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After last week’s episode had me worried that I had lost interest in the show, last night’s episode of  THE KILLING, “What You Have Left,” pulled me right back in with one of the better episodes since the pilot.

The show’s attempt at showing some of the realities of death and the ripple effect it causes had me worried the it was going to consistently travel too far into depressing territory to be enjoyable, and this episode was no exception when it opened with Rosie being prepped and the family getting ready for the funeral.

Once again we are shown some of the effects Rosie’s death is having on the family, but luckily these are done with some short, effective scenes instead of an entire episode of the Larson’s walking around in a daze while neglecting their two boys. The couple arguing over the date Rosie gave her father a pair of cuff links, Tom asking to be a pallbearer and later crushing a millipede crawling near his sister’s were all well-played and thankfully for me, brief. I was keeping my fingers crossed that this entire episode would not revolve around Rosie’s funeral and glad it didn’t.

However, the second half did take place during Rosie’s wake in the Larson’s garage, but the sad state affairs were punctuated with some family dynamics we have not yet seen, at least not as clearly they were displayed last night. Starting with Mr. Ames blatant disdain for Mitch’s younger sister, his cold dismissal leading her to drink heavily and making the deliberate jab at Belko, asking him if he realizes he’s “not part of this family”  before retreating in Rosie’s room to listen to records while smoking a joint. Not exactly sure what’s going on there, but I’m curious if this family dysfunction will play into the main story.

Then there was Stan Larson being notified that Rosie’s teacher, Bennett, was the main suspect in her murder and was standing right behind at the wake. This after we now have confirmation that Stan was once a mob enforcer and my have been responsible for a few murders himself. It turned a bit of depressing business into something sinister and rife with tension, thanks in part to the acting of Brent Sexton who has effortlessly switched from a hard-working family man grieving the death of his daughter to mob muscle looking to get revenge for the murder of his daughter, and remained convincing in the process.

The political plotline has now been fully roped into the murder of Rosie now that the press has gotten word that Bennet is a suspect as well as a mentor in Darren Richmond’s Seattle All Stars program. I’m glad this has finally happened and maybe now I will quit taking the time to check my email whenever this portion of the story is on the screen. Still, six episodes in, I don’t care about  Richmond or his handlers, and I’m not sure why I should. I still find the politics detract from the murder mystery, even if the Bennet connection has made it a bit less of a distraction.

My only other complaint about last night was the lack of interaction between Linden and Holder that didn;t involve Holder being treated like an errand boy. I don’t expect a Scully and Mulder type vibe, but I like it when the two are actually engaged and on the same page. But I guess their current relationship makes sense. Linden has no desire to stick around or form a bond with Holder, her only concerns at this point are to wrap up this case, pass the baton and get on the plane with her son to start a new life with her creepy fiancée. On the other hand, Holder just wants Linden gone. And from the looks of last night, they may both get their wish now that it looks like they have their man…er rather, couple.

I’m real curious what you all think about this. I mean, after the details of last night, Bennett and his very pregnant wife have definitely been set up as more than just red herrings. The details given to Linden and Holder by the couple’s neighbors paint fairly clear picture of the events on the night of Rosie’s murder and seem to leave little wiggle room for the show’s creators to pull a bait and switch, although these details are murky enough for it to be entirely possible.

The neighbors have placed Rosie at Bennet’s home at around 11 p.m. after the dance, where she was let in after a bit of knocking. We know it was not Bennet who let her in as surveillance footage show he was still at the dance at that time. His wife could have let her in as she did not show up to her sister’s until 1 a.m. and was visibly upset, telling the sister she felt Bennett was keeping secrets. Lastly, the kooky neighbor with the telescope states he saw a man with dreads and a woman with Linden’s build, loading a woman in a black car. She was wrapped in a blanket and not moving. That’s some pretty damning statements coming from several eyewitnesses. Bennet lying about Rosie returning a book doesn’t help and shows that Bennet is covering something — either his own ass or someone else’s.

Personally, I don’t think Bennet is the killer. It’s too easy and too obvious. I haven’t fleshed all this out, but I think the Telescope Guy witnessed Bennet and Rosie helping to load Sterling into the car after what happened to Sterling in the basement. Hopefully we will find out more about this night at the Bennet’s next week, if Stan hasn’t killed him before Linden and Holder can get Bennett to clarify some details they know he’s lying about.

I did want to end this with an observation regarding Rosie Larson herself and how much her handling has me appreciating Twin Peaks (at least the first two seasons) even more than I already did. has done this before or after, but Twin Peaks did an excellent job of making Laura Palmer, a girl who is dead when we are introduced to her, feel as alive as the other characters. Granted, I don’t watch a ton of television so maybe other shows have done this as effectively, but I just don’t know Rosie Larson. I know she was smart, liked bad boys and what brand cereal she ate, but she just doesn’t seem like she ever really existed — more a ghost alive than dead.

Still, I really enjoyed the episode the way it paved a variety of different directions the show can take if it wants to.

[rating:3.5/5]

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