The first episode of Ragdoll set the stage for the serial killer mystery thriller. The second episode kicked things up a gear, as more people met their fate at the killer’s hands (or hands by proxy), and Rose’s culpability was explored in greater depth.
The mayor’s murder in the first episode showed how clever the killer could be. It turned out, he had the mayor’s inhaler replaced hours before the murder, the replacement filled with a chemical that was set alight when his victim later smoked a cigarette. It took a bit of clever planning to get that done. And a staggering level of manipulation. Because, he had the inhaler replaced. He didn’t replace the inhaler itself.
And this is how he plans to commit most of his murders. (I’m sure he wants to kill Rose himself.) Not by pulling the metaphorical trigger himself. But by manipulating others to do so on his behalf.
Each of his murderers-by-proxy knows what they’re doing, it seems. They aren’t unwittingly carrying a bomb into a building or unknowingly feeding someone a poisoned drink. They are knowingly, intentionally, committing murder on another’s behalf. And then, once the crime is done (and they know they’ve been caught), they’re ending their own lives rather than give away any information about the Ragdoll Killer.
What would it take for someone to have that much leverage over you? To make you willing not only to commit murder on their behalf, but willing to end your own life rather than give your identity away. It would have to be one hell of a secret. Or a lot of love, since we saw this episode that the Ragdoll Killer has no compunction against threatening Baxter to keep Rose from killing himself and ending the game early.
And of course, the Ragdoll Killer couldn’t let Rose end the game early. Because it seems Rose is the cause for this trail of bloodshed. (At least, he believes he is, and the audience has no cause to disbelieve him.) It all goes back to his history with the Cremation Killer – the events that caused him to have a breakdown and are the reason for both his PTSD and the black mark on his professional record.
The Cremation Killer was set free because, it is said, Rose cut corners. And every name on the kill list is tied to that murderer. In fact, it seems the Ragdoll Killer has killed or is planning to kill people he blames for the Cremation Killer being set free. Rose, for causing the cause to be thrown out. The officer that everyone believed wrote the letter that revealed Rose’s underhanded dealings. The Cremation Killer’s brother, who capitalized on his story. His parole officer.
But Rose isn’t just responsible because he cut corners in the case. While he was being treated following his breakdown, he met another patient who told him about a Faustian killer. He would murder someone at your bequest, but you would pay the price with your own life. And Rose asked this killer to murder Mark Hooper, the Cremation Killer.
So is the Faustian killer the Ragdoll Killer? Let’s be honest…probably. But there are undoubtedly plenty of twists and turns in store for us yet, so I’m leaving open the possibility this is all just a red herring.
How many more people on the list will die before the police manage to track him down? We’ll have to wait and see.
Ragdoll airs on AMC on Mondays at 10/9 c.