January 14, 2012 at 7:56 pm #236612
Season 2 of AMC’s Emmy Award-nominated will premiere on April 1, 2012 with a two hour episode beginning at 8:00 PM. It will return to its regular time, 9:00 PM, on April 8.March 23, 2012 at 5:51 pm #236614
Delighted to see this very positive Variety review.
As someone who liked the first season and loved the finale, I am really looking forward to this.
While the two-hour premiere continues sprinkling clues like a Northwest drizzle, garnished with red herrings, one suspects enough people were drawn in by the show’s plodding pace — and still want to know who killed Rosie Larsen — to prevent a wholesale exodus or lingering repercussions.
By Brian Lowry
Mireille Enos stars in the original AMC series ‘The Killing.’
Amid the indignation triggered by “The Killing’s” first-season finale, many fans and critics accused the producers of emulating Charlie Brown’s Lucy and snatching away the football — promising closure and instead delivering more mystery. The question now is whether having come this far, the complainers will be willing to go a little further. While the two-hour premiere continues sprinkling clues like a Northwest drizzle, garnished with red herrings, one suspects enough people were drawn in by the show’s plodding pace — and still want to know who killed Rosie Larsen — to prevent a wholesale exodus or lingering repercussions.
Shrewdly, season two picks up almost exactly where the first left off, with detective Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) realizing she’s been potentially snookered by her partner Holder (the wonderfully off-kilter Joel Kinnaman), prompting her arrest of a councilman (Billy Campbell) in the midst of a mayoral race. But the congressman has been shot by a family friend (Brendan Sexton III) of the murdered girl, again leaving the show to pursue three parallel, often overlapping tracks: The cops, the campaign and the grieving family.
The second season also yields additional hints of a larger apparatus at work, though one winces at the notion of the show — which captured viewers in part by daring, in an age of rapid-fire procedurals, to chronicle the drudgery of police work — unearthing some vast, sweeping conspiracy. As it is, there’s a pretty constant presence of a braying press in these initial hours, which doubtless had to be somewhat cathartic for showrunner Veena Sud after the drubbing she received from some critics.
Stripped of such peripheral concerns, though, “The Killing” remains compelling, and the writers (led by Sud, adapting the show from a Danish series) are adept at overcoming the stodgy pace by dangling tantalizing clues near each hour’s end, creating a strong pull to see what transpires next.
AMC is now promising a definitive resolution at the end of the second season, which offers plenty of time to further tease out the case, and in the bigger scheme of things, doesn’t really represent an unreasonable amount of time. (A conceptual precedent would be Steven Bochco’s “Murder One,” which initially promised to follow a single murder trial over 22 episodes.)
There’s no denying AMC handled the finale and its aftermath poorly from a public-relations standpoint, though some critical denunciations were clearly excessive, and the shrillest voices probably aren’t representative of the wider audience. If nothing else, season two ought to provide an interesting case study of that theory.
Unlike whoever murdered Rosie, “The Killing’s” crime wasn’t a capital offense. And while deferred gratification isn’t necessarily tailor-made to today’s have-it-now culture, for those with the patience required by a slow-motion copshow, there’s still gratification to be found in the show’s closely held secrets.March 23, 2012 at 7:55 pm #236615
The Hollywood Reporter review is more mindful of the fact that social media backlash regarding the first season was very high, and that many viewers might hesitate to tune in for the second season.
The Bottom Line
Although there’s still a lot of bad blood surrounding The Killing, one solid reason to keep watching is the fantastic acting. But where the show’s going, nobody knows.
Starring: Mireille Enos, Joel Kinnaman, Brad Sexton, Michelle Forbes, Billy Campbell
Executive producer: Veena Sud
By not revealing who killed Rosie Larsen in season one, this season could implode.
It’s utterly impossible to talk about the second-season premiere of AMC’s The Killing without addressing the end of the season one. And unless you’ve been under a rock, don’t follow television critics on Twitter and have steadfastly avoided pretty much any story on the series, you’re probably aware about the damning conversation at hand.
The Killing might be the poster series for social media backlash, or at least the first major dramatic series in the Twitter era to go from critical embrace to critical chokehold – all because the question, “Who killed Rosie Larsen?” wasn’t answered after 13 episodes.
Here you have a drama that scored a whopping 84 – “universal acclaim” – on Metacritic (which aggregates reviews from critics across the country and compiles ratings on a scale of 100), then suffered widespread grumbling about too many red herrings and finally an explosion of rage when the killer wasn’t revealed.
In many ways, The Killing became a cautionary tale for modern-day series creators: Don’t take us on a 13-hour trip and then not reward our devotion.
