Mr. Mercedes – Season 1, Episode 10: “Jibber-Jibber Chicken Dinner”

AT&T’s Mr. Mercedes
Season 1, Episode 10: “Jibber-Jibber Chicken Dinner”
Directed by Jack Bender
Written by Dennis Lehane & Sophie Owens-Bender

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Ice Cream, You Scream, We All Scream” – click here
* Recap-reviews of Season 2 to come on release, as it’s been confirmed the show’s renewed!


A different opener for the finale. Suddenly, in the dark, former Dt. Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) wakes to “Danny Boy” playing. Nearby is a trail of blood smeared through the hallway, out into the kitchen, everywhere. The side of the house is covered in a streak of crimson. Outside is a wheelbarrow with an eviscerated corpse in it. In the trees, a bloody leg. The Mr. Friendly jingle plays. In the driveway, Bill sees his daughter as a girl, Holly (Justine Lupe), and Jerome (Jharrel Jerome) all eating ice cream with the ice cream man himself, Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway) who greets him with a pleasant, sinister smile.
Then there’s Ida Silver (Holland Taylor), she takes his gun, tells him to go “have some fun” while Mr. Mercedes serves him up his favourite fudge treat.
But then his daughter’s taken by Brady. When he goes back inside, everybody in his life is dead, murdered brutally. He’s quickly attacked by a rabid, beast-like Brady who tears him apart, ripping his flesh, eating him. Terrifying fucking nightmare.
Such a great contrast to the other episodes, all of those so similar, the same song, the record player, the breakfast. Now, we’ve come to the end of Season 1, and Bill’s in a vastly different, scarier headspace than he was before, worried for the safety of everyone near him.
IMG_0330At the police station, Dt. Pete Dixon (Scott Lawrence), Dt. Izzy Torres (Nicole Barré), Captain Brooke Hockney (Debra Monk), and Bill watch the confessional tape Brady recorded before the supposed end. As he rants about his delusions of grandeur, his mom, the “lead boots” of conscience against which his life raged, the lie that his mom died because she wanted to turn him in – he can’t even admit HE was the one who accidentally killed her, a pathetic human. He goes on about history as “scar tissue” and gobbles up a bottle of pills at the same time. Until it looks like he passes out, falling into the lens.
Bill’s thanked afterwards by Capt. Hockney for his involvement, as well as tasked with helping out more while they check for bombs at his place, other places Brady might’ve left a bomb behind. They also get a bit of help from Lou Linklatter (Breeda Wool) concerning where Robi might be.
At the electronics shop, corporate douche Josh (David Furr) realises the killer is the one who setup a display recently, to attract kids and their parents. Nothing’s found. However, better safe than sorry, right? Bill’s house is safe, too. He and Pete have a beer on the front step, chatting, the latter admitting they found an escape tunnel down in Brady’s lair. Quite possible he’s out, alive, plotting.
And yes, he is, of course. Like we all knew. So sinister. He’s got another bomb, he’s putting the finishing touches on it. He has a wheelchair, as well. Underneath which is where the explosives are neatly hidden, nobody any the wiser about its capabilities. Oh, shit.
IMG_0331Josh goes looking for Robi. When he notices his car’s there and nobody answering at home, he calls the cops again. Pete, Izzy, and Bill come to check the place. In the apartment they find no one, nothing. Although Josh notices after a moment there’s no rug near the kitchen like before. So Izzy begins doing minor forensics, spraying luminol around a few areas, locating the presence of some interesting fluids – a large splash on the wall, the floor, some reaching out to the kitchen cabinets. A macabre, fluorescent crime scene.
This is when they call the morgue, to confirm the corpses, and discovering that most likely it was, indeed, Robi left in bed with Mama Hartsfield. So Cpt. Hockney and the rest try determining what Brady’s next move is, what to do in the preemptive hope they can combat the killer.
Speaking of, Brady’s shaving his head, going with a new look. Is he planning on a suicide bombing mission in that wheelchair? Simultaneously, the cops are wondering which events might be targets, a gala, another career fair event, so on. Without a specific threat, they can’t cancel anything. So they add security, they’ll keep their eyes open. Problem is even the shaved head could throw them off his trail, for just enough time to detonate those explosives.
Poor Bill’s haunted, seeing the images of his nightmare over and over. He also believes there’s no way Brady is going for another career fair, just as WE see the killer in his wheelchair, wearing glasses, bald head and a suit to boot. Brady’s at the gala, same place as Holly. Dear lord, no. Bill knows something bad will happen, he rushes for the gala, calls Ida and tells her to get someplace safe; our former detective knows the killer’s going for people he cares about.
IMG_0332In a portable outhouse, Brady opens the wheelchair and produces the bomb. Out on a stage, a speech, a look at the Edmund Mills Art Center opening in the community. In the crowd Bill looks hard for his man, he stumbles onto Holly and asks her to get out of there fast. And Jerome, he’s there with his family. So many in peril.
Lou’s also kicking around, having a drink. Near the bathrooms, she runs into none other than Brady in his disguise: “Shouldve worn sunglasses,” he quips. He stabs her in the stomach before hopping back in his wheelchair. Right at the same time Jerome takes the stage, introduced for his achievements, his getting into an Ivy League college, as he himself introduces a young choir. THE TENSION IS KILLING ME!
The killer doesn’t finish Lou off, so she shouts for help. Bill hears her calls, finding her, and getting somebody to call for an ambulance. She tells him about the disguise.
And wheeling into the middle of the crowd Brady readies himself to detonate. Onstage, Jerome starts clearing people out after Holly alerts him. Bill points his gun into the crowd as they run, Brady holds the detonator ready. But before anything can happen, Holly cracks the killer in the face, beating him relentlessly, and Jerome grabs the device. All to “This Little Light of Mine” in the background. Amazing sequence.


In the aftermath, Holly and Jerome are heroes. Bill’s been vindicated already, as his hunches over the Mercedes Killer case turned out to be entirely warranted. Meanwhile, Brady’s a vegetable in the hospital, our former detectives goes to see him every day: “If he ever flatlines, Ill show up and cremate him myself.” He leaves the hospital after whispering into Brady’s ear, making clear he isn’t going anywhere no matter if the killer’s brain dead or what.
There’s still a flicker. We can hear The Pixies “Here Comes Your Man” playing, the radio in his brain hanging on and on. I wonder…
IMG_0336Loved this finale! Wow, just filled with atmosphere and suspense, tension to fill your boots. Season 2’s been announced already, so I’m very interested if they’ll take into account Finders Keepers, or if they’re going for a whole angle of their own. Exciting stuff to consider in the interim.

