David Fincher’s “Mindhunter” does many things right. It’s suspenseful, intriguing, and unsettling, all while being downright satisfying. As critics and fans alike have spent the past two weeks raving over Netflix’s 1970s crime drama, those same people have been scratching their heads over the same few scenes. Yes, we’re talking about Wendy’s nightly laundry-room excursions.
After moving to Virginia, Wendy Carr (played by Anna Torv) befriends a stray cat by leaving full cans of tuna on a ledge in her basement, where she and the audience hear few, yet noticeable offscreen meows. She continues to leave food out, and each can of tuna is licked clean by morning. At the end of the series, Wendy walks downstairs to find a full can covered in maggots. The audience can only assume that something bad has happened to our furry friend.
Because of the show’s innate sense of unpredictability, the audience has learned to stay on their toes by now, especially during those mysterious scenes featuring Wendy and a glass of wine. There’s no dialogue during these episodic scenes, leaving the viewer to interpret the arc how they’d like.
Torv spoke to TV Line about her own interpretation of the storyline, revealing quite a bit of in-depth analysis. “I thought, ‘This little kitten is representative of all these faceless [victims] and we only notice the ones that are dead because they have families that are looking for them,” she says. “And then here’s this little abandoned cat that no one is going to care about. And if that was a person, it’d be the same thing.’ That’s what I first thought when I read it, but that’s just because I’m crazy.”
Fans have been searching for answers since the series premiered on October 13, but that hasn’t limited the amount of credible theories that have been given light on the Internet. Alas, Reddit users along with Torv now have an answer from executive producer David Fincher. Torv explains that after running her theory by him, he answered, ‘Oh…no, that’s not it.’ Fincher revealed that the scenes were to suggest to the audience that “there was a kid in the building who’s going around killing cats. And it’s a birth of a new sociopath that we don’t quite know about. Because that’s how it starts — with [inflicting harm on] animals.”
Fincher’s explanation makes more sense, but it doesn’t devalue anyone’s own analysis. The vagueness calls for a myriad of interpretations. At the heart of the debate, it’s perhaps in reference to the show itself — if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abys will also gaze into thee.
“Mindhunter” Season 1 is now available to stream on Netflix.