As Reddick circles Holder and Linden, Kyle comes head to head with the truth about his family's murder.
D-Day: With Skinner’s body and the bodies of his victims uncovered, Linden surveys the wreckage she hath wrought. As Holder looks on, she makes her way toward Skinner’s body bag and lifts it to really take in the ghastly truth. Her expression settles into some combination of resignation, resolution, and nausea.
Reddick joins the medical examiner, who blithely notes that the victims might take a while to ID since they’d gone undiscovered so long. Or, as he puts it, “there’d be less animal activity—they might still have their faces.” Thanks for the graphic description, buddy. Reddick pays particular attention to Skinner’s case, demanding a personal copy of the autopsy findings. Believing Reddick only has circumstantial evidence, Linden coaches Holder that their best defense is to stay strong and stay on the same page. Just a thought: She would be smart not to be game-planning her murder defense just yards away from the man investigating her.
Their caucus is interrupted when Holder recognizes Kallie’s earring and realizes it’s her body on the stretcher right next to them. Soon after, Skinner’s wailing daughter barges into the morgue. Linden escapes the latter by going guns-blazing to St. George’s. Colonel Rayne knows Linden has no leg to stand on and accuses her of being an emotional woman. Linden goes to the SPD stock her arsenal, and Holder rattles off evidence that Philip Stansbury and Rayne were having an affair. Linden is ready to re-storm the castle, but their warrant has been denied. All jacked-up and nowhere to go, Linden storms Caroline’s office instead. Like Holder with Knopf’s mom, Linden is completely inappropriate—pretty much the last thing Holder needs after the “big deal” bust-up with his sister.
Back in the precinct parking lot, tensions are high as Holder tells Linden to slow her roll and stop ticking off people who can help them. Linden is in crisis mode (any crisis will do!) so she takes off. Holder gets out in time to see Danette Leeds, Kallie’s mom. Delusional as ever, she wants to see her daughter and say goodbye. Holder tries to kid-glove it, but she’s an uncomprehending wastoid who won’t take no for an answer. He finally crumbles under the pressure, mentions Kallie’s mangled face (or lack thereof), and grabs Danette’s arm to drag her inside. She resists, but it has to be one of Holder’s lowest points—and, between the addiction, drug-pushing to children, and bridge freak-outs, there have been many.
NEXT: Reddick drops a few truth bombs
Inside, Reddick cockily enters Linden’s office to lay out his (100 percent accurate) theory about Skinner’s death. After Reddick’s play-by-play of the last, say, 120 hours of her life, Linden takes it all in and finally says, “I’ve misjudged you.” Oh, but wait for it. She continues, “You’re even more incompetent than I thought. Because if you had anything more than this f—ed-up, made-up story, I’d be in cuffs right now.” Her face is positively hollowed-out, and her smile has the wry curl of a demonic Mona Lisa. Well-played, Mireille Enos. Reddick leans in with an arrogant smile and promises one of their mistakes will give him the edge. For starters, he says, the only reason he dredged the lake was because Holder confessed at the NA meeting. Linden maintains her defiant expression throughout, even as Reddick adds, “It’s always the one with the conscience.” Burn! After Reddick leaves, Linden allows herself to collapse. Just a little.
At St. George’s, Kyle takes the advice of Knopf (you know, because he’s so trustworthy) and investigates Fielding’s room, where he finds the same floor plan of Casa Stansbury that was on his own desk the night before.
Meanwhile, Holder clutches one of the baby shoes he bought at the grocery store as Caroline fills him in on the warrant-denying judge’s St. George connection. She schools him on judicial politics and urges him not to risk his career and their life together for a case. In the end, that’s not necessary: Rayne shows up and consents for the SPD to search her car. While that happens, Sarah flips the script Rayne so enjoys, telling the Colonel, “I know women like you, alone in the world….” Holder is coarser: “Hell hath no fury like a crazy, psycho bitch.”
Once the sweep of Rayne’s car comes up empty (what do you know, she recently had it reupholstered), she provides her whereabouts on the night of the murders (turns out that dance instructor instructs her on and off the floor) before Linden starts digging into the details of her discharge. On the record, it was an honorable discharge, but Linden knows Rayne was responsible for the death of a man and his toddler son. She asks coldly, “What was it like, watching them die?” Rayne questions whether Linden has ever even fired her gun—oh, if she only knew! Linden remains silent. “A soldier doesn’t have the luxury of hindsight,” Rayne asserts. It’s amazing how intensely these women think they have each other nailed, how they dance around each other doing once-overs, and yet how they’re perpetually too blinded by their own biases and experiences (and, perhaps, by their own similarities) to ever really land a punch.
