Tuesday, September 17, 2019

REVIEW: 'Mr. Mercedes' - Morris Reaches Out for Help While Peter Starts Making Some Purchases in 'Madness'

Audience Network's Mr. Mercedes - Episode 3.02 "Madness"

Hodges and Montez develop a theory about the Rothstein crime. Peter's parents grow suspicious of his behavior. Finkelstein navigates the complexities of Lou's upcoming trial. Morris teams up with Alma Lane, and together they plot to recover his spoils.

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 next episode of Audience Network's Mr. Mercedes.

"Madness" was written by David E. Kelley & Jonathan Shapiro and directed by Jack Bender

It was a mistake for Bill Hodges to believe that solving the Mr. Mercedes case would bring him all the closure he needs to have a satisfying life. Jerome notes here that Hodges has always carried around a lot of anger. That's the way he has experienced so much in this world. That's his natural state. Sure, people can debate whether or not the material written by John Rothstein had anything to do with creating a man like Bill Hodges. Ida is just as big a fan and is perfectly stable and happy in her life. Hodges admits to Donna over the phone here that it was foolish for him to say he would never become obsessed with another case again. He couldn't make that promise because there is so much that defines him in life beyond Brady Hartsfield. Sure, that killer played a significant role in his breakdown during retirement. But now, Hodges wants to present with a new path forward as someone with a stable private investigating business with contacts inside the various government departments in this small Ohio city. Of course, that also comes with the show returning to its roots by examining the economic anxiety that led to the destruction of the working class in our country. Kate Mulgrew joins the proceedings here as Alma Lane, a maternal figure to Morris. At times, it does seem like the show is simply trying to copy the success and ickiness that came from Brady's dynamic with his own mother in the first season. The suspicion of incest was always apparent between them. They were too close despite the blood relation between them. And now, the show openly states that Morris and Alma have a sexual relationship. It's one that he relies on because Alma provides so much direction for him. She was the one who first put this thought into his head about robbing Rothstein. He may not know how to confide in the people he cares about with what has just happened to him. But Alma is more than capable of putting the pieces together herself. In fact, she states it's the precise fate that Rothstein deserved. So many in this world revere him almost as a mythic figure. Someone who came to define their lives in a way that simply cannot be expressed in simple or easy terms. And yet, Alma knows who Rothstein was as a human being. He was a depraved and angry individual who treated her horribly and hoarded all of his earnings to himself. He didn't care about the wellness of others. His success was only a personal achievement. The city may look to him with admiration. But he also lived a reclusive life out in the woods where no one knew quite what he was doing. It's an open question by Hodges whether or not there were new manuscripts that were stolen and could be worth millions. He sees that as the true prize that must be retrieved. He is given a lot of room to operate with this investigation. Of course, the audience does get the confirmation that these manuscripts exist. Peter has them and is reading them. But he too has taken a turn down a dark path. He has self-preservation skills because he has endured so much from his father. It's easy for his dad to believe Peter is selling drugs than any other kind of explanation for his new purchases. Peter didn't earn the money that he used to buy sneakers. He happened upon it in the woods. Even when he returns to the scene of the crime, he doesn't stick around to tell the police how he came to discover the body now found in the vehicle. That sends the official investigation on a wild goose chase. Meanwhile, Peter is arming himself with a gun in order to stand his ground and protect what he believes is his. That is just such a corrosive attitude though. One that is bound to make things very explosive and lethal when Morris and Alma come knocking in search of their treasure. That's one significant component of the show. The legal drama with Lou is mostly centered around the idea of whether or not Brady still exists inside her mind. She could be experiencing a psychotic break because of what she did. Or something more supernatural could be going on and he continues to torment her like he did to so many people in the second season. Clarity is needed sooner rather than later if the audience is expected to be invested in the outcome of this trial. Right now, the judge and the lawyers are coming across as a little one-note in order to serve their various functions to the plot.