Wednesday, September 12, 2018

REVIEW: 'Mr. Mercedes' - Hodges Continues to Collect Evidence to Prove His Crazy Theory in 'Motherboard'

Audience's Mr. Mercedes - Episode 2.04 "Motherboard"

Hodges is rattled by the unexpected death of a hospital staff member. Jerome offers much needed help in Hodges' quest to uncover the truth. Brady works to master the limitations of his newfound ability.

Brady is just now starting to understand how his newfound powers work. He was completely surprised when he was suddenly in control of Sadie. He got her to do whatever he wanted. He was finally free once more. Sure, he didn't explore beyond the hospital. This connection only extended within that world. His control also created a fair amount of suspicion. Everyone is trying to explain the things that Sadie did before she died. It was just so out of character for her. She wanted to run Maggie over. She tried giving a patient a lethal dose of drugs. And she then killed herself by jumping off the roof. It doesn't add up. At least not in any kind of sensible way. As such, Hodges once again is looking crazy because he is exploring unconventional explanations. Everyone just has to learn to trust him even though he is obsessing over Brady Hartsfield once more. And yes, there is a fair amount of taking a stroll down memory lane in "Motherboard." Another figure from the past haunts Brady in his mind. Brady visits his greatest hits as he begins his new plan to terrorize Hodges. Hodges is called out by Antonio for the information he withheld from the police that could have completely compromised the Brady trial. But there's a whole lot of fantastical also happening this season. Right now, Brady can only explain it with the theory of hypnosis. He can't unlock the mysteries of the brain as easily as he did his computer in his basement lair. It's not as easy as just saying the word "chaos." He actually has to put in effort to understand what's going on. It's understandable why Robi shows up to talk him through the problem. It's a pretty lame cameo appearance though. He appears mostly to give Brady someone to talk to instead of Harry Treadaway just acting opposite a screen for the entire season. That would get tiring very quickly. It still compromises a whole lot of what he has been doing as well even though he is becoming mobile once more thanks to a new host.

Brady was very impulsive in pushing Sadie up to the roof and then flinging her off the edge. It ensured that no one could become even more suspicious about him somehow being able to gain control over her. She was already talking about this out-of-body experience where she could hear his voice and no longer had control over her actions. She told her boyfriend even though it's such a crazy thing to belief. She put in the transfer order. That's the largest reason why Brady kills his only working host. He ultimately just treated her as an experiment. She served her purpose and he has to kill her before she reveals any of his secrets. It's so casual and yet so sinister. And now, a new host quickly presents himself. It seems like Brady is only able to lure in people who have some kind of pre-existing mental condition. Sadie had epilepsy and was no longer taking her medication because she wanted to get pregnant. That aspiration should be enough to prove that she didn't want to kill herself. But her mother and Hodges are the only two people who actually believe that. Of course, no real explanation is given as to what exactly is going on with Al. He's a lovable and sweet guy working on the floor. The nurses love him. But it was always clear that he would be susceptible to Brady's control. It's just less meaningful because there is less going on with him. He is more of an empty vessel and that's not a whole lot of fun. It mostly amounts to Brady having free reign over his life and being able to do whatever he wants. He learns the trick with hypnosis. And now, that's bound to lead to even more action. Brady is going to become so destructive once more.

Plus, there are no real consequences to Brady being in a host while it dies. When Sadie's body hit the ground, activity was recorded within him. Felix is able to determine that something is going on with Brady. He just doesn't know what yet. As such, he is simply ordering more tests. Maggie continues to be the one caring for Brady. Of course, it's also terrifying to watch as Felix threatens Maggie for releasing private information to her friend, Hodges. She is alive because of the detective. And now, Felix is afraid of what else she could be sharing with the rest of the world. She could know that he has been performing some experimental procedures on Brady. However, Brady is also listening in on this conversation. He is always alert when people are in the room under the assumption that they have privacy from someone in a coma. They simply don't know what's going on with him. As such, they are acting like their true selves. They may actually be embracing the monstrosity within them just because of their sheer proximity to Brady. That could be a working theory now that more and more crazy things are happening to the people working on this floor. Maggie does notice when Al just walks away in the middle of his shift. He does so because Brady wants to stalk all of the previous locations where he attacked innocent people. He takes pleasure in being able to point out the impact he has left on the world. And now, he is literally sitting outside of Hodges' house. He is lying in wait ready to pounce at a moment's notice. Hodges doesn't even know that it's coming from him either even though he is tipped off to a major clue that would seem to confirm his wildest theory about the case. It just makes him seem completely insane.

