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The-killing

The Killing Review: A New Case, A Riveting Return

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Whether you wanted it or not, The Killing is back for its third season.

While I was never as overly angry about the series dragging out the Rosie Larsen case for two seasons (although it did seem like an odd choice given that it was highly implied it would be solved after The Killing Season 1), the actual closure of it in the season two finale, "What I Know," worked and was a positive way to finally solve the mystery.

But was it too little too late? AMC must have felt so because the show suffered the same fate as its title and was cancelled not soon after.

Then, surprisingly, when it seemed the series had been laid to rest for good, it was suddenly revived, revamped and essentially rebooted.

And if the season premiere, "The Jungle; That You Fear the Most," is any indication of what's to come, then bringing back The Killing was worth it.

Sarah's Discovery

Any real remnants of the Larsen case are left in the past, although the after effects of Linden moving away from police life and Holder moving up in the world as a more or less reformed rising detective were immediately evident.

While I miss Holder's hoodies, the new shirt, tie and jacket combo still allow the character to exude that cool and charming effortless even with the new getup. He's a changed man, even if you can tell the old version is still there as well.

It's wonderful to note that an actor like Joel Kinnaman can really carry a show, especially as so much of the premiere focused on Holder taking up the new case.

Of course, the first reuniting of Linden and Holder was one to make you smile - from the initial "What up, Linden" to the banter to leaving the case file that harkens back to Linden's past.

Certainly, Linden and Holder can sustain my interest on their own... but this new mystery, this fresh new take, is one that also proves equally interesting, if not more compelling than the previous Larsen investigation.

A lot of that has to do with the fact that at the center of the potential string of gruesome murders (they seem a lot darker than before) is Ray Seward, a man soon to be executed for similar killings that Linden had put him away for.

Peter Sarsgaard is riveting as the convicted inmate delivering a performance that is chillingly quiet and loudly intense. It was definitely a shock watching him bash the man's head into the cell bars; frighting when he called Linden's former partner; and stomach-turning as he described the killing he committed.

And yet, brilliantly, there's a possibility that he's not the actual killer. Or is he?

Sarsgaard allows his character to dip back and forth across the line of evil and yet the potential innocence brings out something even more. Has he simply transformed because of the implications that have been placed on him or is he a crazy sociopath with a penchant for violent death?

Either way, this possible serial killer is one to watch for and a major highlight of the premiere.

Of course, the connection to the past pulls at Linden's emotional strings, along with calling to do what she truly loves (it's not killing cows); the detective work, caring about the victims, and finding true justice surround Linden in such a way that she can't help but start following up leads.

There seems to be something suspicious with her former partner, but for now we've have to wait on how he really fits into it all, especially with Seward.

Interestingly enough, the most important clue is one that's been seen before in past seasons and staring Linden in the face the whole time: the drawing of those creepy woods.

Now, I'm not sure if the picture was retconned (were those two buildings in the back in the original drawing?) or the kid decided to draw another one with the buildings, but the discovery based off the work of art is both horrifying, eerie and a wild way to get the show started. Just the contrast of the red bags to the muted colors that inhabit the world of the rain-soaked Seattle helped really illustrate the significance of Linden's discovery.

And once again, it really makes you question Seward's connection, or if there is some other killer (copycat or not) out there causing the hidden mayhem that's been in the murky waters the whole time.

It only makes you want Linden and Holder to re-team immediately, but like the slow burn this show thrives on, it will probably take a bit before the dynamic duo are fully brought back together.

My only real hesitation on a very positive return for the series lies in the stories surrounding the homeless/runaway kids. The acting is more or less fair and at first some of the dialogue, especially for Bullet, became tiresome. I was glad when Holder grabbed her by the collar of her clothes and laid right back into her.

Yet, over the course of the two hours, I began to feel something for Bullet and the hardships she'd undergone. Sure, her character was a bit over the top and kind of aggressive, but she was slowly gaining ground to where I wouldn't find her so obnoxious.

But WOW to her final scene, which really brought out even further a level of darkness this series looks to be headed. I hope that guy gets his comeuppance for raping her, made even more horrific by the camera panning away and leaving viewers with her emotional cries for help.

