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The Devil's Due: A Hole in the Wall on The Killing

"Assumptions are your enemy, detective." - Sarah Linden

What were Rosie Larsen's final minutes on earth like? As the trunk of the car filled with water and the darkness closed in around her, Rosie fought for life, attempting to claw her way out of her watery grave. Her mother Mitch (Michelle Forbes, whose performance just becomes more and more emotionally wrenching each week) attempts to experience those final moments, slipping underneath the surface of the water in her bathtub, her eyes open, her heart pounding. It's a moment of attempted rapport between mother and dead child, a heartbreaking effort to know, to understand, to vicariously put herself into Rosie's end in those murky waters.

Continuing last week's strong start for The Killing, this week's episode ("El Diablo"), written by Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin and directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton, found Linden and Holder attempting to unravel the mystery of The Cage, the Larsens grappled with life without their daughter, and the Richmond campaign discovered the leak within their rank. Or did they? Hmmm...

This week's episode was another edge-of-your-seat thrill ride, another televisual page-turner, in which we received some more clues about what happened to Rosie and some brutally unexpected twists. Throughout it all, the specter of "El Diablo" lurked just underneath the surface, while that bloody palm print and the grisly scene in the school basement proved impossible to shake.

So what did I think of "El Diablo"? Let's discuss...

At the end of last week's two-hour premiere, Holder discovered The Cage in the basement of the Fort Washington high school that Rosie attended. The episode begins just a few minutes later, the grungy subterranean room now crawling with the forensics team. Amid the drugs and the blood, the gruesomeness of the scene, there's a purple metallic streamer hanging in the corner, its curlicue shape echoing both the dangling tendril of Linden's hair and the windchime in Rosie's bedroom.

But it's the hole in the wall that Linden discovers that gives the detectives their first lead, taking them to the home of school custodian Lynden Johnson Rosales. Unfortunately, after stabbing Linden in the arm, he exits through a nearby window and ends up in critical condition. However, he's able to identify just who Rosie was with in the basement, Kris... whom he refers to as "El Diablo."

What we learn later is just who else was down in the Cage, thanks to an incriminating video on Jasper's phone, seized in class by their teacher, Bennet. What it depicts: Jasper and Kris taking turns with Rosie as they film their sexual three-way on Halloween night. Bennet turns the phone over to the police, even as Kris begins to break, angrily confronting Jasper at school, saying "they know, they know!" While it's the devil's mask that allowed Kris to mingle with his former classmates at the school dance, the video depicts Jasper wearing the mask as he, uh, has his way with Rosie, her pink wig bobbing sadly.

It's a reveal that makes sense, given what the detectives already know. Linden believes that Rosie would only have gone down to the Cage with someone she trusted and not Kris; she would have gone down there with Jasper, though. The video evidence puts all three at the scene, but there are still several questions remaining: What caused the blood on the wall? Was it Rosie's? And how did she get from the school basement to the woods, where we know that she was killed? Interesting...

Meanwhile, Linden had to break the cause of death to the Larsens. Stan is furious about the front page newspaper story linking Rosie's death to the Richmond campaign and demands to know if the police have made an arrest. While Linden is perfunctory, she does also express compassion for their grief-striven parents. When Mitch asks if Rosie suffered, Linden doesn't hesitate to lie, telling Rosie's parents that their beloved daughter didn't suffer, that she was unconscious when the car went into the water. It's a white lie, designed to spare their feelings and not make this experience even more difficult for the two of them, but it's a lie nonetheless. And it's this lie that leads Mitch to try and experience what it would be like to drown. What she doesn't know is that Rosie broke off her fingernails trying to get out of that trunk, that her final moments were filled with anguish, terror, and pain.

Holder, meanwhile, is proving to be even more shifty than I previously thought. Just who was he talking to on the phone at the hospital? He quickly hangs up when Linden approaches and seems flustered when she asks what's going on. Meanwhile, we learn that he's kept some of his narcotics squad tricks up his sleeve. The pot he offered Rosie's classmates last week--and a teen runaway here--are in fact "narc scent." (Or as Holder describes it, "It smells like weed, it tastes like weed, but it's not weed.") Which does clear up some of the swirling uncertainty around Holder, but makes me question what he's hiding. Just how deep into the narcotics world did Holder get? Hmmm...

On the campaign end of things, Darren Richmond has a tense scene with the incumbent mayor (a scene that was in the original pilot, but which was shifted here, likely for time), but he also has other issues on his mind besides the rivalry with the mayor. There's the damage done from the link to Rosie's death and the campaign car and the fact that someone within his camp leaked news of Yaitanes' endorsement to the press... and all signs--namely, a super-incriminating email--point to Jamie. Richmond's sense of betrayal is palpable here, but it's actually Gwen who confronts Jamie about the leak, and Jamie denies it, pretty convincingly.

