AT&T’s Mr. Mercedes
Season 3, Episode 2: “Madness”
Directed by Jack Bender
Written by David E. Kelley & Jonathan Shapiro
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 premiere, “No Good Deed” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Love Lost” – click here
Soundtrack note: Bob Dylan’s “Series of Dreams” plays in the opening
Trusty Bill Hodges is digging himself out of old memories. He’s trying to focus on his latest morbid interest— the murder of author John Rothstein. He goes to meet Antonio Montez at the scene. They check out the bedroom where Rothstein was shot dead, and where robber Carl took a bullet. Montez is only letting Bill look around as a favour, even if the former detective oversteps his reach to look through official documents.
Morris is dealing with Danielle Sweeney (Meg Steedle), his significant other. She senses something’s not right. He’s sitting home drinking, watching tapes of Rothstein’s interviews. Meanwhile, Bill, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson are putting their heads together for Finders Keepers business. They’re going to keep an eye out for potential unpublished Rothstein pages making their way to sellers.
Peter Saubers has to sit down with his mother and father, Tom (Josh Daugherty) and Marjorie (Claire Bronson). His parents found a new pair of sneakers in his room. They have no clue how he bought a $300 pair of sneakers. He’s being accused of selling drugs. The reality is far more dangerous. Afterwards, while walking the dog, Peter goes back to the crash. He sees the body of the man Morris murdered inside.
Judge Raines is trying to make sense of Lou Linklatter’s case. Neither side wants to go for a plea. He’s pissed off with an affidavit signed by Bill working towards a self-defence argument. Raines has a unique way of using “fuck me up the ass,” though the grizzled old detective-turned-private investigator understands that language. It puts the two men at each other’s throats. Plus, Bill and lawyer Roland Finkelstein can’t see eye to eye, either. Then there’s Lou, who can’t face hard time. Nor can she get free of Brady: “He finds me in here.” She continues to hear Mr. Mercedes in her head.
Soundtrack note: “She’s Long Gone” by the Black Keys plays on Morris’s drive
Morris goes to see Alma Lane (Kate Mulgrew). She sits him down for stew, then they have a chat about his “monumental fuck up.” She already knows he killed Rothstein. She told him about “the manuscripts” and everything else stashed in that safe— she and John had a relationship once upon a time. Morris is broken up about it, yet he remains on the hook for “felony murder.” He has to tell Alma about losing all the cash and the papers. When they finish talking, they fuck.
Bill’s not thrilled that Jerome didn’t LOVE the Jimmy Gold book. He wonders why, and the young man starts to get honest. Jerome says the anger “oozes” from Rothstein’s book. He’s read about how the author’s novels possibly influenced young men reading them into a melancholic state, which might explain Hodges and his “perpetual discontent.” Although it’s hard to be happy when the grim and the grotesque seem to follow Bill, as he continually wades through death and murder long after retiring from the force.
Bill finds out info on Judge Raines, going to a bar the man frequents. He chats Raines up, attempting to figure out if he’s a “fan of the law” or a loose cannon. The judge believes in conscience, and that it won’t go great for Lou should he be left to that. Bill and Holly talk to Finkelstein. The lawyer tells them his client’s beginning to regress mentally. He mentions that Brady “visits her.”
Theory time! Father Gore predicted, at the end of Season 2, that Brady would be taken away to a facility to be experimented on or examined. Is there a chance his consciousness, like the stuff in the previous season, is somehow out there influencing people? Could Mr. Mercedes still be living in some form beyond death?
Morris is being manipulated by Alma. She has a strong hatred for Rothstein, who used and mentally abused her. She eggs the young man on, trying to make him into a heroic figure like a character out of a Jimmy Gold story. And it’s working.
Across town, the courthouse parking lot is full of people protesting. They want to see their hero Lou freed. Bill takes his time to talk to the news reporters, mentioning how Lou helped the city sleep again after what Mr. Mercedes had done to them, keeping everybody in constant fear. Inside, Judge Raines isn’t thrilled to hear the trial will go ahead. He begins by refusing to entertain a self-defence angle from Finkelstein. He also sees Lou’s not in a great mental state, ordering her sent to a mental health facility for anywhere between 4 months to a whole year. Shit has officially gotten real.
That evening, Bill’s called to the morgue with Montez to look at the corpse found in the crashed car. There’s obvious strange markings on the back of the head, as well as a bullet hole through and through. Morris’s use of the power drill is clear. It’s a “dead herring“— Antonio’s play on red herring, which nobody finds especially funny. While there, Hodges takes a chance to see Rothstein’s body as a final act of closure. Simultaneously, Lou is transferred to the new facility, where she could remain indefinitely. In a place like that she may only find Brady returning to her worse than ever. She’s locked in a cell and immediately the ice cream truck song plays, as if Brady’s right there with her.
Soundtrack note: “I Shall Be Released” by Nina Simone plays at the end
“She’ll become what they say she is”
What a killer follow-up to the first episode! Wow.
Father Gore can’t get enough of this series. It continually reinvents itself, and there’s so much more mystery floating around the events we’ve seen so far that it’ll only get weirder, more interesting, and, you can be sure, very, very creepy.
“Love Lost” is next.
Season 3 of Mr. Mercedes airs Tuesdays at 10pm ET/PT on AT&T AUDIENCE Network. AT&T AUDIENCE Network is available on all AT&T video platforms including DIRECTV Ch. 239, AT&T TV NOW, and U-verse.