The Killing Remains the Same Show It's Always Been

The Killing S02E01 & S02E02: "Reflections"

After a disappointing first season, The Killing’s Season 2 premiere had to work extra hard to lure most of the show's Season 1 audience back to the series. Here’s the short version: It didn’t work for me. I’m afraid I'm past the point of being able to judge this show objectively, because I've already devoted so much time that I don’t feel was rewarded. It’s not even that we don’t know who killed Rosie; if I believed that The Killing had somehow grown during its hiatus, and that I was in for a tighter, better series, I might find a way to get invested again. But even though the premiere was called "Reflections," that just doesn't seem to be the case.

One of The Killing's major problems is that it still doesn’t think it did anything wrong. We can continue to debate the Season 1 finale, in which we finally learned who killed Rosie and then realized that he was being set up—but the show’s faults go beyond that frustrating conclusion. Season 1 was plagued by logical leaps, too many red herrings, inconsistent characterization, and awkward pacing. The show’s main strength, a strong cast delivering exceptional performances, couldn't make up for the writing. By the end, I wasn’t the only viewer wondering why I’d stuck with the show.

However, if The Killing seemed willing to address its failures and learn from them, this might be a different story. The cast is almost enough of a draw, and the show’s gloomy aesthetic coupled with high production values make it an attractive (albeit depressing) viewing experience. I want to watch the show because I still believe there’s potential, but "Reflections" did little to convince me I should keep tuning in. There were a few moments that grabbed me—I liked Belko Royce's twitchy break with sanity, for example—but the overall product felt exactly the same as it did last season, with Linden following Richmond's dead-end trail. The Killing remains the show it always has been.

So, why watch The Killing? If it’s for the mystery, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. The first season demonstrated that this series will be dragging things out for as long as possible. And since we know we’re not going to learn the identity of Rosie’s killer until the Season 2 finale, there are sure to be a lot of other false leads and exonerated suspects over the course of the next several episodes.

If you’re watching The Killing for the characters, as many critics have suggested, you’re likely to be drawn in by the performances. The problem is, none of these characters feel like they're worth sticking with. The show insists on taking place in a compact amount of time: As was the case with Lost, the amount of time we spend consuming the story is much longer than the time the characters spend experiencing it. But Lost presented such extreme situations that it forced its characters to grow quickly—it also used flashbacks to flesh out their backstories. We learned more about them constantly, and they never felt stagnant.

In my mind, The Killing is as close as you can get to the opposite of Lost: The show reeks of stagnancy. Its characters are so stuck that it’s not enjoyable to watch. We know Linden will keep trying to escape Seattle only to be drawn back by the mystery. We know Rosie’s parents will continue to cycle through the stages of grief. In the show’s universe, it’s only been a little over two weeks since the murder, which means these characters wouldn’t be drastically different from the way they were in the pilot. That might keep the show grounded in realism, but it doesn’t make for entertaining viewing. I don’t feel particularly engaged with any of them, and I don’t care to know what they’re going to do next. (My guess: more of the same.)

I’ll admit that I’m too annoyed with the show at this point to get much out of it, which is why I’m probably going to tune out now instead of forcing myself to sit through it every week. But few TV series I've taken the time to watch have turned from exciting event television to a drag so quickly. The Killing may improve in its second season—and I hope that it does—but I can’t find any compelling reason to stay. Let me know who killed Rosie when it comes to that, because I guess I would still like to know. Otherwise, I’m not going to let the show dampen my enthusiasm for Sunday nights. Bring on Mad Men and Game of Thrones: Those shows know how to tell a story.


Questions:

– What did you think of the Season 2 premiere?

– Whether you liked the episode or disliked it, let's hear the context: Did you hate the Season 1 finale but think the Season 2 premiere showed signs of improvement? Were you equally frustrated by the end of Season 1 and the two hours we've seen of Season 2? Have you enjoyed the entire series so far? ... And why?

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Don't worry The Killing, I still love you.



No matter how negative this site gets (way too much negativity in general on this site), I will always be there for you.
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Sofie Grabol from the the original danish series had a cameo in episode 2
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This show is basically a detective-show version of 24 that doesn't refresh after a season. Not finding out who killed Rosie isn't even the problem; this storyline is just painfully...one-trick.



