Wednesday, September 19, 2018

REVIEW: 'Mr. Mercedes' - Brady Terrorizes Montez While Hodges Delivers Several Promises in 'Andale'

Audience's Mr. Mercedes - Episode 2.05 "Andale"

Eager to prosecute Brady, Montez turns up the heat on Dr. Babineau. Holly feels betrayed when Hodges' meddling threatens the future of Finders Keepers. When violence hits close to home, Montez seeks help from Hodges.

Is this season of Mr. Mercedes starting to become a little dull and repetitive? Yes, a show is still exciting and terrorizing when a dog is the victim of a brutal attack and its blood is used to deliver a message. However, this season has featured a lot of the same plot beats over and over again. Hodges obsesses over every single detail of this case. The people around him are worried that he is falling down the rabbit hole with Brady once more. They fear that he is losing his mind because he's making suggestions that would suggest supernatural forces at play. Meanwhile, Brady is just wandering around the world causing havoc in a new body with no one knowing that he's actually responsible for the damage. As such, it amounts to a lot of wallowing in the past and reanalyzing so much about what has already occurred. The audience is functioning with more information than any of the other characters. The same was also true of the first season. But there was also the sense that there was strong forward momentum with every action building to something more devastating between Hodges and Brady. That's what made the climatic moments so powerful. It was them facing off and being destroyed because of how extreme the stakes had become. The stakes and tone of the show are still incredibly high. However, it feels like the show has entered wheel-spinning mode as everyone continues to question what Brady is capable of. Moreover, none of the new characters are really making much of an impact where the audience probably cares one way or another what happens to them in this conflict with Brady. As such, that makes them expendable even though they should also function as legitimate antagonistic forces that Hodges has to deal with to keep from making too much progress in this investigation. The most moving moment of this hour comes when Hodges is confirming the worst fears Sadie's mother has been feeling. She gets an answer as to why her daughter could kill herself. But it's not the whole truth either. Hodges has to find enough clarity with that in order to move on in the hopes of achieving justice. That's a fascinating moment. But the rest of the hour is mostly just calling him crazy for believing something like this is possible.

Montez is making his presence known in a big way. He wants Hodges to stop stalking the hospital and this case. He doesn't want him anywhere near Brady moving forward. In fact, he has requested all of the security footage to see what all Hodges has been doing in that hospital room. He doesn't want anything to corrupt his case against the most infamous serial killer in the state. Montez is motivated solely by his desire to become district attorney. He wants to move to the next stage of his career because his wife is getting angsty in the life they are currently living. It's no longer comfortable enough. And so, he is putting the pressure on himself. He is placing all of his bets on Brady making a meaningful recovery. And now, there is no further evidence that he has woken up. It may have been nothing more than false hope given by a nurse who was suffering from a psychosis of some kind that eventually led to her suicide. That's the world that Montez is currently seeing. He doesn't want to believe in the fantastical. He just wants to believe in whatever narrative he can prove. He wants Brady awake so that he can have his day in court calling him a convicted killer. He is pressuring Felix into giving him that result as well. And so, Felix is willing to explore any option that will allow him to keep his research experiment alive. He can't risk his treatment plan for Brady being exposed. It could lead to his license being revoked. He aspires to change the world. Right now, that just means forcing a reaction from Brady in the hopes that it buys enough time for him to write up this miraculous treatment. But again, it's him trying to barter with a serial killer.

There is absolutely no reason for Brady to trust Felix or Montez. They talk in his room believing that he is incapable of hearing them. There is still so much they don't know about people in a comatose state. They want to believe certain things. But they are also operating with the clarity that they don't have to conceal their true agendas. It's also just convenient information that Brady can use to exploit them later on. Brady gets Montez's address from context clues when he is threatening Felix. Meanwhile, Brady refuses to give Felix the satisfaction that he has done something remarkable when he simply can't keep to his word about ensuring that Brady won't spend a day inside a jail cell. Of course, Brady absolutely belongs in jail. There is no doubt about it. He killed so many people. He took pleasure in doing so. He has killed again because he once more has the tools at his disposal. There is no way to justify his actions. And yet, Felix is willing to testify that Brady had no control because he was born with this neurological disease that prevented him from seeing the world in any other way. It's better to medicate than to imprison him. Yes, that is a meaningful conversation that needs to happen more often when it comes to the justice system in this country. But it shouldn't apply to someone like Brady because of all the horrifying things he has done across the series so far. Right now, Felix is acting out of pure ignorance. That makes him such a loathsome character to watch because he simply has no understanding of the impact his actions have on the lives of others. Nor is he likely to face any kind of justice for what he did throughout all of this. That should be equally chilling.

