How Brendan Dassey & Steven Avery's Family In 'Making A Murderer' Part 2 Make The Second Installment So Heartbreaking
Spoilers ahead for Making A Murderer Part 2. Making A Murderer is captivating, to be sure, but beneath all that true crime intrigue is an incredibly bleak, unsettling story. The first half of the docuseries traced the events surrounding the brutal 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach, but Making A Murderer Part 2 goes deeper, taking a personalized look at those affected by her death. In the end, no one seems to get the closure they're looking for, and that makes it even more heartbreaking than when it first premiered.
The show's newest episodes document, among other things, Brendan Dassey's attempts to overturn his conviction. (He was sentenced to life in prison for Halbach's murder in 2007, but has firmly maintained his innocence). Viewers who have been keeping up with his case likely already knew that Dassey wouldn't be released, but what they didn't see was the agony the legal back-and-forth caused for his family.
Hopes were high for those related to Dassey when, per CNN, Judge William E. Duffin overturned his conviction in August 2016 and gave prosecutors 90 days to retry him. Making A Murderer Part 2 follows Barb and Scott Tadych, Brendan's mother and stepfather, as they celebrate this news, only to learn a few days later that a federal appeals court blocked Dassey's release, as reported by CBS News —and then again when the full 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted to uphold Dassey's conviction in December 2017, per the Chicago Tribune. Yes, many people had already seen this play out in the news, but watching Barb and Scott bear the emotional weight of losing hope twice over is hard to stomach, regardless of what you believe about Dassey.
And the pain in Part 2 is present beyond this moment, too. Teresa Halbach's friends and family are once again being forced to relive Halbach's death and watch as people defend the two men convicted for her murder — two men who many people close to Halbach have said they believe are guilty.
Similarly, on multiple occasions in the series, Steven Avery's parents discuss their fear that they may die before they get to see their son, who has spent much of his adult life in prison, released. The health of Avery's mother, Dolores, worsens throughout Part 2, as she goes from struggling to get around to eventually needing to adapt to using a walker in order to visit her son in prison.
There's also an incredibly hostile phone call shared between Avery, Barb, and Scott after Avery's defense lawyer, Kathleen Zellner, files a motion alleging Scott and Barb's son Bobby Dassey were involved in Halbach's murder that shows just how fractured their family has become. (Neither Bobby or Scott were ever suspected by law enforcement in the 2005 crime. Bustle's request for comment from Barb on behalf of Bobby was not returned. Scott also did not return a request for comment.)
The pain and grief present in Making A Murderer is palpable, and shows how long, drawn-out investigations such as the one into Halbach's death can inflict trauma on not just the victim, but on the many, many people surrounding them. And in Making A Murderer's case, how sometimes, it can even affect an entire nation.