Monday, June 20, 2011

Review - The Killing Season 1 Episode 13 Orpheus Descending

I'm still out of town, but I did have some time to watch TV, so I'll have a few reviews soon.

In the middle of "Orpheus Descending," with every shred of evidence pointing to Richmond as the killer, I told myself: "If the writers pull another fast one on us, I'll call the show trash." So, without further ado, The Killing is trash.

It was supposed to be a serious show, AMC's foray into the realm of crime solving, humanizing the elements of single murder into a 13-episode season. Instead, it turned into a big joke, a season long pursuit of red herrings which ultimately resulted in nothing. The episode gives us twenty different reasons why Richmond is the killer, but just as everything seemed over, the writers did it again--albeit later in the episode--showing us that Richmond was actually the fall guy for something bigger. And, oh yeah, Holder is dirty and unafraid to let Linden find out. Now The Killing is in mediocre 24 territory, wacky plot twists with none of the action. I would be fine with Richmond taking the fall, despite the cliche of the dirty politician with lots of secrets. But this, the writers yanking us down another wrong path for the nth time, is just too much.

The most telling quote from showrunner Veena Sud shows how doomed the show was from the beginning:
So there were a lot of discussions about, “We’re definitely not going to do the 45-minute procedural.” Then we stepped back and said, “Should we do a murder a season? But is that not creating yet another formula, and yet another expectation, and yet another way to put a bow on a gift and wrap it up really easily?” So then we very organically [concluded that] the [Rosie murder] story still had other possibilities after 13 hours, after 13 days, so that’s where we went. It was risky, it was brave, it was bold – that’s what AMC is known for.
Excuse me, but isn't The Killing formulaic in its own way? Linden and Holder find a clue, do further investigation, narrow down a suspect, believe this suspect is the murderer, bring him/her in for questioning, and the episode ends. It looks like a slam dunk, but the suspect is soon found to be innocent. Is that not an "expectation", that every suspect isn't actually the murderer? This red herring formula has now been extended to the entire season and nothing has changed.

Even though The Killing largely turned into something not worth watching, I'm curious to see the second season. After an entire season of uselessly burning through suspects, how will the writers proceed? Will they continue to go through a new list of suspects, oblivious to the obvious formula? I really want to know what Veena Sud is thinking.

Score: 7.0/10
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