AT&T’s Mr. Mercedes
Season 2, Episode 7: “Fell On Black Days”
Directed by Jack Bender
Written by Dennis Lehane
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Proximity” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Nobody Puts Brady in a Crestmore” – click here
The series continues its use of excellent music with “Daydream” by The Lovin’ Spoonful. We see Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) is enjoying whatever relationship it is he and ex-wife Donna (Nancy Travis) have together. At the hospital, Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway) is worked on in front of Cora Babineau (Tessa Ferrer) and her Chinese business partners— “This fucking procedure better work,” one of them tells her plainly. In his mental basement the killer keeps working on his psychological physique, sharpening those brain knives.
Interesting morning around the Hodges residence, with Donna and Holly (Justine Lupe) both kicking around. Donna knows the place so well, and there’s almost a jealousy towards the young woman, whom she calls a guest despite the fact Holly’s living there and she’s only there for a booty call. Bill and Donna may go to Ireland together, too. Quite a change. Ida Silver’s (Holland Taylor) pretty surprised to see the couple back together again, like the rest of us.
Surgeons have removed part of Brady’s skull. As they do, a light pours in over the basement’s computers. The killer hears Dr. Felix Babineau (Jack Huston) using a “stimulating depth electrode” to hopefully restore his “capacity for speech.” This troubles Brady, seeing as how he’ll be put on trial, go to jail, and everything else that comes along with being a vicious serial killer. In his head, he can remain an eerie presence, moving in and out of the minds of others. So while the doctors are trying to stimulate his brain with electrodes and imagery together, he’s pushing harder mentally to keep himself in that vegetative state, if only just a little longer. The only thing to get a response? A picture of mother. Still not enough for the Chinese partners, who find Cora and Felix offering nothing more than excuses for failure.
When everyone clears the surgical room and theatre, Dr. Babineau speaks to Brady. He makes threats, physically manipulating the young man’s body by putting the electrode on parts of his brain. The creepiest game of chicken ever! Not to mention Felix is only nailing his own coffin shut if(/when) Mr. Hartsfield comes back to the land of the living.
Bill tells ADA Antonio Montez (Maximiliano Hernandez) about the text he received. The two discuss how to separate the doctor and his patient. ADA Montez suggests sending the patient to be warehoused, where he won’t get any drugs or surgeries, at a place called Crestmore— a “dumping ground for gorks” (gork = medical acronym for God Only Really Knows re: patients unable to be diagnosed). The two men try talking to Jonathan Pettimore (Adam Stephenson) about getting Brady moved. However, they find Pettimore’s using the patient as publicity for the hospital.
Poor Al (Mike Starr) is struggling hard with what he’s done, not remembering any of it. His brother tries to help, though all evidence points to Al. “I don‘t remember my days,” Al weeps. He tells his brother about “a door” inside him, through which someone comes and goes. When the two plan head out for a relaxing weekend trip, Al forgets his Zappit in the house and rushes back— in this time, he’s taken over by Brady. Al offers his brother one of those usual haircuts, and Brady makes his puppet murder his brother.
Across town, Dr. Babineau goes to see Lou Linklatter (Breeda Wool). He wants to know what she said to Brady during her visit, grasping at straws to try making the serial killer wake up. Felix tries convincing her Hartsfield cares about her, and offers to bring her in as an assistant to track Brady’s “cyber fingerprints.” Afterwards, Felix finds Cora rushing off to China. He’s suspicious she might be setting him up. He threatens to tear up her passport before she reveals he’s not entirely paranoid. This marriage is fucked up.
A great montage of Brady and Al in their separate worlds set to “Take Me Home” by Cheetah Chrome. Brady’s mental basement is full of the memories from his time as the Mercedes Killer, mowing people down at the job fair, where he works out, drinking healthy shakes. Al’s busy smashing vinyls and drinking a beer. As always, the serial killer’s main focus is Mr. Hodges. And guess where he’s sent Al? Right to the former detective’s house, where Holly’s arriving home for the evening. Luckily the young lady heads out before the intruder’s able to hurt her.
Bill’s uneasy when he gets home and sees the smashed record, an open beer by his chair. He doesn’t know Al was there, nor that the man found a business card for Finders Keepers. The private investigator checks upstairs, and we’re waiting for the moment Al’s going to attack Holly at the shop. But Al’s still in the house. Brady attacks through his puppet, fighting viciously against the old detective. Ida walks in to see her friend being pummelled. She sets off an alarm, allowing Hodges time to grab his gun, putting two bullets in Al’s gut and forehead, blowing Brady’s mental basement to smithereens.
Holy fuck, what an episode! Finally things came to a head. It was only a matter of time before Bill was the subject of an attack by the mental hypnotism Brady’s been weaving. That last sequence seriously had Father Gore sweating. Thought for sure Holly or Donna were going to die. Thankfully not!
“Nobody Puts Brady in a Crestmore” is next time, and the title alone is great enough, playing off of Dirty Dancing in a much more disturbing context.