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Episode 2: Chiroptera
HBO Max  ·  50 minutes  ·  Original Broadcast: May 05, 2022

Directed by: Antonio Campos  |  Written by: Maggie Cohn

Official synopsis: While working on his defense, Michael considers an opportunity to tell his story in a documentary. Then, after learning shocking information about her stepfather, Caitlin wrestles with doubts.

Episode Recap
Please note that recaps feature spoilers on the individual episode.
This recap was written by Arnav Srivastava for The Review Geek, May 22, 2022

Episode 2 of The Staircase begins with the French documentarians, courtesy of whom we have gotten this story in public, discussing whether to take the story or not. The fundamental philosophy of their intentions is disclosed: they want to show everything, and let the viewers decide what’s the truth.

An awkward family Christmas dinner two weeks after Kathleen’s death in December 2001 reveals two things. First, a phone call about an “incident” in Germany by Auntie Blair. Secondly, Michael’s tension over Candace and Lori’s loyalties.

We then jump to two months before her death to an event planned for Michael’s campaign. Kathleen and he want the fundraiser to be a success, but it falls on the same day as Kathleen is supposed to visit her biological daughter, Caitlin. She reluctantly agrees to be at the fundraiser. We also see Michael’s bisexuality for the first time in effect in the gym, where he hits on a man visiting from outside. He and Billy decide to reveal to the children the photos that the DA will use in the trial. Michael and the team discuss the French filmmakers and agree in principle to let them shoot the documentary to get Michael’s perspective out there.

The bail is posted and he returns back home. Caitlin looks shaky amidst all this. She has doubts about Michael’s love for her mother and chooses to stay with her visiting biological father, Fred, in a hotel. The fears are confirmed when we see Caitlin meeting with Margaret and her sister to discuss switching sides, so to speak. We jump to February 2017, where we see an aged Michael with his new partner. He runs into the head of SBI, a forensic agency used by the DA against Michael to re-enact the staircase sequence. Michael is shaken and runs out without getting anything.

The defense team converges to discuss preparations for the trial. A number of different experts for the blood splatter, biomechanics, etc are brought to examine the spot where Kathleen’s body was found. Caitlin’s witch is confirmed when one of her personal school projects is used without her knowledge by the defense lawyers in a filmed interview with a media person to defame Fred. We also see the successful fundraiser happening in the house in a flashback.

Kathleen and Michael look happy but there is some unrest between the two. The team recreates the details of the fall for trial and we see a re-enactment of what might have happened to Kathleen that night. The documentarians arrive and the kids disperse to their normal routines. In the bizarre ending, we see Candace take a blow poke from the fireplace and out of nowhere, begin hitting a cushion with it. She concludes that is the murder weapon.

Guest Cast: Trini Alvarado (Patty Peterson ), Cullen Moss (Jim Hardin), Frank Feys (Denis Poncet), Jason Davis (Fred Atwater), Teri Wyble (Sonya Pfeiffer), Olek Krupa (Werner Spitz), Myke Holmes (Duane Deaver), Kevin Sizemore (Mark Zamperini), Ryan Lewis (Bruce Campbell), Kate Sanford (Veronica Hunt), Daniela Lee (Devon), Andre Martin (Yves), Deena Wade (Margaret Blair), Wilky Lau (Henry Lee), Vince Pisani (Tim Palmbach), Matthew Jayson Cwern (Faris Bandak), Morgan Henard (Dennis Rowe), Scott Daniel Johnson (Jay Trehy), Tedd Taskey (Weight Lifter), Carl Palmer (Banker at Gym), John Crow (Joseph), Joel Ray Ishman (Police Officer), Paul Teal (Brad Wolgamott)