Fanning the flames was the reaction of showrunner Veena Sud, who dismissed the backlash and essentially said that any press is good press and as long as people are talking about the show, it was a good thing.
Except it wasn’t. The outrage was unrelenting, eventually turning to mocking jokes, and the implicit message was that those fans wouldn’t be coming back. Based on that, it wouldn’t be surprising if The Killing was down – possibly way down – when the ratings for the season two premiere (on April 1, fittingly) come in.
Strictly in terms of failure analysis, The Killing is a fascinating story about the new world order of making high-end, niche television series in a superconnected world with increasingly savvy viewers.
That is, it’s one thing to make a network series, with lower creative expectations, where mass appeal is the goal and falling short of that is a pretty clear indication of getting renewed or canceled. For a show like The Killing — on a small ad-supported cable channel like AMC, which is going after prestige (Mad Men, Breaking Bad) and pop-culture domination (The Walking Dead) — loyal fans and critical buzz can make relatively small ratings seem acceptable. Lose that and what’s the point?
To its credit, AMC admitted it misjudged the reaction (and probably the reaction to Sud’s reaction) and that if it had to do it over again, it would imply strongly that The Killing was a complicated journey that might not resolve itself over one season.
Yes, that might have been helpful. Except it didn’t actually happen, and theoretical woulda-shoulda pronouncements aren’t much of a salve after the fact. But what came from that was the almost unheard-of declaration by AMC that Rosie Larsen’s killer would be revealed in the final episode of season two.
Think about that for a second. Unless AMC and Sud are lying, that declaration reveals the extent of the public relations disaster of season one. Because, first and foremost, it pretty much sucks the mystery out of The Killing’s season two storytelling. In the first 12 episodes, viewers will never believe a suspect is about to be revealed or that detectives closing in on a suspect in, say, episode seven, has any real relevancy. It certainly doesn’t make that storytelling immediately essential. Secondly, it’s telling viewers that they will be rewarded with a resolved mystery after 26 hours of television.
If you see the appeal in any of this, please fire off a flare.
That said, the two-hour premiere of season two almost immediately underscores the real tragedy in betraying fans and the ensuing backlash: So many great acting performances were forgotten. Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman as Seattle Detectives Linden and Holder; Brent Sexton and Michelle Forbes as Rosie’s grieving and angry parents, Stan and Mitch Larsen; Billy Campbell as politician and prime suspect Darren Richmond; and Eric Ladin as Richmond campaign manager Jamie Wright — they all did exceptional work. Enos was nominated for an Emmy, but there was no buzz to it, and she lost. Nobody else got significant attention. It would be hard to argue that the critical slaughtering of The Killing didn’t have an effect on that.
Going into season two, the acting performances are the primary reason to tune in. Yes, some fans, having invested 13 episodes, will enlist the final 13 to find out Rosie’s killer. Why not? You’re halfway there. Others might not have minded the endless red herrings and lack of movement/resolution in season one and thus were unaffected by the backlash and will return willingly for season two. But if disappointed fans decide to come back (and the guess here is that a great bloc of them are still bitter), it will be the acting that’s the magnet.
They won’t be let down. Kinnaman reminds viewers immediately why he’s so great and his character so compelling. Enos has found a determined resolution in Linden. Everybody, in fact, comes back strong. Does the plot have a similar resurrection? Hard to tell. There’s a conspiracy afoot – but that was evident at the end of season one. There’s just no history in The Killing that would make viewers think that conspiracy wasn’t just another red herring. And two episodes are nowhere near enough for critics to tell viewers there’s been an olive branch extended or at least some faith generated by Sud and her writers. Honestly, this is a series that can’t be trusted, and to make a pronouncement on improved plotting would be foolhardy.
So it will be interesting to see if season one completely and utterly burned to the ground any goodwill The Killing had. We should know immediately if fans will come back. What else is certain is that critics will be watching – perhaps more vigilant than ever. And if The Killing trips up in any way, you will no doubt hear about it on Twitter and in the pages of magazines and newspapers and websites everywhere. Beware performing in the “small tent” of niche programming: You might get accolades and awards, but as The Killing definitively proved, engaged fans can become enraged fans with alarming speed.March 23, 2012 at 8:15 pm #236616
I for one had no issue that Rosie’s killer was not revealed by the first season. I loved that no one could be trusted, that even Holder seemed to have his own secrets, and that Rosie might have potentially been killed not because of some sociopath’s craving for blood but as a catalyst for something much bigger than anyone could imagine. In fact, having seen Twin Peaks beforehand, I was fully expecting Rosie’s murder to go unsolved until much later in the series. What I did take issue with, though, were the numerous red herrings that preceded the finale. And not just the red herrings, but the leaps in logic that were taken to get us to accept those red herrings. I had such a love-hate relationship with this show since the end of episode 2.
