The Killing, Season 3: Episode 7 – “Hope Kills”
Directed by Tricia Brock
Written by Brett Conrad
Airs Sunday nights at 9 on AMC
Anyone who stopped watching The Killing after the first two seasons is missing out on seeing the great ideas behind the show being executed well. In a recent podcast discussion about the new FX series The Bridge, Dan Fienberg rightfully pointed out that there was never anything wrong with the structure of The Killing or the choice to not solve the Larsen case at the end of the first season – it’s just that the story that was being told wasn’t good enough. In season three, the story of The Killing is hitting all the right marks as its three parallel stories are all playing off each other well.
Even though Hannibal tackled violence as a theme much better than The Killing ever has so far, it’s still an understated part of this show. Last week’s hanging was done partly off-screen and completely in the dark, showing that the minds behind the camera know how to not exploit something that’s extremely easy to exploit. But that isn’t even one of the more remarkable things about The Killing (although it should be pointed out more, especially when critics keep bringing up the fact that there are too many shows about serial killers that have tasteless or uninteresting violence; that description does not apply to The Killing). The real kicker is the cohesion.
Seward is the character on the outside of this, since he’s on death row, but they’ve still managed to get Linden out there to see him a couple times – and, at other times, he is mentioned at the precinct in discussions between Linden and her boss. It’s never a necessary thing to have a cohesive narrative. Oftentimes, shows can be unfocused and still tell their stories very well (Game of Thrones, though even that would benefit from narrowing its viewpoint(s) down). The other two narratives – the cops and the homeless kids of Seattle – are much more intertwined, and that provides for the best scene of “Hope Kills” in which Holder is talking to Bullet, more or less giving her love advice. It’s a tender moment just for how delicate that relationship has been (Bullet recently punched Holder in the gut), but it’s a double-down on poignancy when we consider what we’ve been shown of Holder’s home life. At various points in the first half of this season, Holder and Linden have given advice to people or to each other that they themselves would have difficulty following through on. Maybe that’s an overused narrative device, but even if it is, anything coming from Holder commands an amount of interest and respect.
The mystery element of the series continues along here at a perhaps unremarkable pace. The good thing, though, is that it looks to be sticking with one potential suspect longer than it has with suspects from previous seasons. This has been a pretty common complaint aimed at the show – that it’s all twists – so if we get a couple more episodes in which we think it’s the guy running the shelter who is holding a knife to Linden’s neck, then that’s just another way in which this show has evolved since it debuted a couple years ago.