The Killing II: Episodes 3 & 4

Two great episodes of The Killing on BBC4 last night. We learnt more about all the characters and the tension was racketed up. I love the soundtrack to The Killing too; it’s the same as the first series. It has some wonderful sound effects and music cues, which can be downloaded from this site.

So in the third episode Sarah Lund was able to join the dots and work out that the killer was after the squad members of 3-2 Alpha, a squad that was stationed in Afghanistan and involved in an incident in a village where they were accused of killing civilians. Three of their squad died during the incident and a Danish legal investigation, with which Anne Dragholm (the first victim) was involved as the squad’s lawyer, exonerated the squad of wrong doing. There were 4 surviving members of the squad – Myg, who was killed in the first episode, Raben, who has escaped from prison, David Grüner, who has a wife and girl and is in a wheelchair, and Lisbeth Thomsen, who now lives in Sweden.

Raben, who had been committed to the institution following a violent outburst when he returned from duty, does not seem to remember what happened in Afghanistan but realises that the killings are connected to those events and so seeks out the other members of the squad to find out what is going on. Having escaped from prison, he finds refuge with a priest he knows who gets Grüner to visit them in the church. Grüner later tells Raben to come and visit him as he is willing to discuss the incident, but when Raben turns up at his place of work he finds Grüner’s car and his dog tag hanging in his rear-view mirror. Meanwhile, Sarah Lund has also tracked down Grüner and arrives at his work at the same time. Raben runs away and it is Lund and Strange who find Grüner’s burnt out body and wheelchair.

There is no question now that these murders are all connected to the squad and so Lund and Raben both need to find Thomsen. Louise Raben has worked out that Raben is staying at the church after a rather sweet scene where Raben follows Louise and Jonas back from kindergarten and picks up Jonas’ dropped mitten. He leaves the mitten at the gates of the barracks with Jonas’ name written in it and Louise realises that Raben is still in the area. Raben enlists the help of Louise to look into her father’s, the commander’s, computer and find Thomsen’s file. However, after giving him the information she tells Raben that she can’t wait for him anymore and she and Jonas need to get on with their lives i.e. settling in permanently at her dad’s place. Jonas is a rather sweet child actor, and is younger than Anton and Emil Birk Larsen, and has the same plaintive way of saying Mor (Mum) that the Nanna’s little brothers did.

Meanwhile Brix and Special Branch are urging Lund and Strange to keep on interrogating Kodmani and his followers. Kodmani had told the police that someone called ‘Fellow Believer’ was the one who had contacted him to put the video of Anne Dragholm’s confession up on his website. Fellow Believer also told Kodmani to open up a post office box, which the police raid and find a bag of dog-tags and the list of people from Team Aegir. The dog tags being the calling card of the killer and left at the scene of each murder. Lund believes Kodmani’s claims about Fellow Believer and so he tells her that Fellow Believer communicated in a mixture of English and Arabic. But the brevity of his language and the words he used suggested to Kodmani that Fellow Believer came from an army background. So all the signs point to someone within the army who is out to get the members of 3-2 Alpha. If so, I don’t think Louise’s father is the murderer and I don’t think Bilal, the Muslim officer, is either – that would be too crass. So maybe it’s Søgaard, the number 2 at the barracks, who also enjoys flirting with Louise Raben? He’s definitely suspicious.

There are more suspicions arising out of the former Minister of Justice, Monberg, and his role in all of this, now conveniently at hospital. Thomas Buch, the new Minister (note I now know everyone’s names!), is still grappling with Krabbe from the People’s Party and Agger from the opposition over the anti-terrorism bill and the Government’s response to the initial Anne Dragholm murder. It has been established that Special Branch suspected a terrorist connection to her murder but his predecessor, Monberg, had suppressed this information in the interest of ‘national security’. For a while, Buch suspects that Monberg had an affair with Anne Dragholm, but the blonde PA (Karina) admits at the end of episode 4 that she had had an affair with Monberg. It is revealed that Monberg and Dragholm had met before she was killed and before he was admitted to hospital and that perhaps Monberg knew he would be incapacitated in some way as he sent himself the folder of the legal investigation into the 3-2 Alpha incident and notes that it needs to be reopened. I’m enjoying this political sub-plot much more now than I did in the first 2 episodes and am warming to Buch. I still don’t like his under-minister, Plough, though.

And what about our dear Sarah Lund? She’s a more broken character than she was in the first series. Not as confident personally as she once was, but still confident in her convictions when it comes to the investigation. I like her relationship with Strange, and Brix has been unusually supportive of her this time around. I just wish she wouldn’t do stupid things like she does at the end of episode 4 and leave Thomsen alone in the car when she chases after Strange in the woods…

So Lund and Raben both locate Thomsen in Sweden and Lund takes Thomsen in for questioning. Thomsen hasn’t been in contact with anyone and won’t say much about the incident, although does mention a new character, a ‘Perk’ who was another officer there who apparently went ‘mad’, but his name had not been mentioned in the reports or investigation. So once we work out who ‘Perk’ is then maybe we’ll get closer to solving the case. Anyway, Lund and Strange decided to take Thomsen back to Denmark for questioning but are stopped by a road block of logs. Strange gets out of the car (WHY?), and then Lund follows after him, leaving Thomsen in the car alone (WHY AGAIN?). Thomsen runs out of the car and back to her hut/house where she meets Raben. She find that her cupboard has been rigged with explosives and runs away with Raben in a Range Rover. Just as Strange and Lund arrive at the hut….

I did think while watching the episodes that maybe it was one huge political conspiracy and that Krabbe and the People’s Party, or someone else connected to Government, wanted to kill these soldiers in order to blame Islamic Terrorists and get the Anti-Terrorism Bill through. As in a George Clooney thriller. But then the murders seem to be more the work of someone actually connected to the people and who was there in Afghanistan. I wonder if the method of each murder is significant too – the tying up, the hanging upside down, and the burning? Thomsen certainly thought something when she saw the murder photos.

As great as it is to have a double bill each week, I think I would prefer a single episode each week to build up the tension and keep the series lasting longer than 5 weeks. But then again I’m not sure I would be able to wait a whole week between single episodes. The Killing is, after all, perfect box set material and one of the best things being shown on British TV at the moment.

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