Mr. Mercedes season 2 episode 3 review: Brace yourselves! it's going to be a bumpy ride
Hodges gets his first whiff that Brady might not be completely out of order yet in the new episode of Audience Network's Stephen King adaptation, 'Mr. Mercedes'
If there was any doubt as to the ability of the sophomore season of 'Mr. Mercedes' to transition smoothly from the hard-boiled detective genre to an outright supernatural thriller, episode 3 of the new season, titled 'You Can Go Home Now' dispells most, if not all of those doubts. After laying sufficient groundwork for the new season to unfold, episode three finally gets the ball rolling as Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) starts to get a hint that Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway) might not be completely out of action after all.
[Spoiler Alert: The following review discusses key plot details from episode 3 of Mr. Mercedes. If you haven't watched the episode yet, proceed at your own risk!]
Episode three opens yet again with one of the shows many tasteful montages. As usual, it starts with Hodges grumpily getting up and about his day, this time to the tune of 'I Had A Dream' by John Prine. The montage also cuts to Brady, who lies in bed like every other day being put through the routine by doctors and nurses, while Hodges continues to visit his nemesis every day, patiently waiting for him to awake. Meanwhile, in Brady's 'mind-cave', we get to see some dark revelations of Brady's past. He's starting to see his dead kid brother crawling around and playing with his toy firetruck. There's a particularly morose scene when his brother asks Brady, "Did you kill mother too?". The "too" in this context might imply that it was Brady who killed his brother as a child, adding yet another dark layer to the homegrown mass murderer's backstory.
The friction between Hodges and Holly (Justine Lupe) that had been rising in the last few episodes finally reaches a boiling point after Holly discovers that Hodges has been keeping secrets from her, not only about Brady being awake, but also about cases at their new detective agency 'Finders Keepers'. The tiff ends in a quick reconciliation though, and Hodges takes the quirky Holly under his wing as he teaches her the 101 of detective methods in several hilarious scenes.
Meanwhile, Hodges suspects that nurse Sadie (Virginia Kull) -- whose mind got jailbroken into by Brady in the last episode -- was out to stab him with a scalpel and shares his concerns with his nurse friend at the hospital. They search Brady's room and find the scalpel, which sets Hodges off on Sadie's trail as he tracks her movements to get to the bottom of her odd behavior. Hodges' good old noir styled detective action while he teaches Holly the tricks of the trade takes the viewers back to the black comedy flecked first season, but it doesn't last for too long. Hodge's love life also ignites in the episode and it's not that surprising. The last two episodes saw increasing amounts of screen time for his ex-wife Donna (Nancy Travis) as she provided solace to the much-disturbed detective. She continues to do so, but this time with a little more intimacy and a reliving of the "yesteryears".
There's finally a hint of an explanation as to why Brady was able to get into Sadie's head. After staking out her house, the detective duo discovers that Sadie’s likely an epileptic, getting homeopathic treatments. Side effects of coming off her medication for seizures include “a chaotic state” or a “psychotic state,” which could leave her mind susceptible. It's a weakish justification, but we'll have to swallow it for now.
Lou Linklater is back again in the new episode. After being stabbed by Brady, she's almost fully recovered now, at least physically if not mentally. She can’t move on without showing her would-be murderer and once good friend she’s survived him and is desperate to get closure by seeing Brady now that she knows he's awake. She’s also got older trauma in her life not yet dealt with, according to her psychiatrist, who warns not to rush into seeing him again, saying it might possibly trigger a "breakdown". But Lou doesn't seem to give a f**k. This feels like foreshadowing for a later time and Lou's decision could have some unforseen consequences in later episodes. How that unfolds will be interesting to see.
The unique cinematic treatment that takes the viewer into Brady's mind is further explored with clever metaphors in the new episode. We see Brady washing the blood stains off the Mercedes from the first season, a symbol of how he's struggling to come to terms with the consequences of his horrific acts. The introduction of his dead kid brother is also insightful. And it all happens within Brady's mind, which is modeled after his basement man-cave from season 1.
While Brady just started flexing his newly acquired telepathic skills in the previous episodes, in episode 3, he takes his newfound powers for a test drive. He takes over Sadie's mind yet again and is now able to hear her thoughts too. He takes her for a spin to "have some fun" and makes her pilfer some morphine from the supply cabinet. Sadie (under Brady's will) then goes on to administer a patient with "enough morphine to knock out a rhinoceros", only to be interrupted by Hodges' nurse friend, who now begins to fear that Hodges' suspicions about poor Sadie were true after all. She alerts Hodges right away, who sets off for the hospital.
Outside the hospital, Hodges arrives just in time to confront Sadie as she gets into her car and revs the engine with the intention of running over his nurse friend. Hodges confronts Sadie and it marks the first instance of Hodges and Brady facing off in the new season, albeit with Sadie as a mediator. Hodges finds the extra syringe of morphine in Sadie's bag, but Sadie storms off inside. Unhappy with being interrupted while trying to score his first victim in the new season, Brady now points his rage towards Sadie, who he sees as useless "dead weight" now that she's tipped Hodges off. In what has been undoubtedly the biggest shock of the season so far, Bradie makes the zombified Sadie climb to the roof of the hospital and sends her off the edge. The camera cuts to Brady maniacally laughing and pouring the milk out of his cereal bowl onto the floor before jumping back to Sadie's twisted, bleeding body on the hard concrete floor. The scene is a quick reminder of all the blood-curdling moments from season 1 and sets the tone yet again, for a compelling Stephen King adaptation.
Brady Hartsfield is back and has claimed his first victim in the new season. More are soon to follow before Hodges and the viewers even figure out how exactly Dr. Babineau's experimental drug is causing all this. Brace yourselves! it's going to be a bumpy, bloody, guts-flying-everywhere ride on the new season of 'Mr. Mercedes'.
Season 2 of 'Mr. Mercedes' is airing now on Audience Network. Catch the next episode, 'Motherboard' on Wednesday, 12 September at 3:00 pm PST.