The Killing Review: "Undertow"

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One of the great things about The Killing is the show's ability to move at a pace that doesn't rush either the story or the police work.

The crime isn't solved in an hour, judges won't sign off on warrants every time, evidence can be largely circumstantial, and the amount of procedural roadblocks are extremely frustrating. Sure, whipping off a pair of sunglasses and saying something clever is fun, but it lacks the realistic nature of solving a crime. If anything, it's not about glitz and glam.

Darren Richmond Photo

To top it off, the noir-ish tone - set to dreary rain and fog - that reflects the characters' feelings of discontent and struggle, add an extra layer of depth to the show. There's far more complexity to the murder of Rosie Larsen as there is to the characters involved.

"Undertow" took everyone's needs for the truth to the next level, which led to surprisings decisions and even rash results.

Bennet Ahmed has, of course, been the primary suspect in the murder case, but it's easy to forget that he hasn't been convicted of anything. Some of his actions might have been called into question, but not all of his secrets were connected with Rosie.

It's rather sad that a simple accusation can destroy a man's reputation and career. It took Ahmed a lot of nerves to walk into that school, especially with the whispering judgments of the students and staff. Even if he isn't the killer, the damage has already been done. It would be very difficult for everything to return to normal for him again.

The revelation that Ahmed's mysterious phone calls were about helping another girl was a good twist. It explained why he was so hesitant and difficult in working with the police. The use of stereotype was also important in the discovery, as it was very easy to assume that Muhammed and Ahmed were sinister in their actions rather than good-hearted.

Linden and Holder were just as surprised to learn of his choices, but that's what happens when you jump to conclusions. After all, Linden has been so diligent in not making assumptions or answering questions in a way that could be presumptuous of the facts. Seeing her actually shocked and confused at the turn of events was a sharp change from her relatively calm and emotionless demeanor.

It was Stan's decision to kidnap Ahmed that was the worst choice of the episode. He wanted his wife to feel closure and, with the police unable to arrest Ahmed, the only alternative was to take matters into his own hands.

After a frightening pummeling, the ominous closing shot of Stan and Belko's panting silhouettes showed exactly what happens when all of the facts aren't present. Very intense and haunting image indeed.

Plus, the scene in general was an extremely sharp contrast from Stan's moment of love and care when helping the little girl with her bike. It's great that these characters have multiple sides and various layers. It keeps them from becoming stale and flat.

What was up with his friend, Belko? The way that he was beating on the rock seemed emotionally unstable. I understand heat of the moment, but it was an odd action.

I want to put my money on Belko having a greater connection to Rosie's death. After all, who would be a worse suspect than one of Stan's closest friends? I should be careful not to jump to my own conclusions, though.

I still don't find the political campaign with Richmond all that interesting. Not knowing if he made the basketball shot didn't feel as significant as Mitch Larsen and Amber Ahmed's scenes of ignorance about their husbands. I know at some point the political aspects of the show will intertwine with the murder case and I look forward to seeing its direction. But, for now, it feels more like a side plot running parallel.

Another solid outing for this fresh show continues to leave viewers wanting more, even when the murder isn't close to being solved. Only more clues and detective work will unravel the mystery of who killed Rosie Larsen.

What did you think of the episode? Will Ahmed survive? Who is Adela? Sound off your comments and theories below!


Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (23 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


That scene sure pointed towards him being unstable, it seems logical to assume it is him. Of course on this show, it would be anyone but.
~I realize the finale has aired, just haven't gotten that far yet.


Oh! @Gina... the writers changed the killer so it's a different person in the original version.


Last night's episode was chilling. Tears build up when I saw Stan with the little girl as he fixed her bike, that scene was terrible for me. It made you see what a good father he is and how much he loves Rosie.
The last scene broke my heart. I knew Mitch was going to a dark place but I didn't though she will take Stan with her after all he did to reform himself. Very bad move. I love how Linden and Holder are finally true partners. This combo is awesome... and I don't think she is going to Sonoma any time soon. Or ever.


The original is available from However, it is very very similar to this one, in some cases scene for scene. The tip off that Bennet and Mohammed were not involved is in the opening scene of the first episode. Rosie is running from her attackers in the first episode. If Mohammed did it, how could she have escaped and run and why would he have plastic ties?


I am going to watch this again On Demand today. I want to know all about Richmond's wife, why Stan lets Mitch decide what emotion he will have on any given day, and why Belko creeps me out so much. These answers will not jump out any time soon I know that, but each week they play with my mind. Mitch has got to get on a regimen of medication or just go voluntarily into some kind of therapy full time. Still do not have any answers as to why she did not try to contact Rosie the weekend she was killed. Even a campground has a place to go where you can get cell phone service. She has a big gult trip each week and that pushes her to force issues with the other characters. Enough of her already! ;) Lots to think about here, I like a thinking person's series!


The Killing is becoming insufferable. I intend to search Netflix for the original version.

Sp mckenna

@Vampbarbie - I forget he said he wanted to keep the ball. Good catch! @Chuck - Belko is certainly suspect. I can't wait to find out more about him.


I thought that if he made the basket he was going to keep the ball. There's a scene that shows him put the basketball on his desk. Which shows that he made the shot.


Belko "might" be a suspect? Are you kidding? If it wasn't him, I'll spend a week in Seattle during the rainy season.

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The Killing Season 1 Episode 9 Quotes

At least you've got Sanoma. I mean, by the weekend I'm going to be working as a security guard at the Space Needle.

Stephen Holder

If Oakes has his head three and a half feet up his ass and Judge Elliot has his head 18 inches up his ass, how many total feet of ass do you get?

Stephen Holder