Wednesday, October 4, 2017

REVIEW: 'Mr. Mercedes' - Hodges Finally Confronts the Killer as Brady Lays His Traps in 'Ice Cream, You Scream, We All Scream'

Audience's Mr. Mercedes - Episode 1.09 "Ice Cream, You Scream, We All Scream"

Jereme and Holly tell Hodges their concerns about the Mercedes killer. Tensions continue to escalate between Brady and Robi. As details about the investigation emerge, Hodges, Pete and Izzy close in on their suspect.

"Ice Cream, You Scream, We All Scream" is the big episode where everyone realizes that Brady Hartsfield is the Mercedes killer. The investigation into what he has been doing has finally been able to identify him. It plays as such an easy connection to make as well because he was the one who provided technical support for Olivia. Holly finds the business card which immediately allows Hodges and Pete to go to the electronics store to interview Robi. It serves as confirmation to Robi that Brady is dangerous and capable of doing immense harm to lots of people. He hasn't been a pleasant boss at all. It may actually be a rousing moment when he is finally killed by Brady. And yet, his suspicions about Brady were correct as well. He has always presented them in a blunt way. He criticized Brady for being too weird and ruining all of his plans for his immediate future in this business. He just wanted to focus on moving up the corporate ladder. Instead, he constantly had to deal with someone who is actually a deranged serial killer. He had his suspicions that Brady was the one responsible for his computer exploding in his face. He's never had proof of that. And then, the detectives walk through the door wanting to question Brady. That serves as all the confirmation Robi needs that something malicious is going on with his employee. That's just a small part of this story though. This hour is all about the various worlds of this show finally colliding. Hodges is interviewing the people who have been a prominent part of Brady's life. He talks with Robi and Lou. Meanwhile, Pete and Izzy finally let their boss in on what's been happening and just how serious and dangerous this case has gotten. It's a thrilling hour that is a little too manipulative in the end as well.

The clock was already counting down for Brady. He wasn't planning on being alive for that much longer. He's already wrapped his head around the idea of dying in another epic display of violence which will further cement his legacy as one of the most lethal killers in the country. His plans shifted the moment his mother was killed. This entire season he's just been motivated by terrorizing Hodges. He wanted to torment him and show just how destructive he can be throughout his entire life. He could get to him in a number of ways. And then, Janey got in the car that exploded. Brady wanted to kill Hodges then. But it was instead another significant action that destroyed Hodges' spirit while keeping their game going for a little longer. But Deb's death signaled a different shift. It's made Brady think about his own legacy. He can't stay in this house keeping up this perfect facade forever with a decaying corpse in the bed. It's a tragedy. It's something he's thought about for a long time. But now, he no longer has any interest in interacting with Hodges. In fact, he welcomes the fact that Hodges has made significant discoveries in his investigation. It allows things to be even more thrilling and intense for Brady. It allows him to continue to show off just how much smarter he is with technology than everyone else.

It's all very disruptive as well. It's purely coincidental that Hodges and Brady don't run into each other at the electronics store. Brady is leaving for "service calls" while Hodges, Pete and Izzy are pulling up. It's convenient in order to drag the story out for a little bit longer. Brady only really came into work today because he needed parts for the device he is building in his basement. That's the only chief concern in his life right now. He doesn't care about this job or the game he has going with Hodges. He just wants to be unsettling in every interaction that he has. He has a deeply twisted mind. One that still finds comfort with being with his mother even in death. He's managed to close her eyes now. He's determined to kill any fly that enters the room to buzz over her dead body. But he's perfectly fine with sacrificing her corpse in the grand scheme of things as well. This house has been a sanctuary for him this entire season. He's allowed to be himself in this place. It was also home to the severely twisted dynamic he shared with his mother. That bond was so codependent and destructive. It was doomed to kill both of them because of the chasm that separated them as well as the incestuous desires they both had for each other. But that basement was the one place where Brady got to carry out all of his plans. It was his space where he could keep others out. And now, it needs to be sacrificed in the greater war. Hodges has come knocking on his door. So, things are about to go awry in a huge and destructive way.

