Bill and Brady finally have a conversation — with unexpected consequences
Bill and Brady continue to parallel each other. As each participant in this deadly game tries to outmaneuver the other, they happen to both be spending a lot of time in cars. On top of that, they both go through breakups (of a kind) in this episode.
It all begins with Brady sitting in his car, masturbating while thinking of the times he’s had sex with his mother and the time he ran over a bunch of people with a Mercedes — you know, like normal people do. But that’s not Brady’s only major car-related memory/fantasy. In a flashback, we get a confirmation of the theory laid out by Jerome last week — that the Mercedes killer got into Olivia’s car by stealing her fob code. In Brady’s memory, we see him helping Olivia to her car with a package she just bought from the electronics store, and then activating a mysterious device when she uses her fob. Guess that explains that!
After his sexy night with Janey, Bill returns home the next morning. He’s greeted by a surly Ida and, even more disturbing, evidence that someone broke into his house. At lunch, Jerome seems convinced that the two are related, and that a combination of loneliness and “brain shrinkage” has made Ida super horny. Bill, however, is convinced that it was Mr. Mercedes. As much as I’d like the first part to be true so Ida could finally have something to do on this show, I’m inclined to agree with Bill here.
When Brady finally stops masturbating in the parking lot and gets into the store, he’s greeted with a couple of newsflashes. Lou found out about Ryan’s fatal crash, but Brady is able to pass it off innocuously. More importantly, Frobisher wants Brady to take over as day manager of the store. That’s a pretty astounding gesture, but as always with Frobisher, it’s more out of personal ambition than the goodness of his heart. It turns out a whole bunch of new stores are opening across town, and if Frobisher wants a shot at one of the brand new big-name positions, he’ll need someone to take over the old store. Brady eventually agrees to an interview with corporate representatives, but Frobisher is clearly disappointed by his lack of excitement.
No, Brady has more important things to focus on — namely, making hamburgers laced with rat poison. His mom, at least, is excited about the possible promotion. She offers to take Brady on a vacation soon, to get away from the “rat race” (her pun, since even she notices the gigantic bottle of rat poison sitting on the counter). She laughs at her own joke, but this is the kind of fallen character for whom even happiness is tinged with sadness and despair. (Recap continues on page 2)
After the break-in earlier, Bill calls his old friend from evidence. He’s informed that there have been a string of similar incidents recently, where someone’s been breaking into cars not to steal anything but to move things around and freak people out — “creepy-crawling,” in Charles Manson’s old parlance.
As Bill is checking out the evidence, he gets a call from Janey — apparently her mom is having a good day, so he can finally come talk to her. We quickly learn that Elizabeth Wharton is sharp and sarcastic, but still sad over the death of her daughter Olivia. She fills Bill in with some important details about how that happened: Apparently Brady contacted Olivia pretending to be “Gerald” and convinced her they were equally responsible for the Mercedes deaths. Though it’s not clear how, it seems he eventually led Olivia to her death, either directly or indirectly. By the end, she had cut off contact with everyone else and wouldn’t even visit her mother.
At this point, Elizabeth recognizes Bill. After first mistaking him for Janey’s ex-husband, she now remembers he is one of the detectives who hounded Olivia after The Incident. As we’ve seen, he and Pete interviewed Olivia over and over again, often flat-out refusing to believe her when she said she did not leave her keys in the car, and sometimes even pranked her publicly. Janey was not aware of this, and when she realizes Bill’s stunt tipping off the press that Olivia wanted her car back led people to write “Killer Cunt” on her sister’s walls, she storms off. Bill tries meeting up with her later, apologizing for his behavior and agreeing not to continue their relationship but still asking for dedication to finding the killer. But it has no effect right now.
So Bill goes back to doing what he does best: drinking whiskey and yelling at people who mean him no harm. In this case, that’s Jerome, who shows up to give Bill a new digital camera and also inform him about Brady’s earlier appearance at Jerome’s house. Although Brady failed to poison Jerome’s dog, he did linger long enough to get noticed. Unfortunately, Jerome is not a detective like Bill; he didn’t automatically note a physical description or license plate numbers, so Bill screams until he leaves.
But everyone wants a companion, so eventually Bill gets in contact with the one person who understands him: Brady. His face obscured by glitch-y art, Brady talks to Bill straight through his TV. At first, it seems like he has the upper hand, reciting every detail about where Bill’s daughter is currently living. Bill counters brutally, however, by correctly guessing that Brady has sex with his mom. How could he know this? Because, as he says, “You all want to think you’re special. It turns out you’re all the f—ing same: disappointing.” That gets through to Brady, making him so sullen and angry that he eventually rage-quits the entire conversation.
Later, when Brady’s mom tries seducing him again, he angrily breaks it off. In the episode’s closing minutes, we get a look at the cycle of alcoholism, anger, and sexual dysfunction in which Brady, his mom, and Bill all currently find themselves. Now that we’ve finally gotten a confrontation between our two principals, let’s hope things really start to heat up.