"The Killing" has some serious mother issues this week: a neglectful one is dating the man who may be behind her daughter's disappearance; a protective one is enabling her son's illegal sexual enterprise; a workaholic one is talking less with her son than is her detective partner.
And as the show reaches the midpoint of its third season, "Scared and Running" is a fit episode title. It describes a girl at the beginning and should describe a woman at the end.
How about that pretitle sequence? In a callback to how the season premiere began, rain falls on a windshield, the driver unseen, suggesting maybe it's the unidentified serial killer the Pied Piper on the prowl. Then a bloodied girl -- could it be the missing Kallie Leeds? -- runs into the road; the car hits her. But the driver is just a startled teenage boy, and as the girl gets up and takes off -- there's no good look at her face -- he thinks there's someone else around. It's a genuinely chilling moment.
Elsewhere, Kallie's mother, Danette, is "like, for real worried now," which is progress. She tells that to her boyfriend, Joe Mills, who she doesn't know is a person of great interest in the Pied Piper case and her daughter's disappearance. Danette woke to find a missed call, but no message, from Kallie – oh, and Joe had slipped out for part of the night. He tells her not to worry. Of course he would.
Detectives Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder are on Mills' trail, interrogating Mama Dips, who runs the motel where Joe makes porn videos with underage girls. Dips is in a prison uniform as Holder shows her a photo of the suspect and tells her: "We're at the point where I tell whoever's wearing orange that now's the time to be truly selfish. Because you need to know whoever you're protecting is damn sure gonna be selfish once you're rocking matching outfits."
As she starts to get emotional over the photo, it becomes clear: Joe's her son.
"You don't know him," she says. "Nobody else knows him like I do. You see, he's a young soul. That's why all those kids love him." If that doesn't creep you out …
The bad mothers hit parade continues at Danette's, where the detectives arrive with a warrant looking for Joe, who's gone. Linden tells her that it's Joe's voice on the porn video of Kallie; Danette says that's a lie. "People like you shouldn't have kids," Linden intones, and Holder gets her out of there. His attempt to talk with his partner about her son Jack meets a series of short answers.
Over on death row, this week's theme is forgiveness. Hill is practicing a speech to his victims' family, but may have impure motives: He notes that in the last decade, all eight death row inmates who met with their victims' families used that at their next appeal and had their sentences commuted to life. (He'll later reveal that his victims were his parents, whom he shot in a botched robbery.) Ray Seward's other cell neighbor, Dale, says God has already forgiven him. Ray, ever the charmer, doesn't want forgiveness and suggest Dale tell God where to stick it.
Later, as Dale prepares to meet his intended, he asks Ray about his wife -- that'd be Tricia Seward, who he's sentenced to death for killing (in a manner matching the M.O. of the Pied Piper). "She raised hell every day of her life," he begins, "she was wild, and I liked that at first …. But she wasn't made for being a wife, a mother. She was a whore …. Enjoy the ride while it lasts with your sweet intended. It'll be over soon enough." Happy Valentine's Day!
Dale isn't the only one with a visitor: Tess Clark, foster mother to Ray's son Adrian, is there. She wants to adopt the boy and tells Ray, "Adrian wants to see you. He's forgiven you." And, after some tender moments in the last couple episodes, Crazy Ray returns -- he shakes his head, laughs unnervingly, nods, puts down the phone and calls the guard to take him back as she tearfully entreats him to see his son.
Also in prison, Francis Becker notes he needs six more guards for Seward's hanging. As others crowd around to sign up, Henderson, who got an uncomfortable peek at Becker's home life last week, quietly exits.
Linden and Holder, after discovering one of those pink biohazard bags where the bloodied girl had run from, are searching where she might have gone and find a finger near Beacon. Father Mike is no help, but Bullet is outside, hops in the partners' car and becomes this week's most effective detective -- telling them they obviously need supervision. She leads them to a place where Kallie would sometimes sleep, and Holder gets to work his street smarts with some toughs. A high guy who heard screams in the night indicates they came from the nearby river (though he claims they were from La Llorona).
By the river, in a concrete tube, they find what looks like a murder scene, but no body. As night falls and more police arrive, Holder tries to tell Bullet that it might be time to start thinking her friend Kallie may be dead -- and is met with a punch in the gut.
Danette goes out looking for Kallie -- maybe this is getting to her -- and calls, to no answer. Driving the streets, she sees teens living as her daughter was and spots graffiti that reads "RIP 17," a nod to the Pied Piper's victims.
Linden, having missed the ferry home, takes Holder up on his invitation to come by; his girlfriend Caroline is there. The assistant district attorney gives her detective boyfriend a red velvet cupcake. Uh-oh: Holder has forgotten about Valentine's Day and offers up a lame bit about how he celebrates it on the 15th. (Carl Reddick, in one of his more useful moments in an earlier episode, had warned his younger partner not to forget.) Holder is saved from the awkwardness by a phone call.
Bullet leads the detectives to an animal hospital where one of her "sources" saw someone carrying in a bloodied girl. Inside, Linden and Holder find a medic who says, "I didn't do it." Deeper in, there's a girl with a stitched neck and bandaged hand (this suggests a missing finger, but earlier episodes said the Piper severed fingers postmortem). It's not Kallie. She wakes as Linden looks over her and starts screaming.
As the victim is loaded into an ambulance, Holder sits with Bullet. She says, "Starting to think all the memories I have of Kallie are the only ones I'll ever have. She's probably dead, isn't she?" All Holder can say to his favorite little vocal sparring partner is a resigned, sad, "Yeah." He puts his arm around her, and she puts her head on his shoulder.
The episode ends with Danette and Joe. As he enters the bathroom to take a shower, she tries calling Kallie again. A phone starts ringing in the room. She follows the sound to Joe's bag, where she pulls out a phone with an incoming call from "Mom." The bathroom door opens, and Danette turns to see Joe. Shouting "Run!" at the screen doesn't help.
Joe has the lead.
Reddick? At the accident scene with the teen boy and his car, Skinner asks where Reddick is. He doesn't show up in the episode. He's a dark horse, but he's in the race.
Yeah, where is Reddick?
Is Kallie alive?
Whose finger is that? Or is the Piper severing them before the victims are dead?
Will we ever hear about that chaplain Seward bloodied in the premiere? He survived, right? Because if he didn't and Seward is cleared of his wife's murder, it's not going to do Ray any good.
Linden sees her old partner/current boss James Skinner's daughter Bethany in the investigation conference room looking at photos of the victims, who are her age. So she's going to get kidnapped, right?