The Killing recap: The Ring Cycle

Linden races to save Seward's life; Adrian says goodbye to the father he never knew
Ep. 09 | Aired Jul 28, 2013

ON THE FENCE Holder urges Linden to see through her quest to vindicate Seward, even as her feelings about the convict oscillate wildly in his final hours.

Carole Segal/AMC

Upon seeing Linden's grim expression, Seward already had the remainder of his life counted down to the second. Linden apologized, and he let out a stymied laugh at the absurd surreality of it all -- that he'd ever allowed hope to pervade his consciousness in the first place. Regardless, Linden wouldn't be deterred from demanding the truth. Why had he been at Trisha's that night? Was he hiding something? Protecting someone? He talked about the look of possibility that can be seen in a child's face, the same one that disappears as the child grows up and realizes how cruel the world can be. He used to have that look, he admitted; Adrian had that look the last time he saw him. Linden understood: Ray had gone back that night to get Adrian, to try to change the kid's destiny by taking him out of Trisha's world. But Ray arrived too late. She was already lying dead on the floor. Things would never change for any of them. And Ray became a victim, too, that night. Wrong place, wrong time, wrong man.

Seward had tears in his eyes of the irony. Linden told him Adrian was still waiting. She urged Seward not to abandon his son this time. She told him Adrian "will carry that with him every time he looks in the mirror -- the broken parts of you, because you never let him see the best part." She added, "I know what it's like to never have that." Seward consented to see his son.

While Holder smoothed down a nervous Adrian's hair, Linden accompanied Seward to another room. He even flirted with her a little before getting all Our Town, acknowledging that "Everything goes so fast." Linden futilely said the governor could still come through, but Seward thanked her for all she'd done to try to save him. They heard the series of doors opening closer and closer to the visiting area. Outside, Adrian approached his father's room. Becker was the last stop before the visit, and it seemed the first time the C.O. and the boy had really looked in each other's eyes. In a cruel, curious turn of events (and what I think many of you will consider confirmation for your suspicions about Becker), the guard suddenly put the kibosh on the father-son reunion. He brusquely claimed visiting hours had ended an hour before Seward's execution. Seward unleashed a psychotic tantrum, repeatedly roaring at the guards restraining him "I WILL KILL YOU!" Just outside the door, Adrian heard it all and shuddered. As the guards took Seward away, Linden said urgently that he should look outside his window at the trees. With less than an hour until his death, Seward was utterly broken. And so was Linden. Holder had to take her phone away as she shrieked at the first person she reached, "It's over," he told her. And her sobs made it clear she understood.

Seward's execution preparations complete, he began the long (but also incredibly short) walk to his own death. Paralyzed by fear, bereft of words, he could only let out sporadic grunt-moans as his legs collapsed under him. In a surprising show of force, Henderson bellowed, "GET UP AND BE A MAN! WALK! WALK!" It did the trick, and Seward plodded on, but yikes! The guards halted briefly to remove his ankle shackles. Shivering, Seward turned to look at the larch trees as Linden had suggested. Through his tears, he saw her  standing there with Adrian. The boy waved, and Seward found the strength to pull it together.

Atop the platform, Seward shook uncontrollably as the warden read the final proclamation of his sentence. Linden, who'd run back inside, was there for his final words: "Salisbury steak's not steak. It's ground beef." They shared a mischievous smile, and Seward said, "Now, let's get this show on the road." Becker fastened Seward's legs together, but when it came to put the bag over his head, Becker got a terrified look in his eyes and stepped aside. Henderson took over, finishing the final preparations. Seward's head covering inflated and retracted with his sobs, and the camera cut to one last look at the phones that did not ring. Then came the sudden drop. Seward's greatest fear became a reality -- his neck didn't break instantly, and he was left to swing. Linden and Becker et al stood by, beholding the ghastly sights and sounds of the life being choked out of an innocent man. Seward's suffering eventually ended -- mercifully much sooner than six minutes -- and Linden let out her own final gasp. The case that had so haunted her was brought, at least in part, to an end.

The conclusion of this case is only a few sleeps away, Killing fans. After the dialogue-heavy, one-act play vibe of tonight's episode, do you feel prepared for what will certainly be an action-filled finale? Did you take the look in Becker's eyes in the last scene (not to mention his refusal to let Adrian see Seward) as an admission of guilt? Are you, like me, getting feeling more and more creeped-out by Henderson? Will you miss Peter Sarsgaard next week? And can we figure out the connection between Adrian's drawing and the Piper already?!

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