Thursday, August 1, 2013

‘The Killing’ ends surprise third season Sunday

Most fans thought AMC’s ‘The Killing’ was dead after the second season finale.

When it was revived – after an official cancellation – months later, everyone (myself included) was surprised.

On Sunday, ‘The Killing’ will finish its third season with a two-hour finale that could be a series finale or a season finale. We’ll have to wait and see how things go.

‘The Killing’ was never a ratings bonanza for AMC. It did have a strong debut the first season, but the dark and atmospheric show never generated any buzz that didn’t revolve around fans turning on show creator Veena Sud.

While show runners never stated that you would find out who the murderer was in the first season finale, the ads clearly did say that. When nothing was revealed, fans took to the internet to complain. Instead of apologizing – or even trying to placate fans – Sud essentially told them to get over it.
That’s where the true problems for ‘The Killing’ began.

When the second season premiered, ratings were down  (from their modest highs, as it was).
Creatively, the show was also floating aimlessly through twists and turns that fans were now essentially sick of. By the time the killer was revealed, a lot of fans had already given up on the show. Those that hadn’t kind of wished they had because the ending was so terrible.

When AMC announced the cancellation of the show, no one was surprised.

When ‘The Killing’ returned this summer, I tuned in out of boredom more than anything else. There's not a lot of summer shows that I like (although, they do all happen to be on Sundays, except for 'Wilfred' and 'Suits,' for some reason).

I loved the first season of the show, but I was really disappointed with the second season. Since there wasn’t a lot to watch – I saw no reason not to give ‘The Killing’ a second chance.

This go-around, the show runners listened to fans and made the season a self-contained arc (which is what they should have done from the beginning).

Peter Sarsgaard was also added as the charismatic death row inmate that was about to be executed for
the murder of his wife – a crime that was looking like it had been committed by someone else.

Sarsgaard sizzled as the unlikeable Ray Seward – a man struggling with his own terrible decisions while still being massively unlikeable. In less capable hands, Seward could have become a caricature. Instead, when Ray was put to death last week fans actually felt for the character – despite the terrible things he’s done.

The serial killer story at the center of this season was anchored by two powerful performances by Mireille Enos as the ever moody Sarah Linden and Joel Kinnamon as the charismatic – and haunted – Stephen Holder.

I was actually moved to tears by Kinnamon’s anguished performance as his Holder realized that the homeless girl (RIP Bullet) he had turned on a few hours ago was the latest victim of the show’s serial killer.

I’m actually looking forward to Sunday’s finale – because I’m not sure what we’re going to find out. I’m not positive that the man they have in custody is actually guilty (of being the serial killer, that is, he’s definitely a pedophile jerk).

We still don’t know what happened to Callie – and there’s obviously going to be some revelation about one of the cops involved in this season. I’m not sure which one, though, yet.

While I was ready to dump ‘The Killing’ after its subpar second season, I currently find myself hoping that the underrated gem gets a fourth season next summer. Unfortunately, the most recent episode only mustered a 1.471 rating – and that might not be enough to garner it a renewal.

On the flip side, AMC is losing some long-running shows right now – so there is a shot.

What do you think? Do you think ‘The Killing’ deserves a fourth season?


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