Instead, time is spent with Brady in control of Al's body just being a creepy presence throughout the city. It appears as if Brady is able to keep hypnotizing Al even when he is no longer at the hospital. All Brady needs is this device that happens to be at both the hospital and the school. As such, that creates a reason to be concerned about Ida and the students outside trying to use it to learn. It's nothing more than a distraction. However, it's a distraction that can be easily exploited. It's absolutely terrifying to think about what Brady could use this device for in his nefarious agenda. Right now though, he is just exploring the world. He is no longer stalking out Hodges' house. Things are still functioning normally there. Ida, Jerome and Holly remain consistent parts of his life. The more exciting detail for Brady comes when he can torment Montez while he believes he is still in a coma. Montez condemns and threatens Hodges for obsessing over this theory that Brady is faking his condition and coercing people into helping him. It's still absolutely crazy for him to be suggesting such a thing. But the show is making really slow progress in actually confirming that he is right to believe that that's what's actually going on. Holly presents him with evidence that it could theoretically happen. That's the show also trying to remain grounded because scientists don't always know everything about the brain. It remains such a huge medical mystery. Holly reaches out to an old friend who has one theory that may make a bunch of sense. It further proves just how special Brady is. And yet, the show has always suggested that because of how much he has been about to get away with. He has done so much even when people knew exactly what he was capable of doing. And now, he breaks into Montez's home and slaughters his dog. That's so vicious while also showing just how casually sinister Brady is capable of being.

Brady doesn't freak out when he discovers that there is a dog protecting the house. All he has to do is break into a different house and get a piece of meat. That's enough to distract it. That creates the opening for a fatal blow. But then, Brady is just calmly cooking that piece of meat on the stove as well. That's the life he is now forcing Al to have. When Al wakes up and has control over his body again, he is horrified about what has happened. He seemingly has no memory whatsoever. He may not have had the same experience that Sadie did. And yet, Brady is quickly able to re-establish control and get his new body to burn the clothes and destroy all of the other evidence that could tie him back to this latest crime. It's a break-in that leads to a new weapon as well. Al has a gun and Brady will absolutely be willing to use it when the time is right. It ensures that Brady will remain safe as well because Al is the one who will have to be dealing with the potential consequences. The investigators still don't fully know what's going on. And so, they can't ration why Al would do something like this or if anyone else could explain that they were controlled by Brady when doing something monstrous. Of course, it also presents enough evidence for Montez to believe in Hodges' crazy theory about Brady. Hodges knows it to be true because of Sadie's text messages. And now, Brady is literally sending a message. It's a phrase in Latin that Montez has only said in one context lately. It harkens back to the moment when he was alone in the hospital room assaulting Brady. The killer is just now getting his payback to ensure that the attorney is now in fear for his life. He has to hire Hodges which means Finders Keepers will now be working in an official capacity even though Montez would like many of these details kept quiet because of how they could damage his future campaign.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Andale" was written by Alexis Deane & Sophie Owens-Bender and directed by Peter Weller.
  • Holly's worries about Hodges were assuaged by Ida just in the previous episode. Ida convinced Holly that she should just trust Hodges and his instincts because of his track record so far. But now, there is some understandable tension between them because Hodges' actions could impact their business together. Their P.I. license could be suspended because of this case. As such, Hodges could be destroying the work that has actually meant something to Holly.
  • Meanwhile, Jerome finds himself completely trusting Hodges. Sure, he is also concerned that Hodges is spiraling once more in ways that are genuinely unhealthy for him. He questions Hodges' judgment when it comes to hacking into the hospital's system. And yet, Jerome still does exactly that because he wants to help Hodges. He would rather do that than focus on how to do better at college.
  • Of course, there is a cost to helping Hodges as well. Right now, that is felt by Nurse Maggie. She had the right instinct to protect her career because Felix was threatening her. She didn't want to share any more information about the case with Hodges. He just convinced her to protect herself to ensure she didn't become a scapegoat. But that only led to her getting caught and facing a disciplinary board.
  • Lou goes back to therapy. That is very encouraging. Right now, she's been lashing out at the world. She would rather spiral and be depressed than try to pick up the pieces of her life again. And yet, she is starting to get that confidence and strength once more. It comes from simply confronting Brady in her head. She doesn't do it in person. But she's empowered enough to get through the day without having to rely on drugs or alcohol to survive physical therapy.
  • More time is spent in Ida's new job as a summer school teacher. However, it's mostly just introductory. Al sees some of the students outside. So, Brady knows they have the same devices that can start this hypnosis. Meanwhile, Ida is inside and runs into another teacher who immediately comes across as a new love interest. They bond over the students being distracted by the devices they gave them.