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The Killing Season Finale Review: The Pied Piper Revealed

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This was it. That final play that would either seal the deal for The Killing as a season worthy of its return... or collapse like a cardboard box under all the pressure of trying to close the lid on such a solid set of episodes.

Wonderfully, "From Up Here; The Road to Hamelin" delivered not only the actual identity of the killer, but-  through a riveting two hours - the right dose of humor, some solid surprises, a tragic twist and a final shocking gun shot that closed the case of "The Pied Piper," yet left the door wide open for Linden and Holder's journey to continue.

I'm glad all of the core characters had their stories pretty much wrapped up before hitting that final course of focus on the killer.

In Danger Again

Really, the end result of Seward's death in "Six Minutes" and ultimately the arrest and probable conviction of Joe Mills allowed those side characters to move on with their lives.

Where Becker chose to leave and escape the prison life, Henderson seemed to embrace the job, even if over the course of the season, he seemed least likely to stay. At the same time, there was nothing suspicious or an attempted fake out for these two.

Similarly, Lyric tried getting a real job working at a fast food joint, but the life of the street girl just couldn't seem to leave her. Luckily, there was some hope for Twitch who threw away his drugs. With a sigh of relief, there was at least the possibility that he might make it out.

As for Kallie's mom, a parent who essentially neglected her kid, had grown with the tragedy. The experience opened her eyes, but there was definitely recognition that she did care for her child, even if it turned out to be too late.

And once again, none of these three were tossed in as last minute suspects.

I had thought that perhaps the episode would reveal two killers in both Reddick and Skinner. It seemed possible enough and would be an interesting twist.

Thankfully, Reddick managed to find himself in the clear, but not until after Holder made a bomb threat on his former partner's car. (Holder with internal affairs was hilarious, but really when is watching Holder not entertaining?)

I really liked Reddick this season, and even down to the wire, he stuck true to his character, even helping Holder out as the minutes of the episode dwindled.

So, Skinner turned out to be the killer, not just of the 21 girls the police discovered, but admittedly, to many, many more. It was a sick revelation not only because he believed the girls he murdered to be just crack whores or "human garbage," but it was the ultimate betrayal for Linden.

That sliver of hope for Linden to have a love, to have a relationship was shattered when she discovered Kallie's missing ring. It was a fantastic tragedy that put Linden on the path towards a rather dark end.

On the one hand, I loved the car scenes with Linden and Holder that further enhanced that great relationship between the two. Linden was smiling, Holder was cracking "1-900" jokes and the two were in sync. It even led them to figuring out the identity of the burnt girl, and finally Skinner (even if separately).

It's funny because I haven't really talked much about Skinner throughout the season, mostly because he was there, but it was never anything that seemed out of the ordinary or something that just came across as bad or forced.

Rather Elias Koteas brought a real quiet and often comforting tone to the character of Skinner, especially with Linden. Of course, some things turn out to be too good to be true.

When it came down to it, that subtle acting matched with almost a whisper of speaking became creepy and magnified the horrors Skinner committed. He was so calm in his mannerisms, while manipulating Linden to take that drive. And I appreciate that his reveal didn't turn his character into an over animated clown.

While the whole interaction between Linden and Skinner wasn't a chase scene, it was mostly just conversation - and it was engrossing conversation for sure. I was trying to anticipate what direction the show would go next. And it was great that the discussion between the two helped wrap up why Seward's wife was killed.

But the last scene really solidified not just a great episode, but a great season. Skinner's almost taunting speech about Linden's love for him and practically coercing her to shoot set the tension on edge.

I thought it would have ended with Holder coming in right on time, preventing her from killing him and simply taking the bad guy to jail. Case closed. Simple way to end it. Nope. Not The Killing.

Linden fired the fatal shot, leaving a distressed Holder and a dead Skinner. And, boy, that somber and stone cold look on Linden's face before everything went black? Fantastic.

In a two hours that could have easily dragged and become bloated, the finale of The Killing Season 3 found a way to be compelling and exciting, focused on the characters as much as finishing the case, and providing one heck of an ending.

AMC made the right call in bringing the series back, and I can only hope that it does it again next go around. I'd gladly stand in the rain to soak up a season four.

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (206 Votes)

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

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I thought Linden was considering suicide in the last shot. No way she would have gotten n the car with Skinner. Why didn't she answer her phone when Holder was calling her? Why didn't she call for help when she first came to the realization that Skinner was the killer? Still love the show, but lots of plot holes in the finale.

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When Linden fired that final shot that killed Skinner, I thought about the episode when she was running through the woods and came across the dead animals in that dilapidated barn. She shoots and kills the one cow that was still (barely) alive, to put it out of its misery. I thought it was just to show that she had "come back" to herself, and was now willing to get back to work and do what needed to be done. But now I think that there was also foreshadowing for what happened with Skinner. He wanted Sarah to kill him and put him out of his misery, and she did. Also, I loved the scene when she realizes he is the killer and everything slows down and the sounds (who needs a sprinkler in Seattle, though?!) are amplified. Also loved the scene with Holder and his girlfriend. He is so surprised that she still wants to be with him. It was very sweet. Great acting on this show, and great atmosphere and cinematography.

