Here are a collection of reviews I read today. Not only are they all extremely negative, many of them literally refer to the finale as one of the worst of all-time. There have also been discussions on twitter and elsewhere about the damage this has done/will do to the AMC brand.
Strap yourselves in, folks. Get ready for the angriest television-related screed I think I've ever written. I'm not sure how to start, except to say that I hated the season finale of 'The Killing' with the burning intensity of 10,000 white-hot suns.
Let me be clear, I hold the show's executive producer and head writer, Veena Sud, responsible for a season-ender that not only DID NOT tell us who killed Rosie Larsen but turned Holder into a villain and did a number of other stupidly melodramatic, preposterously manipulative things. But I blame AMC executives as much as Sud -- if not more.
...'The Killing,' in the last two months or so, has been a waste of time. This week, it turned into a giant insult. This wasn't a swing and a miss. Those are forgivable and expected on networks that take chances with their material. This hour was, in my opinion, the worst season finale of all time, because it was a terrible execution of a set of colossally stupid, misguided and condescending ideas. And clearly, people at the network have known about what would be in the finale for some time. They should have stopped it. All of it.
So this will be the last review I write of "The Killing," because this will be the last time I watch "The Killing." Because I have no interest in going forward with a show that treats its audience this way.
...At this point, "The Killing" has virtually nothing else. It utterly failed to make Rosie herself matter. It failed at making Stan and Mitch into anything but monotonous engines of grief. It failed to make the political campaign the least bit interesting at any point. And while it briefly turned Linden and Holder into three-dimensional humans with the episode a few weeks ago that put the investigation on hold, a lot of that was undercut by the Holder reveal here at the end. Obviously, the stuff about his addiction, his sister and his nephew was true, but the building of the relationship and trust with Linden wasn't.
...Sud also said that part of the point of ending the season this way was to remind the audience that this isn't a formula cop show, and they can throw out their expectations. But she's wrong. This show DOES have a formula, one that's very easy to anticipate now. Because all you really have to understand about "The Killing" - and what should have made me anticipate where the finale was going, only even I couldn't fathom that the creative team would so fundamentally misread their audience in that way - is this:
Every single thing this show tells you is a lie.
Andy Greenwald at The Vulture:
Now, does that mean that a creative person owes an audience resolution? Wholeheartedly, we say: no. As the contentious Ms. Sud makes it abundantly clear in the above quote, she never intended to give us poor saps what we thought we deserved. And we could have lived without resolution if there had been anything else at all worth living for. But the finale was just the last in a long, frustrating, and soggy line of cheap fake-outs, preposterous 180s, and colossal storytelling disappointments. By last night’s episode, we were Rosie Larsen: huddled, miserable in the dark woods waiting for the killer to reveal himself. And, unlike Rosie, we were denied even that.
...No. In reality, the only crime we’re concerned with is the one just perpetrated by AMC. Back in April, when the show was launching, the rain was falling, and hopes — including ours! — were as high as the space needle, Veena Sud gave an interview in which she mused, “As writers, we’re not writing to the end, we’re along on this journey.” Unfortunately, the journey they took us on was in the campaign car and it ended up in the bottom of a lake: water-logged and completely sunk. A good television show should be about the journey, not the destination. So it shouldn’t take even Detective Linden very long to connect the dots and arrive at the truth: The Killing was not a good television show.
And my personal favorite, this list from the AV Club's review contains some of the examples of poor writing we've seen this season:
To get to the bottom of this, I decided to make a list (I was inspired by Holder, I guess) of all the far-fetched occurrences and unlikely coincidences that have taken place across the course of the season and—guess what?—it’s pretty damn long. If I have missed (or misrepresented) any, please weigh in, but here’s what I came up with. Brace yourselves:
- Rosie’s best friend borrows her wig, then has sex with her boyfriend in the school’s dank basement, while bleeding profusely from her nose, while another guy wearing a devil mask records it on his phone.
- Also, a pervy janitor named after the late Lyndon Johnson is watching the whole thing happen.
- Said janitor turns out to be pedophile, jumps out of window, ends up in hospital.
- Rosie's parents don’t call their daughter all weekend, detectives never find out why.
- Other seemingly basic things Holder and Linden don’t do until well after Bennet is cleared: scour Rosie’s computer (as in, not just take a quick look at her internet history); check the fuel levels and mileage of the car in which her dead body was found; call cab companies to see if anyone picked up a girl fitting Rosie’s description.
- Stan buys house without telling his wife.
- A teacher with a track record of dating his students also has an unusually close relationship with Rosie, but there’s nothing untoward going on between them.
- Bennet helps a young Somali girl procure a fake passport so she can flee to Canada to avoid ritual circumcision.
- Somali girl hides out in a meat locker that has been converted into a bedroom, which Linden and Holder happen to discover at the exact same moment as an FBI raid.
- Somali girl also just so happens to have the exact same T-shirt as Rosie.
Mitch waits a week to do laundry, so doesn’t find Rosie’s T-shirt until after Stan has beat the shit out of Bennet.
- FBI agent leaves truck containing evidence unattended, door wide open.
- Despite the fact that he’s facing murder charges, Bennet is unwilling to tell police what he was really doing the night of Rosie’s murder.
- Mitch leaves her two surviving children in garage while car is running, forgets about them.
- Between the school dance and her shift at the casino, Rosie felt the need to schlep out to Bennet’s house to return a book, even though she would have seen him Monday morning at school.
- Bennet’s wife does not recognize the man who has already confessed to beating her husband into a coma, a man who is also the father of the girl Bennet was accused of killing.
- Everything Holder has been doing all along has been part of an elaborate effort to frame Richmond.
- Not 1 but 2 suspects in Rosie’s killing fall victim to acts of vigilante justice.
- Creepy stalker Belko basically lives with Larsens and is infatuated with Rosie, but has nothing to do with her’s murder.
- Neither does her sadistic ex-boyfriend.
- Neither does Richmond, who is hung up on his dead wife, fixated with brunettes, and often says creepy, threatening things to escorts.
There was also this interview with show runner Veena Sud by Alan Sepinwall. It included little nuggets like this:
We never said you'll get closure at the end of season 1. We said from the very beginning this is the anti-cop cop show. It's a show where nothing is what it seems, so throw out expectations. We will not tie up this show in a bow. There are plenty of shows that do that, in 45 minutes or whatever amount of time, where that is expected and the audience can rest assured that at the end of blank, they will be happy and they can walk away from their TV satisfied. This is not that show.
You certainly don't have to worry about people walking away satisfied.