TV Recap

Investigating The Killing: Episode Three

Spoiler: Only three eps in, and we’re already drowning in water metaphors.

By Jessica Voelker April 11, 2011

“Did you bring an umbrella? It’s metaphoring like crazy out there.”

Rain is ever-present in The Killing. We’ve known that from episode one. But the torrents that soak its slicker-clad, umbrella-toting characters are rather unlike the actual rain here in Seattle.

Real Seattle weather stains our suede shoes and coaxes mold to grow in our basements, but it’s far less intense than the Super Soaker-strength rain in The Killing. This was initially irksome to the verisimilitude-craving viewer (and she was already miffed that the show is being shot in Vancouver, BC, real Seattle footage limited to faux office-window views of the waterfront cranes and B-roll of downtown buildings during transitional montages). However, it becomes clear in episode three why rain is the most aggressive character on the show.

We are being soaked with metaphor.

We knew going in this week that Rosie Larsen died from drowning. She ripped her fingernails off, according to the coroner, attempting to claw her way out of the trunk of a vehicle belonging to the campaign of mayoral candidate Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell).

But at the beginning of the latest episode, Rosie’s parents had not yet learned the cause of death. Detective Linden (Mireille Enos) drops by to tell them that their daughter drowned, and Rosie’s mom Mitch Larsen (Michelle Forbes) asks if she suffered. Linden then delivers a whopping lie that is sure to come back to haunt her. She says that Rosie was likely unconscious when the car went into the lake.

Further along in the episode Mitch is seen soaking in the bathtub, wide-eyed with pain. We watch as she slides her head underwater and holds it there, apparently trying to experience her daughter’s final moment. For a suspenseful few seconds she, too, is drowning. But she can’t stay down long and comes up gasping for air. The gasps quickly turn to tears. Mitch has regained her breath, we are meant to understand, but she continues to drown in her own grief.

Detective Linden, meanwhile, continues to grasp the lifeline that is peacing out of Seattle and moving to Sonoma with her fiance—she is, quite literally, trying to get herself and her son to dry land—but with every passing moment she is dragged deeper and deeper into the murky waters of the Rosie Larsen case.

Over at campaign HQ, Darren Richmond is drowning in his own problems. The news leaks that the car Rosie died in belongs to his campaign, and he subsequently loses the essential support of union organizer Ruth Yitanes (Lee Garlington). The leak is pegged on aide Jamie Wright (Eric Laden), though suspicion lingers that Richmond’s mistress Gwen Eaton (Kristin Lehman) may have set Wright up.

Ready for more water metaphors? Before he is accused of double-crossing the campaign, Wright suggests that Richmond can win back Yitanes’ support by offering her husband a lucrative plumbing gig. Richmond balks, but in the end he takes the advice. Richmond gives Yitanes control of the waterworks of an important project, just as the incumbent mayor announces his plans to develop Seattle’s waterfront. "The waterfront is all he has!" says Gwen.

But controlling the water, in the Seattle of The Killing, is everything. Lose control of it, and you may be the next to drown.

Most ridiculous fake Seattle thing This newspaper headline: "Sea Otter Spotted Eating in Local Cafe."

Current murder suspect In last week’s recap, Allison Williams named Gwen as the murderess. I see no reason not to continue to suspect her involvement, despite the ugly activities we now know went down in "the cage" prior to Rosie’s murder.

We’ve peeled back one layer of what happened to Rosie that night, but everything points to this thing going way deeper than those two hideous twits from the high school. Keep your galoshes on, the flood is still rising.

The Killing airs Sundays at 10pm on AMC.

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