Subscribers to The Audience Network were treated to a hellaciously good time when Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes hit the airways in 2017. The series was developed by David E. Kelley and based on the three different Stephen King novels, all following the gruff detective, Bill Hodges. The first season of the show featured ten episodes of pulse-pounding cat-and-mouse horror as Detective Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) chased down the killer known as Mr. Mercedes (Harry Treadaway). The first season of the smash-hit adaptation ended with Hodges recovering from a heart attack and Mr. Mercedes himself, Brady Hartsfield, stuck in a hospital as well as a coma.
The second season of Mr. Mercedes promised to double-down on Stephen King’s classic horror while incorporating a supernatural element to the show. Joined by newcomers Jack Huston as Dr. Felix Babineau and Tessa Ferrer as Cora Babineau, the second season of the show aimed for new heights, and it found them. Let’s take a moment to go back in time in order to recap the astounding second season of Mr. Mercedes.
Reunions and New Beginnings.
The second season of Mr. Mercedes picks off right where it left off. Bill Hodges is recovered from his hospital while doctors perform lifesaving surgery on the serial killer, Brady. Brady manages to survive, though not without consequence. Brady, now barely alive and completely unconscious, is found strapped to a bed. In his rejuvenated state, Detective Hodges makes sure to keep a close eye on Brady, though he eventually realizes that the boy will likely never wake again. That is, of course, until Dr. Felix Babineau and his wife, Cora, arrive. Cora wants Felix to try a new and illegal Chinese serum in order to bring Brady back to consciousness. This obviously isn’t a great idea. But Cora wants notoriety and Felix wants fame, so here we are.
Outside of the hospital, Hodges is back to work in his own detective agency. Holly Gibney played to excellence by Justine Lupe, returns to the show in order to work as his receptionist, thus getting away from her toxic home life. Later, Peter Dixon (Scott Lawrence) reunites with Hodges in order to work alongside him. Unfortunately, Pete isn’t around long as he succumbs to a heart attack on the kitchen floor. Reeling with loss, Hodges turns to his burgeoning relationship with Holly and she soon is living with the grizzled old man.
The first episode comes to an end with Bill sitting next to Pete’s grave. Suddenly, Brady appears in order to give a stunning monologue. Brady tells Hodges that he ‘keeps him alive’. And it’s true. But this is all a vision, right? Hodges wakes up from the nightmare and immediately calls the hospital. Brady is still catatonic, at least until Felix administers the magic serum. Brady’s eyes open. Things are about to get nasty.
A Pulse and a Twitch.
Back from the dead like a perverted Jesus Christ, Brady returns to consciousness. We are thrust into his immediate space, taking in his diminished form, as Nurse Sadie cleans up the serial killer. Sadie doesn’t seem all there, however, as she shows an increasingly dazed and drugged demeanor. Uh oh. Outside of the hospital, Detective Hodges is quickly finding success and squalor in his role as a detective. While he is invigorated by his job, his targets seem less than enthused. Hodges quickly turns into a verbal punching bag as various low-level crooks begin calling him for what he is. Elsewhere, Jerome (Jharrel Jerome) seems to be finding his way back to normalcy as he is celebrating a BBQ with his family. But Jerome doesn’t seem happy. Why is this the case?
Like the inevitable Thanos, Brady slowly begins to pull himself together. Sadie adjusts Brady and suddenly his brain activity spikes on the monitor. This is a huge moment. There is rampant intrigue within the hospital as federal agents, doctors, and investigators wait for Brady to come fully back to form. He needs to be prosecuted, and in order to be prosecuted — Brady needs to be awake. Brady is much more awake than they realize. Brady takes increasing control over Nurse Sadie, exhibiting some level of psychopathic power. Brady convinces Nurse Sadie to stab Bill, who comes for a visit. Bill is saved, just barely, when another worker appears and interrupts Brady’s concentration.
Outside of the hospital, Detective Hodges follows a lead to a De La Cruz, a criminal stuck between the government and the cartel. Hodges can’t be bothered with this kind of crime and so he lets him go. Hodges is out for killers, not petty criminals with a death sentence. We transition to Jerome who is struggling with schoolwork, cheating in class, and changing his grades to hide his struggles. There is a real sense that times are changing and something big is about to happen.