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Mr. Mercedes – Season 1, Episode 9: “Ice Cream, You Scream, We All Scream”

AT&T’s Mr. Mercedes
Season 1, Episode 9: “Ice Cream, You Scream, We All Scream”
Directed by Kevin Hooks
Written by Bryan Goluboff

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “From the Ashes” – click here
* For a recap & review of the finale, “Jibber-Jibber Chicken Dinner” – click here
Pic 1Another morning for former Dt. Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson). Same routine, a little more guilt now since Janey’s death. Still, he gets the taunting messages from Brady Hartsfield a.k.a Mr. Mercedes (Harry Treadaway), he continually monitors his property. Every day is exactly the same. Just a variant of how shitty things can get for him.
Meanwhile, listening to “Here Comes Your Man” by the Pixies, Brady works out at home. Next to mom’s (Kelly Lynch) decomposing corpse, Band-Aids over her eyes. At the police station, Bill goes to see Pete Dixon (Scott Lawrence), who’s trying to do right by his old partner. However, he makes clear personal feelings for Janey can’t enter into the situation, everything needs to go by-the-book.
Brady’s got a new FedEx package full of toys. He’s got a new plan in mind. Uh oh.
Pic 1APete brings his boss Captain Brooke Hockney (Debra Monk) all the information he has about the bombing, the Mercedes Killer. She’s certainly surprised. She now wonders about Bill, so Dt. Dixon explains the situation. She doesn’t exactly like it, and he’s got to get forceful with her to get through the fact Bill has helped them, he hasn’t – so far – hindered their investigation.
When Bill gets home he finds Holly (Justine Lupe) there. She has his bulldog statue, it makes her “feel safe.” This all naturally drags up a ton of emotion for him, the links to his own estranged daughter. He wants her to keep the statue. Regardless, he doesn’t want her around. Simply for her safety. Except that Holly’s got a clue: Olivia had a business card for Supreme Electronix, the very store where Brady works. DAMN, GIRL!
At the store, Robi (Robert Stanton) is pissed with Brady for being late, staying in back packing away stock instead of being out front. He’s sniffing around, wondering why he’s back there, believing he might be stealing. So our killer talks the good talk, only serving to piss Robi off a little more who’s only worried about sucking himself further up the corporate anus. More good music, too: “Human Fly” by the Cramps.
Perfect shot where the killer pulls out from the store parking lot, as Bill pulls in. Right after, Pete and Dt. Izzy Torres (Nicole Barré) arrive to make sure he’s not out of line. They all head in to speak with Robi about Olivia’s patronage. Then they find out Brady did all her house calls, which he often does for older women; wonder why(wink, wink, gross)? This leads Robi to tell them about his “prejudices” towards the young man, believing he’s… off, y’know. OH, don’t we know all about that. When Bill sees a picture of him, he recognises the ice cream man from his neighbourhood, Mr. Friendly.
Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 2.09.38 PMNow we’ve got Bill heading over to talk with Brady’s mom. Yeah, the mom lying in bed, flies swarming around her, flesh rotting. She’s listening to her son talk about his “masterpiece” and making a “dent” in the world. His new plan sounds big; ugly big. He’s been psycho a long time. At this point, he’s beyond psychotic, he’s in another world entirely. Perfect time to have the retired detective hunting him down ringing his doorbell. Such a wildly tense few moments. The cops with Bill obviously won’t bust into the house, they’ve got no warrant, and they’re adamant on following the law. We watch as he peeks inside, unable to see anything, Brady lurking in the darkness.
Ken Brock (Tom Nowicki) turns up while Bill’s looking, he has a chat and winds up telling him about a friend of the kid’s, Lou Linklatter (Breeda Wool). Simultaneously, Holly calls her old buddy with a bit of urgent info, sending him back to see her and Jerome (Jharrel Jerome). They’ve sussed out an M.O. – job fairs, big gatherings. The misanthrope detective isn’t immediately inclined to believe it.
Lou gets a visit from Bill, asking about Brady. She tells him the basics, believing he’s a sweet guy, not willing to talk much about anything private. He lies a bit, though. Saying that Brady’s involved in a homicide; we know that, but it isn’t official. I hope this doesn’t start anything that’ll mess up the cops investigating. Eventually, Lou breaks and tells him about the apparent angina attack Deb had, Brady acting strange.
That night when Robi goes home, he finds Brady in his apartment. The young man wants to know why the police are asking about him, so Robi talks. The guy doesn’t know when to shut up. Then he gets murdered right in his kitchen. Bludgeoned to death when he figures out his employee is the Mercedes Killer.
Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 2.24.24 PMSWAT are gearing up. The cops are ready to head inside the Hartsfield home. Pete’s leading at the front. Bill shows up and wants a vest, wanting to go in, too. At the very same time, Brady is washing up, totally unaware. Once he’s finished he sits down with a camera pointed at himself. He records a confession, about the “what question” and the “why,” as well. He believes his story will be famous, he’ll be studied, wrote about, all those delusions of grandeur. But he has one chapter planned: “Things that go bang in the night.”
He turns on the ice cream truck in the driveway, it plays its music. SWAT officers head closer, beckoning him out, not knowing it’s empty. When they shoot it full of gas, moving inside, a pop-up toy ejects in the front seat and they fire. They all head into the house, slow, steady.
Downstairs is the killer’s lair, a countdown on the screen, explosives everywhere. Upstairs, Bill discovers the clown mask, a dead Deb in bed, possibly Brady next to her? Or a decoy? I bet the latter; Robi’s body. Doesn’t matter. The room’s set to light on fire, the place goes up. They all get outside in one piece, luckily. Could’ve been far worse.
That means there are bigger plans on the horizon.
Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 2.33.31 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-05 at 2.36.59 PMGod, what a tension-filled, insane episode! Just, wow. Love this series.
One last episode. “Jibber-Jibber Chicken Dinner” is next. And oh, I worry what sort of psychopathic madness is going to come down on Bill then.

GERALD’S GAME: One Woman’s Revelatory Odyssey Into Misogyny

Gerald’s Game. 2017. Directed by Mike Flanagan. Screenplay by Flanagan & Jeff Howard.
Starring Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Henry Thomas, Carel Struycken, Kate Siegel, & Chiara Aurelia.
Intrepid Pictures
Not Rated. 103 minutes.
Horror/Thriller

★★★★★

DisclaimerThe following review discusses the film in-depth. As such, it contains spoilers in reference to important plot points and themes in the film. If you haven’t, get on Netflix, watch, then come back for a lively discussion.
Lest ye be spoiled!

Gerald's Game 1I’ve long adored Stephen King, ever since my mother introduced me to his books; I first saw them on her shelves, unable to read them until she said I was old enough, then I fell in love. His writing is so human, even when he’s dipping into the supernatural. Of all his novels, Gerald’s Game is entirely human, despite touching on aspects that are definitely not of this world. Best of all, the novel’s protagonist Jessie Burlingame (played here by the fabulous Carla Gugino) is at her most vulnerable in a situation requiring her greatest strengths.
King’s story explored so much of Jessie’s life, her experience with the men in it, the events those relationships further precipitated. Director Mike Flanagan and his co-writer Jeff Howard manage to illustrate all the important moments in the film’s 103-minute runtime. Sticking so close to the novel, it allows Flanagan to bring its imagery to life in a unique way that’s exciting even for readers like myself who’ve read and revered the book already.
More than that it’s the themes at play which resonate, especially at a point in time where we need more strong films taking on the horror of misogyny. Gerald’s Game explores the dichotomy of truth and lies within a marriage, how sexual fantasies – particularly rape-fantasy – turn men into dangerous foes instead of husbands to the wives they supposedly love, as well as how those titles like husband, or father, don’t mean anything when in the face of predatory men.
And all of this relies on the powerhouse performance of Gugino, whose Jessie – the centrepiece of the story, despite the title – must either transform into the powerful women lying in wait inside herself, or else perish.
Gerald's Game 2

Well, Im pretty sure you just lost your mind.”