I don't think Jamie did it, despite what the email might say and he makes his exit from the campaign ("Screw you! Screw both of you!") with a good deal of enmity. He's not someone you want on your bad side, really... especially with the election in just 23 days. (Hey, just in time for the Season Two finale, in fact, if the narrative calendar holds true!)

Darren does get his endorsement from Yaitanes, even as Jamie is seen slinking away with his stuff in a cardboard box. Which makes me wonder: who benefits from the leak? And who benefits from Jamie exiting the campaign? I don't trust Gwen at all, in fact. While she's Darren's girlfriend, she's also Jamie's rival as well, and it's a little too perfect that the leak was discovered in Jamie's email account. How very pat.

(Aside: just what is the connection between this case and Darren's wife's death? Just how DID she die exactly? And what are the similarities between her demise and Rosie's?)

I love the small moments in this show, both humorous and heartbreaking: Linden referring to Holder as Justin Bieber and his retort that he and her son share the some of the same characteristics; Tommy setting a place at the table for Rosie; the nicotine gum that Linden frustratingly chews at the end of the day, the way she sadly looks over the ingredients in a bag of junk food; and the outgoing answering machine message that Mitch listens to over and over again, hearing the life that's in her daughter's voice, even as its very message is--in the context of her death--so troubling. ("We don't know where we are.")

All in all, another sensational installment that had me riveted. The horrific reveal of that cell phone video--Jasper and Kris grinning as they share Rosie--was a brutal way to end the installment and sets up a series of new questions for next week. Just how much does Rosie's friend Sterling know? Why did she run out of class like that? And what secrets is she keeping?

What did you think about this week's episode? Who has entered the frame now as the most likely suspect? Head to the comments section to discuss, analyze the clues, and debate.

Next week on The Killing "A Soundless Echo," the Larsens plan their daughter's funeral; Rosie's friend Sterling unveils surprises about her life.


Brandon said…
the line that I found most intriguing last night? When a reporter asked Richmond "does this have anything to do with your wife?" WHAT?? that raises so many questions.

With GOT premiering next week, I don't know how I'm going to contain myself Sunday nights... this is an amazing show.
Brandon said…
also i think it's WAY too early to hedge any guesses as to whodunit. The writers obviously want you to suspect Kris and Jasper at the beginning -- a couple of gutterpunk teens committing a horrible crime...

But there's obviously a lot left undiscovered. The question about Richmond's wife is so intriguing because only Richmond seems to know whatever is up with that. He ducks the question when the reporter asks him, and when Gwen asks him in the pilot to talk about her. I agree, I don't trust Gwen at all. Not only did she call Jamie out, but she was the only one coming up with reasons why Jamie would do such a thing, quick to prove blame when presented with the e-mail.

Anyway, great recap Jace, this show ... so many true emotions, such a great story... I don't think I've been so immediately and strongly drawn into a show like this since LOST.
Effie said…
Definitely my new favorite show. It's intelligent and suspenseful and full of great characters. I'm just as intrigued by Holder's past and the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Richmond's wife as I am about Rosie's murder. And I agree that Jamie isn't the real leak in Richmond's office, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out. I certainly don't trust Gwen!
Anonymous said…
Can someone explain why would the kids be laughing at that video in class (which prompts the teacher to confiscate the phone?) I debated if the video was the same or different, but the music is the same...

I just don't think ANY teenager would be laughing at video of that bizarre threesome/rape when they know one of the participants was killed later that weekend... it makes no sense.
Anonymous said…
I'm with you re: Gwen, and I wonder if Richmond hasn't deliberately set up the situation so that she feels she's completely in the clear. I thought it was odd that Richmond initially told Jamie he didn't want to go into the details of who was the leak and how he knew, but when Gwen immediately usurped that decision by telling Jamie herself (with pleasure, it looked like), Richmond didn't call her out afterward. He didn't even seemed pissed she had done it. Makes me wonder what Richmond actually saw in that folder from the investigator.

I found it disturbing that the boys in class were laughing at the video, but I wasn't surprised. It seemed realistic, given the way girls in high school are treated these days by their male peers. I suppose a person could run an analysis of the messages in this episode, given that it was written and directed by women. I, for one, appreciated that depiction of the boys' overt, gleeful misogyny. Felt very accurate.

Another fantastic episode. Can't wait for more.


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