| 6 years ago||
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So that’s how it’s going to be, The k!lling? You’re going to make me wait eagerly all week for a new chapter, then rip my heart out with another emotionally draining episode? You’re just lucky it hurts so good, or I’d be canceling my Season Pass.
I’m not a mom—shocking, I know—but there’s something about The k!llling’s “every mother’s worst nightmare” scenario that really gets to me. In Sunday night’s episode, we continued to watch Mitch work through her grief. Michelle Forbes is still the most compelling reason to watch this show—not that I don’t have about a hundred others. She’s just so good in this role: She’s relatable, she’s intense, she elevates the character past the cliché. Because, yes, we’ve seen the grieving mother countless times. How many episodes of Law & Order or other crime procedurals have included the parent asking, “Did she suffer?” And yet, when Forbes’ Mitch asked, it took on new weight.
We also met the mother of Kris Echols (Gharett Patrick Paon), a new suspect in Rosie’s murder. While being interrogated by Detective Holder, she delivered a line that really stuck with me: “Maybe you could remember that he has a mother who loves him and prays for him every night.” To which Holder replies, “They all do.”
And it’s true, of course, in the literal sense. But it also speaks to The k!lling’s unique multifaceted perspective. (I say unique, though I know the Swedish original got there first.) Everyone has a mother, or a family, or a background we’re not aware of. By letting us delve into the lives of so many characters, The k!lling reminds us that crimes are not limited to the victims and the perpetrators. I thought it was a brilliant and subtle move to also include the mother of short-lived suspect Lyndon Johnson Rosales, who leapt from the window when the police came to question him. On a standard procedural, this type of police evasion is usually just frustrating. But his mother screamed and we panned to his badly injured body. Suddenly we cared.
I couldn’t help but think of this exchange between the Witch and Little Red Riding Hood in the Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods—
Witch: Since when are you so squeamish? How many wolves have you carved up?
Red Riding Hood: A wolf’s not the same.
Witch: Ask a wolf’s mother.
We understand, on a logical level, the relativity of human experience. But in most of the pop culture we consume, we’re only presented with one side. That’s a generalization— there are certainly other shows that offer multiple perspectives and moral ambiguity. The k!lling, however, is one of the best in recent memory. And because we don’t have any idea who’s responsible for Rosie’s murder, we can follow every character with some level of interest and sympathy. Even Congressman Richmond, who doesn’t clearly fit into the story yet, has a tragic past we’ve only gotten hints of. How many other characters are victims?
But whether or not you sympathize with these people, you can’t ever really know what their experiences feel like to them. Sunday night’s episode drove this point home with the heartbreaking bathtub scene, in which Mitch submerged herself, presumably to get a sense of what her daughter felt when she drowned. Of course a parent would want to feel what her child experienced—to either take comfort in knowing there was no pain, or to suffer as the child suffered. But Mitch couldn’t do it. She emerged from the water gasping for air, and still—one imagines—no more in touch with Rosie’s experience.
I agree that the mother is a great character, but I feel as though the father is doing just as good of a job, if not better. Although I a.ssume that has to do with me being a dude and obviously being able to relate to his methods of grieving more closely.