At its core, King’s novel is a metaphor of the overall misogyny women experience at the hands of men in every facet of life. Gerald’s Game works on several levels. It’s Gerald’s (Bruce Greenwood) game to bring the handcuffs to the cabin, to spice up his and Jessie’s marriage. However, it’s also the game many men play, making a woman feel as if she has to conform to his idea of sexuality and how they express it as a couple in order to ‘save the marriage.’ Jessie must play the game with Gerald, though later on we discover how, stuck between her father and mother, young Jessie had to play an entirely different game.
The main ideas floating around from the start centre on Jessie and Gerald’s marriage. Is your partner who they truly are, or merely who you want them to be? Do they, after a time, just become our vision of their personality instead of themselves? Through her predicament, left handcuffed to the bed after Gerald has a heart attack and cracks his head on the floor, Jessie forcibly confronts herself, ultimately. Both her own identity and also her relationship to her husband, how she views him as a man and a husband; plus, how being a man is inextricably linked to any other role a man plays.
Being stuck in the cuffs is a literal event, but it’s likewise an allegorical one. Jessie’s been controlled by men, one way or another, her entire life. So now, she must wholly rely on herself to break those figurative and literal bonds and free herself, to live again and to keep on living. The later we go on, the above quote transforms into more of a gaslighting question than one we understand as Jessie actually having a mental breakdown, stuck to the bed. She has to overcome the fantasies men wish to impose on her to survive.
Gerald's Game 3

Youre only made of moonlight

Gerald's Game 4Jessie’s mental state and her perspective are, obviously, crucial to the novel, which is the major reason Flanagan creates such a perfect adaptation with his film. There’s a stream of consciousness feel, as he weaves back and forth from past to present, dropping us in and out of memory. We slip from waking visions to nightmarish sleep, blurring the edges of reality until the actual moments of genuine reality crash in, frightening the viewer as much as Jessie.
Like in the novel, the Moonlight Man (Carel Struycken), the Space Cowboy, is where the idea of the supernatural exists, on the edges of the story’s heart. We never know what’s pure fiction, dreams and nightmares interchangeably. The Moonlight Man is like a shadow cast by real life into Jessie’s subconscious, conjuring up awful things she sees between sleep and struggling to get out of those cuffs. Until the finale, where the men in Jessie’s life, from her father to her husband, come to a culmination in the worst of man – a necrophile serial killer. He was real all along. And with this reality comes the other reality: the worst she believed about the other men in her life – her paedophile father, her misogynist husband masquerading most his life as a loving one while harbouring a dark rape-fantasy – is also very real.
At the same time, the film’s ending validates Jessie, her struggle. Throughout her ordeal, she faced not only her spacial limitations, stuck on that bed, she pushed past the mental violence that’s been afflicted on her with the physical violence that accompanied it. She’ll never forget what’s happened to her. But she’ll also never let it dictate her life.

Youre so much smaller than I remember

Gerald's Game 5The victory of Jessie is what makes everything worth it. Yes, there’s horror, there’s so much tension and suspense it could eat you alive. Same as it was in King’s novel. By the end, Flanagan offers us the hope and the power in Jessie that King did, Carla Gugino’s quiet power punctuating the character’s transformation.
Again like the novel, the end is phenomenal. Flanagan gives us one important set of images in those last moments that hammer home the allegory at work. Gerald’s line “Dont ask a question you dont wanna know the answer to” becomes the crux on which the film and Jessie’s journey hang. Because she’s asked the questions, she’s confronted their answers, and still, she stands.
Gerald’s Game, for Father Gore, is perfect. Out of the park adaptation, on top of the pile with the best. Flanagan works on the viewer’s nerves, using the isolated setting and plot to his advantage, the paranoia coursing through each frame, so much so it’s the quiet moments which truly land the hardest impact.
Many who aren’t familiar with the original King novel might get a different impression just by the poster or the trailer or reading a plot summary, but this is a movie about a powerful woman. She doesn’t know she’s powerful in the beginning. It’s the transformative journey she undertakes at the hands of her husband, a microcosm of general misogyny, which reveals this power to her. For all its graphic qualities, Gerald’s Game goes for the emotional, existential terror lurking inside the relationships of women’s daily lives.

Mr. Mercedes – Season 1, Episode 8: “From the Ashes”

AT&T Mr. Mercedes
Season 1, Episode 8: “From the Ashes”
Directed by Laura Innes
Written by Bryan Goluboff

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Willow Lake” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Ice Cream, You Scream, We All Scream” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 12.13.38 PMIn the aftermath of Janey Patterson (Mary-Louise Parker) being blown to bits, former detective Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) wakes to a morning harder than those before it, a little less light in the world, and he’s not as inclined to hop out of bed and get ready. Things have changed. Well, except for Mr. Friendly’s Frosteeez driving through the neighbourhood, Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway) at the wheel.
So, what does the ole copper do now? Keep drinking, for one. Try to keep the bad thoughts at bay. He decides to have another chat with Mr. Mercedes on their private chat. This is when the killer begins digging in, hard. Upstairs, the killer’s mother Deborah (Kelly Lynch) is watching the news about the car bombing, trying to cook and be normal. Part of me wonders, if mom is going to be his ultimate downfall, in some shape. It’d be perfect for the Oedipal-type tragedy this story becomes in its best moments.
And Bill, he still has Ida Silver (Holland Taylor) looking out for him, though he tries to make her realise that people who get too close to him are in danger. Last thing he needs is to get further involved with Ida, in any kind of relationship, putting her in harm’s way. Just another thing to eat away at him.
At the Hartsfield house, Deb’s cooking away. She eats a piece of meat out of the pan to test it. Not long afterwards she goes into near convulsions, throwing up, bleeding. Why? Because remember those burgers Brady made, the ones with the rat poison? Yeah. That’s what she used to cook. When he finds her, she’s in the midst of a brutal death. He tries to make her throw up, only to watch her die there on the kitchen floor in front of his eyes.
Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 12.20.51 PMMommy’s dead, so the son goes about taking care of the mess, disposing of her body. Actually, he doesn’t get rid of it. Not yet, anyways. He drags her upstairs, putting her to bed and covering her with a sheet. Laaawd, it’s Norman Bates all over again!
Pete Dixon (Scott Lawrence) is looking for his old partner, concerned about Bill. Our man’s rushed off, wanting to see his daughter Allie (Maddie Hasson), telling her about what’s happened, the killer, that anyone connected to him could be in the line of fire.
Josh: “We sell the future.”
Brady: “Here? The toilet doesnt even flush.”
Things at work, they must go on for Brady. Corporate douche Josh (David Furr) is there to get things rolling on the transition to a super store. Lou (Breeda Wool) shows up for a minute; we find out she’s sued the place, plus she throws an excellent bit of lesbian-flavoured sass right in Robi’s (Robert Stanton) face. She’s actually there to talk to her friend. Brady called her, apparently, frantic. He makes up a story about his mom’s “angina” and passes it off. But she’s too smart to take that as the truth.
Down at the station, Bill talks to his buddy Pete. Things look bad because the vehicle Janey was in that exploded was registered in Bill’s name. So now the retired detective has to explain his relationship to her, why she was in the car, all that. For the record. Meanwhile, the Mercedes Killer gets home to Ken Brock (Tom Nowicki) standing on his doorstep, a FedEx package in his hands. He was meant to have lunch with Deb, she obviously didn’t show up. So the son makes up a story, she went with a friend to Indiana; “an old dream they had.” Yeah, that’s not suspicious, at all.
When Bill gets home he sees a Mercedes in front of his house. Gun drawn, he goes to it, and inside sits Holly Gibney (Justine Lupe). She needed to make sure he was okay, after Janey’s brutal death. No matter how isolated he tries being, Holly, Ida, they genuinely feel concern for the man. Across town, Brady’s left with nobody, isolated to a dangerous point. Without mom, there’s nothing for him.
Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 12.52.50 PMWhen Holly decides on staying the night at Bill’s place, avoiding her mom, she symbolically takes the place of his daughter, sleeping in her bed. We also find out the tortoise belonged to Allie, the reason why he ever kept it around. In the morning, the retired detective finds Holly working on the computer, having invited Jerome (Jharrel Jerome) over to crack more of the case.
They come across sound bytes on Olivia’s computer. The voices she heard? They were genuine sounds from the Mercedes murders, victims, recorded by the killer, sent to torment the poor woman. He was running a remote program, playing the sounds whenever he wanted, driving her mad. But, someone had to at least get in at the laptop once, physically, before working remotely. This prompts Bill to take more evidence to the police.
When Holly and Bill go to Pete, the cops suss out more information. They ask about where she bought the computer. This may lead back to the store where Brady works, if she had any work done there. The noose could tighten for the killer. Saddest part is that Bill has to sever ties with Holly, send her back home; he can’t let his shit hurt her. A tragic parallel to Allie, whom he had to turn his back on in order to help her. Bill’s life is a long, circular shitstorm.
In the meantime, Brady called in sick to work. However, Robi needs another corporate suck-up, the super store changeover, blah, blah, blah. He’s offended that the young man won’t come in. And I see a very rough confrontation between the two coming, soon.
Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 12.53.03 PMMr. Mercedes may be gearing up for something big, an arts centre opening prompts him to dream up a “celebration” of his own. He even shares this idea with mother; yes, Norman is alive and well in modern day. He lies in bed with her, talking about when he “had a girl once.” The only other lover aside from mom. He says he wanted to know about a different life. Yet now, he only wants the one he had with her. At least until he goes out in a blaze of horrific glory.
Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 1.07.33 PMFantastic, insane, brutal episode. That death scene was one of the most terrifying things on TV in a long, long time. Cannot wait for more, there’s so much happening and poised to happen there’s going to be a big release of tension coming up. Not sure who’ll snap first, Bill or Brady.
“Ice Cream, You Scream, We All Scream” is next week, promising something deliciously evil.