NEXT: Linden makes amends
As Linden senses the walls closing she, she begins to settle up her affairs. She heads to her biological mother’s house to ask if she’ll care for Jack if anything happens. As Linden appraises the pictures on the mantel, she notices one of the two of them from Linden’s childhood. The women reminisce about one of their last, best days together before Linden was taken away: Hand-in-hand, they went to several parades (young Linden loved parades), and Linden’s mother bought her a red pinwheel that resembled both of their fiery hair. As night descended and the crowd got thicker, Linden lost the pinwheel… then she lost her mother’s hand. It was a symbolic moment since Linden’s mother gave her away not long after. This act of retelling the story is cathartic for both of them. It’s not exactly a total reconciliation—they do not embrace (or even hold hands); in fact, Linden stays just far enough away to evade her mother’s touch as she walks out the door. Still, they seemed to have achieved some sense of peace as they part ways.
Holder and Linden visit Rayne’s dance instructor, Charles Ross, to follow up on her alibi. Long story short, they’re cuddle buddies. But the real heart of this scene lies in the pop-culture one-liners Holder slips into the conversation: “Come on, Chuck, everybody’s seen Dirty Dancing,” and “That’s it? G.I. Jane just wants a hug?” Ross also explains that Margaret had lost a child. (Whether that child was hers or the one for whose death she was responsible remains unclear.)
Speaking of children, Linden arrives home to overhear Jack talking to his girlfriend, admitting that hasn’t actually been booted from his dad’s house but that he only came to Seattle so Linden wouldn’t be sad and alone. In turn, that makes her realize how sad and alone she really is… and also puts the shoe on the other foot in her analysis of Rayne.
Back at St. George’s, Kyle notices some black ropes on the doors during Family Day. One of the other cadets mentions a secret meeting that night, and it strikes a nerve. Kyle approaches Knopf to mention that he saw the same rope on his door the afternoon before his family was murdered. Knopf refuses to answer his questions but flees to Rayne’s house, where he finds Fielding, who declares, “The plan’s falling apart.” In not so many words, Knopf and Fielding cop to being involved in the Stansbury murders (Fielding, in particular, admits to recovering the gun detectives were unable to find). They say they’ve followed Rayne’s plans to the letter, but now it’s time to find out what Kyle remembers. Rayne goes level-10 mama bear on Fielding, telling him not to touch Kyle. He says, “You’re getting soft, Colonel, and frankly you’re coddling that little s—.” Whap! She smacks him across the face—and without even singing a nursery rhyme.
NEXT: Kyle remembers that night
Cut to yet more bickering and blame-throwing between Linden and Holder. It gets really personal: Linden calls Holder a junkie who’ll be an awful dad. Holder reminds Linden that she actually is a terrible parent, since she forgot she’s supposed to take Jack to the airport. The exchange ends on this awful note from Holder: “I’m the one who’s f—ed up? The only people you care about are dead.”
With one exception: Linden takes Jack to the airport, tells him to stay with his father, and gives him what’s far and away the single most uplifting speech of the series: “Grab every piece of life, every piece of it, and never be ashamed of anything because, no matter what happens to me, you were always my best thing.” Here’s when the embrace comes. With Linden and her biological mom, it would have felt hokey. With Linden and Jack, it feels necessary.
Times aren’t so great for Holder, who has a double whammy of a monastery flip-out followed by Reddick cornering him in the bathroom. Reddick plays his former partner like a fiddle, hitting the same notes he did with Linden—but pinning his instinct to dredge the lake on Skinner’s wife spotting Linden at the lake house. “Linden is bringing you down, man,” he says. “You want to tell your side of the story? … I can help you.” He offers Holder a deal, saying, “This is your chance to dig yourself out of your grave—protect your kid, your family.”
It’s midnight at St. George’s; the
Reaping weird half-naked-boy ambush begins. The cadets, led by Fielding and Knopf, encircle Kyle and slide a picture of him with his mother near his knees on the ground. He flashes back to the last time he was in that position, when his classmates’ bizarro Oedipal masturbation ritual devolved into chants of “Kill [your mother]! Kill her!” Kyle flees the latrine and makes a beeline for Rayne’s house. After promising to help him, she steps away just long enough for him to notice a row of military figures just like the ones his father gave him.
Confused and scared, Kyle pulls a gun on Rayne. She manages to talk him down briefly before he shoves her on the floor and runs out of the house. Bad move. As he sprints through the woods, bullets chase him. Whose bullets? Trained snipers Field and Knopf, of course.