Making A Murderer Season 2, Episode 7 Recap: Going Ballistic

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
I am sick of seeing Brendan’s confession tape. Seeing him lounge on a loveseat with his hand over his mouth. Seeing him mutter. Last episode’s trial proved that Brendan’s confession isn’t as dubious as Nirider and Drizin are convinced it is. Or rather, it could be an involuntary confession — we just don’t have enough information to assume that it was. (Brendan, I think, could have some insight here, but he rarely speaks on camera. What’s his alibi? How did he unfurl such a sordid tale in front of the investigators?) This episode begins with Brendan’s confession once more, as if to remind us that a 16-year-old boy’s life is at stake. The power of this clip is waning, though. I’ve seen it too many times and my head is too far down the Making a Murderer hole; it’s hard to determine what’s what.
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Zellner, too, appears mildly desperate. She consults a ballistics expert, Luke Haag, this time around to discuss the cause of death. Brendan said that a .22 rifle was the murder weapon. But a .22 has a tiny bullet, one that isn’t likely to pierce a second layer of bone. (The bullet supposedly went through Teresa’s brain and outside the other side of her skull.) It could happen, but it’s not likely.
Then, she consults a forensic microscopist — I’m really learning a lot about forensic experts! — who confirms that the bullet fragment should have bone fragments in it as well. And with that, Zellner has a new reason to obtain old case evidence. She does eventually obtain the bullet, which, per Dr. Chris Palenik, contains no bone fragment.
Zellner’s next item on her to-do list was the matter of Kratz’s “luring” tale. She’s still unmasking Mr. Kratz, a thing she pledged to do in the very first episode of this season. Kratz alleged in his book (and on every morning show ever) that Steven lured her to the auto lot with the intention of killing her. This is based on the fact that the reservation for the photo shoot was under Barb’s name. The photoshoot was a “hustle shot,” a job arranged by Teresa Halbach herself.
Zellner is once again pitted against Drizin and Nirider in an interview with Brendan’s mother Barb, who concedes that, yes, Zellner is a good lawyer. But also, she counters, Nirider and Drizin are good, too! When she says this, she seems aware that Brendan’s case won’t make it past the court of appeals. Thanks, lawyers, for all you’ve done, but Barb Tadych is tired.
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The show rarely delves into the troubles of the prison system. For a moment this episode, it does, playing audio of Brendan complaining that the prison hasn’t handed out Gatorade as it’s supposed to do.
In light of this show’s success, there’s been some clamor about Halbach’s tale. The show isn’t about Halbach, and some find that disgraceful. A young woman was lost, why are we so focused on Steven Avery? Avery has some history with misdemeanors — can we not? Zellner answers these critics in this episode, announcing proudly that she thinks the best way to respect Halbach is to find out what happened to her. Making a Murderer aims to dismantle and reimagine a case that, without a doubt, Manitowoc County mismanaged. Zellner thinks it’s a crime that Halbach’s case wasn’t properly investigated in the first place. In other words, Zellner can do no wrong, and her clear view of justice will cure Manitowoc County. (It won’t, but this season is operating on this comforting promise.)
On that note, Zellner is inching towards a killer, taking a cue from Serial and using cell phone towers. (Remember the Nisha call?) Because I’m fascinated by this, here’s what the cell phone towers are telling Zellner.
2:24 p.m. — Teresa Halbach is near the Zipperer’s home.
2:27 - 2:31 — She calls her manager at Auto Trader to say that she is on her way to the Averys.
2:31 — She is at the property.
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2:41 — Her phone pings off a cell phone tower miles away from Avery property — she’s potentially by the quarry by the woods.
Zellner is clearly building a case towards a killer near the quarry that we first learned about in season 2. Part of this case involves another “hustle shot,” this one flagged down on the road.
With all of this, Zellner is prepared to submit her petition. It’s a Staples-worth of paper (more than 1,200 pages), an impressive stack that only a troupe of chipper law clerks could handle. From a rosier view of this case, Zellner is the Cinderella and her law clerks the happy mice. Cinder-elly! File the petition! Go to the ball and save Steven Avery!
This sends the reporters scurrying. As always, the show portrays both the old school reporters with a TV crew and the new school ones with just massive iPhones. (A number of the people on this show don’t use iPhones, which is striking.)
Just as this episode began with Brendan’s tape, the episode ends with something we’ve seen before: young Steven in his orange suit from his first conviction. In all this hubbub, Steven’s earlier troubles have been lost. He spent 18 years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. And now, he’s done even more. I am sick of seeing that photo; his family probably is, too.
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