Last year, AMC's breakout drama The Killing debuted to enviable acclaim, earning a stellar 84 "universal acclaim" score on review aggregator Metacritic, and converting viewers into passionate followers. The buzzy series promised to spend all of its 13 episodes moodily puzzling over a single question: "Who killed Rosie Larsen?" But when the maddening finale declined to resolve that mystery, fans went from "critical embrace to critical chokehold." "YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME," roared Huffington Post critic Maureen Ryan. The writers' stingy lack of revelation "spat in the face of convention, logic, and the audience," agreed Andy Greenwald at New York. As the backlash grew, AMC president Charlie Collier even offered a "pseudo-apology": "If I could do anything differently, it would be to manage expectations." The series' second season premieres Sunday night. Can The Killing win back bitter fans?
Not a chance: The decision to drag on the Rosie Larsen investigation "sucks the mystery out of" the next 13 episodes, says Tim Goodman at The Hollywood Reporter. We have no reason to believe a suspect will be named before the season finale, creating nothing but impatience. Counting season one, we'll have to sit through "26 hours of television" before being rewarded with a resolution. How many viewers will invest the time?
"The Killing: TV review"
Maybe. After all, the show is still quite good: Any viewer willing to tune in will be just as engrossed as ever, says Frazier Moore at the Associated Press. The well-acted, perfectly paced Season 2 premiere is as captivating as the show's first season. More importantly, it becomes clear that the Larsen murder investigation is merely a dramatic through-line for what's ultimately a fascinating study of grief. The show's real message and power is "the likelihood that solving the crime will solve practically nothing."
"The Killing, tense and gripping, back for year 2"
Producers would be wise to focus on superfans: The Killing's real problem is that it outraged the precise segment of the audience "it wants most to entice": Superviewers, says Adam Sternbergh at The New York Times. The rise of online criticism and social media "has served as a kind of electrocharged amniotic fluid for the gestation" of viewers who watch their favorite shows with an obsessively keen eye. And the "megaphone" that is Twitter has given them dominion over that all-important industry concept, "buzz." Disappointing these superviewers can prove deadly, which is why The Killing faces an arduous journey as it tries to "stagger back to life."
"Can The Killing make a comeback?"