Thursday, August 31, 2017

What I’m Watching: Manhunt: Unabomber

Manhunt: Unabomber: Season 1, Episode 6 “Ted” (B+)

Take out the first part of the show’s title in this episode, since this was all about the creation of the Unabomber, a deep dive into Ted’s past and to what turned him into the recluse that he has become. Only he’s not quite as removed from society as we might have thought, still interacting with other intellectuals and trying to inspire the continuation of knowledge in those with pure hearts and minds. The way that this show manages to tell its story really is impressive, since Ted’s childhood appeared idyllic at first as he spent time playing in the woods and experiencing adventures with his one friend, who all of a sudden got interested in a girl and then was cruel enough to throw rocks at him when he dared to be near them in a formerly shared spot. Getting to college two years early had him full of promise, as he looked up to his new professor Henry Murray, played by Brian d’Arcy James, who I know best from his role in the over-the-top musical series “Smash” and the Oscar-winning film “Spotlight.” He was very good here as an intellectual who nurtured a promising young mind and fed it, only to completely betray Ted by subjecting him to a horrific brainwashing study during which he read an awful letter purported to have been written by his mother and undercut everything he thought made him an individual. It makes sense that Ted would turn out this way, angry at the world for not turning out the way he expected - and not close to it either - and I’m interested in seeing what happened between then and the present time on the show, though I think the glimpses of him building the house with his brother were about all we’ll get before we return to the manhunt.