AT&T’s Mr. Mercedes
Season 2, Episode 5: “Andale”
Directed by Peter Weller
Written by Alexis Deane & Sophie Owens-Bender
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Motherboard” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Proximity” – click here
Brady (Harry Treadaway) is sitting outside of Bill’s (Brendan Gleeson) house, watching the neighbourhood via Al (Mike Starr). He sees Ida (Holland Taylor) leave her house, and hopefully he won’t do anything bad to her. Holly (Justine Lupe) notices Al before he and Brady pull out. Perhaps her quirky brain will keep an eye on suspicious things like that.
Inside his place, Bill is bouncing his theories off of Jerome (Jharrel Jerome). The kid tries to tell the former detective suicide doesn’t walk “around with a fucking sign on its head,” and nobody knows who could be preparing to kill themselves, it’s not always so obvious. He knows from experience— his mother killed herself. Jerome further asks Bill whether this is all a way to extend the case, some way to give him purpose. The older man says he’s got no desire for a “serial killing ice cream fuck to crawl out from his vegetative crypt” just so he’ll have something to do. He simply cannot let go of this theory.
We see a couple young girls outside their school. One’s vaping worrying about the “calories in E–juice,” the other is on her Zappit device. Uh oh— Father Gore’s already imagining the unsettling possibilities. And what do you know? Al’s driving by. Brad spies one of the girls, Barbara (Makayla Lysiak), which doesn’t bode well.
In hospital, Dr. Bruce Babineau (Jack Huston) believes Brady’s experiencing an “unexplained manifestation of mutism.” The killer shouldn’t be in a vegetative state anymore. The cerebral cortex appears like that of any healthy adult. This doesn’t thrill DA Antonio Montez (Maximiliano Hernandez), who’s dying to put Mr. Mercedes on trial. He’s also unconcerned with how Hartsfield comes back to the land of the living, encouraging Babineau to work his magic, or else he’ll pull his support and mess everything up. When Felix tells Cora (Tessa Ferrer) about their situation, his wife’s got another experimental technology they might put to use.
We see Holly contact an old pal from her group meetings. Turns out, the guy was a professor who “lost tenure” due to an interest in mind control. Clearly Holly’s more willing to try believing Bill and his theory after all. We’re also getting an interesting way of bridging the first season of Mr. Mercedes with this psychic/supernatural shift in Season 2. Holly’s pal talks of (quantum)entanglement, which Einstein called “spooky action at a distance.” Maybe people who originally baulked at the changes this time around were too quick to judge.
Bill’s trying to do anything he can to unravel the mystery of what happened to Sadie. He suggests to Jerome they hack into the hospital, and the young man’s not totally excited to break the law in a major, major way. The former detective laments not having the “old fuck wisdom” people assume just appears after so long when you age. Later, Jerome goes ahead with the hack into Mercy General to find out more about Brady’s condition discovering nothing new.
So Hodges goes to talk to see his old friend Nurse Maggie Wilmer (Tammy Arnold). She’s not willing to put herself at risk, though he tells her it’s urgent. She mentions how the killer’s EKG readings were spiking as Sadie plunged to her death. Could mean a broken body giving off false readings. Or, could mean he’s very aware, which we know is the truth. Maggie winds up getting caught trying to sneak into Dr. Babineau’s office, sending Antonio over to rage at Bill for his involvement. Things are about to get difficult. This doesn’t prevent our man from popping off at the mouth, though. He’s not afraid.
“But did you know this? A person can truly go fuck himself if he puts his mind to it right.”
While Lou (Breeda Wool) practises what she’d say to Brady in the mirror at home, believing the killer’s unable to hurt anybody anymore in his coma state. At the same moment, across town, Al’s being mentally and physically manipulated by Brady. This is a chilling sequence, cutting back and forth between the serial killer still being capable of reaching out into the world and affecting violent change.
Note: Great tune called “Oil Rainbow” by the band Volcanoes is used when Al’s breaking into the house. Listen.
We’re seeing Al has been out at DA Antonio’s place today, stealing his gun and a few other things. When Montez gets home he finds a trail of blood leading into the backyard, getting messier as he goes. He discovers his dog murdered. Then there’s the fact Al wakes up later, covered in blood, and unaware of what he’s done. Oh, shit.
Dr. Babineau reaches out to Brady, believing his strange coma state means he was never in control of his actions— both a mental and physical psychopath. He promises all sorts of deals, which the killer sees as lots of lies. Of course Brady’s heard everything going on in his room. Ultimately nobody’s safe from this psycho.
At abar, Antonio finds Bill for a talk. He lets him know about what happened at his home. He says he’s willing to forget things between them if the old detective will help. He has a feeling it’s connected to Hartsfield, not to mention he’s doing his own shady things that could put him in jeopardy going through all the proper channels. Antonio mentions his initial visit to Brady’s room, when he squeezed his balls and threatened him. He said the words “occupandi temporis“— the same words written on his patio in dog’s blood. This only cements Bill’s theory deeper in his mind.
Absolutely spectacular episode. Downright amazing, and with new ideas/themes to back up the supernatural-like twists of Season 2. Honestly, this Stephen King series has been well adapted, continuing to be interesting, innovative, funny, and smart.
“Proximity” is next time.