Detective Linden, slowly pissing off everyone around her.

When I imagine the writer’s room on the set of The Killing, I picture a big blackboard, upon which they scrawl inspirational phrases like "moody" and "downpour" and "Seattle=hoodies." While this week’s episode was being assembled, I’m pretty sure the word FORGIVENESS was written in big block letters on that blackboard. We heard the buzzword all night.

Forgiveness: It’s what Holder wants for stealing drug money from his nephew (or so he told a meeting of Narcotics Anonymous). Forgiveness: It’s what Linden wants from her fiance in Sonoma for standing him up about six times, but he’s not taking her calls. Forgiveness: It’s what the drunk driver who killed Richmond’s wife asks for during her parole hearing (“I wonder if it’s against our nature to forgive,” she says, which seems like a counterproductive line of thought for a PAROLE HEARING). Forgiveness is like a night with George Clooney: No one feels like they deserve it, but everyone wants it anyway.

We get it, everyone’s sorry. I’m starting to feel like poor traumatized Mitch, who snapped at Detective Linden and told her to shove it with the apologies. Sing it, Mitch.

We didn’t really get a new red herring suspect this week, so even The Killing is sorry for stringing us along. Our plot developments were few: The FBI barge in and reveal that the mysterious Mohammad is a terrorist suspect (along with teacher Ahmed?), meaning this once small-scale mystery got even more bloated. And candidate Richmond, whose turn from moral superiority was inevitable but kind of abrupt, leaked the news that Mayor Adams kept a staffer as a mistress in a Seattle apartment. (Not for nothing, but this exact same mistress-apartment plot point was used on the last season of The West Wing. We’ll forgive you for stealing from the best.)

The reason we can forgive the messiness of this week is that we’re finally seeing everyone’s nastier sides. Linden has been mostly competent, but when her case stalls she gets sloppy with evidence and breaks the rules by sneaking into an FBI evidence van. For her trouble she gets a healthy dose of cop clichés from her boss. (I think it went something like, "Grumble, grumble, that was some stunt you just pulled! Go mentor the rookie! Grumble grumble.")

We need Linden to unravel, if only because she’s the only one whose firm grasp on things holds any tension. I don’t think she’s gonna earn much forgiveness from her son or fiance Rick, but my money is still on her surviving with her sanity. What else are we watching for—to find out if Richmond trades his soul for the mayorship? Don’t they all? Is it to find Rosie’s killer? It seems like ages since her murder felt vital and not a game of suspect Whack-a-Mole. I guess we could be holding on to find out if Stan and/or Mitch finally crack—but whether they sob or fight or recreate Rosie’s pink bedroom (or even go postal with a shotgun next week), it all just feels sad.

Most fake Seattle thing We saw the local news air graphic crime scene photos because “We have decided that it is in the public interest to give a realistic picture of this particular crime.” And this is in the morning, while preschoolers are still eating their Cheerios? No way.

It also felt kind of fake that Mayor Adams—he of the fancy men’s club membership—is only paying $1,500 per month for his mistress’s Seattle apartment. Now, I’m not the secret mistress of an elected official (that you know of!), but if I was, I’d sure as heck score a prime pad worth a little more. Just sayin’.

Current murder suspect I’m not going to hop on the Mohammad bandwagon; I refuse to finger a character we haven’t seen. Boring! So I’ll go with Holder’s NA sponsor, Baldy (real name: Gil). He controls Holder’s purse strings—what if Holder is his puppet inside the investigation?

The Killing airs Sundays at 10pm on AMC.

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