Making A Murderer Season 2, Episode 9 Recap: Friday Night Tail Lights

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Want to talk about cars? No? Too bad, this episode is all about cars. Earlier in the season, beginning with episode 5, the topic of tail lights came up. It actually came up because Steven saw tail lights near his residence. At that, he grew concerned. Now, again, the tail lights are back, this time with more purpose. The latter episodes of this season have become really acrobatic. There are tail lights, day planners, and phone calls all over the place. Moreover, the show is mapping new info on top of info it already provided. You may need to keep a corkboard nearby to ensure the new information makes the same sense to you as it does to Zellner. Zellner is an awfully assured lawyer, so much so that she can end looking left of sensible. This new information especially makes her look like either a perfect mastermind or a delusional mastermind.
The new information comes from a "Rav4 witness," a good Samaritan who’s late to the game, in a way. He gives another reference to Making a Murderer in this episode, marking the second time a featured player has mentioned the show itself. He saw the show, you see, and felt compelled to provide witness testimony. This was probably the desired effect of the first season. What if people came out of the woodwork to testify after Netflix had publicized Steven’s case? How dandy! This didn’t happen, at least not according to the previous episode. This is very late in the game to introduce a key witness, which suggests that Making a Murderer 2 has shallower pockets than the first did. (In this case, we’re not far from the shallow.) The Rav4 witness (Kevin Rahmlow, it’s later revealed) implicates both Bobby Dassey, who was detailed in the previous episode, and Scott Tadych, who’s been a protagonist for most of this season. Fan theories about the show have implicated both Scott and Bobby in the past; the show almost feels late to its own game.
The Rav4 testimony suggests that, essentially, Hillegas committed the crime, and both Bobby and Scott helped cover the case, instead framing Steven for the crime. All of this is loosely constructed, but Hillegas is a conceivable Denny suspect now. Zellner can now aim her manicured finger at him. Hillegas, again, did not agree to participate in the show, nor did he grant an interview with Zellner. Until he does, or is investigated for the case, Hillegas is a moot point.
What doesn’t look like a moot point, at least in the show’s timeline, is Brendan’s case. His case is tried en banc during this episode, and Nirider is considerably more confident than she was at the first trial. (Brendan’s mother comes to this trial.) These recreations of the trials have been fascinating, using court sketches — or court-style sketches — to make an animated video of the court room. These conversation are high-level court conversations, and it’s a testament to the power of Making a Murderer that they’ve been made fascinating. Ultimately, the court accuses Nirider of requesting a new law, something the court cannot do in review of a habeas request.
“Under established law, you must lose,” Judge Sykes tells Nirider.
Briefly, the show follows a reporter, the same reporter it featured at the earlier Chicago trial. The show is gently reminding us how many people are involved in this sprawling case. He’s been following this case since Portage, and he’s an intrepid reporter — of course, next to any of the key players in this case, he looks like a couch potato.
Thankfully, after all this, Zellner, the hardest worker of all, gives a rundown of the most important evidence in this case. Or in her case, at least. She needs to know if Bobby Dassey left the property after Halbach did; if he did, then maybe he followed Halbach when she drove out to the quarry property where the cell phone tower picked up her signal. A woman in a wig does this reenactment for Zellner. It’s not as riveting as the court, but cool nonetheless, especially when it replays and reverses. She concludes that Teresa, according to Steven’s story, left the property at 2:38 p.m. According to this reenactment, Bobby would have been able to follow Teresa when she made a left turn onto Q road. He must have asked her to do a hustle shot. But then, he doesn’t do a hustle shot. This is all according to Zellner’s recreation. Remember: Zellner found the porn on his computer. According to Bryan, Bobby’s lying. There's more, though. This web is expansive.
How do headlights factor into all of this? Easy. Steven saw headlights near his home, right near where the Rav4 was originally seen by the new witness. That was on November 4. On this same night, Ryan Hillegas had several dropped calls, likely from law enforcement. Zellner's suggestion is that Hillegas found the car himself, and he — with law enforcement — moved the car. That's also how he obtained the planner, which Zellner realized he must have obtained sometime between October 31 and November 3.
Does everyone have on their tin foil cap?
Check out the episode 10 recap here.
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