Episode Title: “Openings”
Writer: Aaron Zelman
Director: Kevin Bray
Previously On “The Killing”:
We pick up right where the previous episode, “Ghosts of the Past,” left off, with Terry Marek (Jamie Anne Allman) getting into a mysterious town car. Is this a professional date? Apparently not: she’s been seeing Michael Ames (Barclay Hope), the rich father of Jasper Ames (Richard Harmon), Rosie Larsen’s ex-boyfriend. Well, not lately. He hasn’t been returning her calls because he’s married, and wants Jamie to stop calling him. But… they were meant to be together!
After the credits, Detective Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) confronts Stan Larsen (Brent Sexton) with the recently-acquired information that he’s not Rosie’s birth father. It’s no news to Stan, although he doesn’t know how Rosie acquired the information for herself. Perhaps she was looking through his wife’s things? Moreover, he never cared that he wasn’t Rosie’s father, and doesn’t know the man’s real identity. He claims he never even asked. Detective Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) calls with information that Michael Ames was on the ferry on the same night as Rosie Larsen, meaning that he may have been the person she was afraid to see. Oh, and he was going to take a flight to Las Vegas that weekend with… Terry Marek.
Linden and Holder confront Terry, who admits to the affair but insists that it was off the clock, and that Michael Ames really loves her. Oh, Terry… She was supposed to meet Michael Ames on the ferry that night, but he cancelled at the last minute. Meanwhile, the results come back on Rosie’s phone, revealing that she texted Michael Ames the following message: “$5,000. I want the money or I tell your wife.” Uncertain if Ames was one of Rosie’s clients or, potentially, her birth father (making her ex-boyfriend Jasper her own half-brother), they focus their efforts on investigating the Ames family.
Jasper reveals that Rosie was a virgin, or at least showed no interest in sleeping with him (hmm…), and that she told him her whole life, possibly even the prostitution thing, was a lie. He says that his father returned home at 4am on the night of the murder in a taxi with a broken taillight. Right after the detectives leave, he rushes over to his father’s construction site accusing him of sleeping with Rosie. Pretty much right afterwards, the Ames family shows up at the police station with their lawyer, quashing the investigation. Jasper “confesses” that he sent the text message to his father as some sort of vague, inexplicable joke. Linden is increasingly furious with the stonewalled investigation, and Holder observes that she’s becoming too emotionally connected to the victim.
Unable to touch Michael or Jasper, the detectives interrupt Michael Ames’ wife, Sally (Allison Hossack), at a fancy party, where she explains that the two of them have an open relationship, but the marriage will never end because all the money in the family is hers. Also that the Ames family was out of the country at the time of Rosie’s conception. As the detectives leave, they notice the head of the Indian casino arriving at the party.
Meanwhile, Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell) resumes his campaign and downplays his emotional problems related to the shooting. Gwen (Kristin Lehman) returns to the campaign, convinced that – guilty or not – Richmond’s name will forever be connected to a murder that could sink his political career. Richmond ultimately acquiesces on the condition that their relationship remain professional.
Stan and Giffords (Tyler Johnston) meet at Rosie’s grave, and Giffords explains that he had planned to kill Stan but his daughter saved his life. Meanwhile, Mitch Larsen (Michelle Forbes) continues to establish a connection to Tina (Chelsea Ricketts), a drifter who reminds her a lot of Rosie, and who steals her money by the end of the episode and disappears. As Mitch cleans up the mess in her hotel room, she sees an unsent letter that Rosie must have found, in which Mitch tells a man called “David Rainer” that he’s Rosie’s real father.
And finally, Detective Linden returns to her hotel room with her son and finds a mysterious drawing of an open grave on their refrigerator. They move into Holder’s apartment for the night as a mysterious, gloved figure watches from outside…
A pretty fun, fast-moving episode for a change, “Openings” finds our detectives pursuing their new line of investigation with gusto, eager to learn who Rosie’s real father was and ready to assume that incest could be a part of the equation. Ah, “Twin Peaks,” how we all miss you. It’s an episode of creepy sex, in fact: Gwen has a conversation with her father in which he waxes rhapsodic about her learning politics in back rooms with his colleagues, at the age of 14, when she had “sips of champagne.” She looks visibly troubled by those memories. Gross.
The Ames family has been absent from “The Killing” in any tangible way since Season One, which unfortunately detracts from the revelations of this episode, right from the start. “Oh, Terry got in the car of… that guy. Have we seen him before?” It makes sense that the detectives, and by extension the entire show, would abandon certain characters and subplots as the investigation focuses on one prime suspect after another, but perhaps the show’s greatest flaw, at least as a whole, is the tendency to ignore potentially fascinating characters like Jasper Ames for multiple episodes at a time in order to focus on subplots like Richmond’s recovery, which made dramatic sense but kept a significant portion of the storyline from moving forward for half of a season. The teenagers in “The Killing” are going through some seriously screwed up times themselves, and surely could carry a scene or two per episode on their own.
As for those politics, it’s time to establish some sort of direct connection between the power plays and Rosie Larsen’s life. It’s entirely possible that someone like Michael Ames just doesn’t want detectives poking around his affairs because he’s corrupt in some way, and not necessarily because he’s the murderer. The fact that he’s involved in both Indian gaming and the mayor’s campaign is getting intricate enough that it’s obviously supposed to be important, but the death of Rosie Larsen is the emotional connection to the entire series, and this one subplot seems at least two degrees removed in everything but theory. It’s getting harder to care, and it hasn’t exactly been easy for a while now.
Speaking of caring, “Dark Linden” is becoming a major subplot now, as the detective’s mysterious past comes back into play and she makes increasingly dangerous decisions just to solve the case. All we know is that she got too involved in a previous investigation. I get the impression that there’s a Red Dragon element coming into play, but again, it’s frustrating that “The Killing” is keeping the emotional aspects of the series a mystery while piling on incidental details that would only directly connect to the storyline if we knew why the characters cared.
The big revelation of this episode, that “David Rainer” is Rosie’s father, is a bit of an anti-climax, but on the surface it does seem like it prevents the potentially trite revelation that Rosie’s father is already a member of the cast. Unless we find out that “David Rainer” is a pseudonym. (I already checked, by the way, and it’s not a clever anagram.) Let’s reserve judgment until we see how that plays out.
I focus on criticisms because that’s what I do. “Openings” was a fairly involving episode of “The Killing” which moved the investigation and campaign forward (hurry for the latter, in particular), and touched upon some disturbing new themes that up the darkness quotient by at least half. We’re entering into the final stretch, though, so the time has come to start following through. Can “The Killing” pull it together by the end?
Photo Credit: Carole Sega/AMC