The Killing Episode 1-5 Review: Super 8

When reviewing a heavily serialized show like The Killing, one can never be too hesitant to criticize the plotting. I go into each episode assuming the writers have a coherent plan for the season and will execute it with some competence. Perhaps this is overly optimistic, but I want to believe that writers create serialized shows so that can tell a whole story over the course of a season and that they have the ideas ready in their head. In context of The Killing, I want to think that every new piece of information, every action contributes down the line to the ending of the season.

This applies most readily to Bennet, who was the suspect at the end of the last episode and remains the subject at the end of “Super 8.” Unlike the situation Jasper and Kris, the evidence against Bennet actually mounts as the episode goes on. We learn that his pregnant wife was an ex-student and that he has chemicals which were found on Rosie. But the biggest piece of evidence absolving him of Rosie’s murder is the fact that we’re only five episodes into the season. There’s no way the murder will be solved right now, and unless there is a bizarre cat-and-mouse thing going on for the remaining eight episodes, Bennet will be let go sooner or later (or, better yet, arrested for another crime since he seems like a creep).

This seems like a good move on the writers’ part. If there were one additional suspect per episode, we could likely end up with too few suspects by the final episode. In addition, deviating from the initial one-episode-as-suspect format of Jasper and Kris allows for the writers to deviate more after Bennet and we could see some be a suspect for three episodes in the future.

That said, we’re almost halfway through the season and things haven’t exactly picked up. Linden is still headed towards some kind of obsession with the investigated, teased several times by Rick, but isn’t there yet. Holden is still edgy, but we haven’t learned anything too substantial about him (unless celibacy counts). Mitch continues to head off the deep end while Stan’s grief pushes him towards the criminal elements. They rarely look at each other and the two children are suffering. From an individual episode standpoint, this slow built up of their characters isn’t really going anywhere.

The one thing that did move forward was the Richmond campaign. Richmond, with the help of Jaime, nabs the mole who has ties to Yitanes, but also alienates Gwen by checking her emails, and it resembles the usual political stuff on other shows. However, The Killing isn’t supposed to be about politics, and none of it seems remotely linked to any killings until we see Richmond and Bennet together. I’m hoping this is the missing link that ties the campaign to the investigation and gets the ball rolling.

Score: 8.6/10

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