With the case closed on the third season of AMC’s The Killing, it’s time to see how many plot relevant mysteries were solved along the way and how many unanswered questions were left to hang.
Warning: full spoilers for The Killing Season 3 ahead
1. Who put the ”Picasso” drawing on Linden’s fridge? A carry-over mystery from the first two seasons that links to the serial case.
2. Why did Joe have Kallie’s phone? Joe doesn’t tell Danette why he had Kallie’s phone, though it’s possible she left it behind after he filmed her on his porn DVD.
3. If the killer pursued NotKallie through the woods on foot, what happened to his car? Did he go back for it, or is it just a contrivance?
1. Why is Holder so invested in Ashley Kwon’s murder? He noticed a connection between her death and that of Trisha Seward, suggesting Ray Seward may not have killed his wife after all, and the killer is still out there. He also identifies with many of the street kids as he’s from a similar background. (3.01-2 “The Jungle”/”That You Fear The Most”, “Reckoning”)
2. Who is Ray Seward? An inmate on death row for the murder of his wife, Trisha Seward. Linden and her then partner James Skinner had him convicted. Now years later, Linden believes he didn’t do it as serial killings bearing the hallmarks of the ‘Pied Piper’ have continued to surface. (3.01-2 “The Jungle”/”That You Fear The Most”), Skinner agrees. (3.07 “Hope Kills”)
3. What is the significance of Pastor Mike’s Ephesians 1:7 tattoo? It’s a passage from the bible (“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace”). (3.01-2″The Jungle”/”That You Fear The Most”) Holder runs it through the police database and discovers that Mike (real name Mark Elwood) was once charged with kidnap. It leads Holder and Linden to wrongly suspect Mike as the Pied Piper. (3.07 “Hope Kills”)
4. What is the significance of Adrian Seward’s drawing? It led Linden to the grove near to where Ashley’s body was found. There, she discovered 17 decomposed bodies scattered across a pond in bio-hazard bags, indicating that the Pied Piper was recently active and therefore cannot be Seward. (3.01-2 “The Jungle”/”That You Fear The Most”, “Seventeen”)
5. Who is Joe? Joseph Mills is a taxi cab driver and child pornographer who has sexual relations with girls. He emerges as a leading suspect in the Pied Piper case. However, while he’s guilty of many things, it turns out that the killer has set him up. (3.03 “Seventeen” through “The Road To Hamelin”)
6. Who is the crying girl that Bullet heard in Goldie’s room? While Bullet believes it to be Kallie, it turns out to be the cries of a girl from Goldie’s porn DVD. Kallie is, however, on one of the DVDs. (3.03 “Seventeen”)
7. Are the decomposed bodies the work of the same person who killed Ashley? . Yes. Like Ashley, several of the decomposed bodies also had broken/missing fingers. (3.03 “Seventeen”)
8. Who is “The Voice” on the DVD? Tiffany reveals that Joe Mills is the man asking the questions. (3.04 “Head Shots”)
9. Why was Kallie afraid when she saw Joe’s cab? He’s the pornographer who asks her questions on the porn DVD. He’s also her mom’s boyfriend. Reason enough not to be thrilled to see him. (3.04 “Head Shots”)
10. The badly injured, red-haired girl who was hit by the car – Kallie? Not Kallie but Angie – another girl who ultimately falls victim to the Pied Piper but whose death is a loose-end that leads to his capture. (3.05 “Scared and Running”, “From Up Here”/”The Road To Hamelin”)
11. Why is Alton in jail? He killed his parents. (3.05 “Scared and Running”)
12. Why didn’t Ray stop Alton from killing himself? He tried to, initially, but decided to help him through the process, telling him “there’s nothing worth holding on to.” In Ray’s mind, he was helping a friend. (3.06 “Eminent Domain”)
13. Why is Tess, Adrian’s adoptive mother, so desperate for Seward to see his son? Adrian regressed since Linden visited him in the playground, he’s started sleeping in the closet again and wants to see his father. Tess doesn’t want Adrian’s condition to worsen. (3.06 “Eminent Domain”)
14. Who put the razor in Ray’s soap? Ray’s dad, who is also in maximum security, pulled some strings to get the blade to his son. He anticipated that Ray would use it on Becker. (3.06 “Eminent Domain”)
15. Why did Ray decide to see his father? Alton’s death changed his perspective. (3.06 “Eminent Domain”)
16. Where was Becker on the night that Alton killed himself? He was tending to a domestic situation with his wife whom he claims was having an affair. (3.07 “Hope Kills”)
17. Is Pastor Mike connected to the killings? No, he was in Mexico City during the period in which the 17 murders took place. (3.08 “Try”)
18. Who dropped NotKallie off at the veterinarian? Mike. He took her to the vet as taking her to the hospital would have landed her back in ‘the system’. (3.08 “Try”)
19. The real Pastor Mike is revealed to have died 4 years ago – who is FauxPM? His name is Mark Elwood. He was charged with kidnapping a 16 year old girl in six years ago when he was actually helping her to detox. While he escaped trial when the girl overdosed, he still lost his temple ministry as a result. (3.07 “Hope Kills” through 3.08 “Try”)
