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‘The Killing’ Review: “Scared and Running”

The Killing Scared and Running
AMC

The search for Kallie Leeds continues on tonight’s new episode of ‘The Killing,’ in which Bullet becomes a junior detective and we get a little up close and personal with the guy who might have abducted Kallie. 

One of the things that is setting season three apart from seasons one and two of ‘The Killing’ is the way that the show is honing in on a major suspect and not letting him go so easily. Where a suspect would be introduced at the end of one episode in the first couple of seasons and revealed to be an innocent red herring in the next, this season seems to be sticking with Joe Mills pretty hard. The evidence against him isn’t circumstantial: his mother (the always awesome Grace Zabriskie, back for more) owns the motel in which the kiddie sex tapes were filmed, it’s his voice on the tapes, and, as we discover at episode’s end, he has Kallie’s cell phone — he also probably made a call to Kallie’s mom (who happens to be his girlfriend) to try and throw her off, or perhaps to psychologically torture her. It’s not clear how sophisticated this pervy dude is just yet.

And still, Mills might not be Kallie’s killer, but he did disappear in the middle of the night at the same time a young woman was being chased out onto a road and hit by a car. “Scared and Running” strings us along a bit, letting us believe that the girl who was hit by the car was Kallie, who somehow managed to escape her captor, bleed out by the river for a bit, and make her way to a veterinary clinic with the assistance of an anonymous rescuer for a bit of impromptu surgical help. But it’s not Kallie, of course, because ‘The Killing’ isn’t ready to relieve us just yet.

Much of this week’s episode focuses on the inevitability of death and the way we must all come to terms with it. For Ray Seward, there’s no difference between a death sentence and a life sentence — one just gets you to the finish line quicker. I enjoyed most of Seward’s scenes this week, particularly his discussion with his death row buddy about the possibility of meeting with his victim’s family and the revelation that he killed his own parents over some cash. His siblings have forgiven him, but is there any forgiveness for Seward? If he is indeed innocent, as the show so desperately needs us to believe, then the only person who can give Seward absolution is Seward himself — and what a murky kind of guilt he’s dealing with, being incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit and laughing off his son’s foster mother when she tries in vain to get him to see his child before he’s executed. Is he a monster, or is this the facade he thinks he deserves to hide behind?

For Bullet, there’s only acceptance that Kallie is likely dead. One of the serial killer’s victims escaped, but that hardly lends a glimmer of hope. Whether it was chosen for them or by them, this is the life for street kids like Bullet and Kallie and Lyric. The truth is that just like a teenager who moves away from home to live on her own for the first time, these girls are just little girls playing house — they’re playing at being something they aren’t when they act tough and sell their bodies for cash.

Linden’s struggles this week are less about mortality and more about her own capabilities as a mother. When she confronts Kallie’s mom yet again, the gloves come off, with Linden telling Danette that she doesn’t deserve to be a mother. Linden is clearly projecting some of her own guilt onto Danette, much the same way that Ray Seward projects his guilt outwardly, refracting it through the eyes of those who judge him most. Linden and Seward’s behavioral mechanisms aren’t that much different, which is forming a nice, subtle parallel this season, though Seward’s scene with the foster mother left something to be desired with that specific thematic connection in mind.

‘The Killing’ gave us two great, startling moments tonight, and raises plenty of questions for next week: In addition to filming child pornography, is Joe Mills also a murderer, or connected to the killer somehow? More importantly, what did the surviving victim see, and where will it lead our detectives? And who is going to eat that gluten-free, vegan red velvet cupcake if Holder isn’t?

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