Ida soon reveals herself as perhaps the strangest character in this whole mix, and she’s not even a serial killer or a washed-up detective. At dinner with Hodges, she asks some personal questions, including the last time he had sex. This soon turns into a proposition, with Ida even pulling out a naked picture of herself (which freaks out her neighbor). However, she admits that the ask has more serious undertones. She watched her husband wither away and die after his retirement, having lost all purpose in life, and is seeing signs of the same happening to Hodges. She warns him that he needs some kind of purpose in life. Casual romance with a neighbor seems as good as any.
Though Hodges seems somewhat intrigued by Ida, he finds purpose in a different area: solving the case that still haunts him. His interest in the Mercedes killings is revived when he suddenly gets a message from the killer. The message features a talking smiley face and Max Headroom-style glitch aesthetic as it mocks Hodges for publicly promising to catch the killer and then failing to do so. As if mocking the dead weren’t creepy enough, the killer says he actually wore a condom that night, because he was worried all the killing would excite him so much he might ejaculate and leave behind DNA evidence. In a final “screw you,” the message deletes after playing once. Hodges asks Jerome (Jharrel Jerome), the young man Ida pays for yard work, for help, but Jerome notes that whoever did this really knows their stuff.
We then cut to the man himself and get a look inside Brady’s twisted psyche. It turns out his mom (Kelly Lynch) is an alcoholic who spends all day in front of the TV, and there is quite a bit of an Oedipal complex going on — after she gives Brady a kiss, he goes off and immediately masturbates.
Hodges’ interest in the case is by now totally revived, to the point where he pressures a former co-worker into letting him see the car again. Hodges even sits in the car and imagines himself driving it and running all those people over. And his connection with Brady is only growing — at episode’s end, they come close to finally meeting. After getting off from his computer job, Brady transitions to his second job driving an ice cream truck. As all the kids rush out to get treats, Hodges finds another tennis ball in his yard. He thinks it’s those damn kids again, until he turns it over and finds the ball emblazoned with the smiley face from the video. The game, as they say, is afoot.
This episode was a little slow, but I’m interested in seeing where it goes. Brady’s an intriguing villain, and I’m digging the socioeconomic commentary running underneath the plot.