The Killing III episodes 3 & 4 review

The Killing III has yet to put a foot wrong. Here's James' review of episodes three and four...

This review contains spoilers.

Episodes 3.3 & 3.4

After the gut-wrenching conclusion to episode two which saw Detective Inspector Sarah Lund and partner Mathias Borch botch the cash drop with Emilie Zeuthen’s kidnapper resulting in the public execution by hanging of public prosecutor Peter Schultz, The Killing III continued at the rocket-like pace its opening episodes established. There’s clearly going to be no breathing space at all this series. 

The beginning of episode three does at least give Borch a chance to vent his long-gestating frustration at Lund, thanks to getting stuck in traffic. With nowhere to run, Borch quizzes Sarah on what exactly distracted her at the train station. He finds it rather amusing when she tells him of her realisation that grandparenthood is fast approaching. Seeing an opportunity, he has a bit of a go at her for getting cold feet on the two of them moving in together years ago. This is an indication of just how serious Lund and Borch must have been in their younger days. Lund is dismissive of the conversation which you can understand – she has just had a pretty major piece of news about her son and has seen a bloke get kicked off a building, all the while a young girl’s life hangs in the balance.  

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It’s a good scene between Sofie Gråbøl and Nikolaj Lie Kass and adds to the Lund/Borch dynamic. There is another, great, small exchange between the two back in the incident room when Lund asks Borch to get her a coffee. He returns with only one cup for himself, ignoring her outstretched hand. It’s a nice “we used to be a couple but now we’re not so get your own damn coffee” moment. 

Lund could probably use that caffeine hit too if she’s to keep up the amount of revelation concerning the case that episode three puts forward. An emphasis is placed upon the fact that this kidnapper/killer wants to claim a debt they feel owed. The death of the prosecutor and the sailor who turned up in bits on the docks links with an old case in which a thirteen year old orphan girl was found in the harbour and a verdict of suicide were delivered. It seems that the seaman was a witness in the case who had approached the prosecutor in order to change his statement. Lund pays a visit to the pathologist who performed the autopsy who confirms it was suicide. 

Lund and Borch only have limited time to ponder all this though as there is still the small matter of Emilie Zeuthen to locate. Although he doesn’t feature as much in these episodes, Asbjørn Juncker is certainly earning his keep by identifying the kidnapper’s mode of transport – a camper van. When he makes contact, it is tracked to a caravan park that specialises in providing a place of refuge to those who have lost something. In keeping with last week’s theme of hiding Emilie in places that had gone out of business, the perps habits once again lean towards using places effected by the financial crisis. There hasn’t yet been much linking with the financial crisis in the series that was said to be the focus, apart from the Zeeland company talking of moving to Asia (which is barely mentioned in this week’s instalments). It could be that the connection is going to become clearer towards the end of the series. There seems to be something there though, as everything this protagonist does appears to be by design. They’ve lost something and something big. The obvious conclusion would be that they are a parent of the girl found in the harbour but she didn’t have any and had been moved around foster homes we’re told. 

The kidnapper once again asks Lund to make a money drop in exchange for Emilie Zeuthen, this time on a motorway bridge, but Lund gets distracted when the pathologist calls her with a sudden attack of conscience that she was leaned upon by the public prosecutor to falsify the report. You can sort of see where the episode is leading at this point, and so does Lund as she races off to the morgue, abandoning the exchange. Episode three climaxes in a great creepy moment as Lund discovers the blood-drained body of the pathologist and realises she may well be in a darkened room with the killer. 

Sarah Lund is distracted and impulsive in this episode, although she is right in the end that the drop is a red herring from which she correctly concludes that this isn’t about money at all. For all her bravado when dealing with the case, Lund is timid and awkward when it comes to visiting her son in this episode. Although Mark’s girlfriend is pleased to meet her child’s grandmother, the reception from her son is icy to say the least. Sarah says almost all the wrong things to her son, a conversation about where the spare key to her home is hidden highlighting how she has never been there for him. As much fun as it is watching Sofie Gråbøl chasing through darkened corridors, it’s the moments when the character lets her guard down in this vulnerable way that you realise just how accomplished she is as an actress.

Elsewhere, the Zeuthen family are a little more background characters this episode though understandably aren’t happy that the police manage to mess up the original exchange for their daughter. When Robert Zeuthen visits the place where his daughter has been held before being moved on, he notes that her abductor has given her books featuring one of her favourite characters. Does the kidnapper know the Zeuthens well? By the end of episode four, it certainly looks that way. 