Leap of Faith.
Mr. Mercedes is not shy about reminding viewers of Brady’s horrific past. Inside of Brady’s ‘mind basement’, we see Brady’s deceased brother playing with a firetruck in the darkness. His brother asks Brady, “Did you kill mom, too?” Elsewhere, Detective Hodges starts another day with a record (“I Had A Dream” – John Prine). Bill and Jerome catch up for a while. Jerome hides his problems with Harvard, but we can see his pain. Elsewhere, Felix and Cora Babineau are growing increasingly odd as they focus on their ‘star patient’. Hodges returns to the hospital in order to talk to Sadie. They soon find the hidden scalpel in Brady’s room. Hodges has his first whiff of a problem. Something is wrong here.
Back at Finders Keepers, Hodge’s detective agency, Bill and Holly weave a dramatic acting masterclass. They are both such wounded people but they fit together just right. Holly probes Bill regarding De La Cruz, but Bill is only interested in Brady. Soon, Hodges blows up on Holly about how much he hates his work. This leads them to investigate Sadie and her connection with Brady. Sadie is interesting, for a lack of a better word. Sadie is revealed to be suffering from mental problems and she has turned to increasingly bizarre treatments to keep her mindset. She’s the perfect subject for Brady to exploit via his newfound powers.
Meanwhile, Lou knows that she won’t move on from her past until she confronts the killer who had stabbed her. Lou heads to the hospital and looms over Brady. She tells the seemingly comatose boy that he ‘is nothing’. In a flash, Brady is on his feet and is plunging a blade into her stomach. A nightmare, thankfully. Outside of the hospital, Hodges closes in on Sadie after investigating her boyfriend’s home. Sadie is found with a hidden syringe. Brady senses that she is closed to being caught and he mentally forces her to go to the top of the hospital where she then jumps off of the ledge, dying just feet away from Hodges.
Back in Brady’s mental basement, he calmly cleans the hood of his old Mercedes as hospital gadgets and gizmos sound the alarm. Brady is truly back.
Escalation of Horror.
Sadie is dead on the concrete, Brady is behind it, and Hodges knows something is missing from the equation. Episode four begins in the immediate aftermath of Sadie’s murder. The medical staff shows their true color by explaining that Sadie was ‘off’. In a moment, everything has changed. Bill is confronted by Antonio Montez who is rightfully intrigued by the fact that Bill was at the hospital at such an odd hour. Hodges is not to be deterred. Despite all odds being against him, Hodges soon suggests to Holly that Brady is behind this all. He’s just not sure how.
Still trapped in his mental basement, Brady listens in as Dr. Babineau speaks with Maggie. The two discuss Susan, Hodges, and, of course, the ‘sophisticated procedures’ that are being performed. Felix insists on absolute secrecy. This can’t be good. Elsewhere, Bill and Holly are visited by Mrs. MacDonald, mother to Sadie. MacDonald is rightfully irate, confused, and hurt. Bill informs her of Sadie’s recent erratic activities. Everything is more confused than ever. Speaking of confused, a still alive Lou is having romantic troubles with her girlfriend, Steph. The two take a break due to the fact that Lou is acting increasingly reckless regarding Brady. Speaking of reckless, Old Hodges meets up with Antonio in order to lay his cards on the table. Antonio is furious and he warns Hodges that there is zero room for error or fooling around.
Back in the hospital, an old friend of Sadie visits Brady in order to mourn her death. Brady soon realizes that he can tap into the man, and so he does, taking over Al in an instant while the man is distracted by his Zappit, a handheld gaming device. The ‘two’ head for the door, leaving the hospital behind. That same night, Lou goes to a dive bar in order to drown her turmoil. She picks up a date but they get harassed by some drunk. Lou pepper sprays the man before beating him bloody. She’s chucked in jail. Back with Al, Al-Brady heads to the Mr. Mercedes memorial which takes place at the scene of the crime. Brady is overjoyed by the sorrow and he takes it all in with voyeuristic glee.
