There were a lot of strong reactions to The Killing’s Finale. I definitely was extremely disappointed. Read why below (if you haven’t seen the show yet, quit reading as there will be spoilers below).
Let me start out by first saying that I loved The Killing. The show was a great whodunit from week to week. It really did keep me coming back for more. I just had to know who the killer was. There was one episode that I didn’t like, and it was the episode where Sarah Linden searched for her kid the entire episode which meant the actual reason we tuned in, the case of who killed Rosie Larson, was not advanced at all. And then came the finale. The finale may have just killed the show for a lot of people, including me.
The finale in and of itself was an excellent show if it wasn’t the finale. It had twists, turns, and excitement. The episode probably should have been moved to the middle of the season. It would have been a great catalyst to kick off the second half of the season. It could have tightened up the sometimes slow season 1. The entire season The Killing was talked about as a different kind of show but then we get to the finale and find that their suspect #1 was set up by Linden’s partner Holder and a just out of frame mystery person. Huge shocker! But that’s it for the season. No, you will have to wait until season 2 to really find out who the killer was.
Mireille Enos, who plays Linden, recently stated “I know there’s lots of controversy about it, but I think a cliffhanger is really smart storytelling. It means audiences will come back.”
While that may be true, that just puts The Killing in the same formula as every show with a mystery out there. It’s not smart storytelling, it’s Who Shot JR for the new millennium. If you want really smart storytelling you look at a show like The Wire. The Wire had smart storytelling because each season was a case that the Baltimore PD either solved or did their best at solving. There was closure at the end of each season. The next season was a fresh case. That’s not to say there aren’t ongoing themes and characters from previous seasons showing up in later ones. There are. If The Killing wanted to be a great show and not just another cliffhanger filled show, they should have done something similar. They could show Linden working a new case each season and some of the same people from season one could show up: the one-time lead suspect teacher, the councilman-turned-mayor, the Larsons. All are great characters and assuming none of them are really the killer, they could definitely return with ease in later seasons.
The finale was just a slap in the face to the audiences who stuck with the show all season. It wasn’t smart storytelling. It was a gimmick to try to capitalize on the show’s moderate success. What would have happened if AMC, who waited a very long time before announcing the show was coming back, didn’t renew the series? Were the creators really willing to give audiences the finger like that? I’d be willing to bet the show will see a large drop off in viewership next season. I’ve not decided if I will return. I might just wait to read who the killer was on the internet. If I don’t return, at least the creators know Who Killed The Killing (them). And they don’t have to wait around to find that out.