Grade A+ - 95%
Disturbing and addictive!
A troubled young man tears through a group of people in a stolen Mercedes, and a retired detective takes on the case he never solved.
It’s hard to go forward without one last look at Season One. After all, it’s the reason we’ve come back. The show handed us characters to love and a gambit of emotions. We cheered for the good guy and hated the bad. And after much anticipation, we got the finale we waited for.
Mr. Mercedes is a Stephen King murder mystery with Police Detective Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) at its lead. A Mercedes drives through a job fair killing eight people, and Bill is unable to solve the murders before he retires. Two years later, he’s a bored lonely civilian with little reason to venture far from home. The hardened detective forms unlikely friendships with a lady next door, Ida Silver (Holland Taylor), and Jerome Robinson (Jharrel Jerome), a tech savvy high school student across the street. They break through Bill’s gruff exterior, and with the show’s artful character development, his neighbors become our friends too.
Mr. Mercedes, Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway), lives in his childhood home and supports an alcoholic mother, Deborah (Kelly Lynch). She questions why he doesn’t have friends, and spends so much time in the basement without realizing she’s partly to blame. His mother often initiates sex with him, and we wonder why he stays. Maybe it’s because he feels safe. She did shield him after he murdered his younger brother.
To spy on Bill, he becomes a part-time ice cream truck driver, and works full time at an electronics store. Brady’s boss constantly belittles him. Fellow employee, Lou Linklatter (Breeda Wool), who’s harassed for being a lesbian, defends him at the risk of losing her job.Brady contacts Bill via the internet, and a dangerous game begins. The detective asks Jerome for computer help, but his father objects to his Harvard destined son being part of “bad things.” He’s right, Brady’s lurking, as if an ice cream truck tune is always playing off screen.
Meanwhile, clues lead Bill to the Mercedes’ original owner who’s committed suicide. Her sister, Janey Patterson (Mary-Louise Parker), believes the suicide is the murderer’s doing. Their shared interest becomes romantic entanglement. Janey’s niece, Holly Gibney (Justine Lupe), a grown woman controlled by her mother, joins Bill’s new team. We gain new friends.
Love and friendship doesn’t last long. Brady accidentally kills two people. Janey dies from a car bomb meant for Bill, and Brady’s mom eats poison-laced hamburger intended for Jerome’s dog. Heartbroken, Bill drags himself from bed, but Brady’s grief spurs a murder/suicide mission. He shaves his head and rigs a bomb to a wheelchair. He enters the art center’s grand opening where Jerome’s the guest of honor, and other characters gather. Lou recognizes him, and in a devastating moment, Brady plunges a knife into his only true friend. Bill finds her bleeding under a tarp, and she tells him of Brady’s disguise.
Detective and murderer face each other in the crowd, one with a gun and the other with his finger on a bomb trigger. Bill suffers a heart attack at the worse moment. We fear for fragile Holly, but she strikes Brady with her lucky dog statue until his head becomes a crater. We cheer her on, but she stops short of killing him.
Although Brady faces life in jail, doctors puzzle his skull chips back together. He exists comatose, dependent on machines. For his victims, alive or not, Brady’s the ache that won’t go away.
Will Season Two bring Bill Hodges a new villain? We don’t know, but we’ve come back to see how old friends are getting on with their lives.