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I was on the edge of my seat for 2 hours watching literate, engrossing drama. And this is a good review which cleared up a few details I hadn't picked up on. I disagree, however, about the likelihood of the show returning. I have read the ratings haven't been good this season. In fact when the NY Times wrote an article about the great shows on AMC, this wasn't even mentioned. I think that is why they were bold enough to have Linden kill Skinner. There can certainly be no future in law enforcement for her after an indefensible killing. Now that I reflect further, it is a fitting conclusion to a show entitled "The Killing".

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Great finale! I am so happy that AMC decided to give The Killing another chance :) Going into the episodes, I thought it might be Riddick and had a sneaking suspicion about Skinner. I always wondered why he wasn't more interested in finding the real killer (outside of Seward) and became more suspicious when Linden came to his house and he was packing...The actor also was pretty well known and it wouldve been surprising if his character didnt have a more focal role on the show. With that being said it played out beautifully. What will become of Linden next season?? Doesn't look like she will be on the force...if she gets charged w/killing another officer...although he IS a wacked out killer. Can't wait to find out! :)

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And Linden killing Skinner in cold blood in front of Holder? Again, com'on. She showed no respect for herself, her partner, the families of other girls not recovered, and gave Skinner exactly what he wanted. What does that leave for next season? Are Linden and Holder going to have lie? Linden is at rock bottom...again. Why would I expect her to ever recover from that? Honestly, I don't think she should ever be a police detective again. I have lost respect for her and I don't think it is redeemable.

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Another was the the car following the boy. Did that make him decide to go to his mom's grave? Could they not track Linden's cell phone GPS? What about skinner's? Or an APB on skinner's car? Skinner has a pretty distinctive look. Of all the girls he killed, not one person witnessed a girl going with skinner? In fact the series left almost nothing to go back and look at it again and in retrospect realize that it pointed to Skinner. What are the odds that skinner is going to give Kallie's ring to his daughter and that she would wear it? Why was it not with the other rings? How was skinner able to find Angie Gower, kill her, take her teeth out, burn the car, and be fresh enough to show up on Linden's doorstep with stinking of his late night activities? He should have known a single missing ring finger would be a clue. Maybe he should have cut off more? And Linden killing Skinner in cold blood in front of Holder? Again, com'on. She showed no respect for herself, her partner, the families of other girls not recovered, and gave Skinner exactly what he wanted. What does that leave for next season? Are Linden and Holder going to have lie? Linden is at rock bottom...again. Why would I expect her to ever recover from that? Honestly, I don't think she should ever be a police detective again. I have lost respect for her and I don't think it is redeemable.

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As always everything was great about the show, the acting, the photography, the direction...except the actual finale story. They did wrap up some things, but com'on...Linden sleeping with the killer then and now? Seems a little cliche if you ask me. I thought she was a little smarter than that. Overall the writers were really pretty mean to the "Linden" character, she was stupid and emotional and weak this episode, the complete opposite of how she was when she was abducted earlier this season. I didn't understand the whole thing where she runs the car off the road and gets out to puke. Wasn't she afraid for her life or that he would drive away? Shouldn't Linden have figured out that the boy could not possibly be at the cabin. There wasn't near enough time since skinner got to the boy's house so quickly after Linden/Holder found him missing. Too many red herrings. Reddick as the neighbor of the first girl. And why didn't Reddick mention he knew the first girl? Another was the the car following the boy. Did that make him decide to go to his mom's grave? Could they not track Linden's cell phone GPS? What about skinner's? Or an APB on skinner's car? Skinner has a pretty distinctive look. Of all the girls he killed, not one person witnessed a girl going with skinner? In fact the series left almost nothing to go back and look at it again and in retrospect realize that it pointed to Skinner. What are the odds that skinner is going to give Kallie's ring to his daughter and that she would wear it? Why was it not with the other rings? How was skinner able to find Angie Gower, kill her, take her teeth out, burn the car, and be fresh enough to show up on Linden's doorstep with stinking of his late night activities? He should have known a single missing ring finger would be a clue. Maybe he should have cut off more? And Linden killing Skinner in cold blood in front of Holder? Again, com'on. She showed no respect for herself, her partner, the families of other girls not recovered, and gave Skinner exactly what he wanted. What does that leave for next season? Are Linden and Holder going to have lie? Linden is at rock bottom...again. Why would I expect her to ever recover from that? Honestly, I don't think she should ever be a police detective again. I have lost respect for her and I don't think it is redeemable.

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Im confused as to what happened to Kallie. Im assuming she is dead but i didnt get closure on that. I had hoped in the end Holder would have found her alive at the cabin
I actually didnt love the end. I wanted to see Linden stronger and in control, instead she was whiney and let her guard down too much. And there was no way Adrien was way out there, how would Skinner have had that time before Linden came to his house? She should have figured that out. I love the show, and love that Skinner ended up as the killer, but i feel the ending couldve been written a little better.

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The Killing is one of THE BEST shows on TV. Holder is just fantastic, cool & sexy and does not seem like he is acting. Linden is strong, vulnerable, smart, and flawed to perfection. I love trying to follow the clues and guessing at the killer....I have been fooled in all 3 seasons. Please bring this show back again....and where are the Emmy nominations....this show deserves to be recognized.

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SO WAS IT SKINNER THAT TOOK THAT BURNT GIRLS TEETH OUT OR SOMEONE ELSE? I WAS A BIT CONFUSED ON THAT PART

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