I'm a bit curious where the wannabe model fits in, but I guess time will tell for all the connected pieces to fall into place.

Overall, I'm hooked again and wonderfully enough, viewers who may have never seen the past two seasons can easily jump right into the game. It might seem to follow a more standardized version of hunting a serial killer, but with the actors in place, the moody and dark setting to match the tone of the show, and an intriguing mystery combined with dilemmas that are sure to arise, The Killing Season 3 is going to be the best season yet.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
  • 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (73 Votes)

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

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I'm a big fan of this series and a supporter of the arc the first two seasons took. This one's off to a simmering pace and I like the thought given to the small things. The underkeyed introduction of Nicholas Lea, for example. Also, nice seeing BSG's Chief. My one complaint--what pulled me out of the story--was having Jewel Staite make a Serenity reference. It was charming and nostalgic once upon a time, now it's just annoying. I loved Firefly, too, but it's time to move on. I'm more interested in the fantastic array of character actors brought into this season. So far, it feels like it's going to be a great ride. Also, I'm rooting for Callie to still be alive.

Watchestoomuch

@dan: Who was it that put the drawing on Lindens fridge back in Season 2??? Good question. I had forgotten about that. It has to have been meant to inform this coming season, which should mean that we will have the answer some time in the next handful of episodes.

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Who was it that put the drawing on Lindens fridge back in Season 2??? it was a creepy moment and i'm glad they went back to this story for S3 but was that answered because right now it seems like a massive plothole

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This was such an amazing way for season three to start! It’s already more interesting than that awful second season was! I can’t wait for episode three to next week. I decided to work some overtime at DISH on Sunday night and was on the train home when the premiere aired. I used DISH Anywhere to watch it on my phone, as it lets me stream live and recorded shows to my mobile devices. I can’t wait to watch this episode over again.

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I like the two main characters, the show's atmosphere, and the social issues themes enough that the murders themselves are in the background to me. The Killing isn't interested in murder mysteries per se; it wants to examine murder's effects on individuals and communities, and (at least in the first two seasons) look at social/class issues through that prism. The fairly large number of religious references in the first two hours of this season surprised me, as the first two seasons mostly ignored that topic -- although the little we did see suggested a bit of a cynical attitude. I'm hoping the writers won't make the priest directly or indirectly responsible, but what we've seen so far makes that a real possibility, IMHO.

Watchestoomuch

@TRob13: I care much less about how many episodes they take to solve the case than I care about what they choose to fill the episodes with. If they have interesting leads to follow up, great. If they want us to watch unsympathetic mom getting attached to an unsympathetic runaway and other long-form nonsense that leads nowhere, forget it.

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I liked that Holder's new partner was Mitch Huntzberger!

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I certainly loved Seasons 1 and 2, and lest people forget it took the Danish version 20 episodes to complete the Larson case AND a normal US TV show season used to be 23 episodes anyway - leaving The Killing S1 and S2 a very normal time frame for telling a story.
Anyway - the current season stands to have gained by replacing the Campaign with the Inmate, and the Larson's with the Street Kids (something the Pacific Northwest is very-very known for). Again - the dark, slow-burn is a very appealing mechanic that contrasts today's expectations of "tell it all now, tell it all fast, and if I blink once before it's all done, I'll hate it".
I think people would benefit from slowing down as they watch TV by putting down the hand-held devices and concentrate on the story being told.

Watchestoomuch

I'm still on the fence about the return of "The Killing". Unlike Sean, I wasn't "overly angry" about the way the show strung us along and abused our patience. No, I was justifiably both frustrated and disgusted. When AMC announced the show's cancellation, I felt that justice had been served. Did the two-hour premiere include some of the first two seasons best elements, like Linden's intelligence and conscience, Holder's shrewd perceptiveness, and the odd chemistry between the two of them? Yes. Did it also include some of the previous seasons' worst elements, like Linden's inability to learn anything, accept others' help, or be honest when it's obvious she should be? Yes. What remains to be seen is where the balance will fall: smart and tense, leavened with sly humor; or frustrating, annoying, and proceeding at a snail's pace.

The Killing Season 3 Episode 1 Quotes

I don't eat meat, bitch!

Holder

You don't know me. I break things.

Linden
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