Some people will say it's the journey that matters, and they're right. That's why it's important even for achingly slow journeys to go forward, instead of this sinusoidal up-and-down. As we know the pace of this show, we know:



- the cops won't find the killer until at least the end of this season.

- ponytail cop is not leaving on that plane

- her kid's still gonna be an annoyed/annoying dick in limbo

- Rosie's dad is going get angrier and angrier as this drags on

- he'll likely hook up with his sister-in-law

- the wife will return either during or soon after

- the red herrings will act foolishly suspicious, when it most likely would've been 100x easier if they'd just come clean...which they will not do.



The acting is fine, but in a show this dry, how much acting do they really do? Ponytail Cop pretty much chews gum, chases after her kid, detects things, and yells at her ex over the phone.



Holden is basically a thug fightin' for his soul, who (I think) once has figured something out on his own. That city's screwed if Ponytail Cop ever leaves.



There's no charisma between any of them (maybe the dad and the sister-in-law). I've watched the show from the beginning, and I obviously can't remember anyone's name besides Holden's, and that's because I find his thuglife attitude so annoying, I'm often mumbling something like "gawd, sthu Holden."



I've been watching this show for the same reasons I've been watching TSC: hope and a DVR. But this show is basically like a soap, where you can walk away for half a year and get caught up during the 40-second recap. The little conspiracy angel on my shoulder keeps telling me this is an experiment, to find out how long they can stretch an 8-week miniseries before everyone walks away.



I do like the weather out there. I'm from California, and it's nice to know weather is still real.
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The biggest problem with season one wasn't the finale, but that it was nine episodes of great television stretched out to thirteen episodes.
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"albeit" damn I had no idea that was a word. Always thought "i'll be it" was just a saying. You learn something everyday I guess.
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"I don't feel particularly engaged with any of them, and I don't care to know what they're going to do next. (My guess: more of the same.) "



This. I am okay with them not revealing who killed Rosie in the season one finale (even though they've said they would) but I can't seem to find a way to care about any of these characters and this show always felt a bit pretentious to me. I respect that they are trying hard to make the show look good artistically and the acting is good, but I guess even these are not enough to make a show good.
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The original Danish series was superb, and was sold (with appropriate subtitles) to networks around the world. I saw it on BBC. It did not need to be remade, but that seems to be the American way. I am not surprised that the American version was such a pale imitation of the Danish version. I urge you to watch the Danish version. Season Two of the Danish show (called Forbrydelson) was only 10 episodes long, and it was very good as well.
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Complaints against not revealing the killer of Rosie is idiotic, as it is an ongoing series called "The Killing", which refers to that alone and is the whole point of the story. If it were a mini-series that never revealed it, then you have a legit gripe. If it were a series like you would see on Masterpiece with individual cases told in 90 minutes or so and they didn't reveal the killer, I'd be unhappy too.



That said, Enos and what to do with her kid is starting to get a little worn out. Her seeming unhappiness and suspicions of everything could start wearing you down after a bit, if not already. This is not helped by the constant dreary atmosphere with Seattle's rain. Grey's Anatomy takes place in the same city and I don't think the entire series has had as much rain as The Killing has had. Anyone live there? I know you get rain, but s this show realistic or exaggerated?



Another worry is the corruption plot getting too convoluted. I already feel like a score card is needed. The end better make it worthwhile sitting through, but more importantly, give a very good motive for the girl's death.



I wished Holder (Kinnaman) had sat in the hall and started telling Enos everything as she listens through the door, but now we have her distrust of him being continued and I hope they know when not to drag it out. I give that no more than two more episodes before it does, but he did leave his badge on the floor when he walked off, if not mistaken, so maybe she'll get a clue.



Not sure how I feel about Campbell keeping his suicide secret resulting in his now half killing himself anyway.



