‘Mindhunter’ Review: Season 2 Is a Magnum Opus on White Guilt

IndieWire | 8/18/2019 | Staff
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While fully utilizing David Fincher’s icy aesthetic and featuring just enough creepy prison visits to satiate expectations, “Mindhunter” makes a lot of savvy changes in Season 2. Most noticeable (and necessary) is a protagonist switch, as Holt McCallany’s endearing buzzcut of a cop, Bill Tench, takes center stage over the single-minded know-it-all Holden Ford, played with a curiosity-invoking detachment by Jonathon Groff. That early shift sets up more to come, as the research-based behavioral analysis seen in Season 1 gets pushed into early field testing in Season 2. The BTK Killer (Sonny Valicenti) looms over the series yet again — like a big bad in training who, instead of lifting weights or recruiting an army, practices autoerotic asphyxiation in a doll mask — but these nine episodes examine how public scrutiny and systemic political issues can tarnish noble intentions.

Or, in a nutshell, “Mindhunter” Season 2 is about how white cops’ racial blindspots legitimized racial profiling on a national level. And, despite seeing another story of black tragedy told from a white perspective, it’s very, very good.

Season - Bit - Fake-out - Encounter - Ed

The season starts with a bit of an unnecessary fake-out. After an unsettling encounter with Ed Kemper (Cameron Britton), Holden is first shown waking up in a hospital, his hands and feet restrained as doctors rush in to put him back under sedation. It appears his panic attack is more than a panic attack — like it could be a full-on nervous breakdown, or worse — but then it turns out to be just a series of panic attacks. “Mindhunter” never really comes back to this after the first few episodes, though one could argue Holden’s journey in Season 2 is the same as Season 1, sans the dramatic breakdown: He stubbornly implements his policy, follows it through to a “successful” close, and then is...
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