Mr. Mercedes – Season 1, Episode 7: “Willow Lake”

AT&T’s Mr. Mercedes
Season 1, Episode 7: “Willow Lake”
Directed by Jack Bender
Written by Dennis Lehane

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “People in the Rain” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “From the Ashes” – click here
Pic 1Again, love the repetition of each morning Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) experiences. Every day is exactly the same. Shows how he’s just going through the motions. His only added change are the bits and pieces of the Mercedes Killer case he works on. Across town and then right into the neighbourhood is Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway), working from afar yet right out in the open, too. A tense situation that’s bound to explode sooner than later.
The glimpses of Brady in his basement are the true views of his life we’re offered, we see him as a real person down there. We see his true self, the one he has to hide even right upstairs with his mother, from his spastic dancing to Radiohead to his bomb making and other eerie behaviour, facilitated by a cabinet full of explosives, discarded cellphones, and other treasures. Plus, he’s watching Bill. There’s nothing the old detective can do that’s out of view of Mr. Mercedes.
Another interesting note: Brady and Bill are each haunted by their past; for the former it’s his dead brother, the latter his estranged, alcoholic daughter. So to watch their parallel paths in life – one a serial killer, the other a cop, though equally damaged – is very compelling.
Pic 1ABill has to “eat shit” because he needs computer help, which means he needs young Jerome (Jharrel Jerome). He feels bad, but isn’t willing to totally eat that shit. However, he does well enough to fix things between them. He needs to dig through Olivia Trelawney’s laptop. He’s getting Holly (Justine Lupe) to help them out, too. Turns out the girl’s got computer game, she knows just about as much as Jerome. She’s both quirky AND smart.
Scary stuff now, as we see Deb (Kelly Lynch) at home, drinking, where she starts picking through her son’s things. Curious about his life. She finds one of his hats. And then finds his clown mask. Oh. Shit. Afterwards, she also digs under his mattress to find a journal with terrifying, sexual drawings on the front. A veritable horrorshow, his mind.
At work, Brady hears from Lou (Breeda Wool) there’s a shake up in the store. They’re all brought into a meeting where one of those douchey corporate guys Brady met at the restaurant gives them a verbal lashing. He berates them brutally, going “fullon fucking Mayan.” So, he decides on firing Lou randomly. Security even comes to escort her out of the building. Spineless Robi (Robert Stanton) looking on shocked. The guy’s lucky Brady didn’t slaughter them all.
Then there’s a semi-awkward situation over at the funeral parlour, Silver’s – yes, Ida (Holland Taylor). That puts Bill, Ida, and Janey (Mary-Louise Parker) in a room together awhile. Slightly uncomfortable.
Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 11.44.00 PMDeb, along with the old journal she apparently stashed away, found a length of rubber hose. She wonders what Brady does with it, asking him face to face. She likewise shows him the clown mask, asking why he’s got it hidden in the closet. He goes on a rant about running away with the circus. She keeps on prodding, looking through the journal, lamenting not having him “committed” years ago. Deb wants her son to have changed, from the budding psychopath that clearly existed long ago. Problem is, he budded. Fully bloomed.
The next morning, Bill and Janey have a difficult discussion. She’s headed back to California after the funeral, which doesn’t sit well with him. He does his best to act normal. Clearly he’s wounded, believing their relationship to have been more meaningful. “If I stay Ill fall in love,” she says. Not something she’s prepared to do after having been deeply wounded herself once upon a time. Sad on both sides.
Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 11.51.13 PMJust outside the funeral procession, Brady watches on. Janey gets up to do the eulogy. A really sick moment, Mr. Mercedes right there, watching the family of the woman he drove to suicide grieve over another family member. So twisty and turny and unsettling.
Scarier still? Brady has planted another bomb. In Janey’s car. As she drives out of the parking lot he sets it off, the car exploding while Bill and Holly sit not far off. The killer drives away, leaving the wreckage behind, as well as Bill, left there with the burning remnants of the woman he’d started to love on the street, in the car’s twisted metal.
Wow. Absolutely devastating.
This episode finally ratcheted the tension up, high as possible, before just drilling us, hard. I’m fascinated by this series. I expected an event like this, though didn’t see it coming here. Devilish, tragic. I wonder how Bill will ultimately deal with this, I know he’s going to feel responsible partly. He’ll blame himself for Janey being around him, he’ll be paranoid of everyone near him winding up dead.
“From the Ashes” comes next week. Be prepared.

