Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Killing: Boom or Bust?

The Killing's developer, Veena Sud, knows that her new AMC show exists within the conversation about Twin Peaks. She can't ignore Twin Peaks's legacy or the guideposts Lynch and Frost set up twenty years ago. I wonder why writers would even try a murder-mystery television drama given that it was done nearly perfectly then. Nevertheless, Sud tries, and she invites the comparisons with taglines like "Who killed Rosie Larsen?" and by setting the show in Seattle. Fortunately, The Killing is its own show, not just bait for Twin Peaks's fanboys and girls, and I'm caught up/ addicted. 

Relative newcomer Mireille Enos is the main character. As detective Linden, she follows leads which take her all over Seattle in pursuit of Rosie's killer. These assignments are ruining her social life, and though her engagement to Rick (Callum Keith Rennie) provides the show with a clock or countdown, meaning, she better get back to him before he leaves her, that aspect of the show is not well-developed or necessary. I groan each time he calls or they fight. 

Holder (Joel Kinnaman) is Linden's sidekick. He challenges the rules of police behavior every couple of minutes and is wonderfully rough around the edges. Might have a drug problem too. Hope so. Politician and Seattle mayoral candidate Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell) can't decide on the type of campaign he wants to run, whether he's a good guy or scumbag politician as winning politicians tend to be, or if he's capable of distancing himself from the Rosie Larsen murder case in which he is tangled. 

Twin Peaks gave us all the suspects in the pilot. I can't remember who Rosie Larsen's suspects were in episode two, but they are memory now, and I feel like the current suspects will be memory soon, too. In other words, the plot thickens, the world spins, and The Killing becomes more engaging. 

Seattle's gloom naturally influences the way the show looks, and the gloomy grays, greens, and blues, coupled with the slow pace of the show, makes The Killing a heavy but visually sound hour of television. The soundtrack is twinkly and a little too CBS for my tastes, but that's fine. Neko Case's song "Hold On, Hold On" finds its way onto episode 5, and I had never heard her before. Opened my laptop, typed furiously, and was like whoa, another New Pornographers member who does it better on their own.  

Eventually, and Twin Peaks had this problem too, Rosie's killer needs to be caught. And then what happens to The Killing? The Twin Peaks people had some options because of the surrealism they'd established, but still, look what happened: chess games, inter-dimensional buildings, grown women thinking they're cheerleaders, and this. Am I signing up for another soap opera by way of murder? Hopefully not, and when the time comes to reveal Rosie's killer, here's hoping AMC gives the show a couple of episodes denouement and pulls the plug. 

1 comment:

Sarah Ann said...

immediately prior to reading this post i saw "the killing" on my tv guide. i guess i should be watching that instead of law and order (again). and nice French word--denouement!