Wednesday, August 23, 2017

REVIEW: 'Mr. Mercedes' - Bill Manages to Surprise Brady Who Suffers as a Result in 'Cloudy, With a Chance of Mayhem'

Audience's Mr. Mercedes - Episode 1.03 "Cloudy, With a Chance of Mayhem"

Hodges and Janey dig deeper into the circumstances surrounding Olivia's death. Hodges uses Debbie's Blue Umbrella to turn the tables on Brady. Jerome's father intervenes in his relationship with Hodges.

"Cloudy, With a Chance of Mayhem" spends a lot more time delving into the psyche of Brady Hartsfield. The first two episodes have been strong showcases for him as a psychopath. A guy who comes across as weird to the people around him but also nothing to be too concerned about. He has proven himself to be very capable in taunting people. He drove Olivia to kill herself. And now, he has started the game all over again with Bill. As such, it's been a strong showcase for Harry Treadaway in the role. But now, the series depicts more of his physical ailments as they have come to define his life. His psychopathic tendencies define his personality. But now, it's clear that he suffers from other afflictions as well. He has crippling migraines which also produce visual and audio disturbances. So, the videos that he produces that are meant to unnerve the people associated with the case also mirror the trauma that he suffers from when these migraines become unbearable for him. It's a form of expression. He's make it so others can physically see his pain and understand him. He's just choosing to take violent action in order to do so. All of these traits are what led to him being the killer that he is. He has endured many traumas. Some can be blamed on the world around him. But most of them are unique to him and his deeply disturbed reactions to the normalcy of this world.

Of course, the hour stars with a young Brady actually seeing something incredible traumatizing. He walks in on his mother having sex on the downstairs couch. She and her partner don't stop the act once they know he's there. They just tell him to leave and then return to the passion once they believe he's gone. It would be simple to look at this moment in his childhood as a thing that traumatized him and stunted his emotional understanding of the world. But it's also clear that he's not right before this moment as well. Instead of listening to his mother, he stays and watches. He is hidden on the top step of the stairs and is fascinated by what is going on below. That's not a normal reaction. A later flashback to his childhood evokes a similar response. There's no context as to who this other young boy is. It's just clear that the two are incredibly different. Brady wants to draw and pay attention to the program on the TV while the other boy wants to play with his firetruck. Brady is off in his own little world while the other boy is choking. It's such a disturbing sight. But there's also the feeling that something more is happening as well because Brady served up the food that would cause such an incident. It's an important memory for Brady as well because he flashes back to it while pulling over for an ambulance in the present. These are the thoughts that rush through his head during this agonizing day. They are clearly important. Context may help the audience better understand. But they are also effective as a disturbing pair of visuals.

All of this is important information to have as well because it's clear that Bill finally makes a move against Brady that does quite a bit of damage. Brady has had his fun. He's worked his way into the psyches of many individuals and forced them to question their sanity. And now, Bill is returning the favor with his own mind tricks. Of course, that only comes after an hour of people continuing to question Bill's judgment. There has been a lot of talk so far about how this case drove Bill insane. The ramifications of the investigation are clear to see now. He's drinking more. He's lashing out at the world because he suddenly feels invisible. He can no longer see dead bodies and be perfectly okay with the mortality of life. But the actual details that drove his obsession are still shrouded in secrecy. The show has only provided glimpses of what the official investigation was like with Bill and Pete. It's clear that they weren't all that personable in the immediate aftermath. Even now, Bill finds it hard to believe Olivia when she says she carried the keys to the vehicle inside the house with him. But he's also forging a relationship with Janey that is genuine because of their shared connection to the case. They want the same thing. With Pete, it's always a comparison to what has already happened. He has additional context to make him wary of everything that Bill does. He still wants to be a supportive friend. But he's keeping Bill at a distance as well.

