Friday, July 19, 2013

episode alert: the killing, season 3 episode 8 (S03 E08)

Friday, July 19, 2013
courtesy AMCtv, source

I realize it might seem a bit strange to heartily recommend an episode from a television series when  your readers might not be familiar with it to begin with. There is a spoiler-ish quality, too, to pointing out a single episode that is not the pilot--if you happened to watch the episode I'm recommending today, for example, but have not watched The Killing before, you won't be privy to the history of Linden and Holder's friendship.  The point of my little "episode alert" feature, however is to highlight particularly powerful, entertaining, and/or significant episodes, and most of the them won't be the earliest ones of a series.  I hope, that if you love good television like I do, and you happen to stumble upon what I've written, perhaps you'll remember something I've singled out.  Entertainment Weekly occasionally provides primers of information for various shows, including episodes that are critical for appreciating them, and that's essentially my goal here.

Whew.  Now that I've gotten that out of the way...I bring you the eighth episode of the third, very lucky season of The Killing, which also happens to be the most recent episode.  It's lucky, both for us and for everyone involved with the show, because it was actually cancelled very shortly after the second season wrapped.  Viewers were annoyed and disappointed with the meandering plot lines, and the "Who killed Rosie Larsen?" question, which SHOULD have been solved at the end of the first season but was inexplicably pushed forth all through the second, became tiresome, weighing down a series that had been promising.  The cancellation news was no surprise, and even big fans of the show had to admit it had gone terribly wrong. When Netflix, basking in the glow of their House of Cards success, expressed some interest in renewing The Killing, however, AMC jumped back into the ring.  I haven't read enough about the renewed third season to discover if there have been substantial changes on the writing staff, but I can tell you one thing for sure: it's better than either season that came before it.

The ever-dark, dingy, and rain-soaked Seattle of the first two seasons remains, and the creepy score continues to provide a haunting backdrop in the final moments of each episode, but there is a fresh tension within the new storyline.  Holder and Linden are reunited and on the hunt for a serial killer preying on homeless girls, plucked from a gritty underworld.  The serial killer's MO matches that from the case that plunged Linden into psychological turmoil years ago, which instills the new case with urgency, as the man convicted for the earlier crime (played to perfection by the extremely-capable-of-being-creepy Peter Saarsgard) is days away from his death sentence.

With four more episodes to go in the season, we knew as we tuned in last week that Pastor Mike, who held Linden hostage in her car, could not possibly be the killer they were searching for.  That didn't make the episode any less riveting, and while Linden spent most of it in the car, her efforts to discern PM's intentions, attempt to relate to him, and simultaneously reveal her location to Holder combined to make for an incredibly tense and emotional hour.  That Holder was visibly distressed about her abduction, to the point of heedlessly acting on erroneous information from his plucky informant, made it all the more engaging.  The fact that we witnessed Saarsgard's first hint of real panic due to his impending execution was simply a bonus, and to cap it off, the episode concluded with the menacing flash of headlights, presumably from the killer's car, bearing down upon Bullet, arguably the character at the heart of the season.  It was truly one of the finest hours of television I've seen in a long while, and certainly the best that has come from The Killing.  It might even be worth slogging through the first two seasons just to get to this one.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I'm obsessed

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I'm racing through the second season and already eagerly anticipating the fall premiere.

a garlic-scented ear

Tonight I decided to improvise and create a raw tomato sauce, of sorts, in order to take advantage of my aforementioned ridiculously productive tomato plants.  It wasn't perfect, but it made for a tasty, healthy dinner, with the added bonus of being able to feel virtuous for using up my own crop.

After gathering a colander full of tomatoes, which took a while because the little guy occasionally needed a sample, I set a pot of water on to boil for pasta.  Once I tossed in the best option from my pantry, a whole wheat penne, I sautéed a couple of minced garlic cloves in olive oil just until they were toasty and brown.  I poured the infused oil over the tomatoes and added a generous sprinkle of sea salt, as well as some finely chopped basil.  Before I drained the pasta, I scooped out a cupful of the pasta water.  As soon as the pasta was done, I dumped the entire bowl of tomatoes into the now empty pasta pot.  I salted the tomatoes again and poured the starchy pasta water over the tomatoes, swirling it together with the garlic oil, and then tossed the whole mixture with the penne.  For a finishing touch, I grated over a handful of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano.  Yes, I can see how it might seem a bit much for me to spell out the entire name of my version of Parmesan, but it's honestly all I use.  You can thank Rachael Ray.

All in all, I was pleased, but there was definitely room for improvement.  For one, I think it might have been better to halve the tomatoes-there would have been a "saucier" effect.  It might also have been nice to cook them a bit with the oil.  Then there would have been the completely irresistible effect of hot, bursting cherry tomatoes.  Either way, there are plenty of other opportunities for me to try to make things better-my tomatoes aren't going away.

Even though I wasn't 100% in love with my raw cherry tomato sauce, my little A thought it was great. He happily plowed through his plate of pasta and spinach tonight in the shortest time span imaginable, asking for more when he was finished.  After his bath, as I was getting ready to brush his teeth and we were having a cozy little nuzzle, I noticed the particularly strong smell of garlic.  Thinking it must have been my hands, I immediately gave them a good scrub, but the smell didn't go away.  I then thought to take a closer look at A's head, which I had been showering with kisses, and that's when I noticed a tiny shard of toasted garlic, tucked right behind his ear.  Is it weird that it was an incredibly proud moment for me?  I know we've been blessed with a good little eater, but lately we've discovered that he's just like anyone else-once he discovers the treats he likes (cookies, chips, etc.), he will eagerly seek them out, even at meal time, turning down what he doesn't want as much.  I'm very happy that he found my impulsive tomato sauce appealing.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

what we've been doing

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Yesterday my little guy turned 2, which is both heartbreaking and exciting.  We've been doing lots of celebrating around here-honestly, it's been a little too much for him.  There have been a lot of tears and tantrums, which is why I am so glad that today, the day of his actual birthday party, turned out wonderfully. We're pretty sure it was one of the best days of his life.

Be back soon...

Monday, July 1, 2013

taking a little break

Monday, July 1, 2013

Tonight I'm going to take a little blogging rest.  I managed to get through June with a post EVERY day, and while there were a few trailers and picture posts, most had at least a little substance. I'm not sure how I will tackle July-my thesis continues to loom, and A will turn TWO in just a few short days, so there will be lots of prep and celebrating going on around here. I hope to be fairly consistent-it's been a refreshing change for me, writing a little something that's not school-related and just for fun.

I'm leaving you with a photo of one of A's new favorite activities: playing with the muffin tin.  He has a set of wooden fruit that can be halved (from Melissa and Doug, where else?) and he loves to put the pieces in the muffin tin compartments.  There's a whole world of muffin tin activities out there, actually, so I'm excited that he's figured out that such a simple household item can be fun.

Happy July to all....