The Killing is back and, no, its not an April Fool's joke, although I'm sure many fans out there felt like the lack of resolution on the first season finale had to be one.
What type of show carries a tagline of "Who killed Rosie Larsen," utilizes a suspect tracker for fans on its website and strongly alludes to the fact that all would be revealed... only to reveal nothing on the finale?
That's sure to have stung quite a few loyal viewers, making them feel manipulated and tricked. And while I was unsure how I felt about the direction the controversial ending took, I was captivated by Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder throughout those opening episodes.
After watching the season two premiere, I think fans should reconsider abandoning the show. If anything, I've come to look at this two-hour event as simply the start of season 1.5. After all, "Forbrydelsen," the Danish TV show on which it was based, aired 20 episodes before the killer was revealed. Now, whether or not the two are comparable quality wise in getting to that end result is another debate - but this feels like the second half of exploring the brutal murder of the young Rosie and beyond.
"Reflections" picked up immediately after the last episode, sending Richmond to the hospital and Linden away from the airport. Sometimes I think she wonders "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in" with the amount of times she tries to leave Seattle and her police work behind.
And true to form, Richmond's fate hung in the balance while his posse of Gwen and Jamie paced back and forth in contorted frustration and distress. It's hard for me to feel for Richmond beyond the fact that I never thought he deserved to die, mostly because I've been disinterested in any of his scenes for the mere fact that the political campaign seemed completely separate from the crime. True, the two found a way to link up in the end and there's seemingly more to the story now, but those characters haven't gripped me in a way that I care enough yet.
Even his paralysis - while an interesting turn of events, lile to have a strong impact on his campaign - didn't shock me. although it was better than saying the guy completely survived. Rather it was the revelation that he didn't kill Rosie that was the main takeaway here.
Did I ever think he might have done it? That would be a resounding no, but having the proof that he didn't finally checks him off the list like on a game of Clue. The discovery also developed his character far more in illustrating his deep love for his deceased wife and his intense desire to continue on in trying to win Mayor. I wonder if Linden will be forced to reveal at some point that Richmond tried to kill himself on the night that Rosie died?
Except now that Richmond is no longer a suspect, the show is back to square one. We aren't any closer to putting all the pieces together beyond figuring out who hasn't done it. I just hope that we don't throw another character under the bus as a suspect just to mislead the viewers. It's been done. Move on.
Clearly the show is attempting to dig deeper into conspiracy and the idea remains intriguing, especially where Stephen Holder is concerned. Joel Kinnaman brings an emotional and compelling depth to my favorite character on the show and both the first part and "My Lucky Day" explored the dark path he's unfortunately been placed on.
Kinnaman has a charisma and charm that is mixed with a gritty and intense realism so that when you watch Holder, you want him to escape his dark past even as his troubles prevent him from it. It was rather sad witnessing him slowly discover that the police he trusted turned out to be even more corrupt than he used to be. Holder is far from a bad guy and only looking to do the right thing, even as he takes shortcuts. Watching him desperately plead with Linden to open the door was heartbreaking. He knew that he screwed up and the one person he felt he could turn to couldn't trust him anymore.
It's clear that Sarah Linden wants to find Rosie's killer, even if it means going where she shouldn't. She has a resilience and quiet determination that Mireille Enos continues to evoke. I hope she finds a way to work with Holder again. And please get a hold of your whiny kid, Jack.
I'm sorry, but the kids on this show seem so unrealistic. I get rebellion from Jack, I get the Larsen boys acting out for the loss of their sister and the abandonment of their mom, but their dialogue felt forced. Plus, they just seem to complain a lot and it makes me wish the show would return to focusing on the major characters.
As for Stan Larsen, he's still in a state of pain over Mitch leaving, Rosie's death, learning that Rosie's killer is still out there and his children not thinking he can take care of them. The man has a lot on his plate and it only makes sense that when the chips are down, he calls in the Polish mob boss.
I'm banking on a mob and political connection further down the road, but there is definitely something deeper and more twisted beyond the simple fact that Rosie died. With cops speaking with the Mayor's people, evidence being faked, and character's pasts surfacing, the show is headed towards something bigger. Will it be a good bigger? Will the payoff be satisfying? Or will taking the journey second time around be a fool me twice, shame on me type of deal.
I know there's a lot to digest from the two episodes, even the ray of sunshine during one of the scenes seemed surprising, but I'm willing to give The Killing a second chance. I still find Linden and especially Holder compelling, exciting and enthralling characters trapped in a rain-soaked world of murder and suspense that aches to be further explored.
What did you think of the premiere? Are you still upset about last year's finale? Sound off below!
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.