The episode closes out with Jerome breaking into Sadie’s cellphone. He reads through her texts. She reveals that she fears that Brady is ‘inside of her head’. The missing key. At this exact moment, Al-Brady pulls up in front of Hodges house. Cliffhanger.
The next episode opens with Brady looking through Al’s eyes. Holly takes notice of her. Bill is trying to figure out what this all means with Jerome. Hodges refuses to back away from his theory that Brady is pulling the strings. In the hospital, Dr. Babineau is convinced that Brady has experienced a ‘mutation’. You don’t say, doc? Felix drops a ton of medical knowledge, essentially detailing that Brady has the brain of an active person. So why is he still a vegetable? Don’t worry, Cora has another solution to pull from her purse. More experiments.
We’re halfway through the season and things are picking up. Holly is researching mind control. Jerome is hacking into the hospital and Hodges is investigating, well, everyone. Al-Brady has stolen a gun by this point, from Montez, which he uses to kill the DA’s dog. Gross, on a lot of levels. Back at the hospital, Dr. Felix tries to persuade Brady to wake up, promising to get him off easy. Brady doesn’t bite. At this same moment, Hodges and Antonio decide to work together. Never touch a detective’s dog.
Shall Not Be Moved
As the second season of Mr. Mercedes begins to hit full stride, we go back in time. We see Hodges as a child, nicknamed Kermit. We also see Brady invading these dreams, digging through Bill’s thoughts while dressed in his iconic ice cream truck outfit. This can’t be good. Brady grabs Bill by the groin and Bill wakes up in shock. That’s really not good. Bill talks to Ida who advocates a hefty prescription from a therapist. This is the first time that Bill leans into the ‘body snatching’ theory. In the hospital, a furious Lou confronts Brady. She delivers a passionate speech that infuriates Brady, who sends alarm bells ringing through the hospital. Words appear on the screen, “Occupandi Temporis”. These words were smeared on Antonio’s deck, written in the blood of his dog.
Felix isolates Brady and gives him a keyboard to type with. Felix begs Brady to wake up. Brady types, ‘F*ck off.” Elsewhere, Bill and Antonio review footage which shows Al at ADA’s house. Meanwhile, Felix tells a thrilled Cora about his communication with Brady. She’s already dreaming of fame. Bill intervenes and demands that he have access to Brady. Cora reveals that the experimental drug has worked in Asia, detailing the case of a mentally empowered individual forcing an entire group of people to kill themselves. Loaded with rage, Bill goes to Brady’s room. Bill sings a childhood song, “Olly Olly oxen free” and Brady sizzles with fury. Later that night, Bill gets a random text message, “Olly Olly oxen free.”
Outside of the casework, Bill hides his fear by reviving his relationship with his ex, Donna. Holly doesn’t love having the new woman around. They clash, if only mildly. Soon Bill and Donna are talking about a trip to Ireland together. Things are definitely moving quickly. Another trip is being planned at the same time as Cora decides to head to China. Felix fears that Cora is setting him up. There is something amiss between them. Before we find out what, they recruit Lou to help them wake Brady up.
Back in the hospital, Cora and Felix continue to work on Brady while Brady mentally sharpens his blades. As the surgeons remove a segment of Brady’s skull, a light erupts into the serial killer’s mental basement. Thus begins a tense back-and-forth as Felix tries to waken a struggling Brady who wants only to stay in his room. Brady ultimately succeeds and this success leads to him controlling Al in order to kill his brother, Jonathan. Al soon goes to Bill’s house, but the erstwhile detective isn’t there. Al settles for destroying the room. Not a good choice, it turns out, as Hodges arrives just in time to catch Al in the at. The two fight while Ida watches on, frozen. Hodges eventually wins, putting two bullets through Al. Those bullets erupt through Brady’s mental basement.