Other than that, it is intriguing with good performances, but it does need to pick up a bit. It probably should have been a mini-series. Can't understand why no one makes those with stuff like this anymore.
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I think many, like myself, expected this killing to be resolved, and then if there were a second season it would be about a different killing.
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This is what I'm talking about...very honest response. And I agree. Actually, I'm glad you talked about Holder at Sarah's hotel room. I don't understand why writers don't be true to the situation and let what any sensible person would do happen. Instead, they deviate for the purpose of prolonging a story. It's what I'm said before, writing to the story and not the character isn't very smart. On the other hand, we're left to believe Holder is stupid enough to think banging on a door and yelling at her to open up will accomplish just that, when he knows damn well the weight of the tension between the two of them. He had all the information, after all. Haha, ahh that bugged me.
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At the very least, make mention of the backpack! Telling her he got it and what happened or that something shady occured to get her intrigued enough to possibly open the door to hear him out. How about a text message? Does she even get those or does her phone only do voice?
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eh i don't know. I still kind of like it but i understand your point of view. I feel the show is good but the pacing oooh the pacing is KILLING ME. At least Holder is good because i freaking hate that female cop. She should be arrested for being so annoying.



1- I think it was alright but oh i hate the pacing already, if someone could do like a compressed episode of a whole season....

2- The Cast is good as you said, but i find that the drama is a bit overdone. Is waaaaay too dramatic at some points, and believe me i watched the whole first season and i watched Damages so i can take slow shows but the story needs to move forward and if it stalls needs to be for a different reason (NOT INCOMPETENCE PLEASE).



Holder being good makes me want to give it a chance but my interest is too weak to beat my patience..... So i don't know what is going to happen for me.
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This is a pitiful review! This show has tremendous acting performances, it sets a great mood and makes no apologies for not following standard unrealistic csi-type detective plotlines... its about the journey not about a big aha moment. thats the problem with many viewers these days they are conditioned to look for a quick pay off. its a good thing ur tuning out, i'll be spared reading weekly bashings of the show.
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While I enjoy being in a state of happiness with you on the Spartacus love-train, I'll have to respectfully say that even though your opinion of this show defers from mine, the only issue I take is with your contention with the reviewer. He did acknowledge the strong cast, and agreed that it could be a strong argument for returned viewing. Only that the writing may bog them down. And to me, it didn't seem like the reviewer wanted quick reveals, after all, the guy loves Game of Thrones, but that The Killing tends to use predictable and cliched tools to prolong story. For example, the red herrings. While it's possibly real (suspects can be a revolving door), it isn't exactly compelling storytelling. I find myself in agreement, that the show is disappointing, and I was hugely anticipating it, but I really don't feel any catharsis at any level. I don't know if that makes any sense. I guess, since you and I agree on Spartacus, I could give the example that it's taken 3 seasons to kill off certain people we knew were going to get it, but throughout the ride, almost every episode has felt fulfilling and complete in its own right. You know? I'm assuming that's what Louis was getting at.



That said, I'll continue watching The Killing if only to see Holder's retribution. It's kind of a Jesse Pinkman thing.
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Dear DinChild, as you know I've grown to have great respect for your insights and criticism and I certainly find it easier to relate to what you've written than Louis review who I still find to be just bitter because he wasnt given a neatly package killer in a silver-tray at the end of season 1. I won't dare to argue with what you've said, though I would say that spartacus and game of thrones (both of which i love) are very different shows from the killing. I'll leave you with a more detailed description of why I truly enjoy the show, I am glad you will continue to watch the rest of the season and can only hope that the killing will eventually win you over.



How can one find the acting superb and not find the characters or the writing engaging? Perhaps its possible but I certainly dont differentiate one from the other in this show. I definitely am drawn to the characters, they feel real and have depth - which is rare these days (particularly when it comes to police shows). The father and the whirlwind of grief and pain he finds himself in, linden and her crusade and as many have noted holder is an exceptionally multi-faceted character and its hard not to like him. Finally there's rosie and the whole mystery surrounding both her life and death and the way its slowly unveiled I find myself wanting to know more about her life not just the "whodunnit" aspect of her death. I'm a huge fan of the pace of the show, I realize its not for everyone but again it feels much more real than how the typical police procedural depicts investigations (csi dna tests done in 5 seconds, stereotypical suspects with cookie-cutter motives etc etc.)



