This review contains spoilers.
Episodes 3.7 & 3.8
There were so many red herrings dangled at the viewers over the course of this weeks episodes of The Killing III that the direction we were looking in at nine pm had almost gone a whole one-eighty by the time the bass rumbled on that eerie closing music at eleven. And yet there was also a feeling that these episodes were the calm before the storm of next week’s grand finale.
Things were looking grim for Detective Inspector Sarah Lund and special branch operative (and new bedroom buddy), Mathias Borch as episode seven began: locked in the warehouse where thirteen-year-old Louise Jelby was held by Emilie Zeuthen’s kidnapper, which was rapidly beginning to fill with exhaust fumes. If they want out, all they need to do is hand over a notebook containing incriminating licence plates from the time when Louise disappeared.
Borch decided the best course of action would be to climb out of a window with the notebook, making as much noise as possible. The move sort of played into the kidnapper’s hands, something Borch soon realised this when he was whacked over the head with a log. Sarah Lund, with a bit more wit about her, decided to seemingly swim out (she emerges from somewhere with that lovely jumper dripping wet) and wastes no time in putting a bullet in their captor. Moments later though he pulls a Michael Myers on Lund and Borch, when he is gone with notebook leaving only a few splatters of blood behind.
I’ve noted before the horror movie leanings that this series of The Killing is playing up and our perp seems to be following the rules of the indestructible slasher movie killer. Shooting him at point blank range seemingly doesn’t work, and later on in this episode he has the guts to phone Sarah Lund from right outside her house. It’s another confirmation that we’re dealing with a motivated, confident and deadly adversary. After he stayed quiet in episode six there is plenty of good interaction with the kidnapper this time which leads to our perception of him shifting somewhat.
Lund is getting the impression that if she can solve the older case of Louise Jelby’s murder then our perp will release Emilie Zeuthen (it’s been confirmed that she wasn’t shot in episode five). Gradually throughout episode seven we begin to see that he might not actually be the villain of The Killing III after all. Yes, he’s done some terrible things but he may yet become Lund’s greatest ally in her quest to find Emilie, and that there could be far worse people surrounding this case.
If anyone is looking increasingly like the guilty party and they’ve got something to hide then it’s those politicians over at Parliament as they get the brunt of Lund’s suspicion after cars belonging to both electoral candidate Ussing and Prime Minister Kristian Kamper turn up in the notebook after the perp leaves a copy outside Lund’s house. Ussing is the main focus this episode following his meeting with Schultz, the now-dead prosecutor in the Lousie Jelby case. However, by the time the credits role, it’s the PM who is looking distinctly shady. Olaf Johannessen plays Kamper with a deadly edge in this episode, revealing a callous nature. He ceremoniously fires his finance minister for failing to support him when Emilie Zeuthen was thought dead by telling her to keep her peace-offering of a fine bottle of Port to “comfort herself”. If that seemed cold but understandable, he then tells his lover Lebach, and leader of the centre party, that he no longer has any need for her, professionally or personally. All this primes us for the episode’s cliffhanger where it’s revealed that his campaign car could be connected to Louise’s disappearance.
Meanwhile Robert Zeuthen has been pushed over the edge. Galvanised by the fact that his daughter may still be alive, he’s offering rewards over the television and pouring Zeeland’s monies into finding her. It occurs that someone could be out to sabotage Zeeland by forcing Zeuthen into this situation. There’s also the reveal of how Emilie knew her abductor with the discovery of a mystery ipad that she was given. In a moment that echoes that of the videotape found of Nanna Birk Larsen in series one, the Zeuthens watch a recording of Emilie talking to her kidnapper online. It’s another one of those heart wrenching family orientated moments that Søren Sveistrup writes so well.
After seeming to let her guard down over the last couple of episodes with Borch and pregnant Eva, Sarah Lund is back in ‘don’t trust anyone’ mode. Furious with Borch for keeping information from her, their working relationship is heading downhill fast. Lund is openly hostile to almost everyone she comes across this episode. Eva is still lodging with her and is met with a rather rude greeting when Lund returns from Jutland, rather unappreciative for the pumpkin soup she’s made and the baby scan pinned to the fridge. Eva is only one who manages to the thaw Lund slightly. A very interesting and rare moment of Lund opening up reveals that she didn’t love her son’s father but did the guy who came before him that she let get away. We assume that she is talking about Mathias Borch here but she never mentions him by name in the exchange. It could be that Borch was the one she didn’t love.
