This episode begins with Holden’s primary objective being to find out if its in any way possible that he coulde meet Charlie Manson – reason being that he doesn’t exactly know of any other high-profile serial killers. Whilst doing their part in Road School in California he’s again informed of the impossibility of getting to Manson, even if he’s a fed. But is told that he should check out Ed Kemper if he ever gets to Vacaville*? – “The Co-Ed Killer. You can’t miss the guy he’s like six foot nine, 285 pounds. King-size. He killed a bunch of co-eds right here in Santa-Cruz. Six teenage girls, chops their heads off, has sexual intercourse with the corpses.” Introducing the character of Ed Kemper before we, the viewer are shown him adds levels of intrigue and suspense, especially given what he’s incarcerated for…
Of course, this more than entices young Holden to make a trip out there, while Tench decides to instead play golf with his day off. We finally meet our first of the infamous serial killers that this show explores the minds of. Enter the eloquent and incredibly articulate Edmund Kemper. We quickly learn that he has a violently outspoken position on women that began with his mother. His first conversation with Kemper tells us a lot about what’s to come, not just in scenes with these two, but the tone of the rest of the series is set when this first interview takes place. During this Kemper opens his eyes to the reality of people like him [Kemper]. His choice of using the word ‘vocation’ in regards to killing women, commenting that it’s more than a hobby if you look at the consequences, the stakes. But that isn’t the most disturbing thing to come out of Kemper..
The further into this series you get, you come to worship Holden’s girlfriend Debbie. The first occurrence of her in this weeks installment is when she’s breaking down what Holden needs to do in order to disarm Kemper, and opening up a can of worms that all viewers will find it impossible not to lean into.. She asks Holden the pivotal question necessary for peering into Kemper’s mind:
Debbie – Why does he hate women?
Holden – I should ask.
Debbie – But not outright, he sounds like the kind of person who would tell you what you want to hear. You have to disarm him first.
Holden – You mean, like… what?
Debbie – Ask him questions about himself. Lean into him, listen intently. Keep your arms uncrossed…
What’s intrigued many about this series is that like others similar to this show, the first two episodes are very much setting the scene, before things really begin. The second installment sees Tench join Holden in visiting Kemper. Witnessing the insights that Kemper, and potentially those like him could give the FBI; he begins whistling a different tune. Though when they tell their superior he becomes enraged and goes to suspend and transfer Holden. Until.. Tench steps in and asks the question that shifts everything – (and adds a hefty portion of foreshadowing) One question that manages to topple the departmental rigidity within the institution :