20. Is there a connection between Bullet and Mike’s tattoo? Aside from the ‘faith’ connotations, there doesn’t appear to be any real correlation. (3.08 “Try”)
21. What did Pastor Mike do with Lyric? He let her go. (3.08 “Try”)
22. Why did Pastor Mike kidnap Linden? He was upset at being wrongly accused for child abduction for the second time. He threatened to kill Linden for implicating him in the murders, but ultimately let her live. (3.08 “Try”)
23. Where did Joe go after Danette discovered Kallie’s phone in his bag? He hid in Danette’s storage unit. (3.09 “Reckoning”)
24. Who did Bullet believe the killer to be? NotKallie told her it was James Skinner. (3.09 “Reckoning”, “The Road To Hamelin”)
25. Why did Adrian lie about Joe being the killer when he was in Alaska at the time? He probably saw Joe’s face on TV and ID’d him because he wanted to save his dad from execution. (“Reckoning,” “Six Minutes”)
26. To whom do the four unidentified rings found in Mills’ stash belong? Ray ID’d one of the rings as being the wedding band he bought Tricia for their wedding. (3.10 “Six Minutes”)
27. What’s the connection between the Tricia Seward case and the serial murders? The ring planted in Joe Mills’ stash belonged to Tricia. The killer took it as a ‘trophy’ after taking her life. (3.10 “Six Minutes”)
28. Did Ray tell Linden the truth about not knowing Joe? Yes. (3.10 “Six Minutes”)
29. Why is Ray’s father in jail? It’s a ‘family tradition’ (Ray’s grandfather also did time in maximum security) and his exact crime is not tied to the Pied Piper case. (3.10 “Six Minutes”)
30. Did Ray Seward really kill his wife? No. He was planning to run away, but decided to come back for Adrian only to discover that his wife had been killed.(3.10 “Six Minutes”)
31. Why didn’t Adrian like to sleep in his bedroom? In Ray’s own words: “He was in that closet because I was never there. His mother, leaving him staring up at those stupid plastic stars, night after night.” (3.10 “Six Minutes”)
32. If Ray didn’t kill his wife, why did he initially want to die? Out of guilt for the other things he did to her (and by extension, his son), and the implication of finding her dead body. Additionally, his father instilled in him certain flawed principles of what it means to be a man. (3.10 “Six Minutes”)
33. Why did Becker show compassion towards Ray during his panic attack? Turns out, Becker was scared for what Ray was about to go through. He later admits that he’d become a ‘prisoner’ to the job and quits. (3.10 “Six Minutes”, “From Up Here” / “The Road To Hamelin”)
34. Who is the serial killer? Linden’s former partner, boss and lover James Skinner is the Pied Piper. (“From Up Here” / “The Road To Hamelin”)
35. Why Skinner seemingly take a 3-5 year break? He didn’t. Skinner admits that there are more bodies in the lake and other places that will never be found. (“From Up Here” / “The Road To Hamelin”)
36. Where’s Kallie? Skinner seems unable to remember Kallie until Linden mentions her ring (which he gave to his daughter) and star earrings. While he doesn’t answer, the eventual look of recognition, coupled with his admission that he dumped more victims in other places, points to the notion that she too is long dead. (“From Up Here” / “The Road To Hamelin”)
37. How did Adrian know about the decomposed bodies? He witnessed Skinner dumping bodies in the lake from his tree house. The drawings were his way of expressing/remembering what he had seen. (“From Up Here” / “The Road To Hamelin”)
38. Who was the guy initially chasing NotKallie (aka Angie) when she was hit by the car? The killer, James Skinner, was changing NotKallie (aka Angie).
39. What is the killer’s motivation? Skinner tells Linden that he’s been alone for too long, that his first victim was an accident. He hit her after she spat at him. He took her out to the woods to prevent her from “destroying” all that he’d worked for and cant “remember much after that”. He admits to getting a thrill from killing the “human garbage” that no-one else cares about. He claims that he was “saving them from the inevitability of their lives.”
40. Is the killer working alone or does he have help? Skinner’s confession doesn’t imply that he was working in partnership with anyone else. It was all him.
41. What does Ray’s dad know? He tells Ray that he’s proud of him for keeping his mouth shut and going out like a man, but it’s a code of honor thing and not related to the case itself.
An impressive 41 mysteries were answered across the season’s tightly woven 12 episode arc, in which only 3 plot-relevant mysteries remain unanswered. One of which (#3) can possibly be put down to plot contrivance – which isn’t necessarily a good thing, but helps illustrate that the majority of the season’s answers made sense. There were a few forced resolutions, but almost every important question was tied up, while the contrasting conclusions to Lyric and Twitch’s storylines leave a mark despite ultimately being relegated to sideshow material. Interestingly (and pleasingly), for a self-contained season that feels ‘done’ and satisfying in terms of plot, it leaves a messy emotional overspill that seems ripe for continuation.
“From Up Here” / “The Road To Hamelin” Rating: 9.3/10 Seriable Stars