Netflix’s Mindhunter Season 2 carries on its strong concept and direction, but there is one noticeable criticism as the story progresses to the later chapters.
This review of Netflix’s Mindhunter Season 2 contains NO significant spoilers.
Today on the 16th August 2019, Netflix released six series’ and two films. The cries from Twitter that the streaming platform does not release enough content is absurd. On the day Mindhunter Season 2 was released, viewers had a decision to make, and while it’s likely to be Joe Penhall’s Netflix series, there is no room to state that there is zero value for money.
Mindhunter is a formidable story placed in Netflix’s thumbnails. It’s dark, mysterious and has that arms-length neo-noir feel that feels welcoming for a detective series. Season 2 follows on immediately after its predecessor; Holden Ford is in hospital after his altercation with Ed Kemp, and the FBI is figuring out what to do with the Behavioural Sciences Unit (BSU).
There’s plenty of fallout from the last season, which our engaging characters have to accept, dust themselves down and embrace a new age for the BSU. A new Chief is leading the division, which means it is all about impressing and putting the FBI on the map.
Mindhunter Season 2 depends on the same concept; the agents spend major scenes speaking to famous serial killers, figuring out their patterns of behaviors so they can codify specific themes and actions. Despite the growing influence of the BSU, the characters remain the same; Holden is strangely obsessed with his cases more than ever, Wendy Carr remains logical and scientific, and Bill Tench plays the “bad cop” with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth every single time the moments get tough.
Mindhunter Season 2 is heavier on the social themes than its predecessor. While Season 1 made the entire “serial killer analytics” an advertisement, the Netflix series throws in discussion points. Many of the themes surround a scenario in Atlanta, centering on the black community and politics. With all the moving parts difficult to dodge for our main characters, the question regarding the validity of their methodologies is stronger, but more complicated due to the high stakes involved. The story becomes more about who they catch, not about how they find the killer.
The latest season is one episode lighter than Season 1, with some chapters exceeding the 1-hour mark; however, the patience in the direction and powerful writing that supports real-life events make Season 2 easy to watch.
I had the pleasure of recapping Season 2 in its entirety in a single day, and while my recaps are resoundingly positive (on average around the 4-star mark) readers may be wondering why the overall Season 2 review hangs at the 3-star score. Unfortunately, as I reached the tense last two episodes, I could not help but notice the lack of/or absent Wendy Carr.
For most of Season 2, Wendy Carr was sidelined; there is a particular theme surrounding women in the workplace and Wendy being made to feel less important than her colleagues at a certain point in the story; however, it’s almost like the Netflix series flagrantly made her less significant than Holden and Bill. While her acquaintances hold personal issues, their job at hand remained important, while Wendy was left scratching for work, and by the end of the season, she is blatantly doing nothing.
Mindhunter provides Wendy with a new romantic storyline to keep her character developed on-the-surface as much as possible, but it cannot be ignored how her presence becomes weaker as the story progresses. Perhaps there is a production reason involving Anna Torv that resulted in last-minute re-writes, but it sticks out like a sore thumb.
I find this saddening; Wendy is an equally absorbing character that deserves to be more explored than just a person battling with her homosexuality and a new potential partner. Season 1 relied on her scientific know-how, yet Season 2 involves her to an certain extent and then is notably dismissed every single time. The writers may have to rethink their approach if there is a Season 3.
Do not let the major critical point put you off from watching Mindhunter Season 2; it’s genuinely worth the watch — if you enjoyed Season 1, you would most certainly lap up Season 2.
You can read the recap of episode one by clicking these words.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.