Thursday, August 20, 2015

Dial 1-900-Redemption

"Now I don't even want to build on the layers
There's no need to complicate asimple thing."

It's a rainy afternoon and I have a rare gift of unscheduled time because we just got back last night from 5 days in the Poconos, so I have no auctions ending or invoices to send or beads to ship.

Before we left, I cleaned beads, strung sets together and took photos, so I was ready to go this morning. I posted 9 brand new listings that will run until tomorrow, so tomorrow I will be fully back in my work routine.

Today I'm just half back. I made beads this morning, but I stuck to basics mostly, giving my muscle memory a chance to ease back into gear. I had some trouble keeping my pair sizes consistent, but I'm hoping they're close enough to go up on the block.

Before we left for the trip, I finished Season 4 of The Killing on Netflix. I enjoyed the series very much and had to resist the desire to binge watch it. I love it when I look forward to my hour on the treadmill so I can see another episode. I love it when I'm so absorbed, the hour passes without me even looking at the clock. I love it when I'm enjoying a show so much I don't want the episode to be over.

The ending of the series completely slayed me. The Killing, produced by Fox Television Studios and Fuse Entertainment, started out on AMC for two seasons. It was cancelled but picked up for a third season after Fox Television Studios partnered with Netflix to produce it. AMC cancelled it again after Season 3, but Netflix revived it for a fourth and final half season. Being commercial free, the Season 4 episodes were longer so it was more like 3/4 of a season.

I'm not sure why, but I absolutely fell in love with the ending epilogue. I knew what was coming because I ignored the spoiler alerts when I was reading about the series. I suppose I should insert a spoiler alert here now, because (eventually) I'm going to talk about the epilogue.

Spoiler Alert. There, done.

For my thoughts to make any sense, I'll recap the storylines. Seasons 1 and 2 follow the investigation of the death of teenager Rosie Larsen. Sarah Linden picks up the case on her last day of work for the Seattle PD. She's moving to California, getting married, ready to leave the trauma of homicide detecting behind her. At least that was the plan. Instead she partners up with her replacement, Stephen Holder, a former narcotics cop and recovering meth addict.

Linden is haunted by one of her prior cases, one which left her suffering a mental breakdown in part because she was never fully convinced the convicted killer was the guilty party. When she is assigned to the Larson case, she finds that she can't just walk away. Maybe that's because she feels that getting this one right will redeem her from ignoring her instincts on the case that sent her to the psychiatric ward.

Each episode of the first season represents one day of the murder investigation, and the viewing audience and critics were not amused when Season 1 left the case unresolved. With many sub-plots and red herrings, it takes the entire Season 2 to bring the culprit to light (and to suicide by cop).

Of course, it didn't bother me, since I didn't have to wait over a summer hiatus, nor did I have to wait a week or two between episodes. All the story lines held my interest, but what was most compelling was the acting by Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman. Both of the characters, and the interactions between them, fascinated me.

Although in hypothetical real time, the case lasts all of 26 days, Linden's fiance (who it turns out was her doctor in the psych ward) quickly becomes so frustrated that she can't or won't walk away from the case that he walks away from her. And when the case ends, and the call comes in that there is a new case, Sarah walks away from the SPD.

Season 3 may be my favorite season, although it takes all the stories from all the seasons to make it so. Holder gets a new case that has some parallels to the original case that sent Linden over the edge. At the same time, the convicted killer in that case has his execution date set. Linden returns to detective duty on a temporary basis, to work with Holder on the investigation of the serial murders of underage street kids. At the same time she is revisiting the original case, looking for the common thread and for evidence that one and the same person is guilty in both cases.

Time runs out, the prisoner goes to the gallows. He says it himself, he is not a good person, whether guilty of the particular crime he dies for or not. I need to mention that in the meantime Linden has renewed a romantic relationship with her boss, the man who was her partner in the original case, yep, the person who convinced her, against her better judgment, that they were hanging the right man.

Another spoiler alert. OK.

In the last episode of Season 3, Linden deduces that her lover -former-partner-boss has been killing young girls, is indeed the serial murderer, and also is the perp who committed the original crime. Season 3 ends with Linden executing him (after he goads her beyond endurance) with her service weapon while Holder says no, no, no.

It would have been a crime to leave us hanging there.

