Who Would Kill a Child?
With the voice of his crying wife still in his head, Bill makes his way to the home where Detective Spencer said he’d be. Arriving at the house he is greeted by the yard he never cut and an officer telling him this is a crime scene. After a brief introduction, the officer goes to get Spencer and once he arrives, Bill sees a man even more shaken up than when they first met. Spencer has been at the house all night, by the look of him, all he needs is a good night’s sleep, but because of what he’s seen, that may be hard to come by.
Perhaps it’s curiosity or maybe it’s the cry for help and comfort coming from Detective Spencer’s eyes, but before Bill knows it, he’s inside the house helping with the case. A mixture of footprints belonging to both children and adults greet them as they make their way to the basement stairs. It’s there, down in the basement where Bill sees why a detective like Spencer would be shaken so badly. The outline of a small child strapped to a cross lay on the floor.
With how awful everything is, perhaps it’s a good thing that Bill lied to Holden about having food poisoning. If Holden can handle his panic attacks like he claims than Bill is needed more at home than in Atlanta. Besides, once Holden arrives in Atlanta, he’s greeted by one of the smartest people the show has, Agent Jim Barney, the man that applied to work alongside Bill and Holden, but lost out to Gregg… not Quantico’s finest moment.
It’s during the opening meeting of Holden and Barney in the ‘famous’ Atlanta Airport that the camera noticeably pans up to show a banner of the then Mayor, Maynard Jackson. While I assumed based on this moment that Mayor Jackson could end up being a bit of an antagonist for anything that may occur in Atlanta, with a little reading, other than a few firings and hirings, I didn’t see anything to suggest this, so if the show does decide to go in that direction, from what I could find, it would be just to add some drama to the show.
While in Atlanta, Holden finds himself being pulled in two directions: one that he desperately wants to head towards out of compassion and the other being that he’s obligated to at least look at out of respect for Doctor Carr. For now, let’s just focus on the one that’s he obligated to which is interviewing killers William ‘Junior’ Pierce and William Henry Hance. Perhaps it’s the fact that Holden is more interested in interviewing bigger names like Manson or perhaps he’s been spoiled by talking to people like Kemper and Berkowitz that having to talk to two killers like Junior and Hance leave him bored and disinterested, either way, it’s made obvious that if not for Jim Barney, nothing of use would have been retrieved from these interviews.
A side note about the picture from the show (on the left) and the real life picture (on the right) is that it’s hilariously obvious that the picture from the show is just the actor’s head photoshopped over the real picture.
As we see later in the episode once Holden has come back from Atlanta, everyone notices his lack of interest during the interviews but between Doctor Carr, Bill, and even Gregg, the rest of the team find different connections in both of the killers’ actions that could provide useful information in the future. With Hance, it was noted earlier in the show that this would be the group’s first black serial killer and would help them write the profile on the subject, and now because of Barney’s decision to not give up like Holden did, the discussion of race not being a deciding factor, but rather something else that may connect them such as being soldiers. While Hance killed several black women, the one white woman he killed simply didn’t fit the mold and at first, their only conclusion had to be that it was a race thing, but when speaking to Hance it becomes obvious that he’s not thinking about what he’s doing when he kills. He’s just killing the people that are in his “world.” Be it the prostitutes in the bar that he frequents or the woman that lives on the same base that he does, that is what connects these killings, nothing more, nothing less.
As for ‘Junior,’ while Holden allows himself to get frustrated with a man that claims to know 7 languages, yet can barely even speak English, Barney uses the knowledge he has of the man to get him to talk. Whether intentional of the show or not, when we first meet Junior he’s outwardly racist towards Barney, he scowls at his presence and then even questions when the FBI started hiring black people, but by the end of the conversation, because Barney is giving Junior chocolates, they’re best friends. In my opinion, this represents Junior’s mindset of killing as well. He wants to be a classic killer, Bill even describes some of his killings as being like BTK, but for the most part, Junior just killed when things weren’t going the right way. Holden even jokes later that Junior killed someone because they called him an idiot. He’s a child trapped in a killer’s body. He wants to be special but he isn’t smart enough to be and if you call him a name that he doesn’t like, you’re dead.
As for the other direction that we see Holden being pulled in, it directly ties to the Atlanta child murders. We see hints of it early as Barney and Holden are driving through the city and Barney has to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting a group of children crossing the road. When asked if this is an “Atlanta thing,” Barney makes a comment to Holden about how the city doesn’t provide certain services to all neighborhoods. It’s later on that we discover that the children of the poorer parts of Atlanta are going missing and eventually being found dead and the parents of these children believe that the police and the city aren’t doing enough to help.
How Holden gets tied up in this mystery is quite possibly one of my favorite things the show has done. Arriving at this hotel, Holden talks to a pretty young woman at the front desk. While she checks him in, she learns of his profession. After awkwardly helping him to his room, she asks him out for dinner. Holden can’t believe his luck but says yes and gets ready for what he thinks is about to be a good time with a beautiful woman. Holden is so weird though, that I’m not sure what level of disappointment he feels once he realizes he’s been tricked into meeting three Mothers, all of whom have lost their children.
It’s after this meeting that Barney learns of what Holden has been up to and he decides to help by setting up a meeting with someone that’s “semi-retired,” that might be able to shed some light on what’s been going on. It’s during this meeting that Holden is told the truth about the city and what will have to happen for a connection to a serial killer to be made. When it comes to the city, they are experiencing a bit of an identity crisis. They’ve just become the first southern-city to elect a black mayor and some people are feeling a bit lost. The idea of a serial killer, let alone a child murderer, making the papers as the Mayor tries to bring in new (white) businesses to his city would be a disaster. The city already has one of the highest crime and murder rates in the country, the last thing it needs is something truly awful like this. Because of this, mothers are losing their children and never getting answers as to what has happened. For this to stop, for Holden to connect all of this to one killer, he’s going to need more bodies to be found.
And as episode three comes to an end with Doctor Carr finally getting the courage to ask out the cute bartender, I find myself being hit with a wave of relief. While I enjoy how scary and interesting all of the BTK scenes have been, I’ve grown increasingly frustrated with the fact that the show is decades away from ever catching this guy. Maybe that’s the point, maybe I’m supposed to feel this way, but when it comes to watching television, I still need to know that the show I’m watching has a purpose and now, we have two. Bill, though he isn’t telling anyone, is dealing with the murder that happened close to his home and now Holden finds himself wanting to help in some way with the children being murdered in Atlanta. While we know from the trailers for the show that Holden and Bill continue doing what they do best, interviewing crazy people, we now have real conflicts for both characters to deal with. While I know the end result of the child murders, I still can’t wait to see how Holden gets involved and I’m fairly certain that after episode 4, I’ll be able to put my detective hat on and try and figure out who’s responsible for the murder of that poor young baby.
One last thing, just as a personal note to anyone that has been reading this series, sorry for the delay. Some times life finds away to get in the way of a good time. I just want to let those who enjoy the series know that these will be coming out more frequently since I’m sure everyone but me has already finished watching season two. Starting next week, the schedule will be like my Ranking Robots series (please check it out if haven’t) which means that every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday a new article will be coming out.