Ken Tucker
April 23, 2012 AT 04:14 PM EDT

Remember the first season of The Killing, when lots of people you knew were watching and talking about it every week? How great we thought it was that Mireille Enos had emerged from Big Love to become a star, and that Joel Kinnaman was killing it as her frowzy partner? Now, amidst Sunday nights filled with must-see TV (Mad Men, The Good Wife, Girls, Game of Thrones, etc.), the second season of The Killing seems to barely take up so much as a sentence of the pop-culture conversation on a Monday morning.

I’ve been watching every episode of The Killing. Two weeks ago, there was a superb scene between Enos and Kinnaman as they sat in a car, going over — with wonderful discomfort and awkwardness — the Rosie Larsen case and their own complicated professional relationship. But if you asked me to name another stand-out moment in the second season thus far, I come up empty.

At the start of season 2, I was willing to think — hoping, certainly — that all the negative hype the first-season finale attracted would blow over, that The Killing would move on and dive into solving the Rosie mystery and add to the series’ inherent intrigue. It hasn’t worked out that way. That each episode equals one day of the investigation format has proven a serious drag on the series’ pacing. Too much time now is spent with a camera trained on Billy Campbell’s wheelchair-bound Darren Richmond, nursing his wounds and his pride. Too much time is spent watching Brent Sexton’s Stan Larsen do slow burns over the pace of the investigation (he’s become the surrogate for the viewing audience’s frustration!). And Michelle Forbes’ Mitch, on the road in a kind of manic-depressive Jack Kerouac side plot? What the…? I’m sure something will come of this, but so far, it’s a head-scratching waste of Forbes’ talent.

In retrospect, I guess viewers’ resentment that the Rosie murder was not solved at the end of season 1 resulted in a real grudge against the show. And there hasn’t been much in the way of new forward momentum, or interesting new characters. Certainly Stan’s Mob connections are proving to be more tiresome than menacing, and the endless interrogations, going over the same muddy ground, while they may reflect the true nature of police work, serve only to mire down The Killing.

At this point, I’m watching The Killing in a way its producers probably didn’t intend: I just want to see if they can dig themselves out of their plot holes and get this contraption up and running again. How about you? Are you still watching? Engaged or disengaged?

Twitter: @kentucker

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