The Killing: did the last two episodes save the season? [TVGA Roundtable]

In this first of a two-part chat, TV Geek Army cohorts Eric (he of self-described “revered leader” status) and Lucas High discuss the end-run to the first season of AMC’s The Killing. The appropriately titled finale, “Orpheus Descending,” airs this Sunday night at 10pm.

the killing

Lucas:  So, Eric, I've been pretty critical of The Killing in my reviews pretty much since the third or fourth episode. While I think we can both admit that the first two episodes were extremely strong), you have been much higher on the show than I have been. I'm on record with the things I don't like about the show, so can you take some time and tell everyone what you DO like about The Killing?

Eric:  Like you, I was hooked on the initial episodes which were indeed very strong. Admittedly there was certainly a fall off during some of the middle episodes of the season -- many of which you have pointed out. But the overall atmosphere and particularly the performances of the actors (Mireille Enos as Sarah Linden and Joel Kinnaman as Stephen Holder particularly) kept me watching.

Even as silly as the terrorism angle and multiple red herrings became, I still wanted to know what happened next. And I do think we as the audience have been "rewarded" by what is looking to be a strong end to the debut season

Lucas:  I want to touch on a few of the points you made. First, you mentioned that you like the performances and I will agree with you on that. However, I think the writing has failed these actors. Has the show succeeded in actually making you CARE about any of these people? To me, it seems for the most part they are treated more like pawns in a game than actual human beings.

Eric:  That's a fair point, but I do care about a number of characters, namely Linden, Holder, and Richmond. Again, the last few episodes did a lot to resurrect the sagging middle of the season, and the recent bottle neck-of-sorts episode featuring Linden and Holder was brilliant, while Richmond has become much more complex and real over the course of the season, from altruistic politician poster child to... something else. And the cliffhanger to this past week's episode -- I will never hear an Inbox alert in the same way again!

So that's to say that I do think the writing has served a core group of characters very well, amidst one of the most atmospheric shows on television. Notice that I don't mention the Larsens though...

Lucas:  By atmospheric, I assume you mean "rainy"?

Eric:  Haha, yes, very! But like all AMC shows, the show is shot incredibly well. The directors, cinematographers, directors of photography, etc. are simply top notch and it shows each week.

Let me counter and ask you what the last few episodes have done, if anything, to shift your view of the show?

Lucas:  Yes and no. Did I think the past couple of episodes were a vast improvement over the previous five or six? Absolutely. That said, the sheer number of nagging frustrations about the show have soured me to the point that I don't know if anything short of miracle in the finale will do much to shift my view on The Killing as a whole.

Eric:  What would "save" the show -- a bank shot to get to a culprit for Rosie Larsen's murder that would retrospectively make the middle episodes more palatable in some way?

Lucas:  I'll tell you what would go a long way towards saving the show. If the killer is someone that I haven't already guessed and the explanation for how the murder happened is a clever scenario that I haven't already thought of. I want the writers to be smarter than me.

By Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader"

About the author

Eric is the publisher and revered leader of TV Geek Army… at least in his own mind. TV Geek Army is a place for serious TV reviews and news for serious fans of great television. Contact: eric-[at]-tvgeekarmy.com 

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