PET SEMATARY’s Macabre Exploration of Grief in the Wake of Death

Pet Sematary. 1989. Directed by Mary Lambert. Screenplay by Stephen King; based on his novel of the same name.
Starring Dale Midkiff, Fred Gwynne, Denise Crosby, Brad Greenquist, Michael Lombard, Miko Hughes, Blaze Berdahl, Susan Blommaert, Mara Clark, Kavi Raz, Mary Louise Wilson, & Andrew Hubatsek.
Paramount Pictures/Laurel Productions
Rated R. 103 minutes.
Horror/Thriller

★★★★1/2Pet Sematary 4Stephen King is master of the macabre, a true genius when it comes to sucking us into the lives of his characters, many of whom are real, genuine people. A theme often present in his work is that of grief, both it effects and how we deal with it in our lives. Pet Sematary, which he also adapted into a screenplay himself, is a tragic look at grief, how it warps a family. Particularly focusing on a father whose sadness over the loss of a child takes control of his life, that of his family, and becomes something altogether terrifying.
There are moments in this King adaptation, crafted by the talented Mary Lambert, that still stick in the collective mind of horror fans to this day. Many of us would be excited to see a new, fresh remake. Regardless, there’ll always remain an undeniable scariness about this 1989 classic, an effect that will not soon, if ever, wear away.
No doubt about it, Pet Sematary is a dark, depressing film that gets crueller with each passing scene. In a proper horror sense, though, not unnecessarily just for horror’s sake. We plunge the depths of brutal, raw emotion with the Creed family and their various, inescapable tragedies. All the while King turns the mirror on humanity, questioning our faith, our belief, our methods of expelling grief from our lives. Not always a pretty sight.
Pet Sematary 1Part of the profundity in this story comes out of the inability of the father Louis (Dale Midkiff), an adult, to explain death to his young daughter. In a sense, he doesn’t know what he himself believes, leading to his own bad decisions in turn resulting in plenty of horror. There’s an essence in King’s storytelling here, combined with the concept of the Pet Sematary in this little Maine town, which speaks to how adults explain the world in general to children. In that, often enough, the inability of adults to help kids comprehend big, scary concepts (i.e death, sex, et cetera) stems from their own fears, their insecurities. The horrific tragedy here being when Louis can’t deal with the death of his little boy, he chooses a fantastical belief in the supernatural to try changing the recent past. Only to create a hellish future for the Creeds.
Another excellent aspect is the use of the old Indian burial ground. Joining a few other films of its ilk, Pet Sematary doesn’t try appropriating any kind of cultural ghosts, anything similar. Instead, King makes it into a story where white people, not understanding the full implications of another culture’s beliefs and rituals, create chaos by stepping outside their own culture in ill-advised ways.
Pet Sematary 3Best of all: the imagery. From the straight up horror to a visual motif Lambert weaves into a couple of the central characters, this film is ripe with juicy terror. The entire atmosphere creeps up on us immediately, a dreamy, fog-like quality to the cinematography, coupled with the eerie sounds of the score, the angelic-sounding voices, all swelling in our ears over images of graves. The quaint Maine countryside is contrasted with images of ugly violence, including the early introduction of Louis to a man who’ll come to haunt him later, Victor Pascow (Brad Greenquist), as he suffers in the emergency room after a bloody accident.
The most significant imagery involves the dead kid Gage (Miko Hughes) and his long dead aunt Zelda (Andrew Hubatsek). First, the story of Zelda, the way she looks as a character, is unsettling. Lambert chose Hubatsek to portray the ill woman, as she rightly felt this casting option would provide an extra unnerving quality for the sister, which is – for Father Gore – the film’s definitive, terrifying image. Even in the book Zelda is frightening, albeit tragically sad. Onscreen, she’s a horrorshow in and of herself.
But once you notice the clothes she’s wearing in those flashback moments, this directly parallels the look of little Gage after he’s brought back from the dead. A visual motif connects everything. Zelda’s illness, symbolised by Gage wearing a near identical outfit when he’s reanimated from the grave, is a parallel to the undead state of those buried in the Pet Sematary. Being that, it was more merciful for her to die than continue living in an already half-dead, torture state.
And why?

Sometimes dead is better.”

Pet Sematary 2Lambert and King never shy from pummelling the audience with sadness, sticking the blade in our hearts, over and over. Gage’s death is punctuated with edits of family photos underneath the screams of Louis, wailing for his son after the transport truck crushes him on the road; heavy, harsh. From there, the happiness dissipates, and the Creed family is plunged entirely into darkness.
This transformation is effectively symbolised in the hellish look of the house at the end, as it warps like the reanimated lifeform of Gage himself. Life becomes death, all that is alive then decays, rots. The whole thing culminates in a seriously disturbed ending, one that doesn’t offer any hope, not even a glimmer, really. Although it does pose further questions, about how we cope with death, and grief in its aftermath; ultimately questioning to what lengths people will go to circumvent death, the grieving process, its hideousness and wake of self-reflection.
Unforgettably grim, Pet Sematary isn’t only one of the best King adaptations because the master himself penned its script, Lambert directs this with near flawlessness. She turns the great story into a modern Gothic tale crossed with elements of a zombie movie, wrapped in a personal story of death, loss, and love. There’s also the downhome feeling of being in Maine, as the movie was shot only 20 minutes outside Bangor and Fred Gwynne offers up that small town charm so inextricably linked with King’s setting and mood. But the horror is what grabs us, never letting go. Not until the bitter end.

Mr. Mercedes – Season 1, Episode 6: “People in the Rain”

AT&T’s Mr. Mercedes
Season 1, Episode 6: “People in the Rain”
Directed by Jack Bender
Written by Dennis Lehane

