Sarah spends the day assuming that Jack is just playing sick to avoid an algebra test, but of course he's at death's door, so when she finally comes to check on him, Jack's dad Greg is sitting there in the dark expressing concern about her life, their child and her entire concept of parenting. To assume this goes anywhere other than directly into the crapper is to admit one doesn't know Sarah Linden very well.
After a long day of Belko nightmares, biological tragedies, wheelchair awkwardness and yet more pretty ladies feeling sorry for him, Councilman Richmond is at low tide. Luckily, Plucky Young Jamie pulls some strings at the DA's office and learns the truth: That somebody, obviously the Mayor, was behind the faked photos that got Darren arrested, released from jail, shot and paralyzed all in the space of about twenty minutes. Finally reinvigorated, Richmond takes up the cowl -- and Jamie's only too happy to get back into his Robin costume.
Outside town, Mitch's ghostly girl turns out to be very real: A fistful of angry facial piercings and bad choices named Tina. After some pretty sad conversations and emotional keepaway, Mitch decides to save Tina from her own daughter's fate... Becoming the most appealing and graceful she's been in the history of this show.
And it couldn't happen at a better time, because the nuke dropped at the end of the hour sort of radically recontextualizes everything that's happened so far: After they find him hiding at Monica's house, Alexi lawyers up, gets out of the police station and heads back to Babka's... But in fact he's just baiting Holder so that he can kidnap him for secret meeting with Sarah, in which he tells them the big secret that sent Rosie off the deep end in the first place: Stan wasn't even Rosie's father.
Stan learns that his charges in the Ahmet case have been dropped, but he won't be pleading out: He's facing three or more years for assault, etc. This -- along with the sight of the son of the man he murdered -- causes him to go crazy in a new way, and he seeks comfort in Terry's arms. But she's too busy feeling weird about their cohabitation, getting shit from her parents and strange calls from her old johns, to even really deal with much beyond the starkly depressing fact of that. So she bounces, out into a black towncar that may well belong to...
The real murderer, as described by Alexi. Turns out he abandoned the Ogi Jun thing early on after coming to care for Rosie, and was her ride to the ferry on Fridays when it was time for her to do her secret things at the Casino, because he wanted her to be safe. At least once there was a towncar that worried her, but that's all he knows, and then from the night of her death, we get a voicemail that expressly lets him off the hook and brings out this whole relationship: She called him, scared, from an unknown location, but by the time he got to the dock she was gone.
We're not quite done with Alexi -- after all, he still needs to yell at Stan for killing his dad and leaving him with old Monica and thence the CPS -- but this twist about the parentage seems both fresh and oddly obvious at the same time. One thing I don't think I would have anticipated is anything really bizarre or secretive coming up with the Larsens after all this time, so it's exciting just by existing: They've always been technically as interesting and complex as the other leads, but necessarily trapped in stasis by the facts of their claustrophobic storyline. Once Mitch comes home -- probably with her horrible surrogate hooker daughter in tow -- the Larsen marriage is going to look completely different in every way. Which is, I think, a very good thing. God knows it was nice to see Mitch smile, even once.
The mystery was solved! Rosie Larsen was murdered by youthful thuggaroo Alexi Michaelski-Giffords -- whose own birth father was murdered by Stan Larsen years ago -- and we can all go home.
Just kidding, don't be silly.
A creeping creepster creeps through the hallways of City Councilman Darren Richmond, well after visiting hours are over. Methinks he does not have good choices in mind -- or else it's Jamie, returning after leaving minutes ago, to say he was just bein' crazy and of course he will remain Richmond's devoted valet. But what's this? That worn black Target hoodie isn't something Jamie would ever wear! He knows better than any of us that he's a summer.
So who could it be? Why, I bet it's wonderful old Belko Royce, who shot Darren in the middle of his adorable yet sad killing spree, and this is just a dream-mirage of post-trauma. Perhaps Darren's first, considering he's been in some kind of a drugged-out haze for most of the season and his brain probably hasn't Maszlowed itself all the way to freaking out about getting shot yet. Darren's dreams, they are not happy usually, because his life has been -- like all characters on this show -- a nonstop experiment in the macabre pageantry of misery and paralysis and grief.
But this one is particular is stressful, as Belko enters his hospital room with an insane rictus grin on his usually beautiful face, and then shoots him approximately 137 times in the abdomen. Be careful, Darren! If you die in your dream, you will totally wake up dead in your real life. I learned that in Science.
Linden & Holder: "So the idea is that Ogi Jun was going to stalk and murder Stan himself, as in the comic book, from three houses down -- but then he met Rosie and thought, why not kill what's most precious to him instead? Leave Stan twisting on the rotisserie of Mitch's resentment until everybody is about to commit suicide, and then drop off the bloody backpack! Aftershock!"
Policeman: "Linden, I brought you guys some coffee..."
Linden: "Coworker, avert your eyes from our doings and relinquish the caffeine delivery system. We are investigating in secret."
Policeman: "I'm totally cool with you acting like that."
Holder: "Maybe people will think that we are in love and fucking in here with all these pictures of a little dead girl, and that's why you flaked on your boyfriend for thirteen episodes in a row. Not because you are mentally ill, but because of my junkie lovin'."
Linden: "That seems unrealistic, Coworker. Given how obviously crazy I am."