'Mindhunter' - "Episode 8" Recap & Review

Up to this point in the series, Mindhunter has been fairly straight forward in its characterizations. If Holden sees a suspect in a certain light, you can trust that is who they truly are. Benjamin was a weak and jealous man who wanted to assert his dominance over a woman who “wronged” him. Frank was a family man with violent tendencies who falls back on his old ways when pushed. When it comes to murders, the perpetrator is always wrong. But what happens when the case isn’t so simple? It’s this grey area that “episode 8” focuses on with perfection.

Early in the episode, Holden gets a massive ego boost by finally getting convicted murderer Jerry Brudos (Happy Anderson) to open up about his crimes. Brudos maintains his innocence, but explains through a “hypothetical” conversation what the killer might have been thinking. It’s like O.J.’s “If I Did It” come to life. Unfortunately, the more success Holden has, the cockier he becomes. This will get him into trouble by episode’s end.

Holden spends the majority of the episode at an elementary school, teaching the class to look out for “disturbed” kids, like ones who are mean to animals. If the unit can detect signs of deviancy at an early age, maybe they could prevent the rise of sequence killers. While at the school, Holden learns that the principal, Roger Wade (Marc Kudisch), deals with disobedient students by tickling their feet and giving them a nickel. This has caught the attention of several staff members and parents who find the behavior inappropriate. There’s a lot of back and forth over whether or not to pursue this case, including a timely “as a father of two daughters…” response. Ultimately, against the judgement of literally everyone around him, Holden decides to act against Principal Wade. He fears that the tickling is just a gateway to something much more serious. This eventually leads to Wade’s termination. Holden’s superiors are understandably frustrated that he has involved the FBI in a scenario that doesn’t even break any laws. Holden is reprimanded, and even a bit unsure if he made the right decision.

Holden’s problems extend to his personal life, where his obsessiveness leads him to pay an uninvited visit to Debbie at her class. He catches her in what appears to be an intimate embrace with her project partner. 

Holden Ford is a man so confident in his work, that he is getting tunnel vision. He’s so focused on reaching the right destination that he doesn’t realize he’s running everyone over on his way there. By the end of the episode, he’s begun to lose the trust of his colleagues. Holden thinks he’s got the criminal mind figured out. If only he could figure out the mind of everyone else.