So, I'm not sure these recaps will be a regular thing. A lot depends on whether AMC sends me advance screeners of the show, as I'm already re-capping "Mad Men," and I don't want to overload myself on a single night.
But I wanted to talk about this week's episode, just because I felt so strongly about the crazy season one finale , in which we learned that, not only did Richmond probably not kill Rosie, but the tollbooth photo was faked. Of course, I think we all figured that the show would quickly deconstruct the finale and show us that, no, Holder wasn't bad and, no, Richmond didn't die when Belko shot him.
But, even though both those things happened, I didn't feel this pair of episodes was a cheat. I actually liked the explanation for why Richmond left Gwen in the middle of the night and returned to her soaking wet. The first season did establish the mayoral candidate's obsession with his late wife, to the point where it made sense that he'd try to commit suicide on that bridge that was so meaningful to him. Yeah, there are still a lot of loose ends on that storyline (what about the hooker who said Richmond roughed her up? Was that just part of what we're quickly learning is a vast conspiracy?), but it did seem to give Richmond closure as a suspect.
And the Holder stuff was pretty good, mainly because Joel Kinnaman is so outstanding in that role. Though I guess it's yet another red herring that Holder turned out not to be evil, but just a pawn in a larger game. But I'm actually OK with that. My need for Holder -- the most likable character on this show by far -- to be a sympathetic character outweighs my dislike for this kind of narrative trickery. Plus, this too, made sense. Of course the powers that be view Holder as weak because of his past. They knew he'd accept the tollbooth photo with few questions, looking for a quick victory on the case. They don't count on Holder being clever enough to question why he was being told to give the backpack to a different forensic guy. It's an interesting enough turn of events for me to be interested. I'm just hoping that the don't drag out Linden's suspicions too long. I'm willing to take one or two episodes of her not allowing a conversation that would clear everything up between them. But if it goes on too long, it will just be ridiculous and frustrating.
I also kind of think it's smart to reveal that Rosie's murder and the plot against Richmond were part of a larger conspiracy. We know this mystery won't be solved until the end of this season. So, if we're going to drag this story out another season, I'd prefer it to be because Linden and Holder have to unpeel layers of a vast conspiracy, than because they're constantly charged off after one stupid lead after another.
Here are some more thoughts on "Reflections"/"My Lucky Day":
- One loose end that got tied up this week? Belko. Yeah, what happened to him was sad, but necessary. The character had run its course and was only making the show dumber. Sorry to be callous, but it's true.
- In addition to Kinnaman, this episode had some standout performances by Brent Sexton as Stan and Eric Ladin as Jamie. Sexton has a particularly good arc, as Stan realized that his daughter's killer was still out there, and tormenting what was left of his family. Ladin, who was wasted most of last season, also had nice material, as Jamie struggled with wanting to be by Richmond's side and not wanting to be the one to break the news about his paralysis.
- You know, I'm sure that a suicide attempt can throw a wrench into a political campaign. But I'm also pretty sure it's not as big a stumbling block as a murder charge. Just sayin'.
- Can't remember -- is the first time we got an entire episode with NO rain? Unbelievable.