This is part four of the review of the fourth, and final (?), season of The Killing. There will be spoilers! We’re now past the halfway point in the season and “Dream Baby Dream” shows the foundations of the Stansbury house, Linden, and Holder are all very severely cracked. The model of the proud American family has rotted from the inside out. Holder and Linden are doing their best to look up from under the garbage at the bottom of the depths to which they’ve both sunk. As the characters become more and more unwound, a few constant threads have become very clear. In particular, both the Pied Piper and Stansbury cases are kicking up a lot of dirt with regards to motherhood and, somewhat related, dehumanization of victims. The entire structure of St. George’s, even if not the official position, is built on breaking down the cadets. The lessons, punishments and the social hierarchy are all designed to strip each boy of his humanity. I assume the intended purpose is to build them back up and turn them into good soldiers and upright citizens. The Slap-Happy-Sing-Along game quickly puts the lie to that idea. These boys aren’t being built up. They’re being given titles and ranks that, while devoid of any meaning outside of the school, become good excuses for these boys to indulge some of their worst traits with an air of authority. As an aside, what kind of school teaches classes discussing the finer points of home invasions?? Surely this was just something made up for the show, right? AJ Fielding might be the best example of what’s wrong with this kind of system. Lincoln is over the top and clearly has some very deep-seated anger issues, particularly when it comes to women But like most misogynists, he’s a scared little boy with a big mouth. There’s no doubt in my mind that Lincoln fantasizes about abuse, pain and even murder. I’m just not sure he has the intestinal fortitude to actually turn those fantasies into a reality. It’s much easier to score the shock value points. On the other hand, AJ is the living embodiment of the Stansbury house. His demeanor says that he has nothing to hide. From the outside he looks like a clean-cut, all American, model cadet. Lincoln may have relished every slap across Kyle’s face, but his enjoyment paled in comparison to AJ’s smug satisfaction and pride at having orchestrated the encounter. Ironically, Lincoln was just as much of a victim as Kyle. In that situation, Lincoln was totally robbed of any agency; he was just there to be AJ’s weapon. From AJ’s perspective, the cadets, and possibly Rayne, are merely pawns for him to do with as he pleases. At this point, I’m convinced that he killed the Stansburys, I’m just not clear on why. Unfortunately for Kyle, St. George’s is a respite from the nightmare that was his home. That sounds like a flippant remark, particularly considering Kyle’s response to his nightmare about Nadine’s death. Yet, his nightmares are merely extensions of the pain and torment he experienced at home. At St. George’s he can go to Colonel Rayne for help, at home he had nowhere to run. He was stuck, trapped in hell. Kat’s testimony and Kyle’s prior reflection at the house exposed Philip Stansbury as a harsh dictator, with a tendency towards violence and manipulation. We also knew that Linda Stansbury had a thing for young boys, particularly Lincoln. However, it turns out that she had also set her sights on Kyle. Which begs the question, was she a pedophile and okay with incest? Or, is there something more? Based on the past, it’s hard to completely rule out the latter. However, I think it’s more likely that she attempted to seduce Kyle because he’s not her son. I previously noted that I’m convinced that Philip and Rayne were having an affair. It seems extremely plausible that not all of the three children were products of Philip and Linda. Could that explain why Phoebe was so willing to act out? Was she following her mother’s hypersexual lead or was she desperately in search of acceptance as well? We know Kyle felt, and was treated, like he was an outsider. Is there more to learn about the other children? The glass house continues to hide more disturbing secrets, I’m curious (and slightly concerned) about what else has yet to come to light. The most recent revelation with regards to Linda brings us around to the other, more prominent, thread: motherhood. In hindsight, I feel like motherhood has been a driving theme for this entire season. It just became particularly obvious during this episode. At various time it was as subtle as being hit by a hammer, particularly: Linden continues to miss out on major parts of Jack’s life by being more invested in the dead than the living. Jack came home with enough emotional baggage to warrant his reaching out to Linden’s mother (!!!!). Lincoln’s mother being absolutely clueless and willfully ignorant to the reality of her son’s situation and the role she played. Linda Stansbury behaved