The Killing: S3E04 “Head Shots”

4 Overall Score
Main Plot: 3/10
Sub Plots: 5/10
Anticipation: 4/10

Twitch's story | Depth of characters

Bicker-fest | Linden's not on her "A" game | Fighting for Holder's attention | A slew of useless leads

Episode 4, already?

“If Seward didn’t kill his wife, we’re running out of time to prove it,” said Detective Stephen Holder right before the episode-ending, tension-rising music “The Killing” uses to overhype situations in an otherwise dull episode.

Most of the episode encompassed bratty drama between Carl Reddick and Sarah Linden. The former had a lot of jabs, probably prepared on the car ride home or in bed, keeping him awake at night.

Some of my favorites were:

  • “Watch Wonder Boy charm the bloomers off her. He’s getting pretty good at it, now that he’s learning from a pro – finally.”
  • “I teach the freaking class on this.”
  • “I’ve forgotten more convictions than she’ll ever have.”

And then there was that time he tried to tell Linden how to do her job, remember that? Classic.

Alas, Linden takes the cake with the best comeback ever (totally on-the-spot and not rehearsed).

“Haven’t you ever wondered why you haven’t made sergeant?” She asks.  “I’ll tell you why, because 23 years of experience, and all you are is in the way.”

Go home, Reddick.

The awkward-partner triangle between Reddick, Holder and Linden took precedence, much to the disappointment of viewers, and nearly all leads went cold. Kallie is still missing, Goldie is still a suspect (despite not having any concrete evidence and being let go for child-pornography), and Ray Seward is running out of time to be proven innocent before his death sentence.

The only useful lead introduced was left for last, and it was the big reveal that the man asking Kallie questions on the porn tape is actually her mother’s boyfriend. However, it’s probably a bigger surprise that this was the same man who trades hash browns for blowjobs while driving taxis in Seattle.

Even though Veena Sud, executive producer of “The Killing,” claimed that this season’s killer will be revealed at the end of the season, Episode 4 is way to early  for audiences to be targeting suspects. Looking back at the history of the show, it’s practically guaranteed that these initial suspects will trail out and distract Linden/Holder/Reddick from the true killer. That’s one annoying aspect of the show: You are trained to expect a believable case to pin down one suspect, only to suddenly forget all evidence and realize you just wasted five episodes on a useless lead.

Personally, I look forward to Seward’s scenes every week. Peter Sarsgaard told Rolling Stone that his role as Seward was “some of the best acting I have ever done in my life.” He plays the role of a convicted murderer with delicacy, but not the type that makes you necessarily sympathize with the character. In the season premiere, Seward bashed the prison Chaplain’s head against the bars in a moment of confession. He loves his child but doesn’t feel like a role model to him. He doesn’t try to justify his actions or explain his feelings because the system won a long time ago. He sees himself dead, so he has no fear of his impending fate. He just has to keep up his act, and that’s all that’s important to him now.

The system, in this situation, is the officers in the Department of Corrections. In this episode we really see how dehumanized the prison guard, Becker, has become. We see this through the new guard, Henderson’s, present fear of becoming his superior. Becker invites Henderson to his home to make him uncomfortable and wring out the truth about not forcing Seward to take his antibiotic. Henderson still has humanity left in him, but there’s no going back for Becker. His wife and kid are disconnected from him, and he barely notices it. As long as he provides and does his duty he’s the hero. In his mind, he’s above Seward, but his manipulative and dark actions prove that he is the real product of death row. Not even Seward can match up to him, although he does try. The depth behind this character has not been fully explored, and I think it will only get darker from this point on.

Finally we pan in on the street kids who really can’t trust anyone, not even the people that are supposed to help them get out of their situation. That’s what happened to Twitch this week when his parole officer blackmailed him and then raped him in order to make the positive drug test disappear. Twitch hasn’t been using any drugs because he knows that being clean is the only way he’ll make it to Los Angeles, but here is another horrible adult who has the power and takes advantage of him.

“But I’m not gay,” Twitch says. “Neither am I,” the parole officer replies. Twitch’s pain went far beyond the physical. Besides being raped, he’s tormented by the idea that he consented to this in desperation. Twitch getting high after being clean for a period was heartbreaking. At that point, he knew he would never get to go to California if his fate was in the hands of a manipulative rapist. Even if he continued to perform sexual favors to his parole officer, the chances are high that he’ll get into sex slavery and never gain independence to follow his dream. The drugs were to forget, but walking into a rival gang’s territory was a matter of redeeming his masculinity, which he felt he lost that afternoon. Sadly, he returns battered, crying and saying that with a beat up face he’ll never be accepted as a model. He did this to himself to mask the fact that he’s basically enslaved and hides it behind a bruised up face so that he wont have to tell Lyric or Bullet what really happened to him.

Bullet was never keen to Twitch but having experienced rape and abuse from Goldie, she can sense that something is going on with him. Even if she is in love with Twitch’s girlfriend, she respects their relationship and leaves them alone when Lyric starts to comfort Twitch.

The street kids scenes are the backbone of the show. They have the strongest characters and an overarching story. Seeing Bullet, Lyric and Twitch every week almost makes up for the lack of progress coming from Linden and Co. But seriously, one season is too short to have us chase cold leads.


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Author: Claudia Marina View all posts by
Journalism student at the University of Florida. Sally Draper is my spirit animal. I love writing about TV and how it affects culture. Occasionally I watch bad TV, but reviews make it better.

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