AT&T’s Mr. Mercedes
Season 3, Episode 6: “Bad to Worse”
Directed by Jack Bender
Written by David E. Kelley & Jonathan Shapiro
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Great Balls of Fire” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The End of the Beginning” – click here
Bill’s having terrible dreams about the massacre at the job fair. He sees his daughter’s face among the victims. He wakes in a sweat only to get a call from Allie herself. She had a nightmare about Brady coming back. He tries assuring her this could never happen. The irony is right in his eyes. He’s not sure, particularly with the way Lou’s been acting lately, if Mr. Mercedes is truly dead.
Even if Brady isn’t, as Father Gore predicted a while back, a floating consciousness somehow, like during Season 2, this whole season has become a comment on the way horrific tragedies linger with people, no matter if the perpetrators die.
There’s trouble with Holly. She’s regressing into a bad place. She rocks back and forth, talking to herself, humming “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.” Jerome can’t snap her out of it, and Bill manages to get her talking, though not much. She claims she was having “panic attacks.” The big court case / her having to testify’s putting too much stress on her. Bill tells her she doesn’t “have to be a hero.” Yet Holly sees this as exactly what’s required of her: to be heroic, for Lou.
Young Peter is almost killed on the road by Alma. He has to jump into the trees, getting himself cut and bloody. When he gets home, he’s grilled by his parents. He claims it was “some drunk driver.” But they’re all thinking relatively the same thing. Tom and Marjorie know things ain’t quite right in the neighbourhood. Their son certainly does. Meanwhile, Alma and Morris are plotting their next move. She continues pushing him, trying to use his Jimmy Gold fascination against him.
There’s real introspection going on in Bill, whose recent call from Allie just solidifies that. He talks to Jerome about how he sees the younger man as a son in a sense. He knows he probably takes out some of his own frustrations about being a shitty dad on him, along with Holly. It has Jerome wondering if he’s dying, all this sudden self-reflection. But it’s got a lot to do with the death of John Rothstein.
Jerome looks into Carl Fenten’s old things. He finds a bunch of clippings about the massacre at the jobs fair. There’s a picture of Carl with Morris, so Jerome snaps a photo with his phone. He’s inching closer towards the truth. Alma is busy inching closer to Marjorie, purposely bumping into the woman ‘by accident’ at the grocery store to keep trying to get into her life.
In court, Holly takes the stand. She explains how she became involved in “tracking Brady” and everything that happened subsequently. Finkelstein makes sure to give the young woman plenty of time to tell her story while ADA Pace doesn’t have time for it. Holly gets to the part about bashing Hartsfield’s head in and it’s difficult: “I became a monster myself in a way.” The lawyer digs into her, only to help to hopefully prove his points about his client. The whole thing makes Bill emotional. He’s proud of Holly for having the strength to testify. He’s also still mad at himself for putting her and Lou in this position. So he breaks down and cries outside in his vehicle after the day’s over.
“Lou’s hands spoke for her—
they spoke for all of us.”
Morris shows up randomly in a diner to start getting unsettling with Pete. He starts out with quotes from Shakespeare, quickly getting into Rothstein’s “unpublished manuscripts.” He knows many things about the high school kid— too many things. And he tries to ‘warn’ him about what could happen if he doesn’t give over the papers. This cat-and-mouse game’s getting very, very serious. Morris is doing his best to fuck with Pete’s head. But will it work?
More things are coming together. Bill takes a call, mentioning the Saubers kid, and this gets Ida thinking, given that her young student’s recently become “like a student of John Rothstein.” So there’s coincidence building up. But it’s not only coincidence, and our former detective knows this quite well. Speaking of young Mr. Saubers, he goes over to Halliday’s bookshop with some Rothstein pages, already letting Morris into his head.
In court, Lou takes the stand. She uses the usual “gallows humour,” which Finkelstein tells her to avoid. She accepts that she “took a human life“— someone whom she’d been friends with, and quite close. She admits to loving Brady, but knows he became a monster. Her honesty is raw and without caveats. She also can’t quite get Brady out of her head, hearing and seeing the tiny ice cream truck rush up towards the witness stand. Something inside Lou takes over and her demeanour becomes cold as she finishes answering her lawyer’s questions. Then she has to face cross examination.
Pete’s dealing with Morris again, who nearly sends him off the road. They stop and have a chat while the high school student holds a gun on his stalker. He threatens to kill him. Morris calls the kid’s bluff, though. Until he gets a bullet in the thigh. “You shot the fucking messenger,” screams a wounded, bleeding Morris. He later gets back to Alma. She won’t send him to a hospital, so it means she’ll try to pull the bullet out herself. She’s really getting the better end of the stick in their entire relationship, this is just a microcosm.
Another great instalment of this series. Season 3 has proved to be as good as both the first and second season for Father Gore. Lots of intrigue, and the drama’s top notch. “The End of the Beginning” is next time.
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.