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Suicide Hour” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Willow Lake” – click here
Pic 1Again, the day starts the same for Bill (Brendan Gleeson). The same old mess, his tortoise his only real friend. More videos of Mr. Mercedes, as Brady (Harry Treadaway) still lurks in the neighbourhood driving the ice cream truck, manipulating the former detective from just outside.
At home the killer flicks through pictures of Bill, Jerome (Jharrel Jerome, the dog. Then he makes what looks like an explosive device and hides it in his car. One thing that’s always creeped me out is how he just mutters “darkness” to shut down the lights in his basement lair. An eerie little touch that Treadaway nails every single time.
We see that Ida (Holland Taylor) continues to have at least a modicum of sentiment for Bill, though the old lad is too concerned with other things to have ever noticed. It’s funny to that I’ve never noticed there’s also a parallel between Brady and Bill, in the sense that the latter’s a guy at the end of his career, effectively nearing the end of his life, as the former’s really beginning his adult life, job opportunities, as well as dealing with his childhood traumas, so on.
Pic 1AAND NO FUCKING WAY – Brady can’t find mom, then discovers his car gone. Oh yes, Deb (Kelly Lynch) is out cruising the streets, dropping her lit cigarette next to what she doesn’t realise is a bomb. The son has to take a bus to work, on his big day meeting the corporate bosses, while mommy drives around on the verge of exploding. Perfectly devilish.
Bill goes to see a man named Kenneth Brock (Tom Nowicki) who had his car moved several times, technically stolen but just parked in different places each time. He asks the guy a few questions, if there were any weirdos around his neighbourhood that may seem suspicious. Nothing stands out. At the same time, Janey (Mary-Louise Parker) calls: her mother’s had a stroke.
Corporate suck up Robi (Robert Stanton) is coaching Brady on how to deal with the bosses, how to act, all the good stuff. But the young man can’t stop worrying about his mother, out there with the bomb under the seat. And saddest of all, she’s trying desperately to clean her life up, too. Brutish irony. Deb winds up running into a guy she used to know, Chaz Chapman (Terry Serpico); he now owns a bar they all used to frequent, right next to the old salon where she worked, where she’s hoping to get a job again. He invites her out to lunch, and at least she’s away from that bomb. For now.
At the hospital, Janey’s aunt Charlotte (Laila Robins) is convinced the stroke is due to Bill’s questioning. So he’s not entirely welcome there. Janey is pissed, as well, but is glad to have his company. What’s curious is watching Charlotte’s daughter Holly (Justine Lupe) with Bill, who goes to check on her while the rest of the family is bickering. We know he’s estranged from his daughter, so it’s really a beautiful bit of character development to watch them together. She is a unique, if not strange girl. Then again, Bill’s a weirdo. One subtle gesture that speaks volumes shows us that he’s one of the few adults willing to indulge her.
Briefly we flashback to 2005, as he sees a man carrying his small daughter. In the interrogation room, Pete Dixon (Scott Lawrence) and Bill have a girl behind the glass. She was picked up on a DUI. This seems to be a problem for Dt. Hodges. Why? Because that’s his daughter, Allie (Maddie Hasson).
Pic 2At a restaurant, Robi and Brady meet with corporate dudes Josh (David Furr) and Jacob (Drew Matthews). They’re the typical types we’d expect. They want Brady to “open the kimono” and tell them about himself, his management philosophy. As he tells them, he also daydreams of murdering the three douche bags at the table with him. Likewise, he dreams of killing the kitchen staff; including line cook Stephen King. He sees his mother, whom he guts, pulling a bloody firetruck from her stomach.
Most of all he’s worried about mom and the bomb, naturally. He sort of weirds the corporate guys out, throwing Robi into a rage. This prompts Brady to lay his life bare, somewhat, to his boss. Using that psychopath sympathy card, which makes Robi turn human for once and give the bullshit a rest.
Irony of Chaz meeting with Deb is that he’s now married to a woman whose sister died at the hands of Mr. Mercedes, her own son, unbeknownst to her. Scary and tragic. They talk over the case, the fact the killer was never caught. Although Deb says she sometimes gets premonitory feelings, believing that soon the cops will catch him. Well, Chaz isn’t just there for a reunion. He has other, more sexual things on his mind. She refuses, making him angry, and this could push her back into the bottle.
In the meantime, Brady’s going all over town in the company vehicle looking for mom. He checks the liquor store, the cashier claims she was in and only bought a bottle of water. So Brady, he buys vodka. Hmm, curious. He then stops by the hospital, where he sees Bill with Janey outside. When Bill locks his car, he notices a second beep. Not realising the code has been copied.
At home Brady finds mom, drinking tea like nothing ever happened. He isn’t thrilled. He fakes concern, welling up the tears. Everything a normal boy would do. And I don’t doubt he does care for mom: “I dont love anyone else. No one else loves me.” But I’m pretty sure his chief worry was getting caught due to his alcoholic mother in the car with a homemade explosive device.
Pic 3Pic 3AFlashback to 2005 again, Bill and his wife Donna (Nancy Travis) are at odds. Because their daughter’s now in custody, booked. Nothing he can do from here to get his daughter out of trouble, or else be under another cop’s thumb forever. He won’t do it anymore, while his wife wants to just excuse it all over again. So we see that dad is being vilified for trying to help his daughter, the only way that’s left. Sure, it’s shit. But Bill has used his privilege as far as he’s willing to go. His daughter hates him, until she tries using emotion against him one last time.
He thinks of her so much because it’s her birthday today.
Brady bought the vodka to “wean” his mother off the booze, so she doesn’t have the DTs hard. He wants to help. Or, does he want to keep his mother drunk so he can, to an extent, control her? Seeing as how he has cameras to watch her, I’d bet on the latter. Then he watches as she has one drink, leading to another, and surely more…


Loved this episode. Love the whole series! Lehane is a particularly excellent addition, having written the episode before last, as well. His writing is fantastic, coupled with King’s wonderfully disturbed story it’s just great to watch. Then there’s the King cameo, which was a whole lot of fun. “Willow Lake” is next week.

Let IT Frighten You Until You Float

It. 2017. Directed by Andy Muschietti. Screenplay by Gary Dauberman, Cary Fukunaga, & Chase Palmer. Based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King.
Starring Jaeden Liberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Bill Skarsgård, Nicholas Hamilton, Jake Sim, Logan Thompson, Owen Teague, & Jackson Robert Scott.
New Line Cinema/KatzSmith Productions/Lin Pictures
Rated R. 135 minutes.
Drama/Horror

★★★★★
IT 1When I walked into an empty theatre today, September 9th of 2017, it was raining heavy outside. I was soaked by the time I made it inside. Then the lights dimmed, popcorn crunching in the darkness around me as more people piled in for a hopeful fright. And suddenly I was in Derry, Maine. There, the rain was pouring, too. Just as heavy as in the parking lot of the Avalon Mall in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
I hadn’t read It until this summer, when I powered through it over the course of a week. Although I’ve been a lifelong fan of Stephen King, having been introduced by mother at an age she deemed appropriate, the length always threw me. Yet the pages flicked by, faster every day. Once it was finished I found myself staring at one of the best novels I’d ever read. Not without its faults. But even the perfect things in this world we love have those, or else they wouldn’t be real, raw, as King’s novel is, most certainly.
Andy Muschietti’s 2017 adaptation is, in many ways, its very own entity. Simultaneously retaining the pure essence of King, his gruelling horror crossed with the beauty and pain of transitioning into adolescence. It is relentlessly creepy and boasts a cast of fantastic talent. Not only that, there’s so much emotion and sincerity in just about every frame that it feels like the screen could burst and the film could come alive at any moment.
IT 3Just as the novel does, the film opens with a scene of devastating power. This could’ve been done in any number of ways. Muschietti opts to go straight for the jugular, showing us a scene involving young Georgie Denborough that many filmmakers might not. But with a novel like It, there’s no sense in not swinging for the fences. While I have great love for the 1990 mini-series in its own ways, that was one of its biggest problems, as is the case with plenty of other lacklustre King adaptations. If you can’t go full-on for the horror, often times of a very disturbing nature with his writing, then there’s almost no sense in doing it.
Because this novel was so scary, the imagery is key. Muschietti also convinced the studio to let him tweak the screenplay Cary Fukunaga worked on, which, for some reason, omitted things like Bill’s stutter. Another big thing that was missing: the Leper. There are a bunch of scenes in the novel that are terrifying, but the Leper’s up there, for me. And even though he doesn’t speak the same lines as from the book, his appearance in the movie will freak you out.
Then there are wholly original images Muschietti’s creates. One minor change I enjoyed is switching pieces of Ben and Mike’s characters. With Ben being new to Derry, this adaptation has him as the one researching the town’s creepy past. At one point, stumbling onto an old local tragedy, Ben is led by flaming Easter eggs into the dark corners of the library stacks where It appears as a headless man coming for him. Just a weirdly compelling scene, ending with a solid scare.
And best of all, the images are all relatively new in the sense that this adaptation doesn’t try to replicate any of what the 1990 mini-series did, it goes for breaking new ground at every turn. Not only exciting, it shows the confidence of a filmmaker like Muschietti.
IT 4There’s a strong heart to this version of It. One major reason why all of King’s work appeals to many is because, despite any wild horror or sci-fi-leaning situations he gets his characters into, the people, their lives, their dreams, their fears – they feel entirely real. As we spend more time with each of the kids in the Losers’ Club, their childhoods – at least for some – will feel like your own.
A few elements concerning the kids that work as excellent translations from the novel: I could’ve used a tad more but we got brief glimpses of the effect Georgie’s death had on the relationship between Bill and his parents; Eddie’s mom is suffocating him, on the borderline of Munchausen syndrome, and his scene of defiance made me both proud of him and sad for her; how Bill and the Losers wind up in the Barrens, the search for Georgie, it somehow elevates the emotional intensity of our poor stutterer’s tragic situation; Ben made me cry, the feelings he had for Bev and how she responds throughout the film, specifically a scene near the climax, it felt like fan service for people who’ve already loved these characters; and, the apocalyptic rock fight scene, including a slice of heavy metal, truly captured the intensity and frantic action of the book’s unforgettably heroic sequence.
Perhaps my favourite scene is when Bill goes into Georgie’s room. Rather than replicate the book, or the 1990 version, Muschietti goes for a sly reference to the novel, plus a damn fine fright. First, young Bill picks up the Lego turtle, calling to mind the cosmic turtle that King so strangely and wonderfully knits into his text. Second, in the basement, he confronts the ghost of Georgie and It, resulting in a moment of unforgettable horror: “YOULL FLOAT, TOO! YOULL FLOAT, TOO!” Also, this iconic phrase is put to good use in Pennywise’s lair in the most impressive visual out of the entire film.
IT 2Bottom line is that the drama feels genuine. Moreover, through all the scares Pennywise becomes a wholly new face of terror with Bill Skarsgård behind the makeup and costume. Tim Curry holds his own place in horror history for his vision of King’s menacing, ancient, evil clown. But Skarsgård’s childish take on Pennywise the Dancing Clown instils the character with part of why the novel made him so unsettling. He’s no longer funny, not even in a dark way like Curry. Skarsgård’s clown is child-like in his amusement with the fear he creates(/enjoys/desires), so even when he’s joking around trying to be silly it’s actually just malevolent. Makes it even scarier when he becomes a horrifying, contorted, shapeshifting creature. A marvellous horror performance.
I’ve honestly never watched anything with him in it before. Seeing his talent, particularly in his expressions and facial movements (the eye trick he does is real and not CGI), shows me this is a guy I ought to keep my own eye on.
For me, only having read It just over a month ago, this film has a true charm. From the kids and the real world, human drama their stories bring to Pennywise’s dread, everything fires on all cylinders. Even the change from the late 1950s to the late 1980s works, and possibly opens up the story to newer generations in the process.
There have been a few strange takes amongst the praise. Not everyone has to dig this, when a novel you love comes to screen it won’t always hit the right spots for every fan. How could we possibly expect it to? Through it all there are going to be people disappointed, in some way, shape, or form. To me, It is the best adaptation of Stephen King’s work to date on screen. This is coming from someone who’s watched The Shawshank Redemption 100+ times, I love The Dead ZoneThe Shining. I’ll take this one over every last one. Because it gets King and his horror, how his stories read to me, and best of all is the fact the kids are out of this world.
See this one in theatre, in the dark. And you, too, will float.

