AT&T’s Mr. Mercedes
Season 2, Episode 3: “You Can Go Home Now”
Directed by Jack Bender
Written by Mike Batistick
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Let’s Go Roaming” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Motherboard” – click here
People complaining about the supernatural-like twist— you know you’re watching a series based in the world of Stephen King, right? Just checking.
Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) is waking up to yet another day, going through the routine once more. Today’s soundtrack is “I Had A Dream” provided by the great John Prine: listen here. In hospital, Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway) lies in bed like every other day being put through the routine by doctors and nurses. Although in his mental basement he’s starting to see his dead little brother crawling around and playing with his toy firetruck. They play around in the dark recesses of Brady’s working brain together. A sad image. Particularly when his little brother asks: “Did you kill mom, too?” Jesus.
In the yard, Bill finds Jerome (Jharrel Jerome) at work to help him with the project for Ida (Holland Taylor). Our former detective questions his young friend about how Harvard’s going, getting nothing much. We know why. It’s excruciating to watch him go through the motions trying to hide his poor marks. Can lead to bad situations.
Dr. Felix Babineau (Jack Huston) and his wife Cora (Tessa Ferrer) are focusing on a “growing family,” alongside their plans for the “star patient.” She’s pretty adamant about progress, always checking up on her husband. He’s trying to follow along in hopes of great reward. This will come back to bite them.
At the hospital, Bill talks with his nurse friend, sure Sadie (Virginia Kull) was coming after him with “malicious intent” holding a scalpel. They search the serial killer’s room discovering the scalpel behind a chair. The nurse doesn’t want to believe it, but Hodges knows something’s not quite right. Back at Finders Keepers, Bill keeps secrets about where he’s been from Holly (Justine Lupe). She keeps on pushing about the De La Cruz case, as he continues pushing off more of the truth. She knows all of the truth, though— about Brady, about De La Cruz. He unleashes on her about hating the work they do.
Eventually they go stakeout where Sadie lives. They discover Sadie’s likely an epileptic, getting homeopathic treatments. Side effects of coming off her medication for “anti–seizures” include “a chaotic state” or a “psychotic state.” This helps explain how Sadie was susceptible to mental control by the super-drugged killer.
We see Lou Linklatter (Breeda Wool) dealing with “being stabbed by Brady Hartsfield.” She can’t move on without showing her would-be murderer and once good friend she’s survived him. 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. Might have unforeseen consequences.
Bill and Holly go stakeout Sadie again at her boyfriend’s place. She stays behind to watch the place while Bill heads off to take a look at Sadie’s house where she stays. He’s caught by the mom. He gives a spiel about investigating malpractice at the hospital. But mom doesn’t buy it and calls the cops.
“How can you know what you don’t know?”
In hospital, Lou goes up to Brady’s room by herself. She heads inside to find the killer in his comatose state, hooked up to various machines. She talks to him as if he were totally present. She leans in to him, telling him: “You‘re nothing.” The he hops out of bed, stabbing her in the gut like before. A horrible nightmare.
A bit of love’s back in the cards for Bill. He and ex-wife Donna (Nancy Travis) come back together after he drops by her house when work is over. They drink, then they fall into bed together “like yesteryear.” In the morning, he chats with her a bit about the case he’s working on, how he believes Sadie was trying to kill him and why it disturbs him so much. She worries, like back in the day, he takes on too much, bringing the darkness with him everywhere he goes.
Brady’s cleaning up his mental basement. He scrubs the blood from the hood of the wrecked Mercedes— another visual symbolic of his refusal/inability to accept responsibility for all his horrors. Love the way they’ve represented his mental space with the basement! So perfect. From this liminal space on the edges of his mind, Brady’s able to use the super drug brain powers he’s discovering to listen to her thoughts and get inside them. He’s going to use her for “some fun” before she transfers off the unit. He manipulates her into getting restricted drugs, then she heads to the room of a Mr. Conlan. She gives him a dose of his medication. And then she gives him a “extra treat” to send him spinning off the planet. She’s interrupted before she can administer a fatal dose. This alerts her nurse friend, who in turn calls Bill right away.
Outside the hospital, Bill confronts Sadie. He interrogates her, as Brady controls the strings behind her actions. He finds the extra syringe in her purse, but this doesn’t change anything. Sadie heads back inside, and now the serial killer in her head considers her “a burden.” Brady ushers the young nurse upstairs, out to the roof. He sends her towards the edge of the building where she goes toppling off towards the concrete below, not far from where Bill and the other nurse stand together talking. Simultaneously, the machines in Brady’s room begin going off, showing more signs of life.
“Love is prison. Death is liberation— freedom.”
What an episode! If you don’t dig the new stuff in Season 2, why keep complaining? Father Gore loves it. Very Stephen King-esque, and that’s the entire point. If you’re looking for totally grounded, totally down to earth, just because Season 1 gave you that doesn’t mean a King adaptation is going to remain that way. Plus, it gives the show an entirely fresh dynamic that I can’t wait to see play out.
“Motherboard” is next time.