The Killing Review: Victory and Defeat

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Hope must be on vacation from The Killing...  because any semblance of a positive outcome seemed lost on the heavy-handed bleakness that soaked up the characters and story on "Reckoning."

The hour was tough to watch, but difficult in the way it was meant to be, not because of any poor execution or plot.

Secrets Revealed

With Pastor Mike's name pretty much cleared after last week's episode, "Try," the likely suspect connected to all the girls reverted back to Joe Mills, who seemed more disheveled than the previous time we saw him.

Mills really didn't help his case by pummeling Linden's face to a bloody mess (I was a bit taken aback by the multiple shots he got in on her), but luckily Holder was able to save her and let Linden give a couple return hits while Mills was held down.

And with the collection of rings discovered that were taken from the victims, it looked pretty cut and dry who the "Pied Piper" was, even if Mills continually denied it.

What was worse and a real shock was the death of Bullet, almost immediately revealed in a dramatic fashion that was played perfectly through one shot of her tattooed wrist, Linden's rush to Holder's side and the look of anguish on Holder's face as he saw her body in the trunk of the cab.

I thought that maybe it was Holder coming to reconcile at the end of the previous episode; or if anything, the hour might make us think Bullet was gone. But to actually kill her? Didn't see that one coming.

It was tragic watching the upbeat Holder breakdown.

First, he was yelling at his girlfriend (who I initially thought might be in the trunk); then he was sitting along in a dark room smoking and drinking feeling upset that he should have done something; and then he went and beat the crap out of his partner after finding out he spoke to Bullet.

At the same time, Holder was going off the rails, Linden was there to comfort him.

And surprise to the almost kiss between the two detectives! I was waiting for something like that to happen (not sure if I want these two together yet), but there's definitely a connection between them and both actors really pulled out all the dramatic and emotional stops to convey it throughout the hour.

It's definitely been great getting good character scenes between the hunt for the killer, including ones that don't necessarily involve Linden and Holder.

I'm still trying to figure out Lyric and Twitch's purpose to the larger story beyond just a look at street kids.

The same goes for prison guards Becker and Henderson, who the former had his kid arrested after shooting his wife's lover.

I'm kind of hoping though that there isn't a bigger connection with these group of characters and rather just seeing a further facet into the lives of those a part of that bigger story, rather than aspects of a twist we have yet to see.

So is it really case closed on the Pied Piper and most likely Joe Mills? After all, Adrian Seward pointed Mills out in the photo as the man who killed his mother. But was it a lucky guess or the real deal?

Linden got word that Mills wasn't in the area when the original crime that put Ray Seward in prison took place. So... did Mills simply kill the girls and not Seward's wife? Is he innocent? Is Seward?

There was no cliffhanger really, and in a lot of ways, the season could have ended right there if it was indeed a case closed without Linden being able to do anything about Seward's execution. Tragic indeed.

But with two more episodes to go, that final twist is bound to appear and perhaps spark a ray of possible hope on the dreary city that's pulled Linden and Holder into it's grasp.

Either way, I can't help but reiterate what a breath of fresh air The Killing Season 3 has been offering that compelling ride even if for now, it hasn't been filled with sunshine and happy endings.


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (72 Votes)

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


My theory is Twitch is involved... suddenly he's got lots of cash and is off parole.. He's been doing "favours" for his P.O. Maybe those favours included ratting out Bullet(who he was angry with for getting with Lyric).
Bullet was killed because she knew the identity of the killer. How did the killer know that she knew?
Not sure how it all fits together, but Twitch and Parole officer definitely linked to the killer, maybe PO is the killer, though we've barely seen him.


I agree, there's something suspicious about Reddick. He's overplaying the incompetent cop. I'm not sure he's the killer but I think he might be protecting someone. There's the rings, the fact that he spoke to bullet, the cut on his hand and the fact that the girl who had her finger cut off left the hospital while he was supposed to be watching her. I think it's possible that this is some kind of sindicate with more than one person ivolved. The videos of the girls were like auditions after all... All I know is it wasn't Joe Mills, he's just a creep.


I can't believe you were blindsided by Bullet's death. That plot line had been heading in that direction for weeks. I think you are on to something about the masochistic guard. Clearly there is more here than meets the eye and the case against Seward will undoubtedly go right down to the wire before being resolved.
My one complaint with this show is the dark cinematography which sometimes causes me to miss out on what has happened. Fortunately TVFanatic gets me caught up and clears up all my confusion.


I agree this episode could have been the season finale--and a powerful one at that! I suppose it's all the known faces in the ensemble who make me wonder what twists and turns have yet been revealed. Elias Koteas, Gregg Henry, Aaron Douglas, Hugh Dillon... all some great character actors. I'd be happy if they were simply ensemble players and not the hidden killer/betrayer but The Killing just isn't the sort of show that dishes out happy endings. ;) Sad to see the demise of Bullet, she completely grew on me. Likewise, Amy Seimetz has run a remarkable gamut of emotions as the uncaring-to-distraught mother. ...And leave it to Nicholas Lea to resort to sinister behavior so late in the game! Chilling. I had hoped we might get a glimpse of Billy Campbell's Mayor Darren Richmond before this was over. Perhaps as someone Linden appeals to in order to get a stay for Seward.


This was the best episode of the season! It could have been the series finale.I am also pleasantly surprised that Jonathan Demme, award winning film director would actually direct this episode. I thought it was just a guy with the same name. I kind of suspected Bullet to die but the way it was played out was excellent. Tragic but excellent. I am glad Linden and Holder almost kissed but did not. Both are broken characters addicted to their job and could not possibly hold down any personal relationship even if they are together so I still prefer them as professional partners. I suspected Linden is in a way still attracted to her boss. They might be another plot twist as Joe is a too easy answer. I think Adrian lied about Joe being her mum's killer. I am still not sure if his dad is the actual killer, could have been somebody else. He was just a kid trying to save his dad but if his father was really the killer and he saw it, would he still be trying to save his dad. That is one main reason why I think his dad probably is NOT the killer. I too feel Aaron Douglas kind of wasted with a small character but it could be he could not find any other show to act in. He is talented but lots of talented actor in Hollywood don't get enough good roles. One good example is Katherine Moeing who now has a small part in Ray Donovan.


I just hope they don't do what they did the first season and we don't find out who the killer is until next year. Just Sayin. That's why I didn't watch the 2nd Season. Hope I'm not the fool again.


The undeniable excellence of last night's episode had something to do, I think, with it having been directed by Jonathan Demme. (Silence of the Lambs)

Sp mckenna

@anonymous - That's definitely a good theory. It really feels like Joe Mills as the killer seems too simple, right? Especially with two more episodes to go. @NickiK - I agree about Henderson and even Becker. I just feel like with this show, there's something more with them we've yet to uncover. Curious how the final eps will play out.


Note that it was Reddick who brought in the box of rings. If HE is the killer, what a good way to blame Mills. Something that has been bothering me right along: The actor playing Henderson (Aaron Douglas) was a main character in Battlestar Gallactica(Chief Galen Tyrol)for all those years of that show. So far Henderson has had precious little screen time or importance. Why cast such a known actor for such a bit part? Can't help thinking this role HAS to be bigger, that some twist will come with him....


What about Holder's ex-partner? He had gotten the call from bullet. Bullet didn't fit the look of the other victims. He's the one that found the rings in the storage unit. And he had a bandage on his hand when Holder showed up to bear him down.

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