The Killing Review: Hope Kills (Season 3, Episode 7)


Man, they really lucked out when they cast Peter Sarsgaard as Ray Seward. At this point, I sincerely can’t picture anyone else playing the role with such brilliance. This was a fine episode, although it would have been merely passable if it weren’t for Seward’s storyline. There was some unwanted melodrama here and there, but the most significant turn-off has got to be the hunt for Pastor Mike.

The Killing possesses many enviable qualities as a TV show — in fact, many other series strive to achieve similar levels of suspense and intrigue. Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman are wonderful leads, their characters have evolved in ways we didn’t expect them to, and we’ve come to learn their weaknesses and strengths. Nevertheless, red herrings continuously haunt the show. Then again, I wouldn’t know how to get rid of them myself. As a matter of fact, we’ve come to a point where they’re vital to plot development, yet we can’t help but notice how obvious some of them are. For instance, does anyone seriously buy that Pastor Mike is the killer? Much like Benet Ahmed and Mayor Richmond in previous seasons, the man just seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Well, it just so happens the show needs scapegoats like Ahmed and Pastor Mike (a.k.a. Mark Elwood) — we know from the very beginning those guys mean no harm (albeit we’re yet to find out what’s really going on with the latter), and actually turn out to be pretty decent individuals. However, Ahmed’s presence in later episodes was minimal, and he was barely ever mentioned again, and I’d be willing to bet Elwood is heading down that path.

Ok, now back to Seward. As always, Sarsgaard was absolutely magnificent. He delivered his lines with excellence and once again demonstrated that the show could easily revolve around his character. At first, Ray Seward seemed the cunning type — eager to mess with Becker and his peers, acting as if he didn’t really care about his eventual execution. Yet as his date with the gallows rapidly approaches, he starts to become more and more fearful. His feud with Becker is an entertaining one, even though he always ends up losing (probably because he’s in a hopeless situation). But this time the warden really seems to have broken him. Now more than ever, Seward is extremely anxious and afraid.

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