“The Killing” season finale leaves viewers feeling homicidal

I have a lot of feelings about The Killing.

After Sunday night’s finale on AMC, I was so pissed off that I paced around the house telling my cats how lucky they were that they didn’t watch television because it is a HUGE RIPOFF. Then I remembered that I raved about the show to you, AfterEllen.com readers, and I knew I needed to acknowledge the error of my ways.

Please stop now if you haven’t watched the finale — serious spoilers ahead.

I realize that executive producer Veena Sud and the writers had a huge task in developing The Killing for an American audience used to “crime of the week” series that let us see justice served by the end of every episode. And that is one of the things I liked best about the show. In fact, I defended it up until the very end.

But the end, well, wasn’t. And when the credits rolled, I felt like a schmuck for believing that The Killing could turn out to be one of the best shows ever.

The most insulting non-event of the finale is that we still don’t know who killed Rosie Larson. Last week, all signs pointed to Richmond. The penultimate episode even ended on a wonderfully tense cliffhanger: Linden looked trapped when Richmond realized she knew he was Orpheus. Would the sleazy politician attack the cop? Would Linden have to shoot her way out of the place? Would Holden rush in to save her?

Nope. Linden just walked out.

Of course, anyone who’s been watching The Killing knew that such dramatic evidence that Richmond killed Rosie would turn out to be yet another misdirection. But then Holden and Linden started gathering proof that Richmond did it, including tollbooth footage placing him at the scene, and at about 10 minutes before the end of the ep, arrested him. It was all very anticlimactic.

We got short glimpses of the other suspects: Gwen, Jamie, Rosie’s mom and dad and aunt, creepy Belko, Bennet Ahmed and his pregnant wife and a few random people who didn’t have any connection with Rosie but could’ve killed her anyway.

But Richmond was the killer, according to the cops, and once he was arrested, Linden got her son and hopped on a plane to Sonoma to join her fiancé.

And then! Linden gets a call from the tollbooth company apologizing that the cameras were broken so no footage is available. And then! Holden gets in the car with an unseen person and says, “The photo worked.” And then! Belko plays Jack Ruby and shoots Richmond (we think) as he is taken from the police station to a car. And then! That’s it.

What? That’s it? After investing Sunday after Sunday in this show, we get a huge raspberry from Veena Sud and whichever AMC program director who said, “Cool! Great ending!”

I think what irritates me the most is that The Killing’s audience is left with the feeling that Detective Linden was duped – and she never even suspected it. Lead actress Mirielle Enos had a role unlike any other female cop we’ve seen on television. She was low key and fairly humorless. She didn’t glam it up to solve crimes. She had a messy personal life and a strained work life. She didn’t have any endearing traits like a Southern accent or a fondness for designer shoes or a chocolate addiction. She was just very, very good at her job.

Or so we thought.

Don’t misunderstand – I still think Enos gave an Emmy-worthy performance as Sarah Linden. She made us care about Sarah without any of the super-human conventions usually employed to make us like her. But the finale betrayed the character, IMO. The writers did Linden — and Enos — a disservice.

A few minutes ago, a friend sent me a link to Maureen Ryan’s review of the finale for TV Squad. She hated the finale even more than I, calling it the worst season finale of all time. Ryan sums up the experience of many faithful viewers:

“I watched the last few minutes of the season in slack-jawed horror. Not the good kind of horror. I was stunned that the show would double back on so many things and then leave a host of new questions unanswered.”

Exactly. And honestly, I don’t care about the answers any more. I just wish I could have my 13 hours back.

Did anyone stick with The Killing to the end? Did the finale make you want to come back for more or are you as over it as I am?

Tags: ,