Between The Cuts: MINDHUNTER Season 2 Episode 4

A Killer in Plain Sight

Just a few days prior Agent Gregg Smith found himself being berated and humiliated by a group of 11-year-olds as he participated in Holden’s experiment to try and determine a potential profile for the person responsible for the kidnappings and murders of the children of Atlanta, but no matter how embarrassing all of that was for Agent Smith, it’s nothing compared to the confusion and insecurity he finds himself drowning in inside a prison in Huntsville, Texas. If not for the life raft Doctor Carr represented, Gregg would be lost at sea as the prisoner that sits across from him creates another tidal wave that pushes the agent further out into deeper waters.

Elmer Wayne Henley Jr., a 24-year-old destined to spend the rest of his life behind bars for recruiting his fellow high school classmates to be the next victim of his associate, Dean Corll, AKA The Candy Man. All in all 28 young males were murdered before Henley would murder Corll and alert the police as to what had happened. It seems all the coercing Henley did to lure young men to their deaths was merely practice as he now toyed with Agent Gregg.

Perhaps she realized that her only weapon to pierce Henley’s armor was with own her vulnerability or Doctor Carr was just so desperate to prove a point after she felt disrespected by Director Gunn before leaving for the interview that was she willing to do anything which ultimately results in the typically closed off Doctor telling Henley a familiar story of a past love, an older woman, that took advantage of her and made her feel the same way that Henley was made to feel by The Candy Man. It’s with this desperate leap of faith that the two agents get what they want out of the interview but as the two drive away and Gregg applauds Doctor Carr on her “performance,” it quickly becomes obvious that while Gregg may be book-smart, when it comes to recognizing things that are right in front of him, he’s clueless.

Before all of this though, Holden found himself still obsessing over the Atlanta case, even managing to gain an audience with Director Gunn. Unfortunately, though, all Holden has are his instincts which leads to the profile of a black man in his late twenties that lives in a city that is heavily populated by black men… not much to go off of. At first, Gunn informs the team that they should keep an eye on the case but that it’s below their station, but that all changes once a young boy from Atlanta is kidnapped and held for ransom making it a federal issue. Now with a way in, Holden jumps at the case, bringing Bill along with him. Sadly for Bill though, the trip won’t last long. Shortly after arriving in Atlanta, Bill receives a phone call from his wife who is beside herself as she informs her husband that the police want to talk to their son.

With Bill gone, the Holden and Jim Barney show starts up again. Walking into the make-shift building where some of the Atlanta P.D. is set up to work on a few of the cases, it’s quickly apparent that Barney and anyone interested in making a difference just isn’t getting the help and support they need. On top of that, after a brief conversation with one of the other officers, it seems that no one wants to take any of this serious. A child is kidnapped and held for ransom, yet no one seems to be concerned.

While the team still attempts to get set up in Atlanta, they receive a surprise visit from the Mayor. Though he states that he’s mostly there to talk to Agent Barney, once he learns of Holden and Bill who was still there at the time of his arrival, he quickly turns his attention to them. Unfortunately for the Mayor, he finds himself trapped in Holden’s web of theories about the Atlanta child killer. While the rest of the room, Bill included, think that what Holden’s saying is scattered, the Mayor seems enthralled. Even when he’s told about the profile of the killer that Holden has worked up, he doesn’t laugh, he’s intrigued. What seemed like a disaster waiting to happen turned into a positive. Who knows, maybe this rundown facility that Barney is having to use might get some support from the city afterall…

Even if you haven’t seen the episode, it’s clear where things are going though. After sitting with the Mother of the kidnapped boy for several hours, there’s never a follow-up call by the kidnapper… her son is gone. Oddly, while they continue to wait, the Mayor’s car pulls up and after having a brief conversation with the mother, he pulls Holden and Jim outside to inform them that Holden was right. This wasn’t a kidnapping and because of that, the F.B.I no longer has jurisdiction in Atlanta. Just like that, all the work that Holden was expecting to put in, all the promises he planned on keeping for the women of Atlanta that begged him to help find justice for their children were all gone. It seems the Mayor agrees that there is a killer in his city and the last thing he wants is for word to make the news that the F.B.I is on the case of a child killer.

Speaking of a child killer, we still have the mystery of the young boy killed not too far from Bill’s home and with him arriving back to his wife the truth starts to appear. As she falls into his arms, tears streaming down her face, she tells him everything. Their son, Bryan, overheard the police asking her questions and that was when he interrupted the conversation and told them about the murder. He was there, with the older boys that he plays with at church. He told them to bring the body back to the house… he told them that it was his idea to but the baby on the cross.

All the signs were there, but I missed them. I thought about who the killer could be and I missed all of the signs. With the clues of Kemper wanting to talk to the police about the murders, I thought it was one of the adults that were shown at Bill’s BBQ that we saw earlier in the year. They were so interested in the cases, but there was more evidence and I didn’t see any of it. Now, Bryan didn’t kill this little boy but there were obvious signs that we should have suspected him from day one but because I didn’t think the show would go in that direction, I didn’t think it was him, but between the bed wetting, the religious fascination that we saw at the beginning of the season, as well as his awkward standoffishness that we saw exhibited in season one, all signs pointed to him but I never suspected.

It’s with this realization of Bryan’s involvement that Bill and his wife embrace in horror at the news. Even typically stonewall faced Bill’s expression cracks at the news. I don’t know what the future holds for Bill and his family but moving forward, things will never be the same. As for the killers of the little boy, I honestly don’t know if there’s more to that story moving forward but it’s important to remember that Bill’s wife only mentions the older boys that Bryan plays with, but we distinctively heard mention that there were shoe prints in the house that belonged to both children and adults. Do these adult shoe prints belong to one of the older kids, possibly, but moving forward, nothing can be ruled out.

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