“A Soundless Echo” was a bit of a surprise. It finally put to rest a few of the problems that have been plaguing The Killing since day one, but it also exacerbated other problems that could prove to be even more irritating than the ones it solved.

First off, I’d like to commend the producers/directors/editors for finally cutting back on that stupid, annoying rain. They also got the sounds levels right, and I was actually able to the hear the characters talk on the few occasions that it did rain. On the other hand, since scenes aren’t filmed in the order in which they air, there were times when the presence or absence of rain threw off the timeline. Hopefully, the powers that be get a better handle of filming around the weather.

“A Soundless Echo” also got rid of some of the annoying aspects of the score. It was no longer used to generate false emotion, but rather to accentuate various scenes. As a result, the background music was a lot less distracting this time around.

Also improved this time around: making the Larsens’ grieving process relevant to the rest of the show. It continued to drag the rest of the show down, and I think I’ve had enough of watching Mitch cry, but at least her meetings with Sterling and Bennet tied into the murder investigation. On the other hand, I have no clue what the hell is going on with Stan or why he was able to get money from some guy who wasn’t “family.” Just more “WTF?” to maintain viewer interest, I guess.

Unfortunately, this episode introduced a couple of new problems that could become dealbreakers as the show progresses. “A Soundless Echo” kept Holder and Linden apart, and what they did on their own wasn’t particularly compelling. Crime solvers are almost always more entertaining to watch in pairs. Worse still, Holder spent about half the episode on a bus. (Maybe buses in Seattle have four-hour routes, but where I’m from, the schedules are considerably shorter.) The problem is that if Holder is stuck on a bus, he isn’t solving crimes, and the plot isn’t progressing.

In fact, nothing happened for most of this episode. The sex tape was proven to be a red herring, the show meandered for a good half hour or so, and then boom! A bunch of revelations at the end. The writers need to pace the individual episodes better instead of saving all the twists for the last five minutes. And really, the twists couldn’t have been more predictable if Bennet had a giant neon sign floating over his head. I guess this means he isn’t the killer because it’s way too early in the game for that.

Overall, “A Soundless Echo” wasn’t as strong as the previous two episodes, but it was nonetheless a decent hour of television. Here’s hoping that things pick up a bit in the coming weeks.