Mr. Mercedes – Season 1, Episode 5: “The Suicide Hour”

AT&T’s Mr. Mercedes
Season 1, Episode 5: “The Suicide Hour”
Directed by Jack Bender
Written by Bryan Goluboff

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Gods Who Fall” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “People in the Rain” – click here
Pic 1Another day, another hard wake to the world for Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson). Repetition, this is Bill’s life in retirement. He wakes up, washes off the booze of the night before, tries to eat something sensible. Meanwhile, Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway) is around the neighbourhood in his ice cream truck, hacking into everything the former detective owns.
Then Brady takes the time to over to where he ran all those people down. He listens to soft music. Afterwards, he decides to have a quick stroke because the memory’s leaving him horny. To the thought of running those people over, the blood, the screams, the cracking of bones, mixed with moments of him and his mother Deborah (Kelly Lynch) in their incestuous relationship, he brings himself to orgasm, and quick. Yuck.
There’s a lot of tension between Bill and Ida (Holland Taylor), now that she’s seen him cosy with Janey (Mary-Louise Parker). And even though he has bigger, more pressing issues on his mind, he could’ve at least talked to her before moving on to Janey. Later when he gets home it’s as if someone has been there. The needle is down on a finished record. A cut up apple with cinnamon sits on the cutting board in the kitchen. Hmm. On his computer he looks at surveillance video, noticing time missing. “In my fucking house,” he mutters. Things are gradually getting more suspenseful. There’s a big, ugly payoff down the road.
Pic 1AFlashback to when Brady came across Olivia Trelawney (Ann Cusack). He was taking items out to her car for her, a good employee. This is when he casually imprinted the codes for the locks using his little universal remote. The meagre beginnings of a vehicular serial killer.
When Brady gets to work Lou (Breeda Wool) shows him the story about Ryan the Nazi being killed on the road by a truck. She also says she had “fantasies that he was dead.” Clearly she didn’t cause it; we know who did. What he’s doing, his murderous impulse, is causing real life anxiety for those around him, let alone the deaths of others. Oh, and Robi (Robert Stanton) wants to groom Brady to be the new manager after he moves on up the corporate ladder. Can you imagine him in a managerial position?
Bill’s trying to figure out his computer troubles with Mr. Mercedes, so naturally he talks with Jerome (Jharrel Jerome) who tells him about all sorts of other technological things. For a guy like former Dt. Hodges, one step away from Luddite, this is all nonsense jargon. But still he does listen. He’s also got his old pay Marlo Everett (Bill Kelly) digging into things, mentioning that whoever’s moving things around at Bill’s place is working similar to Charles Manson, whose favourite pastime was “creepy crawling.”
Back at the Hartsfield home, Deborah laments not getting to see her son more. Like they used to, y’know. He’s busy working so much, and making rat poison burgers for a supposed BBQ. I would not go anywhere he invited me. Fuck that.
Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 12.51.06 PMJaney’s mother Elizabeth (Katharine Houghton) is having a lucid day, so Bill goes to the home where she lives to speak with her about Olivia, her death. She tells him about her friend “Gerald” who was her pen pal, saying he and Olivia had the “same demons.” Of course mom knows better, she knew Gerald was Mr. Mercedes. Then her daughter went off the deep end, saying she must “go with him.” Only he didn’t go. When Elizabeth figures out it was Bill who hounded Olivia for the police, she drives him out. This also puts him and Janey at odds a bit, as she too believes he was part of her sister’s guilt.
So now we’re figuring out what those rat poison burgers are for: that sweet, sweet Golden Retriever. As Brady prepares to lay it out for the pup, he’s just barely spotted by Jerome before he can take off. That kid is TOO smart not to, eventually, piece things together more. You just wait.
Once Brady gets home he finds firetrucks, smoke billowing out of the place, fire alarms ringing. Things are fucked up. They’ve had a few false calls to their place, resulting in a fine. Or else they go to court. Drunk and likely pilled up Deb didn’t hear anybody knocking, or even the alarm.
The split with Janey has Bill deep in the bottle. Across the way Ida’s still keeping an eye out, occasionally. Jerome got a digital camera for him, though. Something he can mount. He also mentions to Bill about the strange car, the guy who drove away. And just like everyone else Bill pushes away he does the same with the young kid. Sadly, everyone’s only trying to help. He seems intent on self-destruction.
Bill: “What does it look like Im doin‘? Im drinkina whiskey, pacinup and down. Reflectinon being a total fuckup, ‘cause thats what fuckups do.”
During the evening, having a drink, Bill gets on the Blue Umbrella to chat with Mr. Mercedes. They do chat. Very antagonistic, very venomous on both sides. Although our former detective has a casual, nonchalant disposition. Until the killer begins poking at personal details, such as his daughter, who’s changed her last name to her mother’s maiden name, who is a drinker like him. He wants Bill to kill himself. Except our man battles back with taunts about his sexual abuse, his likely past. This gets further under the killer’s skin than he gets under the cop’s.
Was it mommy?” asks Bill: “Is it still mommy?” The jabs get harder, deeper. The old detective gets more confidence by the minute, particularly after he discovers how bad it hurts Mr. Mercedes to talk about his mother. I wonder, though… will this provoke Brady one step too far?
Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 1.18.26 PMWell, the situation at the Hartsfield home isn’t exactly any better. Both mother and son are equally scarred, traumatised by the past, by their relationship. Mom being rejected by her boy sends her into a tailspin.
And neither is Bill’s life a dream. He wakes to the same recurring nightmare every single day, destined to just keep chasing after the killer, unsure if he’ll ever catch him or if he’ll die trying.
Great series, and every single episode finds some new aspect of King’s story to bring out, as well as add to, deepen, expand. So many solid episodes that are building to a wild, unhinged, surely bloody confrontation. Just no telling how many others will suffer first. “People in the Rain” comes to us next week. Vroom, vroom!

