One of the joys of watching The Killing is counting the familiar faces from the 2004 reboot of Battlestar Galactica. Back in Season 1 we encountered Detective Sarah Linden’s robotically patient, sailboat-dwelling boyfriend, whom we recognized as Leoben, aka Cylon Number Two. In the same season we met Linden’s ex husband, whom we recognized as Helo. This season, death row prison guard Henderson—the one prison guard who seems to have a conscience—looks a fracking lot like Chief Tyrol.
One assumes the crossover has everything to do with geography. The Killing is filmed in British Columbia. So was Battlestar. And the actors who play all the aforementioned characters have BC ties. But the subtext has always been interesting to think about. (Seeing Leoben, the sadistic Cylon who tricked Starbuck into believing they were longtime lovers, for instance, made for an eerie reading of Linden’s boyfriend’s motivations.)
Now add one from that other beloved sci-fi cult obsession from the early 2000s. Detective Holder’s girlfriend, assistant district attorney Caroline Swift, we learn, is in truth Kaylee from Firefly. (The character, played by BC native Jewel Staite, had a brief appearance earlier this season, but it was in Holder’s dimly lit apartment last night that we got a proper glimpse of the spaceship Serenity mechanic.)
Kaylee on Firefly was, at least in the beginning, unlucky at love. But in Holder, ADA Swift has bagged Seattle’s most eligible hoodie model. And she still can’t win: The detective neglects to do anything for her on Valentine’s Day.
Although Swift only has a few seconds of screen time, her role is crucial in Episode 5 (“Scared and Running”). She is one of three women in Holder’s life and, like Linden and Bullet, she helps reveal his character. With Linden, he’s the misanthropic cop eager to hopscotch the thin blue line to catch the bad guys. With Bullet he has revealed himself to be a nurturing older-bother type—most notably at the end of the episode when he consoled the runaway with a compassionate half hug. And through Swift we see that he is capable of some form of domesticity, even if it is one in which 1-800-FLOWERS apparently has no pull.
But first, because this is The Killing, required by law to feature a teenager running for her life in the rain, the first scene of the night was that of a girl who looks a lot like missing teen Kallie Leeds running out into the road, where she's summarily hit by a car. She pops off the asphalt and flees back into the woods.
At home Kallie’s mom, Danette, jerks awake and sees that she has missed a call from Kallie, to which her boyfriend, unrepentant fast food fan, and last week’s Red Herring, Joe Mills, says, See! Told you she was okay. (She’s clearly not okay.) At the Seattle police station Holder and Linden accuse Mama Dips of protecting Joe Mills because, they assume, she's his lover, and then, ewww, realize she’s his mom. Then we’re on death row where Alton and Seward banter and Alton practices the speech he’s going to give the family of his victims. (We later learn that the family is his own brother and sister, and that his victims were his own mother and father. Worst son ever?)
After they hit another dead end questioning Danette, Holder and Linden are soon joined by Bullet in the search for Girl Hit By Car, whom they assume is Kallie. The search sends them under a bridge, where those Thrashin’ kids from last week hang out. Holder merely has to don a hoodie and not get his fingers chewed off by a pit bull to get the kids to talk. That leads Holder and Linden on a trail of blood to Beacon Home—where Pastor Mike shrugs and says something about budget cuts—and then on to a veterinarian clinic, where Girl Hit By Car is splayed on a doggie-operating table. She’s alive, but: It isn’t Kallie Leeds. Holder breaks the news to Bullet with the half hug and it’s probably the most serene and tender thing that has happened in two and half seasons of The Killing.
Then, cliffhanger: Danette phones her daughter only to discover her daughter’s cell phone in Joe Mills' pocket. And we can't wait until next week to hear Joe's excuse. I'm betting there are cheesburgers involved.
The Killing airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC.