AT&T’s Mr. Mercedes
Season 3, Episode 5: “Great Balls of Fire”
Directed by Laura Innes
Written by David E. Kelley & Jonathan Shapiro
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Trial and Terror” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Bad to Worse” – click here
“Oh Death” by Dock Boggs opens the episode, as we see the familiar image of Bill putting on a record. He’s continually beating himself up over Lou. He keeps seeing Rothstein, spacing out to hear the author speaking directly to him. Rothstein’s basically acting as his inner voice right now, saying all the things the former detective doesn’t want to hear. He knows Bill’s concern is a “totem pole fear” of having no legacy to leave behind.
The author plainly explains: “Legacy is shit. And shit don‘t mean shit.”
Connected to him being an inner voice is how Rothstein helped shape who our man Bill has become over the years. In a way, Rothstein IS his inner voice. Maybe Jerome was right after all about how the author’s own legacy affected the young men who found themselves in a character like Jimmy Gold.
Morris keeps calling dead Danielle, thinking she’s run off without a word. He remembers being young, coming home to find his mom reading a copy of The Runner. She disparaged the “bland nothingness” of Jimmy Gold. This was his first brush with domestic violence, choking his mother before she tossed him off. YIKES! Again, the despair in Rothstein’s books seems to have seeped out into the world, and into some much more— much worse— than others. Bill and Morris are two sides of the same coin: damaged and dark, in wildly different ways.
At the courthouse, Jerome brings Bill info on Carl Fenten’s father, Don, before they all head inside. Quite a surprise when ADA Pace calls Hodges as her initial witness. This immediately has Judge Raines complaining about the “nice fucking start” to an already circus-like trial. Pace won’t back down. Finkelstein openly shits on her in front of the Judge, before Raines rains down on them both.
After five minutes prep, Bill takes the stand and Pace starts to question him. He does his best to support Lou without directly saying he wanted to Brady to be killed. The ADA brings up Janey’s death, trying to make Bill’s bias clear. He does a bit of joking before starting to get pissy. She digs harder, bringing up the times he nearly murdered Hartsfield. Great point by the ADA, even if it doesn’t make Lou look good in the end.
In school, Peter gets a paper back from his teacher, Ida. She’s impressed with the confidence. She questions whether someone else wrote the paper. Peter’s never enjoyed the books in her class until she assigned Rothstein. Ida asks about why he never included anything about the author’s real death. She mentions the rumoured “trove of treasures” and things are getting too close to home.
Cops show up at the Saubers house, questioning Marjorie about her son and essentially accusing the kid of taking stolen goods. They’re asking all kinds of questions about her husband Tom, too. They get around to their curiousness about how Tom’s leasing all kinds of space suddenly. Uh oh. They’re getting closer to the money.
Only a matter of time.
At a body shop, Bill gets talking to Don— father of the guy killed at Rothstein’s place. Dad’s sure his boy wasn’t the one who killed the author. He thinks his son would’ve been along for the ride, that “somebody alpha” would’ve been the ring leader.
Then there’s Morris, whose recent chat with Halliday at the bookstore has him feeling all sorts of ways about the Saubers kid, and Alma. Back at her place, Alma asks Morris if he thinks of Danielle. She wants him to be “all in.” That also means following her every whim. Alma goes off snooping around the Saubers place pretending to be looking for a lost cat, worming her way into Marjorie’s life.
Lou talks with Holly before she’s due to take the stand. She talks about “Brady bashing.” She wants her friend to make what she did look better. Everything she says is almost like watching Mr. Mercedes pull the strings on a puppet.
Bill and Holly wait for court when Morris comes right up to thank the former detective for what he did on the case from the job fair. Morris thanks them both, and this hooks Hodges, who wants to know what the man thinks of Lou— “a hero,” he says.
In court, Finkelstein gets a chance to question Montez. But poor Lou can’t stop hearing the ice cream trucks. She watches Antonio’s eyes bleed. Nevertheless, Finkelstein keeps going with his questions, hoping to paint Montez into a corner to help Lou, and does a pretty good job. ADA Pace doesn’t take long to pose her own question, making a strong impression. No real ground gained for Lou, in spite of her belief she’ll win the case.
Soundtrack: Alma listens to + sings “Don’t Rain On My Parade” while chopping Danielle’s corpse up into manageable pieces
“Satan’s a human creation!
He’s like God, or Cheez Whiz.”
Solid chapter of Season 3. Many things coming together at once.
“Bad to Worse” is next time. Should get even crazier.
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.