In the modern TV landscape, it seems almost commonplace to do a standalone episode every season. An episode that doesn’t necessarily drive the plot forward, but instead slows things down and hopefully allows for much-needed character development. As with any narrative digression, this can produce both positive and negative outcomes. On the negative side, a show like The Walking Dead all too often uses “bottle episodes” that are plodding and basically pointless. Whereas, the Breaking Bad episode “Fly” is frequently regarded by critics to be one of the finest in its history. Thankfully, whilst it’s a quieter and more character-driven entry in the show, Episode 11 of The Killing is not a bottle episode, as it uses many interior sets and exterior locations, despite it almost solely focussing on Linden and Holder. For the sake of continuity, I’ll still split this article into the three usual sections, but obviously, they will mostly feature the freshly developed backstories and the ever-growing relationship between our two detectives.
The episode opens with Linden already at the Wapi Eagle Casino. She spots the casino logo, then finds the manager, Nicole Jackson (Claudia Ferri). Jackson doesn’t know why Rosie would’ve visited the casino, as she doesn’t allow minors on the premises. Head of Security, Roberta Drays (Patti Kim), claims she didn’t see Rosie on the floor on Friday, which alarms Linden because she never mentioned the day at any point during the conversation. Linden wants to talk to all the employees and asks for security footage, but is told the tapes are erased every 24 hours. After more questions and subtle threats, Linden is escorted off the property, as she’s without a warrant and the casino sits on Indian land, which means it’s not under city, state or county jurisdiction. Linden calls A.D.A. Bernstein and asks for a warrant to search all the camera footage recorded on the ATM machines throughout the casino. Holder arrives at the casino, and Linden updates him with the news.
Linden is sure that the casino had something to do with Rosie’s death, but Holder remains unconvinced. Holder calls his sister to tell her he’ll be late for an event at his nephew’s school. Linden gets a call from Jack’s school, who claims that he hasn’t turned up for the past three days. Linden and Holder go to the motel where she’s currently staying, but apart from his mobile phone, there is no sign of Jack. Linden calls Regi, in the hope that Jack is with her. Holder tells Linden about his troubled relationship with his mom and says his sister, Liz, is the one responsible for his upbringing. Jack’s phone is password protected, which concerns Linden, despite Holder’s assurance that he’s fine. After arriving at the marina, Linden is told that Regi left earlier in the morning to go to the San Juan Islands. Linden gets a call from the mother of one of Jack’s friends, and she tells Linden about “The Tunnel,” which is apparently a place where Jack and his friends hang out by the waterfront.
Upon their arrival at The Tunnel, Linden and Holder discuss their past including Holder’s misguided youth. A bunch of kids eventually show up and verbally abuse Linden, who snaps and grabs one by his jacket. Holder believes Regi to be Linden’s mom, but she reveals to Holder that Regi is, in fact, her social worker, whom she has known her whole life. Linden and Holder walk around town, trying to find anyone who may have seen Jack. At a fast food restaurant, Linden and Holder discuss their life philosophies. Holder discloses his past addiction to meth, the result of working undercover; Linden tells Holder about her last case, which causes her grief as it resulted in a child being put into the system. Outside, Holder manages to guess Jack’s phone password, and Linden finds three messages from someone asking to meet with Jack. After mulling over their options, including putting an A.P.B. out on Jack, Linden and Holder return to the motel.
Again, Holder calls his sister and apologises for missing the parade. Linden appreciates Holder’s company, and they continue to look for Jack, whilst revealing more personal details about their childhoods, including Linden’s many foster homes and absent mother since the age of 5. After a brief argument, Linden and Holder drive to a playground for which Linden has fond memories of playing with Jack. Linden and Holder receive a message about the body of an unidentified male that matches Jack’s description. Upon their arrival at the scene, Linden breaks down, though fortunately for her the body is identified as someone else. They drive back to the motel, and Jack is there waiting outside the room, oblivious to the pain he has caused Linden. Holder tells Linden to “Kick his ass” and we see Linden and Jack emotionally embrace. In his car, Holder gets the news that they’ve got a warrant and the ATM footage is on its way. Instead of telling Linden, he leaves her with Jack. Jack tells Linden that he spent the day with his father. Back at the station, Holder watches the ATM footage and spots Rosie withdrawing money at the casino at 12:37 a.m.
Episode 11 is one of my favourite episodes of The Killing. What it lacks in the plot of the murder investigation, it more than makes up for with the brilliant character-centric development of Linden and Holder’s relationship. Despite not featuring the Richmond campaign, the Larsen family, Belko and all other previous suspects, the episode is bookended by the Rosie Larsen investigation and its potential connection to the Wapi Eagle Casino. Upon Linden’s arrival at the casino, Roberta Drays tells her, “I was runnin’ the floor, and I didn’t see her…I was on the floor all Friday night.” This statement takes Linden by surprise as she never mentioned the day, questioning, “Did I say that Rosie Larsen was here on Friday?” Then later, after Holder’s arrival, Linden theorises how the Wapi Eagle Casino may have played a part in Rosie’s death when she tells him, “Rosie took the last boat in Friday night. 11:45 ferry…We didn’t find the burner phone or the backpack on the body, right? We know that she came here. She had that keychain with the bird emblem, right? It’s got something to do with this place.”
And, of course, the episode does end with the confirmation that Rosie was at the casino on Friday night, which hopefully means we’ll get to learn more about the Wapi Eagle in the next episode. Should Nicole Jackson and Roberta Drays be considered suspects? I mean, we know Rosie was there on Friday night, which means they’re either lying about not seeing her or perhaps Rosie managed to pass by without being seen. The investigation isn’t helped by the fact that the casino sits on Indian land, which could prove a stumbling block for Linden and Holder. Something tells me this investigation isn’t going to get any easier.
What Year Is This?
One might have expected to learn more about the Wapi Eagle Casino after the last episode, but at least we have evidence that Rosie was there. So, what was she doing there? Like Twin Peaks, will we learn that she was briefly a prostitute like Laura Palmer? Or could Rosie have been taken captive—like Audrey Horne was at One Eyed Jacks—before being killed later that evening? Fingers crossed Episode 12 provides some results.
The next article in “The Autopsy of The Killing” will focus on the 12th episode of The Killing, written by Jeremy Doner & Soo Hugh, and directed by Keith Gordon, respectively. And, if you’re enjoying this series, I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below, and/or give me a follow on Twitter (@JonSheasby), and we’ll continue the conversation over there.