Film and TV

The Killing: "Missing"

I'm of two minds about last night's Killing.

On the one hand, the episode featured more characterization and insight into the lives of our principals (Linden and Holder) than the previous six combined. The gradual revelations about Linden's past and Holder's current struggles brought about by Jack's disappearance demonstrated again why the show was so critically lauded at the beginning of its run, giving us one of the more emotionally powerful installments of the series so far and reminding us what AMC can do when it really wants to.

On the other...did they really just spend an entire day driving around looking for Linden's son? Isn't there a freaking murder investigation going on? And did we actually waste one of the remaining hours of this season on "getting to know" the detectives?

I just hope they have the common decency not to put this down as "overtime."

Det. Linden visits the Wapi Eagle casino, where she is informed in no uncertain terms that absent a federal warrant, she ain't getting shit out of the Native Americans (who nonetheless assure her Rosie was never there). She circumvents the lengthy wait required for one of those by going after the cameras covering the ATMs on site. That warrant will take slightly less time (roughly the length of last night's episode in TV time, conveniently enough).

While waiting for that to come through, Linden has to take time out and go to Jack's school, which Jack apparently hasn't been to in three days. Worse than that, he's no longer at the motel. A fact punched home by the longest ringing cell phone on the planet. Were I his mother, I'd be afraid somebody offed him just because of that incessant ringtone.

Holder evidently doesn't have much to do today either as he carts her around. First to someplace called the Tunnels, where Jack has apparently been leading lots of shenanigans, and then to various other juvenile delinquent hangouts. All to no avail.

But the day isn't a total loss, as the two finally get to know a little more about each other. For example, Regi of the boat is Linden's social worker (she was in foster care until age 18). And Holder is apparently about the flakiest human being who ever existed (he believes in a higher power that sounds like a cross between the Watcher from Marvel Comics and Yog-Sothoth). Linden also may have given up a kid for adoption, and Holder is repairing his relationship with his older sister. Sorry, there was a severe thunderstorm warning on TV and I didn't hear everything.

Linden finds texts on Jack's phone from an unknown number about a meetup, a discovery that prompts her to start smoking again. She puts out an APB on her son, and things look bleak when Jack doesn't show up at the motel after school.

The brief detente between the partners ends when Linden finds out Jack called Holder two days prior and he didn't tell her. His response ("At least I answered my phone") perhaps wasn't the best thought out strategy.

The vulnerability she displays as she muses about when Jack "stopped being happy" is a gut-wrenching moment, and right up there with Stan when they found Rosie's body. Holder is also showing more depth, on display in his apologetic phone call to his sister (he missed his nephew's parade, or something). The subsequent jerkaround - they found the body of a young boy! Could it be Jack? Of course it's not Jack - is crap. And then, of course, he turns up unharmed at the motel. And of course, he was with his father.

The Killing is a frustrating experience. Last night's episode was one of the high points of the season so far, yet ended terribly. The time to tell if this roller coaster eventually pays off is growing very short indeed.

Next week: The Indians are liars. Rosie was at the casino. In fact, she was making cash deposits every few weeks. I guess that means we're now guilt-free for breaking all those treaties. Also, the mayor has some "information" for Gwen.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar