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Review: I'll Be Gone in the Dark Season 1, Ep. 2

The second episode of HBO's I'll Be Gone in the Dark presents some of the most harrowing moments of television I've ever seen.

The episode, titled Reign of Terror, chronicles the East Area Rapist's transition from a rapist of women, to targeting couples and, finally, his transition to a serial killer. And it does so through a series of interviews with the victims which, at times, can be hard to hear. The level of trauma these poor people experienced during, and often after the assault, is unimaginable.

Director Elizabeth Wolff enhances the interviews with creepy imagery that's meant to set the scene, not re-enact the crimes. These moments are eerily effective. She uses light and shadow and a slow moving camera, which evokes a disturbing atmosphere. The visuals will stick in your mind long after the episode ends.

Equally as disturbing are a series of PSAs from the 70s that are interspersed throughout the interviews. These maddeningly reflect society's attitudes about rape at the time. The victims were considered as much to blame for the crime as the perpetrator and, if caught, the suspect often received light sentences. It's upsetting to hear, and no wonder the East Area Rapist got away with his spree.

Sadly, I don't think we've come much further in this regard...

This show is such good stuff, and continues to be a nice companion piece to the book. I still highly recommend it for true-crime fans, and give this one a Good.


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