Reaching The Finish Line
As Bill tries to recover from the hell that Al-Brady just put him through, things are heating up at the hospital. Inside of Brady’s mind, his world is a ruin of ash and rubble. In the hospital bed, Felix notices slight hand movements while techno gadgets sound the alarm. Brady might be truly waking up. Elsewhere, Jerome confronts his failing grades by looking at the Harvard bills that his parents have taken on for him. Jerome feels terrible. Elsewhere, Bill and Antonio meet up again. Antonio is convinced Brady is behind Al’s rampage, but they don’t know how. Holly is worried, elsewhere.
Felix and Cora start to fall apart as they lose control of Brady. The ADA decides to move Brady to Crestmore due to all of the recent events. Felix and Cora are troubled by this advancement and they soon show some scary signs of what is to come. Bill recovers in the hospital while Donna watches, worried. A few floors away, Holly sets a trap in order to catch Brady in the act. She might just be this season’s MVP, just not yet. Felix wins control over Brady for a little longer. Brady, alone, fights to move his body. The next time Felix visits the room, Brady is gone. a SWAT team soon arrives while Brady, unknown to the officers, calmly walks down the road in doctor’s scrubs. Soon, our protagonists are watching security camera footage of Brady physically leaving. Bill soon has Felix by the throat, threatening to beat him senseless unless he reveals what he knows. He doesn’t.
Brady is now America’s Most Wanted as he shops for disguises at a local shop. It isn’t long until Brady shows up at Cora and Felix’s home. Brady is furious and says that he feels ‘changed’ and that he has ‘regrets’ which is unusual for him. Brady demands more doses of the secret drug. Elsewhere, Bill demands that his loved ones be proactive defending themselves, but nobody really believes in the danger. Cora would disagree, of course, as Brady forces her to passionately kiss him, revealing that he’s never been with any woman but his mother. Befuddlingly, Brady heads to a police station where he gives himself up.
Inside of an interrogation, Brady confesses to everything while detailing his remorse. During his interrogation, Brady continually throws Bill and Antonio under the bus. Soon, Bill is being grilled for all of his connections to numerous victims. The second to last episode ends with Brady and Bill in prison, cells next to one another.
The Finish Line
As it turns out, Bill is in jail only to try and get information out of Brady. The two have a reluctant chat as ADA Montez listens in. Brady pushes all of the right buttons and before long, Bill is literally strangling Brady through the bars. Donna soon comes to release Brady and the trial of Mr. Mercedes is set to begin. A slew of familiar faces are in the audience as well as the media. Brady pleads ‘not guilty’ to his crimes while ADA Montez pursues the death penalty. The Mercedes victims are represented by numerous grieving faces in the audience.
During the trial, Brady plays the victim. Brady points out that he is a new man and he’d rather die than be a killer again. Felix claims that Brady could be changed due to illegal medication. Bill knows this is all garbage. Soon, Bill’s crew convinces Lou to meet with Brady. Brady and Lou won’t meet each other’s eyes, their whole history stranded between them. Brady apologizes, but it’s a lie. Back in court, Lou tells the Judge that Brady isn’t changed. Brady’s lawyer is soon twisting her words and when it appears that Brady might go free, Lou pulls out a 3D-printed gun. She puts one bullet between Brady’s eyes before vomiting and being overrun by police.
Just like that, Brady is gone, well, supposedly gone. The season wraps up with Bill painting in his garden while news reports detail the death of Brady. Before the camera cuts away, Hodges paints a smiley face in the corner of his painting, a direct reference to Brady’s own art from the first season.
‘Mr. Mercedes’ Season 3 Preview
While Brady appears to be long gone, Detective Hodges surely isn’t. Season 3 of Mr. Mercedes will pull from various Stephen King works, including the third Bill Hodges novel, End of Watch. Among the newcomers to the show is Natalie Paul as Assistant District Attorney Sarah Pace. Pace will be trying to convict Lou for the murder of Brady. Elsewhere, we get to meet Jonathan Rothstein (Bruce Dern) a celebrated author, Morris Bellamy (Gabriel Ebert) his violent fan, and the rest of the Rothstein family. At the center of this new mystery is an aging Detective Hodges. Mr. Mercedes will be returning to The Audience Network on September 10th, 2019.