It's very effective to watch as the police arrive at the house ready to storm in and arrest their suspect. So much has been made about the police needing to follow proper procedure. Hodges is still a retired detective. He's able to be a part of this investigation even though he can't technically be the one leading the charge anymore. He wants to enter the home while Brady is still inside unprepared for what's about to happen. But he can't for legal reasons. That moment tips Brady off to what's coming to him. It shows that he needs to accelerate this master plan. He's in danger of being discovered. So when the police do arrive with their warrant, Brady is actually ready for them. It's chilling and creepy to watch how much he has prepared. The ice cream truck has always been a symbol of hopeful pleasantness. It's a treat for a neighborhood that can unify the community. And now, it's become a weapon for Brady to use in this war. It's always been twisted that he used this profession to infiltrate the personal security of multiple people. And now, it's used to provoke the police into action. He can rig everything to make it clear immediately that he remains one step ahead of the investigation the entire time. The police don't know what to expect when they prepare to carry out this raid. They know it has the potential to be very dangerous. Brady proves as much with the various devices he has linked up to compromise the search of the house. But its destruction can be quite manipulative as well.

All of this is being told to the audience at the same time as Brady taking a shower seemingly preparing himself for his big finale performance. His end has finally arrived. He knows it and can still create a ton of havoc and chaos in this world. He's making a video confession. Of course, he's not really confessing to being the Mercedes killer. He just says that if you are seeing this video you know who he is. It's him then using his one device to control basically everything technological. It's all inferred that he is actually in the house that the police are about to storm. That makes sense considering he probably needs to be in close proximity for his device to work. That's been the case all of the previous times he has used it. He can turn the ice cream truck on without being there. But the scene inside the house tells a completely different story. He doesn't need to actually be present in order to set off any of these traps. The police do that when they simply enter a room. The basement has always had that layer of protection. Brady had a password he needed to say in order to turn on the lights and the computers. And now, the computers are counting down as SWAT takes note of the destructive material in the room. They know that the house is about to be destroyed. It seems like a long countdown as well. It's a sequence all building to the reveal of Hodges walking into the room with Deb's body and seeing someone who resembles Brady embracing her. He isn't able to confirm his identity before the entire room starts on fire. It's played as the conclusion of this official investigation. Pete is satisfied that they've got their killer. He went out in a blaze of glory instead of being arrested by the police for his crimes. Hodges isn't satisfied with that as an answer. Nor should the audience be. Things are left a little cryptic. And yet, it seems completely obvious that the second body wasn't Brady's. It's just a distraction so that he can continue to carry out his master plan. Hodges will need to act quickly to stop him. It's just a somewhat manipulative note to end this episode on. It's saying that everything has been wrapped up. But that couldn't possibly be the case because this is only the penultimate episode. Something big and climatic needs to happen in next week's season finale too.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Ice Cream, You Scream, We All Scream" was written by Bryan Goluboff and directed by Kevin Hooks.
  • It's taken a long time for Hodges to identify Brady as the Mercedes killer. But as soon as he sees his picture and gets his address, he knows that it is him. He recognizes him as the ice cream truck driver. Plus, the address lines up with that previous lead he pursued when it came to stolen cars without the use of keys. 
  • Lou has always been a proud supporter of Brady's just like he has been a proud supporter of hers. She continues to see him as the sweetest guy who couldn't hurt anyone. She refuses to believe that he could be involved in a homicide. So, this entire season just shows how wrong she was to get so close to him. It also reveals just how little she truly knew as well.
  • And yet, Lou is still alive. She's been able to escape this world. She's allowed to be happy with her girlfriend. She doesn't need to put up with Robi anymore. Nor does she have any reason to interact with Brady. She's escaped until Hodges arrives to ask her a few questions. That sends her spinning. But it still seems like she's safe as well. She may be removed enough to be out of danger.
  • It was a big moment last week when Hodges called Holly's parents to get her as far away from him as possible. It was for her own protection but it was so destructive as well. And now, the power of that moment is taken away because Holly is just casually a part of Hodges' life once more. She returns the statue to him and is still digging for clues in this investigation.
  • Everything has been building to this huge gala happening in this community. It's where Brady plans on striking next. It's where Robi was hopeful about his career. It's where the police worry that something bad may happen. It's correct to be suspicious about what will happen during that event. And yet, the only reason Hodges is concerned is because Holly has a bad feeling. That's just lame and really forced in order to hit a specific plot point.