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Poster Boy/Poster Girl: Orpheus Rises on The Killing

Sometimes, the answer is staring at you right in the face. Other times, the truth lies far deeper beneath the surface, submerged inside the trunk of a mayoral campaign car.

On this week's stunning episode of AMC's The Killing ("Beau Soleil"), written by Jeremy Doner and Soo Hugh and directed by Keith Gordon, the truth about Rosie Larsen's killer finally seemed within the grasp of Detectives Linden and Holder, or at the very least the initial prime suspect in the slaying of the teenage girl came back into the frame once more.

Given that there is still one more episode left--likely one overflowing with further twists and turns--it's possible (but not all that probable) that there's still more to the story than we're seeing, another layer that's again deeper down in the murky water. But for now it seems as though the killer may have been unmasked.

So what do I think about the latest twist to hit the rain-soaked drama series? Read on...

It's interesting that Darren Richmond is again looking like our prime suspect, given that he seemed the likeliest culprit way back in the pilot episode. After all, it was one of his campaign cars that the corpse of Rosie Larsen was found in and the finger of suspicion seemed to point squarely at him, even as the focus moved to entirely separate lines of inquiry: Rosie's classmates, her teacher Bennet Ahmed, her aunt Terry, even.

But there has been something at the back of my mind since the pilot episode, something deeply unsettling about Darren Richmond and the similarities between Rosie's death and that of his wife's, who we later learn was killed by a drunk driver. Gwen makes the connection and asks Darren what the press will think given the similarities. But what similarities exactly? Lily was killed in an automobile accident, and Rosie died in the trunk of a car in the water. Which is exactly the connection: both women drowned.

While the precise details of Lily's death are still unclear, I believe we will learn that her car went off the bridge into the water and that she drowned. Which means that if Darren is Rosie's killer, his actions seem intended to relive that terrible, pivotal, traumatic moment of his wife's death. He's trying to understand her tragic end by experiencing it, by putting these women through the same experience. Rosie was alive when the car went under, just as likely Lily was still alive as well. Darren is extremely damaged, a borderline personality disorder candidate who can't let go of his dead wife to the point where he needs to feel those same emotions once more.

Gwen now knows that Darren was involved with Rosie, and in a very Twin Peaks-esque twist, Rosie was involved with Beau Soleil, an escort service catering to the well-heeled set of Seattle, including Darren (a client under the pseudonym of Orpheus) and Tom Drexler. The choice of Orpheus is telling as well: in Greek mythology, Orpheus went down into hell to free the soul of his beloved wife Eurydice, who had perished. It seems as though Darren--classically educated as well know he is (remember his command of Cicero)--also has a sick sense of humor, parading his grief in public and using it as a mask for his identity.

I loved that it was another Beau Soleil girl (Alona Tal's Aleena) who makes the positive identification for Holder, luring him to a street corner, where he's able to see Orpheus for himself: on the campaign posters of Darren Richmond. (The juxtaposition of the Seattle poster boy for crusading good and those "Who Killed Rosie Larsen?" posters that comprised AMC's marketing campaign seems to good to be true.) Elsewhere, Linden came face to face with the putative killer, as she realized the emails she was sending Orpheus were arriving right on Darren's home computer. I'm not quite sure how Linden intends to talk her way out of that one, but she's also snooping in Richmond's home without a warrant, so I don't know how admissible that particular piece of evidence is.

Kudos as well to Michelle Forbes and Jamie Anne Allman in their tense scene together this week, as the two sisters nearly came to blows about which of them better knew Rosie. While I had suspected that Terry recruited Rosie to Beau Soleil, the scene at the bar proved that she was completely floored when Linden and Holder made a connection between her niece and the escort service she works for. And her grief--and sense of culpability--flowed nicely into Terry's confrontation with Mitch, a scene that captured the bitterness and enmity between the two sisters, each one to blame in their own way for not seeing what path Rosie was on. While some viewers (and critics) seem to groan at the "lack of action" within the series, it's these small, personal moments--the silences and frustrated looks of blame--that make The Killing for me, seeing how grief and loss can twist a family.

And it was fitting that it's Terry who bails Stan out of jail, given that Mitch seems unwilling to do so. I also marveled at the rage between husband and wife in the jail scene between Stan and Mitch, as the former makes it clear that she is just as much to blame for the mess their currently in, that she pushed him to take action against Bennet. Her hands are just as unclean as his in this situation.

But with one episode remaining, it seems as though we're inching our way closer to justice for Rosie, the girl that no one really seemed to know, a Laura Palmer manque who traded her study books for high heels and casino runs, and whose smile hid a world of hurt. Will Larsen and Holder be able to close the books on Richmond? Is Richmond the killer? And what did you make of Tom Drexler's fishbowl weirdness? And Tahmoh Penikett's appearance as Linden's ex? Head to the comments to discuss and debate.

On the season finale of The Killing ("Orpheus Descending"), a twist in the polls and a death causes grief in the campaign; Sarah and Holder discover the murderer of Rosie Larsen and while doing so, cause a problem; Stan is released from jail and comes home to find no one in the house.


James said…
Great article, Jace. I'm wondering if you're aware of a video game from a few years ago called "Heavy Rain," which "The Killing" is starting to bear some striking resemblance to, in regards to the victim and the motive.
Bella Spruce said…
Great episode. Really looking forward to seeing how they wrap it all up in the finale. And so happy to hear that it's coming back for a second season! Thanks for all of your great write-ups on the show!
Evan said…
Well it was a good episode and about time too. I was starting to write The Killing off.

I'm betting Gwen did it. She knew about Darren & Rosie midway through the season and was hiding pictures.

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