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Oh, man. You know, Killing fans, I’m really grooving on this episode. I am. For a good 50 minutes, I’m all prepared to tell you about how this is the best episode of the season. And then it happens. Bullet makes the most boneheaded decision, um, pretty much ever. It’s an understandable decision. Bullet is, what, 15? 16? She lives on the streets. She has almost no one, now that Kallie’s disappeared. As we’re about to discuss further, her relationship with Holder, which I found truly moving up until this week, is on the fritz (to put it mildly). We don’t know much about her family, but I think it’s safe to say they’re not scouring the streets to find her. Bullet wants love, people. She’s desperate for it. So when Holder becomes (justifiably) furious with her – more on that later – she wants to win him back. So of course she calls him and acts all cryptic on his voicemail. Of course she teases him with information she knows he wants. It’s totally understandable, but folks, it’s also maddening. Because the decision is really easy to predict, and right in line with a troubled teenage kid’s M.O., but it’s a terrible, horrible decision, and I can’t love the episode as much as I did before. I just can’t.
But we’ll get to Bullet’s boneheaded decision later. I need more time to process it. In the meantime, can we talk about how this episode was a freaking acting clinic? Mireielle Enos, Joel Kinnaman, Bex Taylor-Klaus, and Peter Sarsgaard (although I’d still be happier if he had more to do) are at top of their respective games tonight. Enos, in particular, deserves an Emmy. Linden spends most of the episode in the company of deranged disgraced Pastor Mike (sorry, can’t remember his real name), who isn’t a killer, but…wow, he’s annoying. Let’s be honest here: we’ve got three episodes left in this season, so any suspect who shows up now is probably a red herring. I knew that coming into this episode, but I admit I was pretty gullible. But it’s not my fault, right? Pastor Mike did have contact with every girl! The informant placed poor Angie in Pastor Mike’s car! Lyric, last seen in Pastor Mike’s presence, was missing! He sure seemed guilty, didn’t he? Yeah, not so much. So that girl in Tempe, he was trying to detox her when she accused him of kidnapping. That doesn't make him less insufferable, though, and he did kidnap Linden and plan to kill her. He's not, however, a serial killer. Good to know.
Ben Cotton really nails it this episode, veering from icy cold to weeping and needy within a few minutes. I didn’t dislike Cotton before these last few episodes; he was more of a non-entity. (I don’t think I can really be blamed here. On a show replete with teenage prostitutes, corrupt death row inmates, and potential serial killers, a do-gooder clergyman just doesn’t register.) But once the (sort of) good pastor became a suspect, Cotton’s acting became front and center. And man, he’s pretty good during the car scenes in this episode. He’s outraged at being wrongly accused, I get that, and he’s angry about the issues in Tempe, but there’s something more at work here. He’s clearly got a savior complex, and he blames everybody else for the problems in his life. Apparently he’s never stopped to consider how it would look to have a teenage girl locked in his house. (Answer: bad). But this episode really belongs to Mireille Enos. She’s always terrific, but this episode…wow. Just wow. She goes from desperate to proud to resigned in the span of half an hour, and her willingness to share her struggles regarding Jack with Pastor Mike (after lying initially) and her fears about being a bad parent indicate that she truly is, under all that bravado, a decent person, and a great police officer.
Bex Taylor-Klaus is also top-notch yet again. She had a few off scenes in last week’s episode, probably due to the writing rather than Taylor-Klaus’ considerable abilities. But before we can wax poetic about Bullet’s greatness (and her stupid decision), we need a word of remembrance for the Bullet/Holder relationship. RIP, Bolder/Hullet. Seriously, how cute were these two before tonight? I wouldn’t say Holder was a father figure to Bullet; he was like her older brother, teasing but always looking out for her. Now…well, I think he sort of hates her. And with good reason. See, Bullet sort of told Holder that Lyric had called her, explaining that Pastor Mike was taking her to the site where he’d killed the other girls. Which would be okay if it were true. Actually, Pastor Mike sort of kidnapped Linden after Lyric bolted Mike’s house for a night of drugs and hooking. Look, I get it. Bullet’s concerned that Holder hasn't been doing enough to find Kallie. She’s worried that a serial killer is picking off her friends. She’s in love with Lyric, who doesn’t love her back. (And speaking of that, how cold was Lyric’s brush off? Okay, so she’s not gay, but she sure was willing to use Bullet for some physical affection when Twitch was pissing her off.) So she makes up a “little” lie, hoping it will nudge Holder into action. Which it does. Too bad Lyric isn’t there, and the officers waste valuable time, leaving poor Linden at the mercy of Pastor Mike. I can’t blame Holder for being angry, but I sure hope he and Bullet rekindle their odd friendship at some point. Poor Bullet needs somebody. And while we're on the subject, we don't get to see Joel Kinnaman do angry very often; usually he's got that drawling, relaxed persona. But Kinnaman really pulls out all the stops in this episode. He's radiating fury when he confronts Bullet. It's great to see Kinnaman stretch his acting wings.
