Last Sunday’s episode continues the ever complicated Season 2 arc of The Killing. “Ghosts of the Past” is a great episode to demonstrate the pros and cons of the series. At moments atmospheric and fascinating, yet other times odd and frustrating, The Killing continues to deliver a unique but flawed experience.
Let’s start with the pros… and there are plenty. As always, The Killing delivers in atmosphere with dark and tense cinematography; the rainy Seattle landscape is the perfect backdrop to the brooding story, complimenting the dark drama. Likewise, the day:episode structure of the series works well, with the revelations of “Ghosts of the Past” coming to fruition at night.
Once more, it’s Linden’s personal life and her odd quirks that make the series so distinct and ultimately keep me invested. During the interrogation scene pictured above, did anyone really care about the case? For me, it was Linden’s own past that intrigued, as her troubled youth continues to shed light on the complex relationship with her son, Jack. This is great storytelling.
Likewise, Stan’s trajectory is fascinating, and his decision to seek police help (instead of Janek’s) is a nice change of character that feels natural. Stan’s affair with Terry might sound bad on paper - I was hoping the series wouldn’t do it - but the physical relationship felt realistic and touching on film. The direction was especially effective in selling that moment, as both individuals seemed desperate and confused in the moment.
But this leads to some of the frustrations. The Rosie Larsen case seems to undo all of the successful character moments of “Ghosts of the Past.” I hate to say it, as so many other critics have, but the case is quickly becoming a convoluted mess. If someone paid me to map out all the twists and turns in the series, I couldn’t do it; there’s way too much going on at this point, and the twists rarely feel engaging.
I avoided that distinction because I assured myself that the twists and turns were intentional and leading somewhere carefully planned out. But the reveal at the end of “Ghosts of the Past” took things one step too far. If Rosie is not Stan’s daughter, the show has a lot of work to sell that and explain why this has never been foreshadowed. It just felt like a twist for the sake of a twist, and tonight’s episode needs to take its time to elaborate before throwing another one at us.
I also found Richmond’s change a bit frustrating. I noted last week how I was excited to see Richmond on his own - with Gwen and Jamie elsewhere - but “Ghosts of the Past” brings things right back to where they were. Rather than take the time to experiment with something fresh and interesting, the writers reset the political campaign.
Keep in mind that I still enjoy The Killing. As mentioned, so much of this show works, but the jumbled Rosie Larsen procedural is starting to threaten some of the lovely character moments. Here’s hoping the writers place the emphasis back on character and keep the plot twists to a minimum going forward.
What do you think? Am I being too harsh on the show? As always, please share your thoughts.
Note: This review is taken from Review Hub Central.