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S02.E06: Episode 6

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The FBI officially sends the BSU to Atlanta to investigate the missing and murdered children. Wendy second-guesses her interview methods.

Airdate: August 16, 2019

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The one thing I find really fascinating about the Brian storyline is watching Nancy project logic and motives onto the kid. She came up with a version of events where Brian is a sweet boy who had only the best of intentions at all times, wanting to confess, wanting to save the boy and easily finds ways to fit it onto him, even though it seems like underneath she's most terrified of him. 

Not that I blame her. The kid doesn't ever NOT look like he's auditioning for The Omen.

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I found this episode to be particularly frustrating. The relationships between the characters, the storyline - it doesn't seem to pack the same punch. Maybe I was just tired watching this hour.


The best thing about this episode was Tom Cochrane and Red Rider's "Lunatic Fringe" playing at the end. The intro to that song can be heard woven into the soundtrack a few minutes before it actually kicks in, and my ears picked up - could it be... Yes!

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On 8/19/2019 at 11:22 AM, sistermagpie said:

Not that I blame her. The kid doesn't ever NOT look like he's auditioning for The Omen.

Yeah, I keep calling him Damien.

On 8/20/2019 at 10:05 PM, mledawn said:


The best thing about this episode was Tom Cochrane and Red Rider's "Lunatic Fringe" playing at the end. The intro to that song can be heard woven into the soundtrack a few minutes before it actually kicks in, and my ears picked up - could it be... Yes!

I loved that so much. I heard one note and I was like, oh shit, Lunatic Fringe. Which I yelled at my husband. Every episode I say the same thing, I love how they're doing the music at the end of every episode, how they're starting it at the perfect spot to go into the credits. Kudos to the person in charge of it. (Music geek 😁)

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On 8/20/2019 at 8:05 PM, mledawn said:

The best thing about this episode was Tom Cochrane and Red Rider's "Lunatic Fringe" playing at the end. The intro to that song can be heard woven into the soundtrack a few minutes before it actually kicks in, and my ears picked up - could it be... Yes!

If ever there was a song that belonged on a movie soundtrack, it's this one! Still atmospheric after all these years.

In Atlanta, it appears the witnesses the FBI were "re-interviewing" were never interviewed in the first place. Apparently no one cared until national attention was focused on the murders.

At this point, if  I were the Tenches, I'd be nervous to be alone in the house with that kid. I really feel for parents who have tried their utmost, but have children who are severely  disturbed. Where do they turn for help? There's barely any now, I'm certain there was probably none then.

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Brian is seriously creepy and getting creepier. Should we check and see if his bio moms name was Rosemary? Nancy is in such horrible denile about what is really going on  with her son, but even she is realizing that something is very wrong with Brian. I dont really know what they can do to help him at this point beyond getting him lots of counseling and keeping an eye on him at all times, and that can only do so much.

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I actually don't think that he is all that creepy. I see a broken child which desperately needs help, and is socially awkward. Torturing animals is creepy. Being silent and staring longingly at a child your own age, desperate for interaction isn't, it's just sad.

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Being silent and staring longingly at a child your own age, desperate for interaction isn't, it's just sad.

I didn't view it as a gaze indicating loneliness and longing for connection.  I viewed it as a creepy, obsessive, "here's the next victim in my overactive violent fantasy life" gaze.  Of course we know what the profilers on the show don't yet know--that many serial killers start out with obsessive fantasies of killing at a very young age. Of course, his face is so blank most of the time that it is easy to project loneliness or obsession equally.

At any rate, Brian is still very young and could possibly be turned around (or at least not grow up to be violent) if he could get intensive therapy.  Something which is fairly unlikely with his mother in denial.

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I find the Tenche family interesting, as both a step back from the highly tense serial killer interviews, but also as a parallel storyline.  With Brian having serious issues, Nancy wearily handling things at home as mostly a solo act and Tenche having to balance his family with his job, I wonder which one of them is going to snap first.

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It has to be enlightening for Bill, now that he can see things from the other side.  He has a son whose personality and temperament may have been formed by the time he was three years old.  He's seeing his wife make excuses, like sistermagpie said, rationalizing Brian's actions.  It will have to impact his work. 

And Wendy too -- she's with a woman who can be seen to have abandoned her child.  It might not matter that her son's father is a great dad -- we know the importance of mothers.  This gal isn't a monster, by any means, but her son might see her that way, some day.  Or use her absence as an excuse to act out. 

I'd hope we're at the stage where one-parent families can be seen as just as healthy and effective as two-parent families, but I really don't know.  I don't have any interactions with kids or teenagers these days.

