So how does a mentally unstable detective really push herself over the edge? She goes back to the scene of a quadruple homicide. Kyle sits at the piano, fully aware that he was actually involved in the murders... the driving force behind them, in fact. "This is home—the place that you're supposed to be safe, loved," he says. Instead, he only ever felt hatred, both directed at him and emanating from within himself. The hazing and psychotic "kill the things you love" philosophy of his cadet brothers simple gave him a rationale for what had always been brewing inside.
Linden sees things another way: "Sometimes you have to do something wrong to make it right... sometimes you have to make impossible choices." It's worth noting that Jonathan Demme directed this episode, and the way Linden and Kyle are framed is very "Quid Pro Quo." When Kyle admits he wanted to die and begs for a way out, though, the serene smile on Linden's face makes it seem like Kyle is the lamb up for slaughter. She's absolved of her parental burden, beyond the baggage of her own troubled childhood, and actually capable of murder (humanity's greatest exercise in power)—has Linden transcended? Have we lost her?
Not entirely. Linden is angling for Kyle's confession, which he gives freely. He was behind everything. (Called it: Primal Fear.) In fact, Fielding and Knopf had fled the scene after a few shots, leaving Kyle to systematically murder his parents and sister Phoebe. Only after he sat down, blood-spattered, to tickle the ivories did Nadine arrive and ask—as she had in his dream—"Are the monsters gone?" He told his "Baby Bird" to close her eyes. In the present, he wept into the blood-soaked carpet where her body had lain: "I was the monster. It was me."
NEXT: And now for the throwback portion of the finale...