On one hand, I liked that Rosie’s friend slept with a young man in the Cage to gain attention, and that the attention she ended up receiving was the worst kind of attention she could’ve hoped for. On the other hand, why the heck did she borrow Rosie’s hat and wig, other than to make the handheld video mislead the cops? On one hand, I like that the teacher was wrongly accused of the murder, and the backlash that he faced was character-destroying. On the other hand, would someone have seriously refused to provide an alibi to protect a young refugee that they were hiding in a storage unit? Come on, folks. When the answer to the question “Why?” is “because we have to get the audience to come back next week” and not “because the circumstances would lead a decent human being to do A, B, and C,” we have a problem. And really, do we need the every-episode-is-a-day structure? Nope. In fact, I think the show struggled to work with that. It also became a running joke that Linden would never leave Seattle, and that, when somebody said, “see you in three days,” we knew that we had to wait three episodes to see that character again.
In retrospect, the first season of The Killing started out very good and became tedious and sloppy. I will tune into the second season to see if we get a tidier season than last year’s. But I’m also not holding my breath.March 23, 2012 at 11:54 pm #236617
I`m about halfway through the first season. I want to finish it before the second season begins. It is good, but nothing about it has been great for me. I would never compare this show to the greatness of “Twin Peaks.” “Twin Peaks” was never the same after the Laura Palmer investigation was wrapped up, but what led up to it was some truly great television. I still consider “Lonely Souls” one of the greatest episodes I have ever seen of any television series.March 24, 2012 at 12:18 am #236618
“Lonely Souls” (and the two episodes to follow it) was pretty great television, even if the numerous subplots featured in the show really fell apart in the second season. I mean, really fell apart. But when I think about Twin Peaks, one sequence that haunts me is “It’s happening again.”
I think it was around episode 6 of The Killing that I started seeing the holes in the plot, and those holes just grew in size with every episode that passed. Maybe you’ll find it more intriguing than I did. Either way, I’m giving Season 2 a chance.March 24, 2012 at 5:43 am #236619
Yeah, red herrings, plot conveniences, and personally, I found even the character development to become tedious after awhile. I found it difficult to even stick around for the whole season, and the only character I found intriguing by the end was Holder. I will not be among those back for season 2. I see the commercials for it and my reaction is, “Oh, that show. Ugh.” The only way I’ll change my mind is if by some miracle, the reviews start to say they’ve completely turned a new leaf. However, I don’t feel guilty in saying that I’ll probably continue reading here and trying to find recaps to learn who killed Rosie Larson 🙂 It’s easier than actually watching a show I just didn’t enjoy.March 24, 2012 at 7:44 am #236620
Ugh. Another 13 episodes to find out who Rosie’s killer is. Veena Sud said before that the reveal would arrive mid-season like the original series did. I guess that’s changed now. She’s also said that the finale will springboard a new murder mystery should they get a season 3 pickup. Whatever.March 24, 2012 at 10:27 am #236621
fuck this show.
i’mma still watch it tho.March 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm #236622
I was not upset by the finale, because by that point I didn’t care. The cheesy dialogue, unconvincing characterization, cliched plot twists/red-herrings and iffy acting had already killed most of the show’s potential by the time that limp closure came around.
I too still plan on watching the first couple of episodes if only to make fun of it. But it could surprise and be legitimately good. I’m always hopeful.March 24, 2012 at 10:13 pm #236623
I agree w/Brilliance immorbid. By the time the finale came, I could give two fucks about the show, even w/that random episode that tried to give the leads deminsons that should’ve happen early on in the season. When the twist came I was like “so that happen” meh. Will watch the premiere to see if it holds my interest, but could easily give this up to throw myself into something like “Game of Thrones”, which I used the season finale of that show as a potential jumpoff for watching that on a regular basis.March 25, 2012 at 6:57 am #236624
I feel a little guilty that all of those of you who share my feelings of boredom/disappointment are going to at least try to give season 2 a chance, whereas I’ve already given up. Bad me 🙂 But thanks for reminding me that I’ve got to get my HBO subscription started in time for Game of Thrones, since I’m not currently a subscriber!March 25, 2012 at 10:11 am #236625
I hate this show so much. Gonna probably watch the first few though because I like the acting.March 25, 2012 at 10:22 am #236626
I can’t bring myself to further support Sud and this crappy show. Life’s too short. And I don’t give a rat’s behind who the killer eventually turns out to be. That ship has sailed for me. I will, however, look forward to reading everyone’s comments and criticisms. Game of Thrones and Mad Men…. YES!!!
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