Mr. Mercedes recap: The world turned upside down
I have to say, this is not how I expected this season to go. After weeks of telepathic shenanigans, Brady Hartsfield is once again back in his own body. We see him walking free down the side of a road, clad in a doctor’s uniform. It’s not clear how he got the clothes, but Bill Hodges and Antonio Montez find security footage of him walking straight out the front door of the hospital in that getup.
Bill actually has a lot of questions right now, and he decides to get answers by threatening Felix Babineau with a sock full of ball bearings. When Felix blubbers about needing a lawyer, Bill tells him in no uncertain terms that he will break his hands (preventing him from ever performing surgery again) unless he tells them what drugs he gave Brady and what the patient’s current physical and mental capacities might be. After a season of watching Felix and his wife play with people’s lives for their own profit, it’s awesome to see him get some comeuppance like this.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t last. When Felix makes it home, whining about how he’s going to end up in a jail cell for his illegal experiments, his wife Cora assures him that he’s still rich and famous, “and if there’s anything we know about American jurisprudence, it’s that the rich and famous do not end up in jail.” Unfortunately, tragically, she is correct — in this show as in real life. If you remember, this show exists in the shadow of the Great Recession; Brady’s target for the Mercedes killings was a job fair full of desperate people looking for work in the wake of the economy’s collapse. Very few bankers ever went to jail for engineering said collapse, while their victims were left to suffer the consequences. Far from being just a spicy line, that Cora quote actually gets at the heart of how evil exists in the world of Mr. Mercedes.
At first, of course, it does not look good for the Babineau’s. Their conversation is abruptly terminated by Brady’s arrival at their house. If you’re anything like me, you probably thought he was going to start sadistically torturing and killing them — especially after he tells Cora that he remembers her flirting with him while he was comatose. After taking a drive with them, Brady even forces Cora to make out with him while Felix watches. Then their destination is revealed: the police station! Brady is turning himself in!
NEXT: The world turned upside down
Brady is nothing if not a brilliant chess master, and his master plan is slowly revealed. Since he has perfect memory of everything that happened to or around him in the hospital, Brady starts talking to the police about how Montez grabbed his testicles, and that time Bill briefly pinched off his oxygen supply.
Then there’s the matter of the Babineau’s, specifically the extremely photogenic Cora. She starts appearing on talk shows talking about how when you think about it, the amount of people killed by Brady Hartsfield pales in comparison to the number of people who die every day for lack of life-saving drugs kept at bay by FDA regulations. If there’s one thing Americans respond to, it’s a hatred of bureaucracy and vaguely-defined “regulation,” so she successfully starts to turn the narrative in her favor.
Bill’s narrative, on the other hand, looks quite shady. In the wake of Brady’s accusation and the news that Brady has hired a top-notch lawyer capable of successfully prosecuting law enforcement, a police detective interrogates Bill to see if he’s a weak link in their case. He’s probably right; between Sadie’s death and Al’s death and Pete’s death and his noted obsession, Bill doesn’t look good. He tells this cop to eat dirt, which lands him about where you’d expect: In jail. After trusting the care of his tortoise to Holly and making a desperate call to Donna for legal help — never around when you need her! — he’s taken into custody by the police…and lands in a cell right next to Brady. That doesn’t seem like the smartest possible decision by the police, but who knows what’s going on in their brains right now.
I certainly expected the whole telepathy thing to be explained more by this point. Because yeah, if Bill can’t adequately explain to other characters what Brady was doing to Sadie and Al, then, of course, his actions are going to seem insane. Earlier, Lou tells him that she felt like Brady was becoming code, and the way he was able to control Al was by manipulating his phone. Maybe if she can explain what that means, and Holly gets her lab results back about the drugs Brady was taking, maybe there will be a case. It feels like a lot to wrap up with just one episode left (and no season 3 renewal currently on the horizon). I guess we’ll see how they do next week!