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.
D-Day: With Skinner’s body and the bodies of his victims uncovered, Linden surveys the wreckage she hath wrought. As Holder looks on, she makes her way toward Skinner’s body bag and lifts it to really take in the ghastly truth. Her expression settles into some combination of resignation, resolution, and nausea.
As implied by the episode’s title, we open with a dream. Kyle is overjoyed to see his 6-year-old sister Nadine in his dorm room. As if her night terrors have abated, she asks, ”Are the monsters gone?” And then a trickle of blood slowly inches its way down her forehead. It’s no public stoning, but it’s pretty unnerving to behold.
One of the most effective parts of the Linden-Holder relationship is how they check each other. On the face of it, they are both incredibly selfish people with personal moral codes at cross-purposes. But, as “The Good Soldier” showed, there’s a complementary facet to their partnership. Just as one is about to fall into the abyss—as they each have been in more situations than really should be acceptable for law enforcement officers—the other regains composure and finds the strength to reel in his or her partner.
In direct opposition to the season 4 premiere’s slow-burn pacing, “Unraveling” opens with a literal bang. And unraveling Sarah is. She and Holder pay a visit to the lab, where frequent gunshots and blood-red-paint-splattering dummies prove incredibly unsettling for the guilty Linden. She certainly can’t offset her nerves with any solid leads in the case. Testing proved that Kyle was on his knees, which could mean he was under the gun or offering himself up in penance.
It occurred to me about 35 minutes into the premiere of the fourth (and final) season of The Killing that a move to the commercial-free Netflix format would allow up to 17 minutes more brooding. And boy do Veena Sud & Co. take advantage. The Killing was always moody at best, trudging at worst. This is the show that managed to stretch out a single whodunnit over two seasons (much to the ire of fans who’d been promised a one-and-done crime drama).
It was evening in Seattle, and Linden was quite literally running from her grief over Seward’s death when Skinner came to check in on her. Or to fall back on her companionship since his wife had told him to take a hike. He saw that Linden was still poring over Seward’s case file, and they commiserated over their secretive, haunted existences.
This week’s episode opened on a lighthearted musical number with plenty of bawdy wordplay and a spectacular soft-shoe routine. Wait, no, strike that… it was actually a bleak test run of Seward’s execution. T-minus 12 hours, kids.
When we last left the grayscale world of The Killing, Bullet was at a diner desperately trying to get a hold of Holder, who had had enough of the street urchin’s riff raff for the day. All the while, a mysterious car pulled up outside and observed Bullet in a fashion that freaked the rest of us out. Who was the driver? What did they want? Would Bullet be the next victim?
The blade of Not Pastor Mike’s knife was still tickling Linden’s throat as we rejoined her this week. Despite his professed innocence, NPM sure knew a thing or two about stripping a cop of her necessities; he swiftly procured Linden’s gun and asked if she had a radio (she said she didn’t) before he told Linden vaguely to start driving. Props to the episode’s director/cinematographer/writer, who placed PM in the backseat and focused in on Linden’s eyes; it was she who was taking his confession (or his plea of innocence, as it were).
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