The Mist – Season 1, Episode 10: “The Tenth Meal”

Spike’s The Mist
Season 1, Episode 10: “The Tenth Meal”
Directed by Guy Ferland
Written by Christian Torpe

* For a recap & review of the penultimate episode, “The Waking Dream” – click here
Pic 1Stuck in a room together in the mall, Jay (Luke Cosgrove), Adrian (Russell Posner), Alex (Gus Birney), and Eve (Alyssa Sutherland) deal with the aftermath of believing Kevin (Morgan Spector) is dead. When Jay comforts Alex, Adrian whacks him with a paint can. Lying again, saying he and Kevin heard about the rape kit at the hospital confirming Jay was the rapist. Man, this kid is a psycho.
Elsewhere, on their way, Connor (Darren Pettie) and Nathalie (Frances Conroy) become closer, confiding in another. Sharing their secrets. Then they get to the mall, where Gus (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) and everyone else are elated to see the cop, though he has no answers. Plus, he’s gone in by himself without his messiah, to check it all out. Things are getting bad, too. The rations are just about gone, at least the ones everyone else knows about. Either way, all Connor cares about is his boy.
In the shadows Kevin surveys the situation. He sneaks through the dark hallways looking for his family when he runs into Mia (Danica Curcic), who’s naturally surprised to see him alive. She also fills him in, slightly, about Jonah (Okezie Morro), though she isn’t sure where he’s gone.
Speaking of, Jonah’s tied up at the hands of Wes (Greg Hovanessian). He’s figuring things out, that he’s the superior officer. There’s more to it, but at least he’s getting out of that chair.
Pic 1AConnor goes to his son, seeing Eve and the others with him. He takes Jay away, not worried about them. That’s when Gus and a few others come for the Copelands. At the same time, Connor brings his boy to Nathalie. She laments that “nature can be so cruel” while looking at him. Jesus, this is feeling creepier by the moment. Afterwards they force Jay out into the mist, believing – without proof – in his supposed horrible crime. While we know different.
We can only wonder if he’ll die out there, or if the mist will spare him as it did Alex. What’s scariest is the righteousness of Nathalie, as well as how deeply, how strong Connor believes in her. They’re both extremely ill spiritually. It’s only gonna get worse.
Things get even wilder inside, when the outer group go completely mad. The security guard winds up putting a bullet in one of the women when she protests: “We are not your prisoners!” Now, the game’s really fucking changed. And at the very same moment, Kevin runs across Adrian in the paint section of one of the stores. The kid tries running off, but dad beats him to the punch. Literally. He kicks the shit out of him rather than listen to anything he’s got to say, until Adrian blurts out that he knows where his wife and daughter are being kept.
So many things going on, like a hurricane. Jonah’s continuing to find things out about himself, slowly. Suddenly, Mia shows up interrupting his and Wes’ conversation. Who exactly IS Jonah? Regardless, he’s leaving Mia and his other friends. He wants to go with Wes, to figure out his true identity.
Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 9.42.57 PMEve pleads for her daughter not to be thrown from the mall. When she tells Connor he MUST help, she then reveals the truth: he is the father of Alex, the reason why she’d been so adamant her daughter couldn’t be with Jay in the first place. WHOA! I suspected, for a moment. Just never thought it’d be true. Except the cop denies it, he didn’t know. So everyone calls her “sick” and a “whore” and then they’re taken to be thrown to the mist.
Kevin: “I wanna see you suffer. I want you to learn that therell be no salvation.”
Once Kevin lets go of Adrian a second, the kid lights a fire to get himself away. Now there’s a big raging inferno about to set the whole mall ablaze. As Kevin and Mia run for the entrance they find Eve and Alex, the rest of the people like an angry mob chasing away Frankenstein’s monster. Instead of let people walk all over them Kevin starts throwing fists before Gus pulls a gun on them. Everybody gets real personal, Gus taunting Kevin about his family’s secrets, others shouting “bastards” at them. Disgusting to see human beings act this way. Yet unsurprising, to say the least.
The Copelands and Mia are ran off, so they do some real running. Only once they get into the mist things become terrifying. Alex is wrapped up in a fog-like tentacle, it grips her tight, working into her mouth and filling her. Out of nowhere, who pulls her free? Jay. Then they all pile into the vehicle, safe for now. Well, except for Jay… the mist takes him instead, filling him until there’s no life left… only mist.
Meanwhile, Jonah and Wes are heading for Camp Arrowhead. To get answers. Or, is it all that easy? They’re going to see a doctor there. I’m curious as to whether Wes might lie to him, solely to get him back there. Maybe our man’s true identity is something more complex.
Pic 3People at the mall are surprised to hear Nathalie speak of being “natures messenger” and that the Black Spring is upon their town again. She goes on and on, as everybody listens, stupefied. Between her and the Chief Heisel, no telling what the law and religion can do together.
What’s better than that? The angry of a father. Kevin decides on busting open the mall entrance with their vehicle before leaving. They’ve got a nice sturdy military vehicle, as well. It does the trick. When they get stuck, Connor helps them get loose. He doesn’t stay, either. Alex calls him away, and he leaves with her. No more are the law and religion together. I never saw that coming, honestly.
As Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” plays, Nathalie basks in the mist as it seeps through the mall. Others flee from it, or try, screaming. Most, if not all of them die. And Nathalie, she sees her husband, their dead baby, which she proceeds to breastfeed. One of the WILDEST, CREEPIEST montages I’ve seen in ages. Moments later Nathalie turns into a skeletal corpse herself and dies. Nobody’s safe.
Away from the mall flee the Copelands, Connor, Vic (Erik Knudsen), and Mia together. Into uncertainty, but together. On another road, Wes and Jonah go for the military base, not realising Adrian’s lying in the trunk. Everyone gone their separate ways.
Along the road Kevin an the others see a train on the tracks nearby. They rush for the station, hoping it’ll stop. It does. Unfortunately it’s no help. People in prison jumpsuits are tossed out, military men with assault rifles in the train cars.
What exactly is happening? Kevin knows: “Theyre feeding it.”
Pic 4Pic 4AOne of the best season finales of any show I’ve seen in the past couple years. Just powerful! Ran the gamut, from fear to black humour to devastating emotion, and all of it in between. I really hope there’s a Season 2, if not it’ll be a huge loss. Great horror television. Does Stephen King proud.