Speaking of her illicit liaison with her co-worker in the last episode, Lund receives a visit from Mrs Borch. She wants some answers as to why her husband is now sleeping on the couch. In typical Lund fashion, she goes into complete shutdown when faced with something like this. It’s another sign of her emotional descent we’ve been seeing since episode one.
Episode seven was a solid and well balanced instalment that filled in a lot of puzzle pieces and yet had a more relaxed pace. There was a lot going on but it wasn’t as crazy as earlier episodes this series. It concluded with that Killing staple of heading down a dark staircase, flashlights in hand as Lund, Borch and Asbjørn Juncker heading into the kidnapper’s hideout.
And then The Killing does something rather out of character with episode eight – it introduces us to the perpetrator. While Lund, Borch and Juncker are going through his belongings, our kidnapper has decided he can’t wait for them any longer and is conducting an investigation of his own at Parliament. Once again, he is one step ahead of the Police when he retrieves a server hard disk which will contain information of the cars in the notebook.
We see a lot of the man behind this crime, who it’s now thought is almost certainly Louise Jelby’s biological father, but we know how far an almost in The Killing can be. In a move which evokes memories of the martyr type persona that Kevin Spacey took on in Seven, our kidnapper actually turns up to see Robert Zeuthen claiming to be responding to the televisual appeal for information on Emilie. Naturally, it’s down to Lund to realise that this man has way more information than anyone could know and by that time it’s too late, a trail of blood all that remains of his presence. Seems that Lund’s bullet is causing our guy some discomfort.
Previous series of The Killing have only revealed the perpetrator at the end of the penultimate episode at the earliest so to bring him out in broad daylight so early is an interesting move. It’s setting the stage for this all to be bigger than the plotting of just one man and reaffirming the idea that he may be more of an ally to Sarah Lund at this time.
There are big twists aplenty throughout episode eight; it is the very definition of a game-changer. Over at Parliament it seems that no one can be trusted. The focus that had been heaped upon Kristian Kamper at the end of the previous episode is now shifted towards his deceased son and brother Kristoffer. Turns out that Kamper’s son was the one who took the car that was listed in the notebook after getting angry because his father’s aide Karen was in talks with Zeeland, a company he held in disdain. Having done “something his father will never forgive him for”, Stoffer covered the son’s tracks. What that something is, we don’t yet know…..and it might all be immaterial anyway as the cars GPS data proves it didn’t go near where Louise Jelby disappeared.
It’s a maddeningly fast turn of events in the political subplot of The Killing and ones which leave us wondering if they actually have anything to do with what is going on or if it’s all a case of happy coincidences that these cars all happened to be in the same place, at the same time. Particularly as that notebook turns up another twist by throwing another car into the mix…, this one belonging to Robert Zeuthen’s Zeeland corporation.
I’d previously wondered if this was all about the Zeuthens or not, but whether it was at the time, it certainly appears to be now. The Zeeland Children’s Trust comes to light in episode eight and it seems that Louise Jelby was a member and was known to Zeuthen’s right hand man, Rheinhardt. Episode eight concludes with what seems to be our kidnapper working this out too as Sarah Lund finds herself in another darkened building with Rheinhardt, a now possible murderer and Emilie Zeuthen’s deadly kidnapper. She really does know how to get herself into these situations!
Lund herself is in a warmer mood than in episode seven. She seems to be acting more civilly towards Borch. I can’t really see this ending in a happy ever after for the Lund character but Sofie Gråbøl has the talent of playing Lund as so helpless at times, especially emotional moments, that I really want to see her get a resolution at the end of this run. Pregnant Eva has moved in with a friend and it seems like Lund actually misses her when she discovers her note. Being trapped in a house with two potential mad men at the episode’s end might only be the start of Sarah Lund’s problems though as Eva goes into premature labour and Lund seems to be her emergency contact.
This is another very good and solid episode of The Killing III. That calm before the storm seems to disappear at the end of this one and we are approaching the end game. The reveal of Rheinhardt’s association with Louise Jelby could be the series’ big twist but I wouldn’t put money on it. In the space of these two episodes, The Killing III pulled so many rugs from under our feet that you have to believe that there could be more to come.
The end is now in sight for Sarah Lund and it’s hard to believe she will soon be gone for good.
Read James’ review of the previous episodes, here.
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