I’m not ashamed to say I unabashedly enjoyed the entire season of the Killing. Yep, even the finale. I’d like to note that I sat down to write this a few days ago, before Trev launched his new column in defense of things overly bashed in nerd circles. Believe me, in the coming months I’m sure I’ll crib plenty of ideas from my fellow nerds, but not in this case. Also, before I get too far in, I’ll just warn you that the dark spooky road I’m about to head down is not only extremely spoiler ridden, but kind of assumes you’ve watched the show. So if you haven’t yet watched it and/or don’t want to know, I’ll be the old man from a lot of scary movies, “turn back now!!”
To get one thing out of the way up front… I get it. I understand the problem that a lot of people had with the finale, to wit: the mystery isn’t solved. People like yours truly have been watching week in and week out were dying to know whodunnit, and a lot of people are looking at it like a big F-U from the producers. To put it mildly this can be endlessly frustrating. But I prefer to look on the bright side of things.
The main sticking point seems to be that the show was only renewed for a second season about a week and a half before the finale, which makes the idea of ending the season with not only a cliffhanger, but also without resolution to the main mystery something of a ballsy or douchey move depending on your point of view. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. Easy answers and closure aren’t real life. If this show is really going for a realistic take on a big media circus murder, then the truth is it wouldn’t have a simple cut-and-dry resolution. A murder case where a mayoral candidate of a major city became the chief suspect? That’s national news folks. People would look the other way, cops would hide or fabricate evidence. This might be a cynical world view, but I found this to be much more like the news I read than everything wrapped up in a neat little bow.
Oh and by the way, if you’re simply chastising them for having a not so satisfying finale when a second season was up in the air, I take issue with that as well. Lets say they did have it all wrapped up to make their 13 episode order, that means that the story they wanted to tell was shunted for the story they HAD to to tell. This isn’t a good thing. I’d prefer good writing at the expense of closure or resolve than some hack just wrapping the story up at the expense of characters or plot threads. But more to the point I think the writing was kind of on the wall for this one. It debuted to pretty strong ratings and incredible critical rave. Granted, some those raves kind of petered out over the ensuing weeks, but AMC has kind of been positioning themselves as the best in original series. And they have the ammunition to back those claims up:“Breaking Bad”, “Mad Men”, and “The Walking Dead”. All bona fide critical darlings and impressive (by cable standards) ratings grabbers. I think the odds of “The Killing” NOT getting picked up for a second season were pretty slim. So I commend the producers for having the nerve to give us the proper ending, be it loved or hated.
That’s not to say there aren’t criticisms that I don’t agree with. Red herrings are pretty much par for the course in any murder mystery, but this show went into overkill toot sweet. I have nothing against a new suspect being introduced, but this show took it to the extreme where you were just certain that you found the killer ever week. Personally, I’ve had a theory for a few eps, and I’ll see where it heads next season.
The final cliffhanger was unnecessary. It’s enough that Det. Holder’s fabricating of evidence cast doubt onto Councilman’s Richmond’s guilt. The much more tantalizing questions have to do with Rosie’s aunt Terry, and Richmond’s campaign supervisor (my pick for the driver of the car that picked up Holder) and their respective involvement with the high end prostitution ring. Belko’s hot-headed dumbass character is just this side of useless, and the assassination attempt was the one thing that came off as hacky and too cliché ridden.
Finally, can I just say that in spite of it all, I still kind of dig Holder, and he’s probably my favorite character, despite being a scumbag? I just loved how they spent weeks building up his apparent genuine desire to walk the straight and narrow, only to find out he really is the creep he was at the beginning.
In the end, I really dug the way things went this season, and I’m really looking forward to next season, but I definitely understand why people had a problem with the way things went, in particular the finale. So you tell me, what’s your take?