To those who are angry about the way “The Killing” concluded its season tonight, such as Alan Sepinwall of HitFix.com and Maureen Ryan of AOL TV, all I can say (which I think they already know) is that this was a show that lived off red herrings and logic flaws all season. I understand why they expected something different from the finale, but I’m not sure that expectation was realistic.
My beef with this show has been long-running and stands on three main points – a slow-to-develop lead character, the all-too familiar formula (from a showrunner, Veena Sud, who claims to be anti-formula) of making a character into a suspect when the audience knows that’s not going to pan out, and story points both big and small that made no sense. From the pairing of Det. Linden (Mireille Enos) with a fiance with whom she had less than zero chemistry at the outset of the show, through the multiple instances where Linden would inexplicably undermine her own police work for no other reason than to create dramatic conflict, “The Killing” has been beset by these flaws, which we saw again in the finale, capped (but not at all limited to) when Det. Holder (Joel Kinnaman) turns out to be working a major scam.
While Sud says this was the plan from the start, I’m not going to be easily convinced that Holder’s actions throught the 13 episodes were the actions of someone who was double-crossing the police investigation, any more than I’m convinced by her other shortcuts (such as the wife of Bennet Ahmed having no idea she was standing face to face with the man who was formally charged in court with the widely publicized beating of her husband). As recently as last week, Holder is stunned that he has been led to a series of posters that point to the man he has been framing, Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell), as the suspect. Holder is alone when this scene takes place. Who is he doing this act for? Can he be that genuinely surprised that the Beau Soleil investigation path led to Richmond – clearly, he’s known since before the murder of Rosie Larsen that RIchmond had a connection there. This seemed to be one of the top moments of the season a week ago; now we see that it’s fraudulent. If not outright dishonest, it at best doesn’t have a hundreth of the meaning we were manipulated into thinking it did.
In short, I don’t think things add up, and even if they somehow do, the math is so obtuse that it doesn’t seem worth the effort.
Some are upset that we didn’t learn who killed Rosie Larsen tonight. To me, that’s kind of the least of the problems with “The Killing.” I didn’t hate the show and I still don’t – there were parts I enjoyed along the way, and in some respects I thought the finale was its best episode – but it’s been problematic from the start, so I don’t see why it shouldn’t be at the finish.