The killer show Mindhunter is finally back on Netflix with it’s second season that arguably cuts one of the most psychological studies ever put to tv.
Throughout this, I’ll be breaking down everything that you need to know about Season 2 and it’s ending.
There will be heavy spoilers here, so if you haven’t had a chance to watch Mindhunter yet and don’t want to know what happens then I highly recommend that you turn off now.
With that out the way, thanks for clicking this video, now let’s get into my breakdown of Mindhunter Season 2.
MindHunter Season 1 Recap
The first season of Mindhunter followed Holden Ford and Bill Tench as they slowly established the behavioral science unit that the compulsions that created serial killers by interviewing them directly.
The work was shunned early on but after solving several cases through using the insight gained from the offenders, they were able to slowly build profiles that defined killers whilst also gaining backing from institutions.
However, Holden found himself slowly alienating the other parts of his life due to the fascination of the killers and in the final episode, he found himself isolated and almost on a friendship level with the people he was studying. He lost his girlfriend, arrogantly stormed out of meetings and seemed to be approaching the dark side. This came to a head when Edmund Kemper, the most infamous killer of the first season hugged him, said they were friends and sent him into a panic attack.
Mindhunter Season Two Plot Recap
Juxtaposing season 1, due to a new director, The FBI is far more accepting of the studies and even go so far to make them standard practice in the department. However, that doesn’t mean its all plain sailing as it’s clearly stated that this change-up is due to Holden’s actions in the first season.
After his panic attack, we start to think that the work may be having a negative effect on Holden’s health. This experience and his somewhat fall from grace humbles Holden but there’s still a fascination that exists there with the macabre. It’s very much a case of if you gaze into the abyss the abyss gazes back and the dangers in this season come from all directions. BTK gets an expanded role and becomes a huge focus early on, Son Of Sam pops up to offer insight, Charles Manson makes an unforgettable appearance and The Atlanta Child murders become a huge focus in the ongoing investigations.
The latter really drives season 2 and the Unit is called into investigating the brutal attacks themselves. There is a desperate attempt to draw the killer into the open in order to end the spree as quickly as possible.
The Atlanta Child Murders Real Life
The Atlanta murders themselves took place from 1979 all the way until 1981 and involved the deaths of at least 28 children and adults. This wave of crime forces Ford to create a controversial psychological profile of the killer that states he will be Black which doesn’t go down well. He surmises this due to his instincts but it’s brushed to the side because it could heighten the racial tensions in the area.
The season is a real breeze to watch and it has personal moments such as Wendy’s new love interest, which mirrors Holden’s in the first season and with Bills family, namely his adopted son Brian. These really elevate the show above your typical crime show and hammer home just how much of a burden this all is. The Show really discusses whether evil people are born that way or if it’s caused by environment and as a fan of psychoanalysis, it was thrilling from beginning to end.
Every character here gets a chance to shine and even agent Greg who in the prior season wasn’t a big player gets a bigger role here, showing how most normal people would deal with questioning a serial killer. The creative team absolutely nail the atmosphere and it really can’t be overstated how there is a noir feel to the entire work that really grounds it and leaves a feeling of unease for the majority of it’s run time.
It really can’t be overstated how much Damon Herriman nails Charles Manson and after his portrayal of the man in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, I think he’s pretty much cemented himself as the best person to ever play him.
It’s phenomenal and all of these add to the over-arcing Atlanta Murders and why they are able to catch the killer. Holden enacts a plan to turn the killer’s arrogance on himself and they control the media in order to force him into making a mistake and revealing himself. Things aren’t easy especially with anger from the civilians but the Holden sticks to his profile to drive the investigation and eventually they manage to track the killer down.
The murders are committed by Wayne Williams and the show depicts the real-life events of his capture as it happened. A bridge surveillance team stopped his car after hearing a large splash and after they discovered the excuse of why he was out that night, Cheryl Johnson, was completely fictitious, he became the main suspect.
After a body was found they were able to bring Williams in for questioning and after he failed three lie detector tests and fibers were found that linked him to the crime, he was taken in.
Real Life Differences
The show differs from this slightly as in that Holden discovers Wayne’s talent recruitment is actually a guise to hunt children with and through tracking the killer they are able to catch him. Williams didn’t taunt the characters as much and the investigation and it wasn’t due to a neighbor discussing how he is always up burning garbage that brought him down. Williams did hold a press conference at his home and was pretty arrogant throughout, even to this day he maintains his innocence.
It’s a thrilling finale and it expertly demonstrates the investigation that went into bringing Williams down as well as how difficult it was for the FBI’s new way of thinking to be accepted. The FBI return to unlike the end of the first season, glory and fame. It’s bittersweet however as you get the feeling that the children’s deaths may never be brought to justice and that the families will still have no answers as to what really happened.
Mindhunter Season 2 Ending Explained
It laces the show with the tone that Holden has created something he no longer controls and due to all of their obsessions with the work over what matters, every character seems to end with an unhappy close. Bill’s wife and son leave him and Holden sees that though the killer has been caught, there’s no solace for the family as even today Wayne has never been linked to the children’s deaths.
We close with BTK participating in self asphyxiation in a motel and this plays into my season 3 predictions.
Mindhunter Season 3 Predictions
Those who are aware of the case will know that BTK was not actually caught until the 2000s and with the show being primarily set in the latter part of the 20th century rather than at it’s close I think that he will be either teased throughout the next season as per the last two or we may even get a time jump to show how Bill has adjusted to life with his family and how Holden has gone on to become a huge success that is held in high regards even if he has doubts as to whether his work is doing all the right things that it should be.
BTK will, of course, play a huge villain but with the show rumored to be running for 5 seasons, I imagine that they may hold him off for a while, however due to the deadline that his capture presents, the show certainly will have to put at least some time jumps in place to bring it up to his eventual arrest.
I think the following season will still focus on his investigation but perhaps put other cases in place on the road to it. This season moved heavily away from interviews and more towards investigations by it’s close and I think that the third season may shift back to showcase more infamous killers such as Ted Bundy and the psychological insight that they provided.
Overall I’m really excited to see where the show goes and I found this season thrilling throughout and a massive improvement on the prior work. This dramatically balanced many aesthetics and pulled them all off which made for a brilliant watch.
I found Mindhunter Season 2 gripping and that’s why it gets a…