The Killing Review: “Reckoning” (Season 3, Episode 9)

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Reckoning boasts Joel Kinnaman’s finest performace as Holder to date. The detective’s guilt slowly consumes him and eventually leads him to act irrationally — he snaps at his girlfriend and even attempts to kiss Linden in a moment of weakness (I kept yelling “Nope, nope, nope, don’t go there” at my TV). Even though he’s not directly responsible for his informant’s death, his pettiness was still a major catalyst for the events that took place before tonight’s episode.

But it doesn’t end there — it’s revealed that Holder’s (former?) partner Carl Reddick had logged many calls from Bullet the night she was murdered, and dismissed them as he’d thought it would be useless information. Sure, the audience knows he’s wrong, but under the circumstances, I would have acted the same way. It’s hard enough to trust a street-kid, especially one who’s already deceived you. Alas, Holder doesn’t see it that way. He immediately blames Reddick for Bullet’s fate and proceeds to beat the living crap out of him right in front of his wife and daughter. Should we hate Holder? Are we supposed to feel sorry for him? It’s entirely subjective, really.

As far as the Seward case goes, Linden’s about to face a serious moral dilemma. She cannot allow herself to let Ray hang, but due to the information provided by Danette, she knows Mills didn’t kill Trisha Seward, thus Adrian lied to her. Should Linden simply give up on the case, or frame an innocent (yet extremely unpleasant) man? Speaking of Ray Seward — once again, Peter Sarsgaard was brilliant in the role, but I’m slightly disappointed by his character’s untimely cowardice. When season 3 started, Seward was as enigmatic as he was badass. Now he seems to lack personality — unbeknownst to him, another inmate named Dale has been playing mind games all along, under the false pretense of giving hope and offering salvation.

Ah, I almost forgot about Lyric and Twitch, my two least favorite characters in the show. Truth be told, I didn’t hate them as much this time around, and I’d be willing to bet it’s because of Jonathan Demme’s handling of their storyline. He succeeds where previous directors failed — he manages to get a passable performance out of Max Fowler. I know, this calls for a celebration. Julia Sarah Stone continuously shows promise as an actress, even though she’s stuck with a mediocre role. Nevertheless, their scenes remained inconsequential.

Yes, this was a magnificent episode. Outstanding, expertly shot, flawlessly acted. The Killing continues to surprise me — they seem to have stopped relying on red herrings and ridiculous twists, and finally resorted to different storytelling devices.

What did you think about Reckoning? Was it better than last week’s episode? Please let us know in the comments below.

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