Tuesday, October 1, 2019

REVIEW: 'Mr. Mercedes' - Lou's Trial Begins and She Has Major Strategy Suggestions in 'Trial and Terror'

Audience Network's Mr. Mercedes - Episode 3.04 "Trial and Terror"

Alma and Morris zero in on a suspect. Jerome continues to make strides in the Rothstein case. Hodges shares his guilt over Lou's current situation with Ida. Lou's trial officially begins, and she has some suggestions for Finkelstein.

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.

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

Lou's trial has officially begun. All of the pre-trial motions and questions have been settled. Rolan Finkelstein and Sarah Pace are delivering their opening statements to a jury of Lou's peers who will determine her ultimate fate. It's up to them to decide what punishment she should face for killing Brady during the hearings for his own trial. This is clearly the story where the show's heart is at the moment. It's the story that has always been connected to the events of the previous two seasons. Yes, the murder of John Rothstein has connections to the Mercedes killings as well. That one event had major ripple effects throughout this community. It makes it an astute observation on Holly's part that Brady Hartsfield will define this area more than anyone else. But that also makes it incredibly silly when Hodges counters with the fact that the John Rothstein case is just as influential. And yes, the show has put in the time and effort to say that Rothstein is one of the greatest authors who had a major impact on so many people. However, he seems like a typical tortured artist who believed he had to suffer in order to pull out the greatness within him. That's now the quality that Hodges embraces in his own life. He wonders if he has to become Satan in this scenario just to prove that evil is not as nuanced as modern history would like it to be. It's a somewhat wonky emotional journey for Hodges though. The show clearly wants him to be obsessed with another case despite him trying to close that mindset following Brady's death. He got so personally invested in that story. And now, he is determined to solve Rothstein's murder and retrieve the missing manuscripts he is sure are out there. But Jerome is the one actually following up on the leads in that case. Hodges and Lou have a duty to be at Lou's various hearings because of their contributions to this specific case. Sure, it's still odd when they are in the judge's chambers along with Lou, Sarah and Finkelstein. The judge continues to be forceful about what he wants to happen with this case. He doesn't want it to go to trial but he sees that it has gotten out of his control now. The lawyers have forced his hand. They will now have the chance to present their cases in the hopes of making names for themselves. Sarah argues that Lou took away the opportunity for the people of this community to get the conclusion and resolution they needed from Brady driving his car through a mob of people at a job's fair. They didn't get to see justice work because she took matters into her own hands. Meanwhile, Finkelstein argues that the government and the judicial system were failing. Brady was never going to get the punishment that he rightfully deserved so his victims could feel a sense of closure. Instead, he was propped up as a medical miracle that needed to be studied and revered. Those details can't be overlooked. And yet, the main narrative drive at the moment comes from just how present Lou is in her own case. Hodges and Holly understand that she is not well. However, she passed her competency test. She just did so by refusing to share the conversations she continues to have with Brady. But again, the show is leaving open the possibility that Lou may no longer be in control of her own actions. It is purposefully being coy in that regard. At times, Lou is the one telling Finkelstein what to do. In fact, he is even amazed at the strategies she comes up with. Is that her or is that Brady controlling her because he needs his freedom once more? This is an ongoing question the show refuses to make easy. The audience should suspect it as a possibility because of what Brady could do while he was technically in a coma. However, it would be much more grounded if all of this was coming from Lou as she was breaking in a much more severe way than anyone could have expected. The answer to all of this may ultimately determine whether or not this season is successful. Plus, none of that has anything to do with the John Rothstein investigation which mostly presents as filler at the moment.