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The political stuff plays along in the background of episode three in its usual “this isn’t as interesting as everything else” type way. Prime Minister Kristian Kamper is on edge throughout, particularly as it seems his Justice Minister knows much more than he’s letting on. Does Kamper too? 

Episode four hits the ground running as Lund discovers she’s not alone in the dark and she and Borch chase their killer through badly lit corridors. A tense stand off results in the perp holding a gun to Borch’s head as Lund refuses to shoot him leading to his getaway. Borch berates Lund for not taking the shot because he was in the way. Did Sarah not do so because she still has feelings for Borch? I don’t think so. Lund hasn’t given any indication that she is fond of Borch so far, more that he’s an irritant from her past. But Lund isn’t the sort to shoot someone just to take down the killer either.  he’s not Jack Bauer and she already has one partner’s unfortunate death on her hands from series one. 

The pathologist’s confession confirms that the girl who turned up in the harbour was murdered and that someone is going to great lengths to cover it up.  And it seems that the person doing so may be linked with the Prime Minister. The political side of The Killing III finally begins to gather steam during episode four. Outside of everyone he works for seemingly being in love with him, Kristian Kamper is trying to distance himself from his Justice Minister who has been linked to helping cover up the case and informs him he’ll be let go after the election. This does beg the question, why afterwards? Could it be that the damage the Justice Minister could inflict would damage Kamper irreparably? It’s all pointing towards Kamper knowing more than he’s admitting to at the moment and the tantalising tease of a meeting with his lover’s ex-husband who definitely seems to know something may tell us more. 

The Zeuthen family come more into focus this episode than last. We know this is a personal vendetta and this episode makes it explicitly clear that Robert Zeuthen is involved. Unfortunately for Lund, everyone who might be able to shed light on proceedings seems to be turning up dead as the investigator of the original case is the latest to shuffle off after hanging himself in his cell. 

Zeuthen’s ex-wife seems to be losing her patience with him and is firmly under the impression that he’s holding something back. Is his rush into the camper van site the police have been staking out the action of a father driven by the fearless desire to find his daughter? Or someone who wants to make it to the kidnapper before anyone else?  It’s way too early for The Killing to provide us with answers to these questions but given that it’s now been established that there’s an intimate connection between the Zeuthens and Emelie’s kidnapper, you’d imagine Zeuthen has his suspicions. 

Speaking of Emelie Zeuthen, she’s proving to be quite a resourceful young lady, even in her current predicament.  Scratching her name into walls and then signalling Junckner from her hiding place by turning a light on and off, this again indicates that she knows her abductor. She isn’t terrified into total submission to him. 

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And what of Lund this episode? Well, she’s almost all business again after her encounter in the morgue. Even when Mark’s girlfriend pays her a visit at home she distracts herself in paperwork after a few minutes. Then again, she has just been told that her son is happy for the first time in ages as he’ll finally get to be part of a real family. I don’t think anyone would be putting Sarah Lund up for a mum of the year award but Eva could have been a bit more tactful. Later Lund experiences what can only be described as the world’s worst timing when the kidnapper decides to make contact at exactly the same moment Mark decides to pay her a visit. Of course, Mark doesn’t know why Lund has to take the call and as a viewer we really want him to give her the chance to explain. 

More than anything I hope that Lund does work it out with her son this season. She is trying but she’s burned so many bridges in the past, it’s going to take a major rebuilding job. It’s fascinating watching this plot for the Sarah Lund character. 

Episode four goes out with Lund and Robert Zeuthen on their way to exchange Emelie for Robert this time, as per the kidnapper’s demands. It’s hard to believe it’s going to be a straight forward handover. 

The Killing III continued with a pace of lightning fast proportions this week. Consciences were cleared, usually followed by a swift exit and the whole plot moved on a step in episode four with the involvement of Kristian Kamper. The pieces of a very complex puzzle are being rapidly assembled in a series that has yet to put a foot wrong. The traditional red herrings are being dangled at the audience and you’d be foolish to think you’ve even got a chance of working out the endgame at this stage. 

But that’s what we love about The Killing and this is becoming a series to savour. Plus, the jumper was revealed in episode three too – blue with white snowflakes around the shoulder. It’s rather fetching.

Read James’ review of the previous two-parter, here.

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