So ultimately, it's clear that the police aren't going to be all that helpful with this case. Janey knew that immediately. She didn't want to hand over the harassing letters to the authorities because she knew they wouldn't be handled with care. Bill wants to do that because he still believes in the proper channels producing meaningful results. He understands the law. He knows what is acceptable and what isn't. He knows that he'd be withholding evidence if he doesn't bring the letters to Pete. He's really forthcoming with information in this episode. In the previous two hours, he has kept to himself because of his inner turmoil and no one being able to truly understand what he's experiencing. And now, the only friend he has is Janey because she knows what he's going through. She hasn't experienced it herself but she has seen the devastation it leaves in its wake. Bill needs to be proactive about the situation. He has a channel for communicating with the killer. He knows that it's the real guy. He doesn't believe it's a copycat or wannabe psychopath looking for attention. He knows it's truly him. So, he attacks his precious ego by saying that the police have arrested the man responsible for the Mercedes killings. It's clear to Bill that the killer revels in the details of his crimes while also enjoying his freedom and anonymity in the world. Taking that away from him is really quite destructive. So far, it's just Brady lashing out at the various items in his basement. But with enough teasing, he could be pushed into doing something much more dangerous once more.

However, the episode ends with two sets of characters getting much more intimate with one another. With Bill and Janey, it's a much more conventional romantic story. The two of them are drawn to each other because of the case. They are the only ones who seem to be taking it seriously. As such, they have gotten incredibly close in not a lot of time. Of course, Bill has suffered more damage because of the case. She sees what he has lost and is incredibly accommodating to his pain. She is there for him in a supportive well. It's very subtle but significant. She's pulling for him to experience life again. So many people have been telling him to do so. But with Janey, she is actually successful. It's all because of this case. Elsewhere, Brady and Deborah are all that each other have in this world. The premiere showed just how incestuous their dynamic is capable of being. Deb pulls her son close because she needs that kind of intimacy while Brady is unsure of just how much he should give himself over to his mother. And now, it's comforting for him to crawl into bed with her while she jerks him off. It's an incredibly disturbing visual for the audience. It shows that this relationship has had serious psychological ramifications for both of them. They are both emotionally stunted because they rely on each other so much. She is the only person who can help him through these migraines. Her actions just make this an incredibly codependent relationship that is bound to get even more twisted moving forward.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Cloudy, With a Chance of Mayhem" was written by A.M. Homes and directed by John Coles.
  • There's no big story for why Bill left Ireland when he did. If there is, he doesn't talk about it. That's different than the way he shuts down when asked about his ex-wife and daughter. With those relationships, there is a clear sense of pain and loss. He pushed them away and is filled with regret and sorrow that comes from no longer having them near him to help him through troubling times.
  • Bill feeling out of touch with the world seems to be a major theme of this story as well. He feels like he no longer has any respect at the precinct despite all of the years he gave to the place. And in the outside world, the generational shift just makes him angry that people no longer have the manners that he was raised with. He may come across as a bitter drunk but he has a genuine opinion as well.
  • Jerome's father is rightfully worried that the local retired cop is involving his son in something incredibly dangerous. The show hasn't shied away from just how brutal this story is capable of being. The more Jerome is around Bill the more likely it is that he'll get pulled into this world as well and suffer as a result.
  • Robi just seems impossible to please. He is an incredibly demanding boss. His brush with death hasn't changed him at all. In fact, he's upset that Brady and Lou didn't visit him in the hospital - considering they are the only two full-time employees he has. Plus, he fully believes that Brady is responsible for his computer blowing up - which is absolutely true.
  • And yet, Lou seems like a true friend to Brady. She sympathizes with him when he's going through his migraine pains. She covers for him at work. She stands up for him to Robi. All of this just means it's going to be so devastating once she learns the truth about what he is capable of doing. Seeing that monstrosity will change her forever.
  • No Ida at all this week which is a little disappointing. She has presented himself as a romantic interest for Bill. But now, he finds himself much more drawn to Janey. Ida will more than likely have an opinion about that. She'll deliver it with sincerity though because she does genuinely care about Bill's well-being.