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    The Killing: The Complete Third Season DVD Review

    DVD Fox TV Reviews

    Jun 09 2014 01:17 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    It’s somewhat ironic that the television mystery series The Killing itself has become an entity that cannot die. Canceled at the end of its second season, it was resurrected some weeks later for a third season (the contents of this box set) and then canceled yet again by AMC whereupon it was resuscitated by Netflix for a final fourth season soon to air. For a program that began so compellingly with high ratings and Emmy nominations, the show turned off fans after not solving its first season murder until the end of its second season (in a denouement that was not worth the two years it took to get to it) and then was left with only remnants of its former popularity for its gritty albeit rather grim third season.

    Title Info:

    • Studio: Fox
    • Distributed By: N/A
    • Video Resolution: 480P/MPEG-2
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
    • Audio: English 5.1 DD
    • Subtitles: None
    • Rating: Not Rated
    • Run Time: 8 Hr. 48 Min.
    • Package Includes: DVD
    • Case Type: Amray case with leaves
    • Disc Type: DVD-R
    • Region: 1
    • Release Date: 06/03/2014
    • MSRP: $29.95

    The Production Rating: 4/5

    With Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) having resigned from her job as a homicide detective in Seattle and now working as a ferry security guard, detective Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) is now working with long-time homicide detective Carl Reddick (Gregg Henry), experienced but not eager to do any more work than absolutely necessary. The death of a homeless teenage girl nearly decapitated and with her ring finger broken is a grisly case Reddick wants to pass off to another detective in the department, but Holder can’t let it go, and when he begins to make a connection with this case to one his former partner Linden worked some years previously with her then-partner James Skinner (Elias Koteas), she gets dragged back into police work at first hesitant but later eager to discover the culprit, especially when she plays a hunch that leads her to the discovery of a lake filled with other dead teenage girls, all the seeming work of the same serial killer. And since the man who was convicted of a previous murder resembling the teen slayings several years ago Ray Seward (Peter Sarsgaard) is now three weeks from his execution, Linden begins to think perhaps he is innocent and the serial killer they’re now tracking was the culprit all along making finding the killer all the more urgent since time is not on their (or Seward’s) side.

    As was the case with the previous two seasons of The Killing, the progress is slow and methodical in the investigation of the case, and promising leads which take two or three episodes each to chase down often amount to nothing. These investigations are conducted in a constipated mood of despair and hopelessness with a bleak, rainy Seattle as a backdrop and deal with the lower echelons of Seattle society: deadbeat parents, homeless teens prostituting themselves for cigarette money or heroin, adults exploiting these needy kids via child pornography. And with the twofold plot stands of the efforts to free innocent man Ray Seward while investigating this latest series of teen killings, there are few dull moments. Armchair detectives are warned, however, that discovering the identity of the serial killer before the final episode is something of a fool’s errand. Crucial information is withheld, and we’re not given nearly enough of the background on certain suspects to be able to eliminate them soon enough to focus on others. Better to just settle back and let the experienced detectives tackle this grisly case.

    Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman do the same reliable yeoman’s work this season as in the previous two, their chemistry and amusing give and take one of the more appealing aspects of the otherwise austere storytelling. As her current boss and former lover, Elias Koteas underplays in his usual expert style, and Gregg Henry does his showy stuff as usual as the lazy cop bounced out of the partnership once Linden rejoins the squad. Peter Sarsgaard takes all the honors this season as the condemned man who slowly and impressively loses his braggadocio and earnestly begins to hope he can be freed. Hugh Dillon as a prison guard who enjoys twisting the knife in Sarsgaard’s Seward, Aaron Douglas as a more sympathetic guard, Amy Seimetz as a deadbeat mom who begins to care about her missing daughter after it’s too late, and Bex Taylor-Klaus as a street kid desperate to find her friend even to the point of working with Holder all offer sterling performances in a strong season.

