Holder's bothered at first by the fact that Linden is "working his case," but once Adrian's painting -- now with identifiable landmarks -- leads her to the dumping ground for the sixteen victims of the killer, he's willing to join Skinner's taskforce to bring the guy down.
Skinner -- who confirms the affair we expected with Linden, although he seems surprised that his wife, along with the entire precinct, knows about it -- gives a great speech about how serial killers are never as interesting as you think they're going to be, and of course the whole thing has to stay quiet for now, since Ray Seward is about to be executed.
Not that we all work together perfectly, at first: Holder and Reddick spend the first half of the episode tracking down various hookers to find the missing Kallie Leeds, which brings them eventually to a post-traumatic Bullet, while Linden -- working on her own, of course, but now with a badge -- spends the day looking for Bullet on her own.
She meets Kallie's shitty mother Danette, who is of course no help at all, but mostly spends the episode staring into that uniquely Linden space we've come to know so well. She visits Adrian, the son of the killer's possible first victim, but only gets a few nowhere clues in response.
In the end, Holder's bond with Bullet helps them nail Goldie the pimp, who attacked Bullet last week, which yields an impressive amount of kiddie porn... But not an arrest that sticks, as far as putting Goldie away. In fact, the entire raid -- which takes most of the episode to conceive, set up and execute -- honestly just results in a chance for Holder to take up Bullet's cause and hope that it redeems them all. (Which of course it doesn't.)
In the end, Holder and Linden do discover a tape that puts Kallie at Goldie's house sometime after her "disappearance," but doesn't necessarily mean she's still alive. But without much trust in anybody, Bullet and Lyric (and a new, also gender-complex street kid) accompany Twitch to the swamplet where the bodies were found, which is suitably gruesome and sad to end the episode. Oh, and we finally get a half-decent look at taxi driver Joe Mills, whose connection to Kallie and general fascinating-ness belies his seemingly "benign" current role of "gross guy that get blowjobs from children but also wants them to dress warmly."
The ME confirms that the dead girls share broken fingers and the jewelry thing -- some of them, in fact, had their fingers cut off with that same decapitating knife -- but in some ways that just complicates things, considering everybody who's lost a daughter in the last three years is now showing up at the station looking for relief one way or the other. Mostly it just means Holder and Linden sitting around saying shit we already knew to each other, so we'll remember it moving forward.
Meanwhile, Ray gets slipped a razor blade in the prison shower, which he uses to seemingly attempt suicide but is almost assuredly another piece of drama bullshit. He's a joy to watch -- as is, always, our girl Bullet and obviously the leads -- but it's a quiet and unconnected situation that only seems intended to further cement his place as everybody's favorite thing in C Block.
All in all, a staid episode even by this show's standards, in which Holder's intuition about Bullet's personal connections to Goldie -- as her rapist and her friend's possible kidnapper -- seems like more of a step forward than anything that happens with the case. Somewhat lacking in the personal moments that are the show's high points, it seems mostly like moving pieces around. Which is always fine -- especially for a show that has trained us to expect very little excitement, over the maudlin and the meditative -- but means especially here that, by comparison, we'll see more fruit from these seeds next week than we've come to expect on average. All you really need is somebody looking at Linden like she's crazy, while doing exactly what she says, and this episode offers even more of that than usual.
Next Week: Holder's connection to Bullet once again dubious at best, the thin hope that Kallie Leeds is still alive somewhere keeps everybody from focusing on the project of identifying the sixteen dead girls we already know about for sure, which seems more and more likely to connect the dots for Linden than the Leeds case ever will. But the chance of getting forensic on the kiddie porn recovered from Goldie's house means another chance for our three leads to get ever deeper into each other's heads, which is after all while we are all here.
A year off after the Larsen case has put both partners into healthy new life situations, but we'll see how long that lasts. A fifteen-year-old hooker got her throat slashed, which led Holder and Linden in two directions simultaneously: Linden began following up on an old case that has defined a lot of her choices over the last several years, while Holder got embroiled in the lives of the monster's future victims. Solving the case could mean a pardon for the original suspect, the soon-to-be-executed Ray Seward; solving it quickly could mean salvation for Kallie Leeds, a missing homeless girl. In the end, a bunch of intuitive leaps and new info from unlikely places led Linden to the killer's dump site, where seventeen victims in total were found floating.
Holder: "Have you been standing here staring into space since last week?"
Linden: "I have been standing here staring into space, metaphorically speaking, since the day they found the body of Trisha Seward."
Holder: "PS, thank you for secretly taking over my high-profile murder case and not informing me and then breaking this latest thing and not informing me."
Linden: "I am just a civilian, human. A simple ferryman who has been thrown out of the police and into a mental hospital no less than eleven times for being simultaneously too good and too terrible at being the police. Basically I called the police so nobody would yell at me. And now you are yelling at me."
Everybody: "How did Sarah Linden find this place? Was it magic?"
Linden: "The magic of drawings."
Skinner: "Is that really all you have to say?"
Linden: "I am leaving out the part where I keep harassing a child to solve a murder we already solved. If that is what you mean. Adrian added a building to the drawing and since I had already memorized it due to being a crazy person, it created crazy-people GPS inside my mind."
Holder: "And the part where I came to your house to ask you for a box of evidence, including these drawings, and you lied and said there was no box?"
Linden: "I am leaving out that part, too. Have you not seen this show before, human."
Skinner is heading up a task force, which is how Linden will get back onto the show we are watching and, more importantly, will be able to form her spiritual Voltron with Stephen Holder that is 100 percent of the point of this show. This is the download: Seventeen bodies in an old retention pond west of the I-5 near SeaTac [which is an airport I think]. Always the same knife, because when you're this much of a creep you tend to go hard. Possibly other dump sites, but that seems like overkill. All females, twelve and up, because yikes. The warehouse where they found Ashley Kwon's body was like half a mile away.