Happy Face is often the number one podcast I recommend to others when they ask me what to listen to, so I was delighted to find they have released a season two. In this season, Melissa Moore, daughter of serial killer Keith Hunter Jesperson, accompanies Becky Babcock on a journey to discover her own family. He mother, Diane Downes, tried to shoot all her children, resulting in one of their deaths. Her two surviving children were understandably traumatised. Diane has never admitted a motive but it’s suspected she committed the crime to keep a lover. To everyone’s surprised, although with hindesight very on brand for Diane, she became pregnant with Becky while on trial for her other childrens murders.
Becky was given up for adoption soon after birth, her birth siblings, now adults, didn’t want a relationship with her as it is too painful for them. So she sets off on a quest to find her birth father, who’s identity has remained a secret all these years, known only by celebrated late true crime author Anne Rule. The monsters Becky has to fight on her hero’s quest are the highly manipulative members of her birth family in the shape of her mother and uncle. Her uncle appears to be completely in his sisters thrall and treats Becky mearly as another opportunity for Diane to garner attention and sympathy, possibly even rehabilitation. Like any hero Becky isn’t totally on her own in her quest, she has Melissa Moore and the impressive skills of a genealogical researcher – who are essential Becky’s version of the meeting with the goddess, who definately are Hecate and Athena. Frankly if I had the courage, and I doubt I would, to unearth the secrets of such a explosively toxic family I think Moore and her team would definately be my choice of back up. Becky’s willingness for this to be recorded and released for anyone to listen to is extrodinarily brave.
Two Faced reminds us, as Melissa Moore did so well in Happy Face, that there are no winners when it comes to murder, and rather than being a lose-lose situation it is more a lose again and again and again situation, the repurcutions and traumas of which flow down the generations and effect even those who were not born at the time. One life may have been taken, but all the others were damaged. With Diane’s performance through the cypher of her brother it feels like healing will probably be a solitary and lonely journey for many involved.
Moore, with her highly unique experience is slowly building a podcast which is valuble in the true crime field, it deepens our understanding of the innocents effected by brutal crimes, the ones that all our storytelling forms, news, films, books have neglected. For those who truly seek to understand the most devient crimes, understanding not just what led up to them, but also there half life is equally important, and Moore does so well in giving a voice, to those who had previously been voiceless.