I find that the corruption conspiracy plot will be very rewarding but its unraveling at its own pace not your typical tv show rhythm and I for one find that refreshing.



For me its all about the journey - unfortunately few people have the attention spain to put up with it, they need that episode-by-episode release or set-up&resolution formula and I truly appreciate The Killing for departing from that mold

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This may not be very coherent, haha, but I'll give it a quick go.



I do agree this is a different kind of crime drama, which is probably the bigger reason why I'm following shows like The Killing and Awake. But I'd argue Awake's writing is better. And on the other hand, I'd say The Killing has better performances (save for Jason Isaacs...he's really impressing me.) So hopefully this analogy helps make my interpretation a little clearer. Awake has better overall writing, The Killing has better overall acting. A big reason for this is the direction as well. Tapping into an actor's strengths can ultimately play out better on screen than telling them what to do. You know? I realize you're open to the possibility of the two ideas being not mutually exclusive, but can develop independent one another. Personally, as a writer, I tend to see the text in my head, then I see how the actors portray the text. ... I think I'm being redundant, so I'm gonna stop, haha...bed time.
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^ This
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One of my favorite shows right now and I thought the 2 hr premier was better than all of season 1. I really like the whole corruption thing and am especially glad to see Holder is one of the good guys. Of course.... I like shows for what they are instead of what I expect them to be...
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Couldn't say it better. This show is great and I'll keep tuning in every week.
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DITTO! really disliked this review, this guy doesnt seem to get that in the span of 14 days characters are expected to do many of the same things they have been doing... the funny thing is that despite all his bashing he is still aching to know who did it? a very sad state of affaird indeed! good riddance to you reviewer.
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we find ourselves in the same camp once again! i love the time span of the show - really adds to the realism of the whole story. as for the corruption and conspiracy element... it boggles my mind that some would find such things unrealistic - its pure naivet and people should take a good hard look at the world around them. a good start might be to watch the documentary "client 9"
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I gotta reply here to what you said below. not really sure what you mean by derivative narrative, if anything i take the conspiracy story as a powerful display of the corrupt society we live in.. and lets face it particularly at a time of elections its obvious most people are oblivious to what goes on behind the scenes and are passive consumers of bullshit media stories and the like. if people really were aware to the extent you mention... we wouldn't be living in a society where its acceptable that ... urgh to be honest i don't feel like going into a tirade against big banks/big oil/1% buying elections etc etc.. its too offputting.



I sincerely hope you keep watching and that your feelings about the show change, if not oh well we'll always have spartacus :)



i'll probably be away for a while, ill be in china for the next few months and I really don't if tv.com is available, the great firewall of china's reach is extensive! till we meet again in the boards, I wish you the best and hope the few people that apparently seem to like the show keep voicing their support !
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It's been a really long day, so I'll just focus on the conspiracy/unreal comment. My beef isn't with the reality with corruption, it's with its general derivative narrative. It seems to me, as a fellow story-teller, a conspiracy element is usually brought in for commercial effect, i.e. to sell a product better. Not necessarily add anything unique. Greater conspiracies aren't exactly anything new, and I feel like people are already more aware of it than your comment gives them credit. In the end, basically, I don't feel like it adds much to the social conversation, and is essentially superficial. Again, not unrealistic and certainly can be used, but many...many shows use this.



Personally, I'd like to see a more private scope (smaller) in The Killing...but I'll respond to the writing/character dilly up top so I don't run a thesis paper down here, hah.
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Seems like these responses are coming from a defensive point of view, not an understanding one. As far as his comment on the pacing and overall speed of the show, again, he's a Game of Thrones and Mad Men fan. Personally, I couldn't get into Mad Men. That was ridiculously slow for me. I think Louis has more against the writing than he does the characters or pacing (which, I guess includes the writing...)



But yet again, the corruption and conspiracy angle pops up? I'm kind of surprised no one it the slightest bit tired of this.
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I was going to watch the premier but after hearing they still don't plan to tell us who killed Rosie I said forget it.
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i thought "The Killing"'s concept was: 1 murder case per season. Season 1 ending was awful...
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I guess it's AMC's fault that made an assumption that was incorrect.
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