more like a school-girl than a mother. She committed statutory rape of young boys, attempted to sexually molest her son, goodness knows what additional damage she inflicted on Phoebe and Nadine. Colonel Rayne being the sole advocate for the young boys in her charge. At times she seems to treat them more like her own children than students at a military academy, particularly Kyle. Initially, everything about Rayne seemed off. However, her role makes a lot more sense when viewed through the lens of the types of mothers represented by Linda Stansbury and Anna Knopf. We finally see her break this episode during a confrontation with Holder. But that break maintained a degree of composure. Unlike Anna Knopf, she didn’t snap at Holder because she took offense at his tone. Nor did she snap because she had reached a breaking point. Rayne thinks of these boys as her own sons and, to that end, Holder posed a threat to her family. She didn’t break while trying to maintain cover, she was more like a lioness protecting her cubs, and Holder had taken exactly one step too far. She does seem to have a particular interest in Kyle, but this isn’t implausible when you consider his mental state, physical health, and the likelihood of an affair with Philip. It’s very likely that he feels more like her son because of a relationship she had with his father. Unfortunately, I fear that her attempts at protection might actually lead to Kyle’s doom. Someone (AJ?) has singled him out and is using Kyle’s mental instability to persuade him to “finish what he started.” I honestly fear that Kyle won’t be alive at the start of the next episode, let alone live through the season. Adding to an already traumatic ending, Reddick has found his way to the cabin. He’s located the bodies of the dead girls and obviously bridged the connection between Skinner and the Pied Piper. Skinner’s car rising from the lake is an ominous symbol of the discovery of the dirt Linden and Holder have figuratively been hiding. The stakes for both Holder and Linden are significantly higher after being forced to confront their parental duties. Linden realizes that she can’t keep running from her responsibility to Jack, she can’t just pawn him off on his father any more. Holder, working his way back from the gutter by way of a local church, is still trying to confront his fears with regards to his unborn child. Unfortunately, despite their efforts, their collective destiny is in Reddick’s hands. Will his concern for his own child, which initially played a part in his efforts in breaking the Pied Piper case, and his camaraderie with Holder compel him to turn a blind eye? Or, will he decide that this is the moment when he starts going by the book? Or, will we discover that he was an accomplice of Skinner’s? After all, he’s been fairly bullish on finding out about Skinner’s whereabouts. Is Reddick hiding something of his own? Suddenly, I find myself looking at everything on this show as if it was a glass house full of secrets; I have trouble believing that anything is what it seems. After four episodes, here’s where we stand with our suspect list, note that my money rests strongly on AJ: Kyle Stansbury – The kid is a mess, but not a killer. Again, I offer up his feelings towards Nadine as proof. His nightmare about her nearly broke what little sanity he has left. I can’t wrap my mind around the cognitive dissonance necessary to have murdered someone you want to protect. Emmett Deschler – Off the radar, he’s a perv but not a suspect. Hopefully he’s in jail. Katrina “Kat” Nelson – She’s off the radar as well after having exposed Phillip Stansbury and moved Rayne to act. She was a very well-placed plot device to shine more light into the trainwreck that is the Stansbury household. Colonel Margaret Rayne – She’s an advocate for all of the boys and, in cases like Lincoln, she might be the only Juxtaposed against Linda Stansbury and Anna Knopf, Margaret Rayne is a contender for Mother of the Year. I’m still not entirely clear what lead to her decision to become Superintendent, but she has embraced the role with vigor. It now seems possible that she would have killed the Stansburys as an act of revenge on Kyle’s behalf. I’m not convinced she’s that unhinged, but an affair with Philip would complicate things and possibly push her over her limits. Lincoln Knopf – Lincoln has serious His mother is absolutely clueless. However, he’s a follower. I’m not convinced that most of what he does isn’t just a twisted cry for help. There’s so much bravado that it comes off as an act. That might be one of the reasons I don’t consider him a complete sociopath and the prime suspect. AJ Fielding – Everything about AJ just screams “I DID IT!” I haven’t figured out exactly what his motive would be, perhaps he was spurned by Linda? Not sure, but he just stinks of guilt The Killing 4.04 "Dream Baby Dream"4.0Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.