AT&T’s Mr. Mercedes
Season 2, Episode 9: “Walk Like a Man”
Directed by Jack Bender
Written by Dennis Lehane & David E. Kelley
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Nobody Puts Brady in a Crestmore” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, “Fade to Blue” – click here
With Brady (Harry Treadaway) back on his feet again nothing’s going to be the same, ever again. We see him “Walk Like a Man” down the side of a road dressed in scrubs and a doctor’s white jacket. Meanwhile, the police and a SWAT team are heading into Mercy General to clear the place for a serial killer. Bill (Brendan Gleeson), Tony (Maximiliano Hernandez), and Felix (Jack Huston) are arguing about the situation in the former patient’s room. As they kick each other’s asses, the “fucking Mercedes Killer” is out on the loose.
They get security footage showing their man stumbling out of the hospital, which is more than spooky to all of them, even Babineau. This brings up the question of what Brady was being treated with while under his care. What does the doc do? Ask for a lawyer. The former detective’s all about “constitutional concern” and wants a minute alone with Felix. Tony allows it, so Bill breaks out “ball bearings in a sock” and threatens the doc in no uncertain terms to get more info. Doc struggles to find a logical explanation for how his patient just got up and moved around after such a long time. The only thing he figures is, Hartsfield was more conscious than they’d noticed, and for much longer. Only now does he see the error of his foolish ways.
At a thrift store, Brady’s picking out a scarf to cover his neck scar. He gets talked up by one of the employees, Wanda (Rusty Schwimmer), and they have a pretty deep chat. Hopefully she doesn’t notice his face on blast across the TVs in the store.
“… Frankenstein has left the building.”
All over the news, Brady’s case is both feared and being hailed as great news for patients with brain damage. At home, Felix laments the likely “prison time” he’ll be facing. Cora (Tessa Ferrer) keeps spinning a “utilitarian standpoint” perspective on their experimental drugging of a comatose serial killer. She only sees the capitalist POV, and her husband’s waiting on a jail cell. They’re interrupted by the killer himself, who strolls right through the door. He’s a walking talking miracle and terror simultaneously. Brady’s not happy, though. He says he “feels changed” and wants to know what was done to him. He claims he feels regret, which is making him weaker. This is becoming a dangerous situation. There’s also the fact Brady needs further doses of the experimental drug he was given, called “Cerebellin.”
Bill’s worried about everyone around him, from Ida (Holland Taylor) to Jerome (Jharrel Jerome) and his family, and especially his partner at Finders Keepers, Holly (Justine Lupe). Nobody’s taking him as seriously as they ought to be, yet he insists everyone take the necessary precautions— one of which is they have to close Finders Keepers for a little while. Because if this killer can come back from a vegetative, paralytic state, he can evade police capture.
At the police station, Brady’s “teamie weamie” parks— one of the most enduring, upsetting things about him is how he’s stuck as a child, because of the incestual abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother, which is why he coins phrases like these. The killer asks Cora for a kiss seeing as how his “freedom is over.” He’s never been with another woman other than his mom. She caves to his request, giving him a brief kiss. That isn’t enough, he wants some passion. And so she gives him a better one. Afterwards, he heads inside, and – using a quote from another work adapted from a Stephen King classic – he gives himself up for arrest: “Here‘s Johnny.” What exactly is Hartsfield’s plan?
In an interrogation room, Brady sits across from Tony and Detective Daniel Marks (Fredric Lehne). The killer tells the cop about how the ADA squeezed his balls hard in his hospital room. Then he says he’s guilty, he wants to pay for his crimes. He again claims he’s feeling “emotional regret.” He goes over the Mercedes killing, after mentioning the incest, the death of his younger brother, and the beatings he received from his father. But Brady’s also angling at Hodges, accusing the former detective of trying to kill him, slyly alluding to shady things happening at the hospital. The killer’s willing to own up to his crimes, so long as his brain is studied for scientific purposes when he dies.
Bill sits down with Dt. Marks for an antagonistic chat about his hospital incident. The former detective doesn’t care much about being taken down for trying to finish off a serial killer. Marks presents it as Bill having stalked Sadie before her suicide, then stalked Al before shooting him. He hits a touchy subject by bringing up Janey’s (Mary-Louise Parker) death. The cop’s painting Mr. Hodges as a headcase and feels he could bring the trial down if ultimately used as a star witness. After our man storms out he gets a call from Tony to let him know he’s going to be charged for assault and battery on both Felix and Brady.
“How far do you want to go?”
Ironically, as Bill was the only one trying to do any good, Felix is holding a press conference, reeling off big talk about Jeremy Bentham‘s ideas about “consequential morality,” which involves what you’d call “the greatest happiness principle.” He’s doing his own painting, making people believe he’s had good intentions this whole time— instead of he and his wife being horrific capitalists who brought a serial killer back from a possibly permanent comatose state. He gets to walk away, for now.
Not Bill. The former detective has a cell, right next to Mr. Hartsfield.
Fantastic episode. As always. Season 2’s infinitely more creepy, for Father Gore, because of all the psychological things going on, really drawing out the intense horror and terror of Brady. The finale – “Fade to Blue” – is next time.