Tuesday, September 10, 2019

REVIEW: 'Mr. Mercedes' - Hodges Helps Lou Prepare for Trial as the Death of an Author Devastates the Community in 'No Good Deed'

Audience's Mr. Mercedes - Episode 3.01 "No Good Deed"

The murder of iconic local author John Rothstein devastates Hodges. Lou will be tried for killing Brady Hartsfield. High schooler Peter Saubers makes an overwhelming discovery.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of Audience's Mr. Mercedes.

"No Good Deed" was written by David E. Kelley and directed by Jack Bender

Mr. Mercedes has long presented as a traditional hero versus villain story. However, it chose to subvert the expectations of that genre by having someone else ultimately catch the villain. Bill Hodges long saw that as his personal burden. It compromised his health in some significant ways in which some feared he could no longer do the job. Some argued that he shouldn't have to anymore. He didn't need to be the one obsessing over this particular case. Even he insisted that he found enlightenment at the conclusion of the second season. The show is firmly done with Brady Hartsfield as an ongoing character causing chaos and havoc as well. The first season ended with Holly bashing his head in to prevent him from detonating a bomb. The second season concluded with Lou shooting him in the face so that he couldn't be released during his trial. The personal threat from him may be gone but his actions still linger in this world. It appears this season is intrigued by the idea of how one act of violence can have ripple effects throughout an entire community. It was fascinating how Hodges took the burden of this case himself even though he was hardly the only victim. Sure, Brady singled him out as well. But there were many more victims than those who simply died in the numerous tragedies. The series opened with Brady running a car into a crowd of people. Over a dozen died but more were injured. Their lives were fundamentally changed as a result of that. That permeates throughout their personal lives as well. Newcomer Morris Bellamy points to that as the moment that damned him in this world. He has been struggling to get by since then. So now, it seems perfectly reasonable for him to break into a reclusive author's house in the middle of the woods in order to steal his piles of cash. Of course, it doesn't go according to plan. It immediately establishes that there is a new killer in this world. This time the motive doesn't come from a sociopathic identity. Instead, it's all about the money. That is a different pursuit. One that is already complicated by Morris immediately getting into an accident and fellow newcomer Peter Saubers coming along to discover the briefcase full of money and unpublished manuscripts. This premiere is heavily invested in setting up this new mystery. That's not inherently bad. It's a way of discovering new story with the Mercedes case. Meanwhile, the main characters are largely gearing up for Lou's trial. Her time in a courtroom proves to be just as divisive as Brady's. That's significant. Does it entirely track with everything that occurred last season? Not really. The public sentiment doesn't seem to be firmly divided. Instead, it's the lawyers who think they have the best cases that should be heard by a jury. Hodges has lingering doubts about the role he played in all of this. He forced Lou into a confrontation with Brady even though she wasn't mentally prepared for it. She still may not be in the best headspace to determine what direction this trial should go in. She has a very slick lawyer who can push her into a trial. But that mostly just means more courtroom drama in this universe for those viewers who enjoyed the conclusion of the second season - no matter how different it was from the episodes that preceded it. It's a strange mixture of stories in this premiere. It establishes how they will all eventually connect. But it also presents as Hodges falling back into old patterns because of Rothstein's death even though he made promises that he would never became obsessed with another case. Everyone can already sense that he has that glint in his eyes that may make him reckless in the field once more. That may prove that it wasn't as easy to break his pattern just because Brady was gone. The same is also true of the numerous victims and their families of the Mercedes killer. And yet, only time will tell if the show can present a much more cohesive and grounded story this season.