And so The Killing’s series finale begins just as the pilot did, with Sarah Linden running. But this is not the tranquil jog of the show’s opener. It’s a frantic sprint, like she’s running for her life. As soon as she spots the red pinwheel she cherished as a child—referenced during Linden’s reunion with her biological mother in the show’s penultimate episode—it’s clear all this is a dream. Below that pinwheel is young Sarah Linden herself, buried and lifeless. After all these years working soul-crushing homicide cases (and going in and out of the psych ward), it took this entanglement with the Pied Piper (her partner, her lover, her boss, her first murder victim) to truly rob Linden of her innocence. Behind Linden, a gun comes into frame. Is death the only way she can return to her former, better self? Once the trigger is pulled, it blasts Linden into the waking world to find out.
In another echo of the pilot, a line of men scours the forest. Only these aren’t police, looking to solve a crime—they are cadets at a twisted military academy, unwittingly abetting one. Kyle Stansbury’s bloody handprint tells them they’re not far behind.
At the obstetrician’s office, Holder is battling so many demons that he’s barely present. It’s something Caroline has mentioned several times in the last couple of weeks, and she deserves an explanation for his distance. Holder says he’s sick—a loaded word that covers every one of his current problems (sick with guilt, sick like an addict, sick in the head…). Without saying his crime—he wouldn’t dare utter it in front of his wife-to-be and his unborn child—he tells Caroline he has a choice to make “between you and her.” He is absolutely destroyed in acknowledging what he’s become (or, more to point, who he’s become: his father). Caroline immediately understands the other woman is Linden and presumably thinks the betrayal is physical. She dismisses Holder’s self-loathing, putting on her lawyer face and insisting nothing matters now except their baby. Once Holder hears the heartbeat of his daughter(!), the clouds sweep away from his face, and it seems he believes Caroline.
Magic bullet status update: Still no bullet. But the phone does ring while Linden search, and she heads to a rainy lot and waits (back on the cigs like old times). A bloody hand slaps her window. It’s Kyle. He’s been shot, and the memories of his family’s murder are flooding—another, and perhaps The Killing’s last, pathetic fallacy. It is absolutely pouring outside as Kyle identifies Fielding, Knopf, and Colonel Rayne as murderers. As Linden cradles him, just like he cradled his 6-year-old sister Nadine through her night terrors, Kyle wails, “I don’t want to remember. I don’t want to remember. I don’t want to remember!” Then, pitifully: “I want go home.”
Linden deposits Kyle at her house so she can do some work. He looks out the window, musing that this must be “what Eden was like.” She riffs on their first conversation, saying that a tree outside is the Tree of Life. She assures him he’ll be safe, that no one will find him. But if Linden possesses the same skill for hiding people as she does for covering up murders, I’m not so confident.
NEXT: Blood, Rayne