'Mr. Mercedes': Everything we know so far and what to expect from season 2
With the season 2 premiere of Audience Network's 'Mr. Mercedes' around the corner, we take you through an all-you-need-to-know guide with what to expect in the new season.
The Stephen King fever continues! After wrapping up a successful first season last year, tomorrow marks the premiere of season 2 of 'Mr. Mercedes' on AT&T's Audience Network. The show is an adaptation of the famous 'Bill Hodges' trilogy by King. Returning for the second season will be David E. Kelley ('Big Little Lies') to write the script, and Jack Bender ('Under the Dome') will be in the director's seat yet again. King, Kelley, and Bender will also continue to serve as executive producers, along with Dennis Lehane, who will also contribute to the scripts.
While season 1 saw Detective Bill Hodges go toe-to-toe with psychopathic mass murderer Brady Hartsfield, season 2 promises to bring us into an “eerier, more gothic world.” Picking up a year after Brady Hartsfield’s thwarted attempt to perpetrate a second mass murder in the community of Bridgton, Ohio, the new season takes a darker, creepier turn as we enter the mind of the serial killer for a roller-coaster ride of a lifetime.
In anticipation of 'Mr. Mercedes' return, here's an all-you-need-to-know guide that'll help you keep abreast of what's about to unfold in the second chapter of Bill Hodges' life:
Jack Huston ('Boardwalk Empire') and Maximiliano Hernandez ('Sicario') are the prominent new faces joining the cast in season 2 of 'Mr. Mercedes.' Huston plays the scheming Brady Hartsfield's doctor, Felix Badineau. By the looks of the trailer for season 2 (which you can watch below), he seems to play Dr. Frankenstein with a comatose Brady, somehow giving him powers to mess around with people's minds. Maximiliano Hernandez plays Assistant DA Antonio Montez.
Returning cast includes star Brendan Gleeson as Bill Hodges, Harry Treadaway as Brady Hartsfield, Jharrel Jerome as Jerome Robinson, Scott Lawrence as Detective Peter Dixon, Breeda Wool as Lou Linklatter, Justine Lupe as Holly Gibney and Holland Taylor as Ida Silver.
Season 2 Trailer: From hard-boiled crime thriller to psychological horror
Season 1 of Mr. Mercedes was a hardcore hard-boiled detective affair. The edge of the seat thriller introduced us to an old, grumbling, retired Detective Bill Hodges who was locked in a noir-style battle with Brady Hartsfield, the local psychopathic computer genius who mows down a throng of people waiting in line at a job fair with a stolen Mercedes. Peppered with a fair amount of black comedy -- which was handled tastefully by the inimitable Brendan Gleeson and the very talented Holland Taylor -- the opening season also dealt with some dark themes like parental sexual abuse, death, murder, loneliness, and suicide.
Season 2 meanwhile, seems to do a complete left turn and drifts towards the supernatural horror genre with some Frankenstein-esqe sci-fi thrown into the mix. The last we saw Brady, he had a giant crack on his skull and was being rushed to the hospital. The trailer for season 2 shows him in a vegetative state but don't let that fool you. He's still in there and just like before, he's still scheming about his next big 'masterpiece' while cooking up a plan to exact revenge on Hodges. All this is thanks to Doctor Felix Badineau's experimental procedure, that leaves Brady with a major side effect - the ability to enter people's minds. It will be interesting to see how this new genre will pan out considering the show has so far kept everything pretty grounded in gritty reality.
The show skips the second book from the trilogy, 'Finders Keepers'
A large complaint that surfaced from fans after the trailer for season 2 dropped was that the show is skimming over the second book from the Stephen King trilogy that it's based on - 'Finders Keepers.' While Bill and Holly do open up a private detective agency called Finders Keepers, the new season of the show will not be drawn from the second book in the series, but from the third and final book, 'End of Watch.'
Director Jack Bender addressed this issue at Comic-Con San Diego earlier this year. The problem with using Finders Keepers, Bender explained, was that "our heroes didn’t come into it until halfway through the book." Even though the words "Finders Keepers" are included in the season, the main action is taken from the trilogy capper. Just prepare yourself for things to get a little stranger, “a little what the f*** are you talking about?" Bender teased.
Part of the reason for this detour can be credited to famed novelist Dennis Lehane ('Shutter Island,' 'Live by Night'), who helps write for the show. “Dennis Lehane brings a particular voice to the show that’s uniquely Dennis … dark and funny at times," Bender said.
Lots of dream sequences as the battle between Good and Evil continues
In anticipation of the season 2 premiere, Netflix shared a sneak peek of a clip from the upcoming season where Bill Hodges, is taunted by Brady Hartsfield while visiting a cemetery. With Hartsfield dressed in a white suit and Hodges in black, the dream sequence is an obvious hint at the classic theme of the battle between good and evil, which is sure to be explored from many more angles in the upcoming season. At one point, Bill climbs down into a dark grave that leads to the hospital room where Brady is lying in a vegetative state. Although we might not get to see Brady up and about, we are sure to be privy to several surreal dream sequences as we enter the manifestation of Brady's psyche.
"All the great story lines, they speak to universal things that have been around forever," says co-writer/producer Dennis Lehane in the clip. "Good versus evil. Our good is a very messed up good. He's compromised in a lot of ways, but at the end of the day, Hodges is the gunman. He's the lone warrior, the guy who's supposed to protect society." Meanwhile, "Brady is the home-grown evil. We've all been afraid of the Boogeyman, and that's what Brady represents."
The groundwork laid in season 1 is sure to be built upon in season 2. The scarred relationship between Bill and his daughter Allie (Maddie Hasson) looks like it could find its way towards resolution or at least half-way there. Meanwhile, Bill's wife Donna (Nancy Travis) is offering him a way out of his dark despair. Despite being his ex-wife, Donna returns to re-explore their relationship. As Nancy Travis noted at comic con, "She’s a sounding board for Bill and presents an alternative that’s not Hartsfield." Hodges' friendship with his friendly, but snooty neighbor Ida Silver could also see new developments.
Brady's character, on the other hand, could be explored from literally within his mind. We've already got a glimpse of some weird kind of man-cave within Brady's head where the personification of his mind operates from. We could be on the path to exploring more of his childhood, the relationship with his now deceased mother and kid brother and how Brady turned out to be the way he is in the first place.
Meanwhile, Holly Gibney (Justin Lupe), who started to take up more screen-time towards the end of the first season could share even more of the spotlight in the upcoming season. Actress Justin Lupe who plays Holly said of her character: "She’s kind of blossoming. She’s kind of running the show with Bill in the second season … she’s really utilizing her skill set in this new position.”
Bill's trusted sidekick Jerome Robinson (Jharrel Jerome) was off to study at Harvard at the end of season 1. Although we might not get to see as much of him as we did in the last season, it'll be interesting to see how he goes through his late-teen angst in college while trying to come to terms with the fact that he just helped nab a cold-blooded murderer in his senior year.