The Killing "Scared and Running" Review: Lucky Breaks

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.



RAIN-SPLATTERED NOTES

– 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"?

Comments (44)
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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.
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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.

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Jun 24, 2013
I stopped watching this last season. Is it worth picking back up?
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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.
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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.
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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
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Jun 25, 2013
I'm in the same situation, but Holder 2.0 actually sounds intriguing enough that I might catch up.
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Jun 24, 2013
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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.
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Jun 24, 2013
That's one of the many reasons the killer choose this particular group. Street kids hardly talk to the police.
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Jun 25, 2013
Yeah but my point above is that in the case of Callie's phone they should've been all over it.
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Jun 25, 2013
Yeah true. As a criminal justice major myself.. I wondered why they didn't do that immediately.
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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.
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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

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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!
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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.
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Jun 24, 2013
I have a totally OCD but constructive comment about the The Killing page on tv.com - 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?
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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)
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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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Jun 24, 2013
Ha ha... good review... So happy to see Holder's hoodie again and I agree Bullet's acting has gotten much much better since the premiere when I found her overacting and histrionics nearly unwatchable...

Yep, there was a fair amount of serendipity in this ep but it didn't bother me that much that this girl got a few lucky breaks after what she's been through... Might not be realistic but I liked it and 'at least' it was not Callie who is probably gone as Holder said...

So we may not have seen great traditional police work (a la Reddick which means shaking pimps & johns and going home after your shift) but we saw, in my opinion, great police work by Holder and Linden that worked in this case. I do not see Reddick (or many other similar detectives) going down to chat to the assholes from the La Llorona fanclub and their dog or taking Bullet along which eventually provided the lead to the vet. And it took them long enough too so if for once Holder & Linden or the kids get a break, I do not think it destroys the show's premise... I found more cliche Callie's mum calling Callie's phone and finding it in the creep's bag (why would he keep it on? and after all these day still has battery? don't think so) and right then he comes out of the shower?

I think Reddick is definitely implicated whether as a john or for having taken $$$ / other services to look the other way or in a less criminal capacity, I think if The Killing wants to show the system is broken as the pastor said, it would make sense to show petty corruption too.

I am also fairly sure Holder will get dumped and so will Callie's mum (probably sooner and in a more gruesome manner)
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Jun 24, 2013
I so hope Holder can keep his girlfriend....just because I adore Jewel Staite ever since Firefly :D
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Jun 24, 2013
Oh I think she'll be around... Isn't she the DA or Assistant DA? But I am sure Holder appreciates your comment....
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Jun 24, 2013
Okay, let's talk about the "C" word, as it is a nasty, nasty word. That word is Cliffhanger. First of all, can anyone tell me they need a cliffhanger to go back to a show the following season. Cliffhangers aren't really necessary and are pretty much "old hat" as they were used in the early days of movies to bring folks back to the theatre after each part of the 15 minute serial each week, like Batman or some other intense serial of the era. I say we band together and not watch shows that resort to this obsolete and idiotic ritual that is so unnecessary. There should be a law disallowing this unless the show has a signed and confirmed renewal. How many shows have been cancelled on a cliffhanger--one is too many, so stop it. JUST STOP IT...
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Jun 24, 2013
I agree cliffhangers are a bit cheap and gimmicky though this cliffhanger was almost a self-parody as it is was (in my opinion) so cliche... I wrote it in my comment but the baddie keeping the mobile of the victim, on and with battery life after a few days is just senseless and predictable as predictable as Callie's mum now getting confirmation that she's been dating a creep and presumably getting killed next ep
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Jun 24, 2013
I will admit that Person of Interest ended on an unfinished thought--but certainly not a cliffhanger in the traditional sense. They know they don't need to and the ending was just a nice way to anticipate another great season to come. But not everyone can be POI. Still, cliffhangers only bring stupid people back. The rest of us all return because the show is good...
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Jun 24, 2013
Nope, that cliffhanger was just that, a cliffhanger! And the mum is busy looking for her daughter at the police station, take a look http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JnacLNxLxs
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Jun 24, 2013
huh.... you are right... I guess i was too quick in rolling my eyes...
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Jun 24, 2013
LOL...
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Jun 24, 2013
I liked this episode and I agree about what you said about the plot : it felt like we were watching the characters watch the plot unfold without them. No police skills were needed here, except to find that the bad guy (can't remember his name) was the old b***ch's son.
I like Bullet more and more with every episode ; she is funny, doesn't hesitate to answer back to Holder and is a very smart teenager.
I don't know why but I also like Caroline ; I think she compensates Holder's chilldish attitude well.
I think the problem in the plot is that there are not enough characters involved. There are the homeless kids and one bad guy. It seems difficult to stretch the story of the hunt for the bad guy over 12 episodes. I sincerely hope the plot thickens soon or this season is going to get boring fast.
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Jun 24, 2013
Yeah, Noel, perhaps you were a bit premature in saying that this show has improved enough to actually watch it. My wife loves English shows, and I do too, to a point. I loved Prime Suspect with Helen Mirren, but there was one that was four hours long and it was pushing it at two. Slow is okay--like Rectify--but don't drag it out for the sake of dragging it out. Tell your story, and if you're done, you're done. I wouldn't mind different length stories, but it isn't necessary to drag it out for the sake of a format...
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Staff
Jun 24, 2013
Hey, I had to go on what I've seen! If AMC had sent me the entire series, I would've watched it by now and advised appropriately! ;)
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Jun 24, 2013
And what might you have said? I agree that the show has gotten better from the first two episodes and you may still be correct and I will press on. I was only suggesting that your well-intentioned advice may have been premature through no fault of your own...
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Jun 25, 2013
I still like it this way, so i guess I can endure a slower speed better than you can (have watched plenty of French movies, maybe the training is needed, don't know). There wasn't any moment of this episode that annoyed me.
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Jun 24, 2013
You cool, dude, you cool...
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Staff
Jun 24, 2013
Without having seen the next seven episodes, no idea what I would've said.
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Jun 24, 2013
I remember the very first Dalgliesh (British detective) adaptation I ever saw on PBS' Mystery! was a 13-part whopper. (All the subsequent Dalgliesh episodes were also multi-parters but nowhere near that long.) Whereas I remember that as being an enjoyable ride, I just can't say the same for The Killing.

To my surprise, I found myself really enjoying this third season when it first premiered but the enjoyment has already begun to wane significantly, much faster than it did in the first season. (Really, you could call this the second season since the first two were merely halves of the same story.)

I'm certainly not giving up on it -- I gotta know whodunnit! -- but I do think it could benefit from...something. A more complicated plot that demands 13 or more hours to fully reveal itself? A shorter season that drags less? Characters that aren't all so dour and humorless? A less dismal setting? I don't exactly know what I want them to add or subtract, I know only that I'm getting definite flashbacks to the things that made me think the other seasons were never going to make my list of Best Detective Stories Ever. I obviously can't adequately verbalize exactly why this show always slightly disappoints me, I just know that it always does.
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Jun 24, 2013
If all novels were required to be 135,000 words--the ideal length I'm told--we'd have no Stephen King--think about that..

And if we had an EDIT BUTTON I wouldn't have to reply to myself...
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Jun 25, 2013
EDIT BUTTON FTW!
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Jun 24, 2013
The problem is that channels ask for specific lenght, which often diminishes the quality of TV shows. In 22 episodes shows, there always a weakness in the middle. In 13 or 6 episodes (or less) show, like English shows, the end often seems rushed.
I really hope The Killing doesn't drag the story out for too long or it will be without me.
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