Third episodes are always tricky, especially after a two-part opener. But I found “El Diablo” to be another absorbing episode of The Killing.
I enjoyed the continuation of the story – toggling between the different groups embroiled in Rosie’s murder, all of them connected and affected in different ways. I like the Sarah (Linden) and (Stephen) Holder partnership. I think she’s intrigued by him more than she would care to admit. He’s like a big kid in some ways, but he has very much lived a life. I was intrigued by his little comment about mothers, suggesting that he’s had a painful experience with his own mom.
Darren Richmond’s comment – “flowers die” (I might be paraphrasing) – was also a poignant moment. He should know given that he went through the death of his wife. It’s interesting to see how he grapples with saving his campaign and extending the compassion for a family struck by a life-shattering event. Of course, he may yet be involved in the death of Rosie, even though the episode points the flashlight in a different direction.
Perhaps the most moving scene was one that I saw coming a mile off. Mitch Larsen holding herself under water after learning that Rosie has drowned in the trunk of the car. I imagine she wanted to know what it felt like – she wanted to know how her daughter suffered, whether she could bear to same trauma – she found out that she couldn’t. Instead of gaining some peace of mind, some release (or whatever she was searching for), she discovered that her daughter died painfully.
The way that scene was filmed, the portrayal of inescapable brokenness by Michelle Forbes was truly haunting. What made it even more impactful for me was that she wasn’t able to stay under water for nearly as long as I expected. It was so unbearable for her that she only managed what seemed like a few seconds. And she was all on her own as the rest of her family sat down for dinner. How I wanted Stan, or one of the kids, to get up and check on her – you know, just in case. It goes to show that however together they are, the death of Rosie is also an individual experience.
Going back to the water – often used as a metaphor for rebirth and renewal, it seemed to carry a different kind ‘cleansing effect’ in this episode – both the rain and the bath water representing an awakening to the reality of tragedy. The thematic device of the window into the Larsen household was also informative, allowing us to look into the fragility of that family.
So now we have two suspects, Jasper and Kris. However, given that only three days have elapsed, I think it’s safe to say that this case is even more complicated than I thought. It could well be that the show’s title (“The Killing”) is not so much about a murder of a young girl, but the continued and prolonged trauma and degradation that ultimately led to her death – the ‘killing’ of Rosie Larsen.
As for negatives about the episode itself, I found some of the character motivations in this episode to be a bit weak. I wanted there to be a mighty good reason for Sarah to still be involved in the case when she’s supposed to be on her way out, but I’m not really seeing it. Her boss is being a jerk, applying faux pressure on her to solve the case, yet we’re lead to believe they had a good relationship prior to this. Sure, I get that Sarah is probably using this as an excuse to stay in town – is she having doubts about getting married? – but the overall motivation isn’t strong enough for me.
As for the janitor going to the lengths of jumping out of the window, only to tell Sarah more than she even wanted to know hours later in the hospital? I thought that was a little convenient. Even though they’re not interested in the activities he original thought, he’s still being a little too forthcoming for a guy who jumped a frickin’ window!
Oh, and my main suspect for the ‘big bad’ of the series is currently Gwen Eaton. I just have a feeling she’s directly involved in Rosie’s death somehow.
Overall a strong episode – 8/10 – looking forward to the next installment.
Do you have any opinions about “El Diablo”?