'Mindhunter' - "Episode 3" Recap & Review

If “Episode Two” was proof of concept that the Mindhunter premise could work for the series, then “Episode Three” was proof of concept that Holden and Bill’s research could work practically. 

Holden and Bill’s studies are quickly gaining traction. A meeting with renowned author and researcher Dr. Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) is a huge confidence booster for the men. She tells them that the real world applications for their findings are far reaching and potentially life saving. Holden’s ears are especially perked when Carr mentions the potential for a book to come out of this. 

It’s with this surge of confidence that Holden and Bill take on a new case while off on their road school adventure. There’s been a small town string of beatings of elderly women and the killing of their dogs. In the pilot, Holden rejects a case due to the limited understanding of criminal psychology. Now, he is armed with support from a respected figure like Carr and the mind of a killer like Kemper. Holden and Bill are able to deduce that the perpetrator must have been abused by his mother, hated her dog, and love to talk to the police. They quickly find their man and return home victorious and vindicated. Needing all the help they can get, Dr. Carr is brought in by episode’s end to round out the team.

My main problem with this episode is how frustratingly easy the case of the week was to solve. Everything Kemper told Holden related perfectly to this case. The local cops were immediately able to point out the most talkative suspect. The suspect had a clearly abusive mother, and in case you still weren’t convinced, the camera made sure to focus on a bowl of dog food inside the mother’s house. Every single decision made by the writers and director telegraphed a very obvious outcome that felt far too easy to be even remotely satisfying. 

At the end of the day, Mindhunter isn’t about solving whatever local case Holden and Bill come across during road school. Though it would be nice if their first major victory came across as more than a preordained win.