Season 4 picks up the story without a pause. Linden and Holder have chosen to cover up Linden's vigilante justice. The boss and his car have been rolled into the lake, where 10 of his victims also happen to lie. Linden and Holder take on a new case, the murder of the family of a military school cadet, but the real story of Season 4 is how Linden and Holder begin to lose the plot. Turn about, they fall apart and shore each other up, only to fall apart again. Evidence and suspicion mount. Linden cracks in the end. They solve the family murder, but Linden becomes convinced that Holder is going to betray her. She turns herself in.

But the machine does not want to hear her confession. I mean, how would it look if the public learned that a high ranking police detective was a maniacal serial killer. So Linden walks, leaving behind her smokes and her badge. And Holder.

And now I can talk about the epilogue. It is five years later. Holder has a darling little girl and a job as a narcotics counelor. He walks outside during a break and there is Linden.

I have literally watched this scene a half dozen times, maybe more. I've practically memorized the dialog. They make small talk, then Holder asks Linden why she's there, really. It's clear that what she wants to say is hard for her, she is taking a huge risk.
I never had a real house to grow up in, you know, a home. I never belonged anywhere and all my life I was looking for that ... thing. You know, thinking that it was out there somewhere and all I had to do was find it. But I think, maybe, that home was us. It was you and me together in that stupid car, riding around and smoking cigarettes. I think that was everything.
And then she says what I think she really has come to say, although why it took her five years I'm not sure.
I’m sorry. I should have known that you were the one person who always stays. You were my best friend.
And for Holder, it is simple.
Why don’t you stay? Stay.
Lindn's not quite prepared for it though. She demurs.
I think that this city is the city of the dead for me.
Holder tries again.
That's a matter of perception, isn't it? Close your eyes. Maybe you will see what’s really there. Standing right in front of you. It ain’t ghosts, Linden. It ain’t the dead.

But she isn't there yet. So they embrace and say goodbye. Linden drives around the city, to a soundtrack of Peace of Mind by The Jezebels. In her eyes you see her struggle between fear and hope.

Hope wins.

There is no more dialog. Holder locks up shop for the day. Linden is waiting in her car. She gets out, Holden approaches her, she smiles, first tentatively, then more confidently, and the scene fades to black.

And I cry.

I've watched a lot of shows, crime drama especially, a steady diet over the past few years. There's often a love interest, a romantic pairing. This was different somehow. A lot of viewers and critics found the ending contrived, unrealistic, out of character for the characters and just bad writing. There was little suggestion of attraction between Linden and Holder during the series. There is one scene where Holder leans in but Linden hastily pulls away. But I wouldn't say there was no chemistry.

What I would say is that these were two characters with boatloads of baggage apiece (Linden raised in foster care, Holder by his sister). And while five years is a long time for Linden to have been on the road figuring out where home was, both had a lot of healing still to do. Linden had to come to terms with the horrific discovery that her once and again lover was a very sick killer of many, many young girls, and that, wrongly or rightly, she killed him for it. Holder had a meth relapse, a pregnant girlfriend and a profound concern about fucking up fatherhood to overcome. None of that happens overnight.

As I've said before, I love stories of redemption. I want to believe that Linden and Holder could make some sort of future together, as friends or as lovers, and that they will be fine, that there are better days ahead. I need to believe that.

It's time to put this one to bed though. I've already watched the entire Season 1 of Broadchurch, with Season 2 cued up to start tomorrow. I need to let go of Linden and Holder. One day I will revisit them, maybe a couple of years from now I'll watch the series again. I like doing that, knowing generally where things are going, but having forgotten enough of the nuances to make it interesting, even gripping again.

But for now, vacation is over, mandrels are dipped, I have a request for beads in Halloween colors. So I know what I'm doing tomorrow.

"And though I never learned to play I won't forget
The secrets of the game are all but dead

The coin turns to reveal both its heads
There's still a deal I won't forget

Now I don't even want to build on the layers
There's no need to complicate a simple thing

Hey there, baby, we'll be fine
I'll always want your peace of mind
I'll always look forward to better days ahead

Oh, hey there baby, we'll be fine
I'll always want your peace of mind
I'll always look forward to better days ahead."

(The Jezebels: Hayley Mcglone, Nik Kaloper, Heather Shannon, Samuel Lockwood)

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