they see the boys around the finger, they know they have to go and check. That's how it probably works most of the time. Also checking with the gang to see if something would pop up was part of it. And realizing where the noise of the crying person should have come from, etc.

  • aravindshivar Jun 24, 2013

    well said! In my opinion, more than facts, logic and intelligent, intuition plays a major role when it comes to solving some complex cases. Especially for Linden, she takes the help of intuition every once in a while. For her it's a combination of all these. That's why she's damn good at her job. She knew that something would pop up during the course of that wandering down the streets.

  • aravindshivar Jun 24, 2013

    Okay! Let's play a little game called 'Suspects' here. My list goes here.

    1) Carl Reddick - Well, that guy has a 'killer vibe' I must say. This killer have been killing street kids/women once in every 6 months for very long. Reddick has been there for very long. May be he's the one.

    2)Francis Becker (death row prison guard) - I don't know, he's kinda creepy!

    3)Pastor Mike - Hm, he's way too obvious, right? In that case I guess he's not directly involved with the killings but knows the killer or indirectly involved with this.

    4)Cody (Linden's new boyfriend) - Well, why because he has got the least chance to be the suspect. He was living with Linden and there's and he could not be a suspect. But that's what they do, right? One such person could be the killer when it comes to a crime thriller like 'The Killing. I'm pretty sure that they introduced the killer in first 2 episodes itself (season premiere). And he had enough screen footage. May be am crazy, but then it doesn't hurt to keep him as a suspect.

    Last week somebody told me missing girl's mother could be the killer, going by the latest episode and the coming episode preview, I rule out that possibility. Her boyfriend is also exempted since it's way too obvious.

    Who do you think is the killer?

  • ludoTV Jun 24, 2013

    Nice game.... though tricky... Who would have guessed who Rosie Larson's killer was? I won't mention in case readers may still want to see S1+2 but that killer is not someone I would have suspected...

    Reddick does look dirty but maybe the writers are playing games and what he is hiding is benign / minor and we are just made to suspect him because he is 'just' a misogynistic a-hole.

    Becker is so awful and nasty that it almost looks like it can't be him... His wife doesn't seem to be getting his attentions so perhaps he has a taste for younger women or deviant stuff? He seems more like an abusive bully than anything else but if he is the 'pied piper' it'd explain why we spend so much time in those cells (it is getting boring to hear the rants there...)

    Pastor Mike seems too obvious and I'll be rolling my eyes if The Killing goes for that. Having said that it is a fact that many pedophiles choose careers that give them access to potential victims sadly.

    Joe (Callie's mum's boyfriend) is too obvious indeed but he is clearly implicated by the DVD with Callie and in at least finding girls - I wonder if Joe's mum the horrid Mama Dips may have brought a bigger creep into his life that 'taught' Joe and he's the real Pied Piper...

    I hadn't thought of Cody but isn't he too young? This seems to have been going on for a while so I'd expect someone older?

    There is also the parole officer that raped the wannabe model - I thought that kind of cruelty and abuse of power and of the vulnerable indicates he's an individual capable of just about anything...

    And didn't anyone find it creepy that Linden's boss's daughter also a teen was looking at the girls's pictures and Linden questioned her? Linden's boss did get Seward convicted all those years back and Seward may have been innocent (I am still not getting a reading on Seward)

  • WavSlave Jun 24, 2013

    I'd like to see Holder testifying in court, just to see if he's actually able to talk in anything other than Hipster Streetspeak Mode. ;-)

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