The Killing may have started out as a basic investigation into the death of Rosie Larsen, but like many simple beginnings, the path in question is not without its twists, turns, and uncoverings. There's usually something deeper at the heart of it and especially when death is involved, the characters are all effected in a variety of ways.
Truly, season two has pushed its focus more so on the people's lives that are in some way connected to Rosie Larsen whether it's her parents, the police, or the people she knew.
The past has been slowly revealed (Linden was in a psych ward? Gwen had an after party fling with Mayor Adams at 14?) and the secrets that seem to surround everyone are bubbling to the surface.
But what is it that makes us care?
When the show first began, I tuned in for the concept of following one case over a stretch of episodes. It felt new and fresh with such a serious and slow process take on what really happens after a murder.
However, what kept me around (aside from wanting to know who killed Rosie Larsen) were the characters. Sure, a plot has to be well written and compelling enough to get me interested, but the characters help drive the show. You have to like the characters whether you like them or love to hate them, their actions and moments suck you in so you want to take the journey.
Without interesting or entertaining characters, everything falls flat or let's you find yourself checking the time for when it will all be over.
Which, unfortunately, "Sayonara, Hiawatha" spent more time with characters I'm less invested in.
I can say that I've managed to find a little more interest in Billy Campbell's Richmond, but at the end of the day, I'm not really concerned if he wins or loses the campaign. I hope he wins especially with all that he's been through, but it's just not at the top of my list.
It was certainly good to see him regaining some control over what made him run in the first place and telling off Chief Jackson for her shady ideas on not getting taxed and building whatever she wants. She rubs me the wrong way and I'm glad he told her to get lost, even if her endorsement could help determine his victory.
As for Stan, Brent Sexton does a great job of conveying his emotions and frustrations with what life has doled out for him, but his family often has me rolling my eyes. The intent is clearly for viewers to see how the death of a loved one can turn into a pitfall transforming everyone. And it has.
Except Tommy comes off as an obnoxious brat and Mitch's woe is me attitude continues to be grating.
She finally spoke with David Rainer, a really calm and nice guy who explained that Rosie was leaving. Yet she refuses to say that she is his kid or that Rosie was even murdered. She's so stuck on herself instead of anyone around her that I'm left not caring.
Linden and Holder save the day though because these are two well acted and pretty well written characters.
Maybe it's because they are directly focused with the case that is the central aspect of the show, but I'm interested in what they are up to.
Joel Kinnaman proves his prowess as an actor and fan favorite with phenomenal scenes like confronting Gil in his home and his endless blabbering in the hotel casino as a distraction. He can do both comedic moments and serious dark ones. He's a well rounded character that helps make me want to watch to the bitter end.
Even Linden's determination, as well as her relationship with Holder, are entertaining to watch. They are so different, yet work so well together.
The other portions left me more bored than anything, but Linden and Holder's scenes had me captivated.
So much so that the final ten minutes of finally entering the mysterious tenth floor was chock full of suspense. From the eerily dark setting, Holder's continuous exclamation for Linden to turn off her flashlight and get out, and Linden trying to understand Rosie's reasoning for going back to the casino, it had me glued to my seat and I was waiting for something bad to happen.
And while it did, and no idea who it is (maybe someone not from the casino?), the bloody city of Seattle keycard leads the investigation right back to the campaign. What was it that Rosie witnessed and who was that third person in the room?
Sure, everyone's impacted by the death, but the real gripping, compelling, and driving force of the show remains the case and its two wonderful lead detectives. That's what keeps me hooked and patiently waiting to find out who actually killed Rosie Larsen.
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.