Not only does this episode bring back Ed Kemper (Cameron Britton, who deserves all the Emmys) from Season One, who we haven’t seen since he gave Jonathan Groff a hug and sent Groff into a panic attack… it also brings in “Mindhunter”’s Charles Manson, played by Damon Herriman (who also plays Manson in Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood). They’ve been talking about Manson all season—it was actually part of the deal to get Holden (Groff) to play ball with the new FBI boss. And “Mindhunter,” unsurprisingly and inspiredly, nails the interview.
Maybe more than any other of the interviews—this season and last—the Manson one feels like “Mindhunter” flexing its muscles. It’s an assured sequence, tied into the problems in Holt McCallany’s home life. It also plays up Groff being a Manson fanboy. It also feels like a bit of a history lesson, what the country’s reaction to Manson was like back in the those days, when he was still an active celebrity. And with Groff then going on to interview one of the “Family,” in comes additional historical context, something “Mindhunter” usually only provides through the leads’ exposition.
THere’s also more of McCallany and Anna Torv playing responsible Mom and Dad to irresponsible kid Groff. McCallany and Torv are cute together—far cuter than McCallany and his wife Stacey Roca or Torv and girlfriend Lauren Glazier; no knocks to Roca or Glazier, however. It’s just McCallany and Torv minding Groff has talent the place of Groff’s love life, which almost feels missing this episode when Groff gets home to a sparsely furnished apartment and you realize the show hasn’t spent any time with him and then you realize it isn’t lacking for it. Giving McCallany and Torv the personal subplots is working out.
All around, a home run episode of “Mindhunter.” Real good.