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I don't think that it matters if there is a "stable family" or not, I think what matters is that a child has someone in his or her life who provides some sense of stability and safety. Though, for the record, not all serial killers had awful parents, at least not in the abusive sense. Can't think of anyone who just became a murderer with no explanation whatsoever, though.

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On 8/24/2019 at 9:00 PM, swanpride said:

I don't think that it matters if there is a "stable family" or not, I think what matters is that a child has someone in his or her life who provides some sense of stability and safety. Though, for the record, not all serial killers had awful parents, at least not in the abusive sense. Can't think of anyone who just became a murderer with no explanation whatsoever, though.

That we know of. 😉

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Lunatic Fringe - another song that makes me think of The Americans.

Seems like Mama Tench is a little unsettled - I thought she would find him the backyard playing with fire,  or I was afraid we would see him over some small animal.

Guy #4 is totally ineffectual in interviews, he should be left in the basement to transcribe.

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On 8/25/2019 at 5:15 AM, AuntiePam said:

It has to be enlightening for Bill, now that he can see things from the other side.  He has a son whose personality and temperament may have been formed by the time he was three years old.  He's seeing his wife make excuses, like sistermagpie said, rationalizing Brian's actions.  It will have to impact his work. 

And Wendy too -- she's with a woman who can be seen to have abandoned her child.  It might not matter that her son's father is a great dad -- we know the importance of mothers.  This gal isn't a monster, by any means, but her son might see her that way, some day.  Or use her absence as an excuse to act out. 

I'd hope we're at the stage where one-parent families can be seen as just as healthy and effective as two-parent families, but I really don't know.  I don't have any interactions with kids or teenagers these days.

Serial killers (or killers in general) are almost always male. Male violence and misogyny are the problems, not the fact that a mother "abandoned" their son. All these killers loathe women. Blaming mothers is such a sexist cliché I can't believe I'm seeing it here. Shouldn't be surprised though. Women are blamed for everything, even their sons' possible murders. Also the idea that murderers/rapists were somehow abused is not true. Some were sure, but not all. So Brian was maybe born that way (sociopaths/psychopaths are mostly boys, not girls). BTW, women experience all kinds of abuse: sexual abuse, rape, beatings on top of being female in a misogynistic society and YET female serial killers are so rare they're almost not a statistic. Same with arsons, rapists, pedos, serial killers, mass shooters, etc. Almost all men. What's men's excuse? Men kill because they love it and get off on it. 

Edited by arsenic
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1 hour ago, arsenic said:

Serial killers (or killers in general) are almost always male. Male violence and misogyny are the problems, not the fact that a mother "abandoned" their son. All these killers loathe women. Blaming mothers is such a sexist cliché I can't believe I'm seeing it here. Shouldn't be surprised though. Women are blamed for everything, even their sons' possible murders.

In case this was directed at me, mothers who abandon* their children have historically been considered to be an aberration -- it's supposed to be unnatural.  Doesn't a child feel that?  My thinking might be old-fashioned and I'm open to re-education. 

*I'm talking about mothers who leave without any consideration for the child, not mothers who give up a child for adoption. 

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5 minutes ago, AuntiePam said:

In case this was directed at me, mothers who abandon* their children have historically been considered to be an aberration -- it's supposed to be unnatural.  Doesn't a child feel that?  My thinking might be old-fashioned and I'm open to re-education. 

*I'm talking about mothers who leave without any consideration for the child, not mothers who give up a child for adoption. 

Yes they have been considered an aberration. Men haven't even though they're the ones who leave their kids most of the time. They're just "deadbeat dads". People shrug, sigh and dismiss it. I'm not saying mothers who abandon their children are awesome, just that I don't see it as a reason for violent behaviour. If that was a factor, a shit ton of women whose dad left would be killers. But it's not the case. So the reason is not shitty parents, it's misogyny and entitlement. Besides, the woman Wendy is dating (can't remember her name) hasn't abandoned her kid. She goes to baseball games with him IIRC. She simply divorced the father because she's a lesbian. I've never understood people who resent their parents' divorce honestly. My parents hated each other's gut for a long time and the atmosphere at home was toxic. I was relieved when they finally got a divorce. I think as a kid, you want your parents to be happy, not miserable. 

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48 minutes ago, arsenic said:

Yes they have been considered an aberration. Men haven't even though they're the ones who leave their kids most of the time. They're just "deadbeat dads". People shrug, sigh and dismiss it. I'm not saying mothers who abandon their children are awesome, just that I don't see it as a reason for violent behaviour. If that was a factor, a shit ton of women whose dad left would be killers. But it's not the case.

I get'cha,

Kids get their cues from the culture though.  Moms aren't expected to leave, so a kid could likely believe that there was something wrong with him and he could internalize that, the germ an inferiority complex, a kid with something to prove. 

