Screen: A&E

Those Who Bore

Sarah takes her Those Who Kill season pass out and shoots it thanks to meandering "plotting" and a student-film shot that beggars belief.

High-Profile Show Attempted: Those Who Kill

Topic: The serial-killer procedural's second episode concerned itself with, um...well, the viewer found out that...okay, almost nothing happened. I mean, Jensen worried about the depositions for the DA about the shooting of Poor Man's Josh Charles, and the DA knew she executed the guy but couldn't really prove it because Schaeffer chose to lie for Jensen for whatever reason despite his "the truth is still worth telling" teary-voice pontificating, so she got her badge and gun back and she could stop bugging the shit out of poor Detective Molbeck by "bogarting" the Dumpster Jane Doe case from desk duty. She also annoyed her coroner bestie whom she's staying with because she can't bear to go back to her apartment after PMJC assaulted her there, so to get over that, she picked up a diffident dad at a Chuck E. Cheese and boned him on a table (at her apartment, not at Chuck E. Cheese, thankgodfully) while staring at a toy.

But as far as the season's central case: bubkes. Schaeffer went to Jensen's stepfather's courtroom to get a look at him -- yeah, the stepfather's a judge. IN FAMILY COURT DO YOU GET IT -- but no real movement there.

How Far I Expected To Get: The end. The pilot wasn't very good, but Sevigny was, and I can't say I understand why every homicide plot has to have a serial killer at the center -- can't anybody write a whodunnit about a single murder? can't any fictional characters successfully stage a break-in? maybe an assassination? counterfeiting? is this thing on? -- but the "the call is coming from inside the house" aspect of this brief seemed interesting enough to keep going with it, despite the fact that several shows have recently done this sort of thing quite a bit better than and differently from what you'd expect.

And the first half-hour of the second ep wasn't setting my world on fire, starting with the unnecessarily mysterious allusions by Schaeffer to how he was "wrong once before" and "people died," like, don't be a drama queen. You either, Mrs. Schaeffer randomly appearing in Schaeffer's study to announce that the stick turned blue. I mean: a pregnant wife. Add to that the coroner bestie parallel-meaningfully telling Jensen that she has to find "some way home," and the over-the-top kink of the killer's dog licking the bloody hand, and I already kind of thought, well, this tone poetry isn't working, but now that she's back on active duty, maybe we'll get a lurch forward in the plot in the last third.

If only.

How Far I Did Get


What Did It: Jensen goes to the crime scene, where a makeshift memorial has sprung up, and crouches next to where the killer -- or, as it turns out, some third party -- and self-injures in the pouring rain while Luna is playing. It could be actual Velvet Underground; don't email me, I don't care. Are you kidding me right now? On top of wasting minutes on end of screentime on moody shots of Jensen smoking, or staring twitchily at Schaeffer, or staring into chandeliers that cause flashbacks, yes, by all means, let's mistake this Soul Asylum video outtake for character development.

There is something about Those Who Kill that feels home-schooled, in the sense that it's not up on its own references in some way. How else to explain that scene, if not that it came from the laptop of someone who has never watched a cop show, yet can somehow instruct the sound-design team to recreate Tangerine Dream on the soundtrack?

Worth Taking Another Run At It? I'd thought to give it three episodes, but unless I get a screener, it's not happening -- and may not even then, as I've seen little to indicate that the show knows what it is or wants to say past "lesser '80s Jimmy Caan neo-noir," and as that one person who thinks Thief is an overpraised bore: we're done here.

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