TV Recap

Investigating The Killing: Episode Nine

Day nine, the day AMC’s gloomiest show declared war on boulders.

By James Ross Gardner May 23, 2011

“I just called to say… Do you feel lucky punk? I’ll be back. You had me at ‘hello.’ And you can’t handle the truth.”

If it wasn’t for the scene at the end where Stan and Belko turn Bennet into a punching bag (more on that in a moment) I’d declare last night’s The Killing (“Undertow”) as the episode when the show finally caved in to what it’s flirted with since the pilot: Becoming a standard police procedural that would make Dick Wolf grin.

Last night, right from the top, we got the gruff lieutenant barking at his blundering detectives for not playing by the book. We had the de rigueur chase scene through a crowded market. We even had the aloof powerbroker—in this case Councilmember McSulky, aka Darren Richmond—sipping whisky in a dimly lit bar as a jazz standard wailed on the juke box. And the one liners. Oh sweet Jesus did this episode have one liners.

Now, I’m not complaining about those lines. There’s something satisfying about watching Detective Holder glumly add levity to the whole heavy plot. Two episodes ago we thought he might be, at best, a junkie who takes bribes. Now he’s a heroin-chic Bruce Willis, delivering nuggets of comic relief out the side of his mouth. Let’s take a moment to enjoy Detective Stephen Holder: An Appreciation

On questioning fish mongers in the Market: “I got nothing from these Deadliest Catch fools.”

Complaining about his superiors: “Maybe I’ll get a job teaching algebra. If Oakes has his head 3-and-a-half feet up his ass, and Judge Elliott has his head 18 inches up his ass, how many total feet of ass do you get? It’s like 5 feet, I think.”

Threatening to turn a Muslim suspect over to the FBI: “Those Virginia farm boys, they’re going to pull some crazy Guantanamo rendition shit on your ass.”

Okay, now for that scene at the end. Stan, through a series of miscues, is convinced that teacher Bennet Ahmed killed Rosie. He and his sloppily bearded employee Belko Royce kidnap Bennet, drive him out to a boulder-strewn dirt road, and bludgeon him with their fists. Stan does most of the beating, but did you see what Belko was doing in the meantime in the background? No? Watch it again. In the upper-left corner of the screen, everyone’s least favorite moving company employee is beating the crap out of… a rock. That’s right, a big boulder. He’s flaying away at it. Never seen that on Law & Order. What does this tell us about Belko? Masochist? Sadist? Both? With just four episodes left in the season, it looks like the writers are finally ready to reveal just how cuckoo Belko is.

Most ridiculous fake Seattle thing: Take your pick. Not only does Pike Place Market—or as supposed longtime local Detective Linden calls it, “the downtown market”—not have escalators, it’s nowhere near Union and 5th Avenue. Moneybags Drexler sports a T-shirt for a basketball team called the “Seabirds.” And you can tell those officers to radio Seattle General hospital all you want, Linden, but they’re not going to get a response any more than they would if they radioed Seattle Grace.

Current murder suspect: Marquis de Belko, enemy of boulders and finely groomed facial hair everywhere.

The Killing airs Sundays at 10pm on AMC.

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