You've heard that saying, "A face only a mother could love."  We're conditioned to believe that our mothers are not just expected to stay -- they're expected to love us unconditionally.  

It's all quite fraught, and it's hard to separate real life from what we've been exposed to in books and movies. 

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7 hours ago, arsenic said:

Serial killers (or killers in general) are almost always male. Male violence and misogyny are the problems, not the fact that a mother "abandoned" their son. All these killers loathe women. Blaming mothers is such a sexist cliché I can't believe I'm seeing it here. Shouldn't be surprised though. Women are blamed for everything, even their sons' possible murders. Also the idea that murderers/rapists were somehow abused is not true. Some were sure, but not all. So Brian was maybe born that way (sociopaths/psychopaths are mostly boys, not girls). BTW, women experience all kinds of abuse: sexual abuse, rape, beatings on top of being female in a misogynistic society and YET female serial killers are so rare they're almost not a statistic. Same with arsons, rapists, pedos, serial killers, mass shooters, etc. Almost all men. What's men's excuse? Men kill because they love it and get off on it. 

The serial killers who are interviewed no doubt know that blaming mothers is the accepted way in the society.

Yet, women aren't saints. Some children don't get even basic physical care, much less emotional one from their mothers but instead they are beaten and emotionally abused.    

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Well, those children usually have two parents. and often it is not even the mother who does the abusing, but the father. But abuse victims often have a tendency to put more blame on the one who didn't help them than on the actual attacker. I guess partly because they think that the attacker can't help himself, but the one who stands aside can.

Plus, girls have sh... mothers too and they are way, way less likely to become serial killers. There is a societal aspect to it which tells males that they HAVE to be in power and that it is okay to express themselves through violence.

I am getting kind of sick of this "poor guy got rejected by his mother/girlfriend and flipped" narrative. It's shifting the blame too much. I can get behind "poor guy had sh... parents" because childhood abuse certainly impact the social development of a child. But I draw the line at blaming the mother alone when the father is still in the picture.

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7 hours ago, Roseanna said:

The serial killers who are interviewed no doubt know that blaming mothers is the accepted way in the society.

Yet, women aren't saints. Some children don't get even basic physical care, much less emotional one from their mothers but instead they are beaten and emotionally abused.    

« Women are bad too!! » is such a laughable response.

No women aren’t bad too. Women don’t commit the vast majority of crimes. Men do. That’s a fact.

Nobody is disputing that women can be shitty mothers, or selfish, manipulative or cruel. But that’s a strawman argument.

I mean as we see on the show, neither the police in Atlanta nor the FBI are entertaining the idea that the person who’s killing those kids is a woman.

They all say « he ».

Because women don’t kill or rape kids. In the small number of cases where a woman is involved in such crimes, there is always a man involved too.

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1 hour ago, swanpride said:

I am getting kind of sick of this "poor guy got rejected by his mother/girlfriend and flipped" narrative. It's shifting the blame too much. I can get behind "poor guy had sh... parents" because childhood abuse certainly impact the social development of a child. But I draw the line at blaming the mother alone when the father is still in the picture.

That's the thing--society in many ways gives the message that this is a reasonable defense. I remember John Ellroy talking about researching murders and he said statistically women murder to protect themselves and their children (of course there are exceptions). And men murder because they're rejected, they got dumped, they were insulted, their dinner was cold and on and on. Basically he said there was this constant idea that women always deserve to be murdered so whatever reason there was was okay.

Of course that's not directly applicable to the cases here because plenty of them are killing other men or children, but misogyny does seem to be a popular starting point.

Wendy's girlfriend's son may or may not have issues about living with his father after his parents got divorced, but she's at this point very much living up to the standards that seem generally accepted for divorced fathers at the time. And Nancy's working the hardest to see the good in Brian.

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2 hours ago, arsenic said:

Because women don’t kill or rape kids. In the small number of cases where a woman is involved in such crimes, there is always a man involved too.

Actually, women beat their children more often than men. 

I have interviewed psychiatrists who help women who beat their children.  

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1 hour ago, sistermagpie said:

That's the thing--society in many ways gives the message that this is a reasonable defense. I remember John Ellroy talking about researching murders and he said statistically women murder to protect themselves and their children (of course there are exceptions). And men murder because they're rejected, they got dumped, they were insulted, their dinner was cold and on and on. Basically he said there was this constant idea that women always deserve to be murdered so whatever reason there was was okay.

Not to wander too far off topic, but this paragraph reminds me of a sad case in Britain that happened several years ago. Seemingly nice middle class (or upper middle class) family - a father, mother, two sons who were college aged and out of the house, along with a daughter in her early teens. On the surface, they appeared to be an ideal family, the father was popular and respected in the community. But behind closed doors, he was mentally and physically abusive - particularly to the wife and daughter. After years of being terrorized, the wife finally worked up the courage to leave with her daughter. Husband couldn't take anyone defying him and murdered them both.

