Mindhunter s02e08 – Episode 8

Do you know why Anna Torv got a girlfriend story arc this season? Why we’ve been getting to know Lauren Glazier since the first episode? Is it to give Torv some character development? Because… there isn’t any. I mean, not enough—given how all of the characters function when they’re at work—so not enough to matter. Not enough you couldn’t have removed Glazier’s scenes from every episode and it wouldn’t be any different in the end. The end being as “Mindhunter” intensifies the Atlanta Child Murder case; see, Hoyt McCallany and Jonathan Groff are really doing the first on the ground BSU consult. It’s “Criminal Minds: Year Zero.” And, you know, actually good. And also historical, which is its own thing.

There’s time in the episode for McCallany to go home and check in on wife Stacey Roca, who’s amazing this episode, and son Zachary Scott Ross, who speaks for the first time in what seems like seven episodes. There’s a nice bit of bonding between McCallany and Ross, maybe the first fatherly bit from workaholic McCallany; hopefully it’ll lead to more someday. It works well.

And Groff gets to check in with fetching Black girl Sierra Aylina McClain, possibly sending her the signals but who knows because Groff’s so weird. The most impressive thing about “Mindhunter,” this episode anyway, is how awesome a serial killer investigation movie they make. A “true” one. But it’s very interesting how they’ve kept Groff weird but also backed up the narrative distance on him; he doesn’t get to express his internal life this season. It’s weird. And they foreshadowed it in the second episode.

Maybe it’ll be part of the inevitable season-ending cliffhanger… just one left, after all.

It’s a fantastic hour of television, even if it does turn the second season of “Mindhunter” into a preamble for an awesome serial killer two-parter.

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Mindhunter s02e07 – Episode 7

I mean, it’s well-acted but this episode’s pretty blah for a “Mindhunter.” Nothing happens. We get more hints at character development for Jonathan Groff and Anna Torv but no actual character development. Meanwhile Holt McCallany spends the episode getting later and later from home to work and back again. Stacey Roca instead gets all the things to do on that subplot, one more suburban nightmare after another. Roca’s real good.

And at least Roca gets some attention while being good. June Carryl’s awesome as one of the victims’ moms and director Carl Franklin seemingly refuses to showcase her, whether it’s in a scene with Groff or a public speaking scene or in a big potential reaction shot. It’s very, very strange, especially since the script suggests she’s going to be the focus of that public speaking scene and then Franklin does whatever he can to minimize her. Literally; through long shot.

See, Groff’s come up with this great plan and he’s got to get Carryl’s buy-in on it. Except the great plan isn’t something the FBI is used to doing so there’s a bunch of bureaucracy and the episode skips through that bureaucracy, like it’s started skipping Friday evenings through Sundays—when McCallany is away from Groff—and catching up Monday morning.

With McCallany late, of course.

So McCallany’s character development is he’s late because like’s getting really busy lately. It doesn’t seem like a worthwhile subplot, but it’s a little more engaging than Torv’s ongoing problems with girlfriend Lauren Glazier. Torv’s approaching too strange for Glazier to deal with, which is too bad because their romance hasn’t been bad at all. They—writers, Franklin, Torv—just haven’t figured a way to make her still be likable when she’s being difficult. Not likable to the audience, but likable to Glazier. Torv should’ve already been dumped by now, given her behavior.

Mindhunter s02e05 – Episode 5

Not only does this episode bring back Ed Kemper (Cameron Britton who deserves all the Emmys) from Season One, who we haven’t seen since he gave Jonathan Groff a hug and sent Groff into a panic attack… it also brings in “Mindhunter”’s Charles Manson, played by Damon Herriman (who also plays Manson in Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood). They’ve been talking about Manson all season—it was actually part of the deal to get Holden (Groff) to play ball with the new FBI boss. And “Mindhunter,” unsurprisingly and inspiredly, nails the interview.

Maybe more than any other of the interviews—this season and last—the Manson one feels like “Mindhunter” flexing its muscles. It’s an assured sequence, tied into the problems in Holt McCallany’s home life. It also plays up Groff being a Manson fanboy. It also feels like a bit of a history lesson, what the country’s reaction to Manson was like back in the those days, when he was still an active celebrity. And with Groff then going on to interview one of the “Family,” in comes additional historical context, something “Mindhunter” usually only provides through the leads’ exposition.

THere’s also more of McCallany and Anna Torv playing responsible Mom and Dad to irresponsible kid Groff. McCallany and Torv are cute together—far cuter than McCallany and his wife Stacey Roca or Torv and girlfriend Lauren Glazier; no knocks to Roca or Glazier, however. It’s just McCallany and Torv minding Groff has talent the place of Groff’s love life, which almost feels missing this episode when Groff gets home to a sparsely furnished apartment and you realize the show hasn’t spent any time with him and then you realize it isn’t lacking for it. Giving McCallany and Torv the personal subplots is working out.

All around, a home run episode of “Mindhunter.” Real good.

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