Mr. Mercedes recap: 'Let's Go Roaming'
Whew! Even if you, like me, thought that last week’s premiere was pretty weird, this episode ratcheted up the strangeness even further. I have to respect the willingness to get crazy like this, although I suppose it’ll take a few more episodes to really see if the show can keep a balance between its detective show roots and these newfound supernatural hijinks.
Before it goes all supernatural, however, this episode begins rooted in the extremely real world. As we saw last week, Bill and Holly have started a private investigator business. Unfortunately, not every assignment they get feels righteous. Bill starts this episode off by repossessing a woman’s car after she failed to pay the lease on time. Even after the revelation that the woman is a struggling single mother (there’s still a baby seat in the back of the car) Bill still carries through with the job. It definitely leaves a traumatic impact, though. Bill’s next case involves tracking down a fugitive from the law; after hearing that this guy also happens to be a struggling parent who got caught up in a drug business he didn’t understand and now only wants to keep his kids safe, Bill lets him go. He lies to Holly about it, though. Presumably he wants to keep the man’s secret to protect everyone involved, but given all of Holly’s probing questions about it, I’m guessing she’ll find out the truth sooner rather than later.
Back at the hospital, Brady has a secret of his own: He’s awake! The Mercedes killer is still completely paralyzed, but inside his head he’s just as aware as ever. I didn’t quite get this last week, but the visualization of Brady’s inner consciousness involves him sitting in a version of his old basement lair, with all the computer screens showing him what’s happening in front of his eyes.
Or, you know, whoever’s eyes he happens to be looking through at this moment.
Yes, you read that correctly. When nurse Sadie arrives to give Brady his sponge bath, he manages to temporarily leave his brain and go into hers — so the visual on his screens changes from Sadie to his own comatose body, as he looks out from her eyes. Understandably, this experience rattles Sadie, and she calls her superiors to help. They don’t know what to do, and how could they? The paralyzed killer is telepathic now.
NEXT: Telepathic sexual assault (no, really)
Even though they’re not totally sure what’s going on, some people are willing to take news of Brady’s activity seriously. Assistant district attorney Antonio Montez first showed up last week, but now we really get to see him in action. After hearing the news of Brady’s incident, Montez convinces the hospital superiors to let him have some alone time with the killer.
What happens next is, like I said at the top, very weird. Assuming that Brady is now conscious and only pretending to be paralyzed, Montez proceeds to commit sexual assault. That’s right: He literally grabs Brady’s testicles, and tells him to voice his protest if he has any. Brady goes wild with anger in his brain room, but he can’t do anything physically. He darkly points out that he’s used to sexual assault, thanks to his strange relationship with his late mother. This encounter clearly leaves an impact, though. After Montez leaves, Brady decides to inflict his own pain back on Sadie. When the nurse comes in for a late night sponge bath, Brady takes control of her motor functions and forces her to grope herself for his viewing pleasure. He then masturbates…inside his own head? Like I said: Weird!
Speaking of weirdness, it seems Jerome’s first year at Harvard hasn’t gone great. For a former golden boy, he sure smokes weed a lot now. Worse than that, he’s lying about his grades. Jerome tells his father that he’s pulling in straight A’s at the country’s most prestigious college, but in reality they’re more like D’s and C’s. Hey, the transition to college can be really tough!
The bright part of Jerome’s night seems to be catching up with Bill at the welcome-home party. This reunion is cut short, however, when Bill gets a call that Brady is awake. He immediately drops what he’s doing and heads to the hospital, just as a Brady-controlled Sadie was about to leave. He makes her turn around and follow Bill back to his room. There, he makes Sadie grab a scalpel and try to stab Bill. The murder attempt is foiled at the last-minute, but it’s clear that Brady will be even harder to stop this season now that he’s operating outside the laws of nature.
This season awfully strange already, but I appreciate the willingness to think outside the box. At the same time, Mr. Mercedes still has a great grasp on the real world. Ever since the first episode I’ve enjoyed the show’s exploration of post-recession economic malaise, and Bill’s newfound guilt about robbing the poor further is a great extension of that.