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'The Killing' finale

Posted by Matthew Gilbert  June 20, 2011 05:44 AM

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Really, "The Killing"? REALLY?

Obviously, SPOILER ALERT: don't read any further if you haven't seen last night's season finale. You should have the opportunity to watch the disappointing ending, rather than just read about it here.

I have been a solid defender of "The Killing," despite it's flaws. But the finale was almost indefensible. Not because the writers are making us wonder if Holder is a bad guy; that seems like fair play in a show that is about rushing to judgment, which both Stan and Belko (and the detectives) have done. I don't think Holder, the show's best character (played by Joel Kinnaman) is in fact a bad guy. There will be some kind of explanation for the last moments of the finale, when he got in a car with a mysterious accomplice after framing Richmond with false evidence. Remember, we've misjudged him -- and so has Linden -- before, when it looked like he was abusing drugs.

Maybe Holder is still working undercover, and he is still gathering evidence in an even bigger case about his mysterious accomplice? Leaving Holder's allegiance ambiguous doesn't strike me as a bad way to get us back to the AMC show next season. With his scrappy, messy, hip-hop stylings, and his endearing bonding with Linden, he has been the breakout character. I want to know what's up with him enough to return next year.

BUT, we really should know who killed Rosie. There should be no ambiguity around that issue. That was part of the deal we made with the show, when we stuck with it across 13 episodes, some of them a little twistier and emptier than necessary. We believed that at least this one case about Rosie Larsen would be solved. And we were robbed. I'm still not sure that Richmond wasn't the killer; Holder may have doctored evidence, but if he's undercover, he may have done it for other reasons than framing an innocent man.

I will be very interested in seeing whether viewers return next season or not. Do you feel burned? Satisfied? 


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