AT&T’s Mr. Mercedes
Season 2, Episode 10: “Fade to Blue”
Directed by Jack Bender
Written by David E. Kelley & Jonathan Shapiro
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Walk Like a Man” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 premiere, “No Good Deed” – click here
Sitting across from one another in their respective cells, Bill (Brendan Gleeson) and Brady (Harry Treadaway) have a tenuous chat. This is actually ADA Tony Montez’s (Maximiliano Hernandez) way of trying to draw out more information, to push the killer’s buttons. Detective Marks (Fredric Lehne) is leery of the whole thing, sure it’ll go pear-shaped soon enough. But they need as much info and evidence as possible.
In his cell, the killer refuses full responsibility, despite his confession, blaming the former detective for calling him “a fraud.” Brady acts like he’s suddenly got a conscience deep down in that rotten abyss in his heart, talking about himself in the “past tense,” as if it’s all real. Bill sees through the act.
The whole plan nearly backfires when the private eye chokes Mr. Mercedes through the cell. He passes over a piece of plastic, claiming the killer was choking and he was saving him, enough to narrowly save him once the cops rush in. Bill isn’t arrested, yet they don’t have all they need from the little stunt. He gets to go home for now. Donna (Nancy Travis) comes to get him. He tells her his time in the cell with Hartsfield was an “eye opener.”
“Chip found— all better.”
The trial of Mr. Mercedes is getting underway. Holly (Justine Lupe) and Bill are in attendance, as are many people, like Cora Babineau (Tessa Ferrer), as well as tons of media looking for a glimpse of Brady. Brady’s lawyer puts in a Not Guilty plea, whereas Tony is gunning for the “death penalty.” Lots of family members of people run down in the Mercedes Killings are there, not pleased to hear about the intent of Hartsfield’s lawyer to go after a mental health defence.
We’re actually getting a bit of a look at real life— psychiatry and medicine are pushing boundaries, cases like these have been brought up before in various fields. This is like speculative sci-fi, medicine, and horror mixed together. Dr. Felix Babineau’s (Jack Huston) illegal work on the patient, supposedly, effectively turned Brady into a wholly new person. Can this ‘new person’ testify in his own trial? A devious defence approach, questioning issues of competence, “consent,” and “no real meaningful mental connection” between “Mr. Chipless” and the old Brady. The killer himself says he’d “rather be dead” than to possibly revert to his old self.
As always, Bill knows the “law is fucked” and his nemesis hasn’t changed one bit, either. Tony tells him things could go bad, despite their hard work. Our former detective wants to testify. There’s simply too much against him for a jury to listen to his testimony. Mr. Hodges suggests Lou Linklatter (Breeda Wool). That just means they’ll have to convince her, which won’t be so easy. The men don’t find much success. Bill then asks Holly to try speaking with Lou, as she has more of a grasp on anxiety than anyone else.
At dinner, Bill explains to Donna he had his “epiphany” in the cell with Brady. He started out angry for not being the one to finally catch him. After that, he realised it was all an act, a game by the killer. Although he also realised the chase was over, despite whatever’s happening the killer is caught. Bill imagined letting the whole ordeal wash off him and going back to real life. He imagined rest, for once, and life without a “next obsession.”
Tony convinces the judge to let Lou meet with Brady, so they might let her assess his supposed changed psychological state and testify in court. This puts Lou in a room with a shackled Hartsfield for the first time since he nearly killed her. Neither are able to look the other in the eyes right away, especially not her: “I don‘t want to look at you.” He apologises for what he did to her, and she looks him right in the face. She thinks he’s “scamming.” He reminisces about their former relationship. She only wants to know why he did what he did, not his sob story. Brady remembers things, so the old version of him remains in there— but to what extent? Given the chance, he’ll murder again.
The federal government want to take custody of the killer so they can study him. Tony isn’t thrilled, but knows the reality of the justice system. Bill’s left disillusioned, not sure of where things are headed. While Tony laments his dead dog, he’s not in Bill’s position, mourning a girlfriend who was murdered. Either way? Hartsfield’s a psychopath.
In court, Lou testifies Brady hasn’t changed entirely, he’s still the old Brady to a large extent. She talks about being best friends with him, their brief meet recently, and mentions he expressed remorse for stabbing her. The killer “felt guilt” for what he’d done to her, not for the ones he mowed down with that Mercedes. The defence lawyer tries to do his job, twisting Lou’s testimony on the witness stand.
Then, as Lou’s brought off the stand, she pulls out a “3D–printable gun” and tells Brady she refuses to forgive him, and puts a bullet through his eye. She vomits while the court erupts in chaos and police rush her.
“The crazy ain’t in you, old man. It’s this fucked up world.”
In the aftermath, Brady is dead. The news are reporting on the irony of the killer having taught Lou how to make a 3D gun. The city feels relief, after Mr. Mercedes has officially been put to sleep once and for all. Bill goes back to being “Monet in his garden” out painting Fred on a canvas, generally trying to get back to real life. His memories are still full of the Mercedes Killer, even if he’s moving on. Hopefully, sooner or later, those memories will fade. Not yet.
WAIT! FATHER GORE’s PREDICTION: The government took custody of Brady, he’s in fact not dead only brutally wounded from the shot through his skull, and they’ve spread it through the media he was killed. They keep him somewhere to study him. Maybe he gets out. Maybe Bill gets wind of it and goes looking. What about Dr. Babineau? Where was he during the trial? Many questions.
Loved this season! Curious if there’ll be an attempt to move onto another season, even if the prediction above is incorrect. If Brady’s dead then Hodges and Finders Keepers could have another life beyond his storyline. Although the series is called Mr. Mercedes there are still interesting ways this could survive. Fingers crossed here at Father Son Holy Gore.