So remember last week, when Linden told condemned Ray Seward she believed he was innocent? Well, Seward took her confession to heart, and he’s determined to free himself somehow. His lawyer isn’t too encouraging, reminding Ray that he’s out of appeals, and then asking, gently, what Ray wants the lawyer to do with his remains once he’s dead. This isn’t too comforting to Seward, who we now know is innocent, and he proceeds to have a massive panic attack; Becker comes to the rescue, speaking in comforting, soft tones to Seward until the inmate calms down. This scene is really strange, and I can’t for the life of me figure it out. Becker clearly hates the inmates, and Ray in particular. Why does he care if Seward’s panicking and weeping? Despite this rather odd interlude, we do learn something about his strained family life later. Becker’s long-suffering wife stops by the prison to interrogate Henderson, hoping that her husband’s partner knows why Becker hasn’t been coming home lately. Hmm, interesting. This could be a red herring, but this scene feels so throwaway that I have to assume it means something. What kind of extracurricular activities could this sullen, rules-oriented prison guard be up to during his off hours?
Sigh. Okay, I have to talk about it. I think I’m ready. So we know Holder is furious with Bullet, and for her part, Bullet lashes out at Holder, claiming he hasn’t done anything to find Kallie. Our favorite homeless teen, with neither Holder nor Lyric to talk to, disappears into the night, and, after she’s given an Angie-related tip, she locates the would-be victim at the train station, ready to get the Hell out of town (and who can blame her?). It only takes an offer of some Heroin and some well-placed begging, and Angie spills the name of her attacker. Which is great, right? Bullet calls Holder, thrilled to share this critical piece of information, but of course he won’t answer (he’s busy sharing Chinese food with Linden), so she leaves him a voicemail. She tells him she knows the killer’s name…but she doesn’t tell him the name! Sure, she calls more than once, but at no point does she tell Holder the name. Which means that when the inevitable happens (i.e. the killer finds her, which he does), no one will know where to look for her.
And I’m going to be honest here. I’ve gotten attached to Bullet. I do not want her to die. (But why, oh why didn’t she tell Holder the killer’s name?)
Notes & Quotes
-- I like when Pastor Mike, set on driving Linden God knows where and killing her, tells her to put her seat belt on. Yeah, ‘cause safety is important here.
-- Pastor Mike: “Did you want to help me when I was minding my own business? No. You show up on my doorstep and you stick that badge in my face and you have to audacity to question my intentions, treat me like I’m some kind of a pervert, and why? Because I help kids? I do what no one else wants to do, deigns to do, and I end up with a target on my back because of it. These kids are in so much pain. If only you could see what’s going on inside them. You have no idea. But I see them.” Yeah, whatever, Pastor “Mike.” I know you’re not a killer, but you really are insufferable. Can the savior complex.
-- Why introduce needy ex-boyfriend Cody last week, and then do nothing with him?
-- Pastor Mike: “That’s what they taught you, I suppose. Humanize yourself so the abductor won’t kill you. It won’t work.” Yeah, Pastor Mike had Linden's number here.
-- Why on Earth is Becker sympathetic out of nowhere? Seward’s having a panic attack and Becker, who’s never shown a moment of compassion for him or anyone else, is all of a sudden gently talking him down. WTF?
-- Holder: “You junkyard little bitch. You almost got my partner killed. You lied to me? After what I’ve done for me, you think you can sit there and lie to my face.” Aw, I liked the Bullet/Holder friendship.
-- Bullet: “Why didn’t you call me? Find me? Something?” Lyric: “Find you? I don’t belong to you. I’m with Twitch. Sorry. I’m not gay, you know?” Yeah, I knew that. But Lyric sure was willing to use Bullet, wasn’t she? That’s cold.
-- Holder: “Thought I lost you there for a second. Just when I was getting used to you.” Aw, Holder and Linden are BFFs.