Not because of the new murder story, which was excellent in its own right, with all kinds of brutal twists and turns. With a much shorter arc than the earlier murders in this series, this one - about a family execution with only the son surviving - had to be tighter, and it was.
But the part of season 4 of The Killing which will make it, and the whole series, something which will be watched and remembered through the ages was the Linden and Holder story. Part of that is the continuation of the Skinner story from Season 3. But the even more important part is the toll that takes on Linden and Holder, and the aftermath. Don't worry, I won't give anything specific away. But if you'd rather not get any inkling that even a generality can give, don't read any further.
First and foremost, the ending was something I often want to see in a television series, but never do, because most television is afraid to deal with the realities of human nature, ugly, beautiful, destructive, redeeming, and all together. The final season shows Linden and Holder at their best and worst. They support each other magnificently when one or the other is down, and they turn on each other like nearly rabid dogs when the going gets impossibly tough. They're both deeply flawed but brilliant. And the kicker is they're brilliant not only as detectives, but in their understanding of human relationships, often occluded but always on the verge of breaking through.
The last 10 minutes of the very last episode are like nothing I've ever seen on television - hell, that's true of the last 50 or more minutes, but the last ten are something else. If you think you'll know how this is going to end, I promise that you don't, unless you have even more sensitivity than Linden and Holder in their best moments.
And, by the way, all six episodes are superbly acted. Joel Kinnaman is better than ever, and Mireille Enos is never anything short of fabulous (hey, she was even the best part of that big bad Schwarzenegger movie earlier this year). Joan Allen puts in a strong performance, and Gregg Henry is excellent. And there are nods to events from the first three seasons - just what you'd want in a final season - including a crucial appearance from Richmond.
But most of all, as I already said, it's just great and uniquely satisfying to finally see a finale to a television series that in its very last seconds its right where you always wanted it to be.
See also The Killing 3.1-2: Poe Poetic Po-po ... The Killing 3.3: Hitchcockian Scene and More ... The Killing 3.7: "Opiate of the Masses" ... Killing 3.8: The Kidnapping, and a Prediction ... The Killing 3.9: Suspect Elimination and Incompatible Components ... The Killing 3.10: Capital Punishment ... The Killing Season 3 Finale: We Need Another Season
See also The Killing Season Two Premiere ... The Killing 2.2: Holder ... The Killing 2.11: Circling Back ... The Killing Season 2 Finale
And see also The Killing on AMC and The Killing 1.3: Early Suspects ... The Killing 1.5: Memorable Moments ... The Killing 1.6: The Teacher ... The Killing 1.8: The Teacher, Again ...The Killing 1.9: The Teacher as Victim, Again ... The Killing 1.10: Running Out of Suspects ... The Killing 1.11: Rosie's Missing - from the Story ... The Killing 1.12: Is Orpheus the Killer? ... The Killing 1.13: Stretching Television
another kind of crime story