Netflix’s Mindhunter season 2, episode 4 recap

Photo: Mindhunter: Season 1.. Patrick Harbron/Netflix
Photo: Mindhunter: Season 1.. Patrick Harbron/Netflix /

Episode 204 of Netflix’s Mindhunter, Holden profiles the Atlanta child murderer, Wendy and Gregg interview Elmer Wayne Henley, Jr. and dark truths surround Tench’s son.

Previously on “Mindhunter,” Agent Tench (Holt McCallany) and his wife (Stacey Roca) dealt with a horrific murder close to home as Agent Ford (Jonathan Groff) learned about the Atlanta child murders. This episode starts in Atlanta, with Tench and his associates helping spread awareness of “stranger danger” to kids in the area (if you’re a kid, never get in the car with strangers, even if they offer you $2!). Assisting in these efforts is the FBI’s BSU agent, Gregg Smith (Joe Tuttle), who’s a little more prominent in this episode.

When they head back to their headquarters, Bill Tench and Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) don’t feel right about Ford’s ongoing involvement in the Atlanta cases. In fact, their boss, Ted Gunn (Michael Cerveris), seems more supportive, interested in hearing Ford’s initial profile. The theory? It’s a black male, mid-to-late 20s. It’s theorized that, in the area where the murders are occurring, a white killer would stand out like a sore thumb. While Dr. Carr says it’s not scientific, Gunn advises Ford to stay current with it.

The candy man’s apprentice

light. Related Story. Netflix’s Mindhunter season 2, episode 3 recap

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Mindhunter examines the twisted story of Dean Corll, AKA the Candy Man (or The Pied Piper). Though often overshadowed in fame by Bundy, Dahmer, Gacy, and others, he was the most notorious serial killer in the early 1970s. Corll had 28+ victims in Houston, Texas, by the time he was shot dead by his accomplice, Elmer Wayne Henley, Jr. (Robert Aramayo), on August 8, 1973. Corll’s other accomplice, David Brooks, is not portrayed in the episode, as they interview Elmer Wayne.

It’s believed that Corll’s nickname “The Candy Man” stems partly from his owning a candy factory and that he’d give candy out to neighborhood children. Basically, the guy was a nightmare come true for parents. Mindhunter suggests that “candy” was also a euphemism for drugs, which many young people are notorious for being interested in.   It’s also believed that Elmer Wayne was originally intended as a victim, but Corll took a liking to him, or maybe found thrills in having would-be victims assist him in targeting others (exerting control and dominance).

As Ford deals with a ransom call about a kidnapped kid named Earl Lee Terrell, there’s some discussion about the case between Gregg and Carr. Gregg slips up (by modern standards) by saying homosexuality is deviant behavior, with which Carr disagrees (especially with her being a lesbian). In a way, Gregg makes up for this by saying he wishes to interview Henley with her. It may be a professional courtesy, but also due to his own inexperience. When they arrive in Huntsville, Texas, Henley is combative.

However, Carr takes charge and gets him to reveal information. Like a lot of kids, Henley had trouble fitting in but had someone to look up to when he met Dean Corll in 9th grade. He resists talking about his education, family life, or anything indicating homosexuality on his part. He also demands to be called Mr. Henley, not Elmer Wayne, or Elmer or Wayne. This, of course, indicates someone who wishes to control how he is perceived.

Carr suggests that Corll was a father figure, relating to “Mr. Henley” that she was in a relationship similar to Henley’s (though one doubts any murdering took place). She means that her former boss was controlling and manipulative, in some sense. As we’ve seen previously on Mindhunter, the Behavioral Science Unit regularly gets information by relating to these killers on some level, or even offering them mild perks.

In fact, in season 1, Agent Ford got in some trouble for concealing some portions of his recordings where he said disgusting things to appeal to killers like Richard Speck (Jack Erdie). Here Carr stresses that she’s only interested in his side of the story. Initially, Corll paid him and David Brooks only to rob people (most likely breaking and entering homes — standard troubled youth behavior). When it comes to murder, Henley’s character says he thought about it as everyone has, but denies fantasizing about it before meeting the Candy Man.

Henley says he was just thinking about the money. However, Carr asks, “Why would you watch if you didn’t want to participate?” It’s a question that Henley basically sidesteps. He seems somewhat proud of shooting Corll, saying he shot him until he hit the ground, much as Corll taught him. Henley stresses that never was touched by Dean.

Carr notes that David Brooks said Henley enjoyed Corll’s mentorship until Corll went rogue after Brooks and Henley included a girl among the victims. That’s when Corll considered adding them to his victim count. Henley suggests he doesn’t feel guilty about anything. A big Mindhunter moment is when Carr outs herself as a lesbian in the interview, which Gregg seems to dismiss as a mere interview technique, possibly to get Henley to admit homosexuality. Still, we know Carr has romantic interests with Kay (Lauren Glazier), a bartender.

Kidnapping case/Tench learns a hard truth

Atlanta FBI agent (Albert Jones) meets with police chief Redding (Gareth William), commissioner Brown (Dohn Norwood), Tench and Ford about the Atlanta murders. Specifically, there’s a kidnapping case that may be linked to the crimes. Ford has doubts, however. He says it’s likely one killer, that the killer goes unnoticed (low profile) and is trustworthy to kids. True crime aficionados might see this as distinct from someone who’d kidnap someone and publicly make demands (not to say such a crossover couldn’t happen, but it’s unlikely).

However, Tench has to leave when informed that police want to talk to his son, Brian (Zachary Scott Ross). As Tench makes his leave, Ford defends his approach as methodical. Unfortunately, the kidnapping call doesn’t come in, leaving the child’s fate uncertain but potentially grim. The mother, Beverly Belt (Siovhan Christensen), is distressed.

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It’s bad news for Ford, who’s interested in the Atlanta child murder case. Brown says the FBI no longer has jurisdiction, as it’s no longer an interstate kidnapping case. The investigation is also downplayed, as the FBI were there chiefly for political reasons, to give the Atlanta mayor some clout. It’s also controversial to assess the race of the killer — be it black or white. Meanwhile, Tench is greeted with the knowledge that his son had the key to a house where a neighborhood child was crucified. It’s also believed that Brian had put him on the cross!

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