The Killing Season 3 certainly seems like a far darker tale than when it dipped its toes into the Larsen case.
Perhaps a lot of that has to do with the revealing look at the seedy side of Seattle, full of abandoned, neglected teens looking to score their next fix or provide a sexual service in exchange for money... heck even some food.
It's a far departure from the corruption of politics and games played by a more elitist crowd when it involved Darren Richmond and those connected vying for the seat of power. Rather, these street kids are fighting to survive in a world where it seems like family, police and the city have left them to fade away into the mist that hangs over the land.
Except it's clear how these teens are easily taken advantage of because of their lack of power, no matter how much bravado or big talking they express.
Twitch doesn't seem like the greatest guy to like, and yet this episode really makes you feel something for him. Not only does he essentially get raped by his "probation officer," he falls back into drugs to cope, and then winds up getting the crap kicked out of him because he stomped on the wrong turf.
Thankfully, the episode didn't go into overload on the teen focus. It's still the least interesting aspect for me when given a choice between that, Ray Seward or Linden and Holder trying to put all the clues together. But the show is doing a good job of making those shorter focused moments work.
Really, the hour put a slow down on clue discovery (which is fine) and attempted to focus some more time on the characters involved in the current situations and predicaments they face.
Seward is still something of an enigma, especially when his grins make you think he's either happy or ready to bash someone's face in. I enjoyed the conversation with his fellow inmate and was a bit surprised when Seward chose to take the medicine to stop the guards from beating the prisoner. I was expecting him to spit the pill out after the guards had left.
It's weird in the sense that aspects of his upbringing and his mindset want to make him a cold and resilient man,(he destroyed the tattoo that connected him to his son.) Yet moments shine through that establish that he does have some semblance of good, however fleeting.
That concept of whether he is innocent makes every action or thing he says that much more interesting.
As for Linden and Holder, those two keep inching closer and closer back together. I'm not sure if Holder's partner is jealous or just has it out for Linden, but I loved her fantastic burn by telling him he was in the way.
Similarly, watching them raid the hotel and finally getting info out of their victim connected to the the videos and potentially the murders was a great use of their teamwork. It's like riding a bike for these two.
But, man, I can't believe Linden was able to keep herself so composed when it came to speaking with Kallie's mother. That woman is horrible in regards to any care or concern. It makes you really wish those teens had someone, anyone, who could care for them enough to get them off those streets.
Ultimately, "Head Shots" left us with a few possible suspects. Now whether any is the murderer remains to be seen, and of course, there's always that red herring waiting to swoop in at the last second.
The prison guard is an interesting possibility, given the history with Seward. Apparently, he's going on late night romps that isn't work or hanging out with friends for a night of bowling and beer. Although he's a good nemesis for Seward, I think that's not necessarily the direction the show will go. I just wonder what he's doing in his spare time.
Goldie seems least likely to be connected besides having the videos of the girls. A bold stunt that put him on TV makes him look more like a small fish in this big pond, but his actions with Bullet have yet to be reprimanded.
Which leaves the big discovery Linden and Holder found, the cab driver, and boyfriend of Kallie's mom. Signs point to "yes" as him being the voice on the other end of the video. But is he connected to Kallie's disappearance? Is he connected to the murders? Or is he a set up for a twist that proves he plays a minor part in the grand scheme of things?
Just who is the "Pied Piper?"
I'm kind of hoping that we haven't met the actual killer yet and instead will run into them closer to halfway through the season.
Conceptually, I'm still on board for The Killing Season 3. I like the slow burn of the series as long as it finds ways to be entertaining through its characters or the story arc it chooses to tell. And the case remains compelling in that it adds to that dark element of the show and hasn't fallen into a trap of stringing us along but instead has been leading us in the right direction.
This was a decent episode to keep The Killing in it's fresh new form and just the next step towards slowly pulling all the clues together.
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.