Danette Leeds (Amy Seimetz) confronts her former flame Joe Mills about… (Carole Segal / AMC )
Well, that was intense.
The most emotionally rattling episode of the season, “Reckoning,” includes a shocking death and a major arrest. Take deep breaths.
As it begins, Danette, after putting fliers about her missing daughter, sees her place’s door open. She calls Kallie’s name and frantically looks around, but who she finds isn’t who she hoped for. Instead, it’s her former lover Joe Mills – back with a sinister smile after several episodes away – who she suspects in the disappearance.
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Linden and Holder are called to Danette’s and find she’s been beaten; she says Joe took her money. Holder is surprisingly harsh toward the battered woman. Where he previously had to restrain Linden in dealings with Danette, now his partner signals him to cool it.
Information Danette provides leads them to a storage unit. And here’s where having Jonathan Demme directing is a great call. The Oscar winner, who shot similar scenes in “The Silence of the Lambs,” orchestrates the unease, tension and brutality excellently as the detectives find where Joe’s been sleeping, complete with a still-smoking cigarette butt. They split up to search for the suspect, who tackles Linden and savagely punches her. Holder runs toward them and, instead of pulling his gun, launches his body into Mills, punching him and then holding him as a badly bloodied Linden gets in a few payback kicks.
Slightly later, as her boss James Skinner is saying there’s nothing tying Mills to the Pied Piper victims’ bodies, Det. Carl Reddick arrives with a find from the search: a box full of rings – and one other item. Linden pulls out Bullet’s necklace. As she hears Holder trying to get Joe’s cab’s trunk open over the radio, she races to try and save him from the psychological trauma.
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She arrives in time, but despite her pleas, probably realizing who’s inside, he opens it slowly. There’s Bullet’s “FAITH” tattoo and bloodied hand. He’d been ignoring her calls after she dangerously lied to him, and he’s badly shaken by what’s happened. She may have known the identity of the Piper.
At the station, as Mills sits cuffed in an interrogation room, Reddick tells Holder and Linden in the observation room that Bullet’s cause of death is the same as the other 18 victims – and that she’d fought back hard – before offering to let Holder have five minutes to make the guy look more like he’d resisted arrest. Mills has insisted on talking to Danette, Skinner says, and Linden notes that Kallie’s ring wasn’t among those found.
In the interrogation room, Danette asks Joe where Kallie is. This guy’s a piece of work, saying she knows he could never hurt anyone after he’s clearly knocked her around. He says he picked Kallie up on the night she disappeared, but the teen jumped out of the cab and ran off. And, get this: After she gets some money together with his mom to hire a lawyer to get him out, they’ll find Kallie and be a family. Wow. Danette brings up that he films himself having sex with underage girls – and that his mom says she too is through with him. He cries over not being mama’s little boy anymore.
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“Those little girls,” he says, “they came to me. It’s not wrong. It’s nature. It can’t be helped. They look at me with that ache, that sweet, sweet ache. And they look at me with those little sad eyes and they’re like, ‘Please, mister, please just make it go away.’ I was gentle, and I took care of that. And I made it go away.”
If you thought Danette wouldn’t jump across the table to attack him, you were wrong.
On death row, Ray Seward calls and leaves a message with Linden as prison guard Francis Becker supervises. The humanity Becker showed the convict last episode during the former’s panic attack is gone, as the guard gives him guff. Ray fires back with a shot about Becker’s unfaithful wife, which embarrasses and upsets him.
Linden finally gets a chance to speak with Seward’s son, Adrian, who may have seen the face of his mother’s killer; the detective believes that murderer is the Pied Piper, and not Ray. Asked if anyone on a sheet of photos is the man he saw that horrific night, the boy looks at a sheet of photos and points to the one of Joe Mills.
Skinner, speaking to reporters about the Mills arrest, says the “so called Pied Piper is off the streets, and the city of Seattle can rest easy tonight.”