Now, the show has to be very careful in telling the audience that Hodges is absolutely right to before that Brady is once again manipulating people while still playing things realistically for how ridiculous that sounds. There is nothing that would suggest Brady has been faking his coma. And yes, Brady hasn't woken up just yet. But he still has an active mind. A mind that is still lethal to anyone who gets too close to him. Hodges is obsessing and going down a potentially dark path. Sadie's mother demands answers from him because he was looking into Sadie right before her death. Meanwhile, Antonio wants to know that he doesn't have another rogue and dogged investigator who is potentially making his job more difficult. All of this doesn't make any sense. Hodges may be going crazy looking up articles about people who have been able to communicate while in comas. It's insane. But he still has the support of the people around him. Holly is respecting his space while still trying to be there as his support system. Meanwhile, Jerome actually gives him a lead that is worth following up on. Sadie's phone essentially acts as her diary because it records everything that she would have been doing during her final days. The only problem is hacking into it. Even then, Jerome still presents himself as an ally because he is able to succeed in this mission that Hodges wouldn't know the first thing about. The text messages do give him confirmation that Brady is to blame somehow. It shows that not everything was okay with Sadie's death. But again, he's going to have a difficult time trying to explain this to anyone who is willing to listen. Antonio already sees a crazy conspiracy board. He sees Hodges going down the exact same path as before. His friends hope that they haven't misplaced their trust in him. But only time will ultimately tell if they have. They have to remain patient with him even though he still consistently needs their help.

In fact, it's very meaningful to see that moment where Holly and Ida are discussing Hodges. Holly wants to know if she should be worried about him. She has completely changed her life because of him. He was encouraging and truthful with her. She never experienced that before. It was a welcome change of pace for her. And yet, it's also just as important to point out that she has become dependent on him. She needs him in order to feel okay with doing any of these changes in her life. She is still willing to go over to Ida's yard and talk about Hodges while helping her rebuild the gazebo. It's actually nice to see progress continuing to be made on that project. Holly is at first reluctant to do any of the work. But it's also nice to see how quickly these two characters are able to bond simply by being frank with one another. It's inspiring to watch as Ida tries to tell Holly that she shouldn't be so beholden to Hodges. She should have a life beyond him and his approval. She can't do everything for him. That's the lesson he has been trying to teach her as well. He wants to encourage these detective instincts so that she no longer needs him. She just hasn't fully grasped that concept just yet. And yet, that's perfectly fine too. It means that she is around to be worried about Hodges. She knows when he is acting differently. She notices that he is being more elusive with the truth. Of course, she knows he's becoming obsessed with Brady once more. However, Ida calms her by saying that Hodges has never been wrong before or has willfully and maliciously lied to them. He has earned their trust. They shouldn't worry just yet. But the stakes remain high because the threat from Brady is much closer than any of them truly know.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Motherboard" was written by Samantha Stratton and directed by Jack Bender.
  • Lou has been a fascinating character in the past. Her depression following Brady's attack is meaningful. And yet, she remains really isolated from the rest of the show as well. It's meaningful to see her in a relationship. That visibility is so important. However, it's just as easy to see her girlfriend walking away because Lou has been refusing to put in the work to address her very real and serious problems. She's a mess and she will only continue to spiral. It's also just taking a long time to get to that point though.
  • Does Al pick up the same piece of technology that Ida was handing out to her summer school students a few weeks ago? It's unclear at the moment. They are both orange and not exactly top of the line devices. It's something that both schools and hospitals could employ in order to help people learn. If they are the same though, then they are bound to be some kind of sinister plot device now that Brady can exploit them.
  • Antonio and Hodges don't know each other well. They both have their reputations which precede them. They are still able to share some beers together and lay everything out on the table. Of course, it's clear that Antonio is lurching around every aspect of Brady's case because he doesn't want anything to compromise it. He may be too protective though. And yet, he does have a point in yelling at Hodges about his crazy conspiracy theory.
  • Jerome has picked up how to hack a phone due to some extracurricular activities at Harvard. That too teases that more happened at college then he has been letting on. It seems like he is much more in his depth with this work than the actual school assignments. It's helpful with Hodges' case. He may need him working all the time. But it's bound to lead to a huge argument with his family soon enough.
  • A week ago Brady's younger brother showed up in his fantasy recreation of his basement lair. I immediately suggested that it would be a device used again to bring back some of the characters killed in the first season. Sure enough, Robert Stanton returns here. As such, it seems likely that the show will bring back Kelly Lynch and Mary-Louise Parker. Brady is already talking to his mother like she's there already. And yet, it's notable that she isn't appearing just yet.