The biggest shock for the two surviving sons, who had also endured mistreatment, was not just the horrific crime that befell their mother and sister, but the vast number of people in their community who rushed to their father's defense (when he was clearly guilty), saying that the wife and daughter must have done something to provoke it, and probably deserved it. Misogyny runs deep.

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6 hours ago, arsenic said:

Because women don’t kill or rape kids. In the small number of cases where a woman is involved in such crimes, there is always a man involved too.

Oh sadly they do.  There is not always a man involved.  There are so many cases of women abusing their kids, sometimes killing them.

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Yeah, mothers end up hurting or killing their own children fairly often, that is not exclusive to men at all. I am just saying that if the mother hurts her own child, she is some sort of monster. When the father does it it, he is "stressed at his job" or, if he the mother isn't in the picture, some poor guy who just couldn't handle the situation. If a woman kills her husband(s) she is a black widow. If a guy keeps killing his wives, he is Henry the VIII.

There is a clear double standard when it comes to murder cases….not just gender specific, but also race specific. I am kind of convinced that the reason why we have this "white, middle aged guy" as standard serial killer in mind is partly because in our mind, those guys are mentally ill. When a black guy does it, he is more likely to be treated simply as a criminal. Because he is black you know and (irony modus on) naturally black people are more predisposed to kill, look how big and scary they are. But a white guy, there was certainly something which went wrong in his life.

That's the danger with profiling, too. Let's say, there is a series of axe murders. The profile would most likely assume a man, but there is always a chance the killer is a woman after all.

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I am sort of tolerating the storyline of Tench's son Brian being a potential serial killer. It feels a bit too melodramatic, bringing the very thing Tench is investigating into his own family life. What are the odds? It wouldn't seem so 'on the nose' if maybe it was a neighbor's son that Bill became involved with.

As for Brian: it seems as if the key to helping him would be to get him to open up and explain himself. What exactly was he thinking/feeling when the child was killed? Why didn't he get help or tell his parents? Brian is clearly distraught and upset. But the showrunners appear to want go for the potential horror story angle with Brian being unnaturally quiet and creepy. 

As for bad parents creating bad adults: there are so many parents who have children they never planned to have ... and seem to think that parenting just happens by nature ... and appear to let public school, television and other children do most of their babysitting. It's a crap-shoot, but not everyone becomes a criminal. 
I tend to think that young children naively expect their parents to make them their highest priority. I think a child would feel abandoned to a certain degree by a divorced parent who chooses to live somewhere else or start another family which will take up the majority of their time.
Basically, young children crave stability and security both physically and emotionally - and parents tend to screw that up a lot. (Even tho that's sort of how life goes..)

Edited by shrewd.buddha

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On 8/31/2019 at 2:30 AM, Roseanna said:

The serial killers who are interviewed no doubt know that blaming mothers is the accepted way in the society.

Yet, women aren't saints. Some children don't get even basic physical care, much less emotional one from their mothers but instead they are beaten and emotionally abused.    

That is just as much the fathers ‘ faults as it is the mothers ‘.

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I think it is less that children need to be the FIRST priority, but they need the feeling that the parents will have their back. In fact, aside from the "got abused" serial killer, the other kind seems to be the ones which got overindulged when they were children and then couldn't deal with the fact that in adult life they no longer were that adored. But I guess spoiling a child to no end is just another form of abuse…

It's a difficult balance.

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I felt bad for Bill when the judge at the retreat was talking about the mass murderers and how it begins in childhood.  Bill was staring into space wondering if Brian was going to be one of those kids.

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It's amazing the way the parents, particularly the mother, are blinded to the fact their son has severe mental problems. Autistic maybe? This was before Aspergers had become commonly recognized, so they weren't thinking in that direction. But I think he's somewhere on the spectrum. Quite frankly, in their shoes, I'd say to the state "ok you guys take him. He's too much for us to understand or handle."

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16 minutes ago, Pike Ludwell said:

It's amazing the way the parents, particularly the mother, are blinded to the fact their son has severe mental problems. Autistic maybe? This was before Aspergers had become commonly recognized, so they weren't thinking in that direction. But I think he's somewhere on the spectrum. Quite frankly, in their shoes, I'd say to the state "ok you guys take him. He's too much for us to understand or handle."

I don't think they're blinded. They know he has reactive detachment disorder (not on the spectrum, so far as I know). That diagnosis was a single line in the first season, and I am surprised they don't go into it a bit more. But if I recall correctly (which is by no means certain), they've been going to therapists all along.

I do think they're struggling and aren't coping well.

Edited by Clanstarling
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