    Here are the twelve episodes contained on three DVDs in this third season set:

    1 – That You Fear the Most
    2 – The Jungle
    3 – Seventeen
    4 – Head Shots
    5 – Scared and Running
    6 – Eminent Domain
    7 – Hope Kills
    8 – Try
    9 – Reckoning
    10 – Six Minutes
    11 – From Up Here
    12 – The Road to Hamelin

    Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA

    The episodes are presented in their widescreen television aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and are anamorphically enhanced for widescreen televisions. The images are mostly sharp and detailed (impressive detail for upconverted DVDs). Color is somewhat drained from the photography to give the locales a gray, unappealing, and slightly desultory look, so no one has any real color in his cheeks. Black levels are quite impressive. Each episode has been divided into 6 chapters.

    Audio Rating: 4.5/5

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix offers nicely immersive ambiance for the listener. Frans Bak’s ominous music especially adds just the right tone of unsettling menace to the sound mix and gets spread thoroughly through the fronts and rears. There’s a bit of directionalized dialogue though most of it is placed in the center channel. There are some split effects, too, though made on a smaller cable budget, one can’t expect the same full-on assault that one might get in a network action series.

    Special Features: 0/5

    These discs offer no bonus features at all.

    Overall Rating: 3.5/5

    The third season of The Killing ends with a cliffhanger of sorts so it’s fortunate Netflix picked up a fourth and final season to tie up the loose ends left by the unsettling events of the twelfth episode. It’s a strong season for the show which, unlike the first season, does solve its mystery before the end of the last episode. This is a barebones release, however, not only happening only on DVD (the first season received a Blu-ray release) but also not including any behind-the-screen interviews with cast and crew over the seesaw journey their show has taken over these past three years.

    Reviewed by: Matt Hough
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    8 Comments

    Although I have not yet watched this series, from your review, it sounds like the series suffered from many of the same problems that Barry Levinson's Homicide: Life On the Streets did, especially drawing out and then never really solving the murder that was introduced in the pilot.

    You do get solutions for both of the murders from the first two seasons and season three, but it's not really a show that you can play along with the detectives with any sense of fair competition because facts just aren't provided that would lead us to the correct solutions. Instead, facts are provided that lead to wrong suspects, but it takes several episodes to figure out they're not viable. It can be frustrating if you're trying to outguess the pros; it's fun if you are just along for the ride.

    I would agree with Matt.  For me, the homicide cases and the general narrative of the show is not the strongest component of the series.  The performances of the leads and the general atmosphere and tone of the series were the real attractions for me during the first three years.  In particular Joel Kinnaman (throughout the series) and in season three Bex Taylor-Klaus who pretty much owned the screen whenever her character was present.

     

    Worth seeing just for the acting, IMHO.

     

    - Walter.

    Worth seeing just for the acting, IMHO.

     

    Yeah, the cast is excellent but Peter Sarsgaard took everyone to acting school this year. The sad thing is that this show is so relatively unseen that he won't even come close to getting a Best Supporting Actor Emmy nomination (let alone a deserved win).

    That was certainly my feeling. I just marveled at his work in each episode as he slowly crumbled under the pressure of his upcoming execution.

    This is a barebones release, however, not only happening only on DVD (the first two seasons received Blu-ray releases) but also not including any behind-the-screen interviews with cast and crew over the seesaw journey their show has taken over these past three years.

     

    Actually, only the first season was released on Blu-ray. Seasons 2 and 3 are DVD-R only. I have the BD of the first season, but have put off purchasing the later seasons in the hope that they'll eventually be released on Blu-ray as well.

    Actually, only the first season was released on Blu-ray. Seasons 2 and 3 are DVD-R only. I have the BD of the first season, but have put off purchasing the later seasons in the hope that they'll eventually be released on Blu-ray as well.

     

    You're right, and I have made the correction in the review. I'll tell you where I went wrong. In the middle of the second season's broadcast, Fox announced a Blu-ray release for season two, but this was before AMC canceled the show. I didn't end up getting a review copy since I had signed up for a Blu-ray release and there wasn't one. I guess Fox didn't bother releasing it on Blu because it was then canceled. I just assumed they ran out of copies, and I wasn't one of the lucky ones. Now, I know why I didn't get it.

     

    Thanks for the info.

    I love this show, and thought the two season pay off was well worth the wait.  Very sad it has to end. :(