Spoilers ahead for S-Town, Chapter 2
In Chapter 2, Brian shares a surprising twist after talking with John’s alleged suspect: There was no murder.
It was surprising because in just the second episode, the assumed plot line of the series comes to an end. When Brian shares the news with John, he sounds depressed.
“A clusterfuck of sorrow,” John says, while laughing in a sad tone.
After the revelation, the scope of the series changes. We realize that the podcast is now going to be about John himself. An outsider in Shit Town, Alabama.
“You know… I’m not the most cheerful person…” John says, while musing on the problems of climate change. Brian shares the tangents John goes off on – typhoons in the Philippines, floods in Pakistan, fallout from the Ebola outbreak, and Fukushima. We get a sense of the way John’s brain works – intelligent but scattered, and very likely troubled.
Brian shares his thoughts on John’s obsessions. “The connection is deeper than [everything being shitty]. He’s distressed by the lack of outrage compared to the amount of shittiness in the world. To him, the ratio is completely out of whack.”
John is bothered by the fact the people of S-Town assumed the murder was true but did nothing about it. His mindset is completely different than the people who live around him with a sense of disinterest. John wants to live a different way – helping others, donating money, and changing the life of Tyler Goodson.
We met Tyler in Chapter 1, tooling around on John’s property. He has a very difficult life, and John thinks he can fix it. John also slips in a comment that Tyler will receive 20 ounces of gold when John dies – that is, if the cops don’t steal it first.
The comment is the first hint as to how Chapter 2 ends: John kills himself.