The Killing: S3E01-02 “The Jungle/That You Fear The Most”

7.5 Overall Score
Plot: 7/10
Setting: 8/10
Acting: 7/10

New characters | Atmosphere | Clever case to bring Linden and the show back to TV

Not enough dialogue | Can sometimes be too vague

Sarah Linden couldn’t stay away.

“Not every victim’s worth it. You know, you start caring … You’ll end up like me working minimum wage on a ferry,” she said, and her former partner, Stephen Holder couldn’t believe those words. Strategically leaving a case file with graphic images to tug at her psyche, he knew she couldn’t either.

The series’ third-season premiere aired after nearly a year of debate. At first, when Rosie Larsen’s case closed, the series vaguely disappeared with no revelation of an impending season in the works. After months of rumors of the show returning but knocking of different networks’ doors, AMC brought the crime-drama back after an agreement between Netflix and Fox Television Studios.

Knowing that this season of “The Killing” is stained with the preconception of “the season that wasn’t supposed to happen,” it will undoubtedly be scrutinized for proof that it deserves our attention. But that’s the way the fans of characteristic crime-dramas are. After “Twin Peaks” rushed to reveal Laura Palmer’s killer in the midst of its second season, viewership plummeted (but that probably had something to do with the meandering storyline of the Black Lodge). Similarly, “The Killing” lost fans when it didn’t reveal Larsen’s killer after one season. The big reveal came in Season 2, but afterward, there was nothing to bring the show back.

Wrong. While the first two seasons of “The Killing” were a concept in it of itself, in the grand scheme of things, the series’ second season served to build up Linden’s past and prepare it for its return in Season 3.

And that’s what “The Killing” is best at – the slow burn, which there was a lot of in the double-episode premiere that aired on Sunday, June 2. The entire first part titled “The Jungle” did little except bask in the atmospherics it handles so well. The foggy windows, close-up of smiles, eyelids closing, hands, a suffering cow, rain and silence. It built up the premise of what was to happen in the second part, “That You Fear the Most.”

We return to “The Killing” about a year after the Rosie Larsen case. Holder has a new partner, Detective Carl Reddick, and they’ve come across a dead girl’s body in an abandoned factory. Reddick is the type of cop who washes his hands with cases he deems too annoying. He says things like “clock stopped 45 minutes ago,” when Holder suggests to look into a lead. He’s more interested in moving upwards in the ranks, as evident by their seven-for-seven solved cases. Now that this case has surfaced, which bears resemblance to Linden’s obsessive Trisha Seward case, Reddick can only roll his eyes that this case wasn’t handed to him with easy-to-follow instructions. Holder’s empathy is still present after working with Linden and, in looking for help, prods Linden about the missing case files of the Seward case. With the Trisha’s husband, Ray Seward (played by Peter Sarsgaard) on death row and waiting to be executed in a matter of 30 days, the pieces all come falling together for Linden to be absorbed once again in the case that sent her to a mental institution.

The problem is this new case, which bears resemblance to the Seward case, could mean that Linden and her former partner, James Skinner, put the wrong man on death row – although Seward shows no sign of playing innocent and even extended a personal invitation to Skinner to attend his execution.

We get a glimpse of how big this case was and how it affected everyone involved with it when Skinner’s wife tells Linden to never come back. It’s unclear if Linden will return to being a cop (it’s likely she wont after hearing Reddick talk ill of her, possibly reflecting the entire police department’s sentiments) but she will probably be working secretly with Holder, who was also supposed to let the case go but couldn’t wipe his hands clean of the mess.

The girl found in the beginning of the episode was identified as Ashley Kwon, a 14-year-old homeless girl connected to a group of other homeless kids like Kallie Leeds, Bullet, Lyric and Twitch. “The Killing” sheds light on Seattle’s homeless youth, exposing the lives of teenagers whose parents find them to be sexual rivals rather than children, transgendered kids, teenage prostitutes and pimps. They all have one thing in common and it’s yearning for something better – whether the better comes in minute details of liking someone and having that feeling reciprocated, or making it to California to be a model/actor.

The actors playing these kids did an impressive job. Kallie, played by Cate Sproule, is endearing and likeable. You find yourself rooting for her, or at least wishing that she would be the lucky recipient of a bed and promised breakfast at Beacon Home, a homeless youth shelter. Her life hasn’t been easy. The show humanized her by showing glimpses of her relationship with her mother, who claims the $15 a month she’s paying for a phone could better be used to pay for rent. Kallie replies: “You don’t even let me stay here.”

It’s unclear if Bullet is male or female until Bullet flat-out tells Holder, an impressive feat for Bex Taylor Klaus, the actress who plays Bullet. She plays protector to her female friends, especially Kallie, who goes missing after getting into a car in a scene similarly staged like Kwon’s. Klaus butts heads with Holder a lot, but Holder immediately takes interest in Kallie’s disappearance, linking it to what could be a bigger picture. That picture was discovered by Linden, quite literally when she found the exact spot of a drawing that Seward’s child, Adrian, repeated over and over again (and repeats to this day) after his mother died. In the leafless grove lies a murky pool dotted with red biohazard bags.

AMC/The Killing

Atmospherics. “The Killing” Season 3 premiere set the mood and did what every premiere should do: reacquaint the audience with the setting and it’s characters. The first two seasons were impressive, but I’m even more impressed with how writers managed to logically bring the crime-drama back. Season 3 is all about Linden’s past and how it relates to the present and reoccurring future. She’ll have to solve the case again, and not just for the girls dying, but for herself. All the buildup and background information gained in the last episodes of Season 2 paved the way for Season 3. It looks promising: a fresh start for fans, but not too fresh – this isn’t “American Horror Story.”

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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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