Mr. Mercedes recap: A series of canceled vacations
Wow, this season is really getting good. Before it began, I was worried how the story could even continue when the end of season 1 seemed to wrap things up with such finality. Then I got really intrigued by the sheer weirdness of Brady’s telepathic trickery. We’ve hit some lulls since then, but this episode really paid things off in a big way with that incredibly tense climax.
But before we get to that, we should note that this episode begins with several characters plotting different getaway trips — most of which will fall apart before the end. Bill wants to take Donna to Ireland, Reggie and Al want to hide out in their cabin in the wake of the latter’s possession by Brady, and Cora wants to follow her Chinese pharmaceutical partners back to Beijing.
We first get a look at Cora’s Chinese investor pals when they show up at the hospital to see if Felix can wake Brady up with a new surgery. Even though Brady’s signs are good, he’s still not talking, which frustrates the Chinese guys. Knowing that his career is on the line, Felix whispers to Brady that he’ll mess with his brain unless he says “stop” out loud. Brady still refuses, and unfortunately for us, Felix doesn’t follow up on his threats.
Credit where due, though, Felix is starting to catch on to what’s really happening. When he comes home for a lunch break, he finds his wife frantically packing for a last-minute trip to China. She claims she’s under orders from her company to make sure the Chinese partnership doesn’t fall apart, but Felix doesn’t buy it. He grabs her passport and threatens to rip it apart until she confesses that she’s lying. As Felix suspected, she just wants to get out of there so that when the whole thing blows up, Felix becomes the fall guy instead of her. So much for being in this together. Felix holds on to the passport.
Reggie and Al’s planned trip has an even sadder ending. After the newly-bailed-out Al sobs to his brother about how he has no memory of killing Montez’s dog, even though the evidence clearly shows he did, Reggie decides to get them both out of town for a while. They get the car packed quickly, thanks to Al’s desperation to get out of town before Brady gets into his head again. But alas, Al can’t just leave his little mobile fish game alone. Just as they’re about to leave, Al goes to grab his phone, opens the game…and in comes Brady. Brady-Al then insists he gives Reggie a haircut before their trip. When Reggie reluctantly sits down, his possessed brother cuts his ear off with scissors before slitting his throat with a razor. I know we’ve only known him for an episode or two, but the tragedy of Reggie’s death still hit hard for me. Unfortunately, Brady’s not stopping there. He sends Al to Bill’s house to lie in wait…
Bill’s planning a trip of his own: He wants to go back to Ireland for the first time since childhood! As he tells Holly, he’s never gone back there, which means Ireland probably has a tangential hold on his heart. The real point of the trip is to go with his ex-wife Donna and reconnect. Their rejuvenated relationship seems to be going well.
But, as always, duty calls. Bill and Montez meet with Felix’s sweater-clad hospital boss to try to convince him to ship Brady to a more secure facility. They think it should be an easy case to make, what with Sadie’s suicide and Al’s murder of Montez’s dog. Clearly, there’s a dangerous aura around Brady. Unfortunately, sweater man doesn’t see it that way. Since the hospital is name-checked in every newspaper article about Brady Hartsfield, Brady’s presence has actually been GOOD for business. Bill walks away in disgust, saying that Brady is a pestilence akin to the rats that first spread the bubonic plague — an intense comparison, but not necessarily wrong. Montez admits that he kind of has to agree with that, though for now, they can’t do anything to change sweater man’s mind.
After Bill leaves that meeting, this episode really kicks into high gear. In an extremely tense sequence of cross-cutting, we see multiple characters converge on his house. There’s poor mind-controlled Al, who’s been sent to eat Bill’s food, break his records, and lie in wait. There’s Brady, sitting inside his mind-cave amping himself up like a boxer for a climactic confrontation. There’s Holly, who makes it to the house before Bill and almost stopped my heart. Thankfully, Al doesn’t make a move on her, and she’s able to leave for the Finders Keepers office in peace. Although when there’s a loud knock on the door, my heart skipped another beat — thankfully it was just a package delivery.
Then Bill makes it home. He immediately senses something is wrong and starts stalking around the house with his gun drawn — which makes this a terrible time for Donna to call him about Ireland. The ringing phone distracts him just enough for Brady-Al to get the drop on him. Al starts savagely beating him (just like the boxer Brady envisions himself doing), but then Ida arrives in the nick of time. Coming up behind them, she sets off a keychain alarm that distracts Brady-Al long enough for Bill to grab his gun and shoot his assailant through the chest. We see Al return to himself…just in time for Bill to shoot his brains out. Brady’s mind cave explodes as a result, which is interesting because he didn’t seem to suffer any ill effects from being in Sadie’s mind when she died.
We’ll have to pick up the pieces next week, but that was an excellent climax that has me really pumped for this season’s home stretch.