The Killing has returned for one final season, and a second resurrection, courtesy of Netflix. In usual Netflix fashion, they released all six episodes of season four at the same time. It does hamper a bit of the tension between episodes a bit, but overall the show returns in fine form. In spite of the full release, I’ll be reviewing each episode individually as if it had a regular airing schedule. There will be spoilers for each episode! This season continues to follow the same formula as the three previous. There are still primary and secondary plotlines, the former devoted to solving a murder and the latter involving interpersonal drama that is somewhat tangentially related to the murder. These plot streams weave in and out of each other as the story requires; usually overlapping when the murder investigation examines various characters’ motives. While somewhat predictable at this point, it works by evoking an investigative feel. The audience is able to follow along with Linden and Holder in (quasi) real-time. While others have criticized the show for the seemingly never-ending stream of red herrings, I feel like they are usually quite effective. The use of misdirects seemed to invite the viewer into the story. Each reveal carried a bit of weight, even those not directly tied to the murder, which create a very complex, sometimes non-linear, narrative that felt more like real life. When done well it often felt like an homage to Film Noir, elevating The Killing above the standard police procedural. However, I will admit that there were times that the device felt less compelled by the narrative and more of a mechanism to stretch the story across a set number of weeks. To that end, I’m hopeful that the shorter season means that the various suspects will help the story unfold as necessary. “Blood in the Water” picks up immediately after the cliffhanger in season three. Linden (Mireille Enos) and Holder (Joel Kinnaman) are getting their stories straight in regards to Skinner’s whereabouts, their role in his death, and the resolution to the Pied Piper case. Mireille Enos turns in another heartbreaking performance as she struggles to cope with the revelation of Skinner’s guilt, his betrayal, and his murder at her hand. However, there is no rest for the weary (nor the wicked?) as Linden and Holder are assigned to investigate the brutal slaying of the Stansbury family in their home. Kyle (Tyler Ross), the Stansbury’s troubled son, is the lone survivor. Somewhat ironically, the circumstances surrounding his survival makes him the primary suspect for his family’s murder. However, the premiere lays the groundwork for various potential suspects and motives, upon whom I expect future episodes to focus. Of particular interest is Colonel Margaret Rayne (Joan Allen), the superintendent of the Military Academy Kyle attended. Based on the previous seasons, I suspect that neither Kyle nor Colonel Rayne are the culprit but remain somehow indirectly involved in the murder of Kyle’s family. My suspicion is that things at the boarding school are not what they seem, Colonel Rayne might not be a murder but she doesn’t exactly have an air of innocence about her. At the end of this first episode I’m thinking that perhaps one of Kyle’s classmates is the perpetrator. However, I’m at a loss for motive at this point. Perhaps abuse at the hands of Rayne? Jealousy of Kyle’s family’s wealth? Maybe a plot with Kyle and a fellow student that went sideways? If I pretend to be Ray Bradbury then I can come up with ways to make any, or all, of those plausible. Suffice to say, the opening of the final season begins strong and I already find myself deeply involved in the murder of people whom I’ve never met. Both Enos and Kinnaman pick up right where they left off, in spite of both having taken a break from these characters while they spent some time hanging out with Brad Pitt [World War Z], Arnold Schwarzenegger [Sabotage] and Michael Keaton [Robocop]. They wear Linden and Holder like a second skin and step back into the bleak Seattle landscape along with Reddick [played by Gregg Henry] and Caroline [played by Jewel Staite] with ease. However, as familiar as it all feels, even if that familiarity is an omnipresent sense of discomfort, there do appear to be some visual changes, as well as a few benefits to being on Netflix. The show really seems to benefit from not having to have its scenes forced to accommodate commercial breaks. The flow feels more organic and less constrained by time limits. There’s room to breathe. The Killing is a show that enjoys taking its time, frequently letting the narrative unfold visually in lieu of long-winded exposition. The use of slow camera pans and establishing shots, as well as scenes informed entirely by visual cues, all feel like they’re enjoying an upgrade in cinematography and pacing. This season also seems to shift away from the overbearing grayscale Seattle skies. I’m hesitant to say that there is an increase in the color palette in general, but there is a significant increase in brightness than in the past. This is particularly obvious in the Stansbury home, where large glass windows allow both the moon and sun to reflect off the backdrop of gleaming white walls stained by bright red blood. In many ways watching The Killing is like watching a painter at work. Mixed among a mass of colors, a splash of paint can often be more effective than clearly defined brush strokes. Initially there are parts that seem to be completely disconnected. However, as the work unfolds the importance of each layer becomes more clear, even those that merely serve as a base coat. There is a complexity that can often be missed when looking at the final product. I’m glad The Killing has made it back for one more season. The first episode starts off in fine form, and none of the brush strokes seems wasted. I eagerly await the finished product. The Killing 4.01 "Blood in the Water"4.0Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.