LET’S GO ROAMING (S2, E2)
Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Harry Treadaway, Justine Lupe, Holland Taylor, Jack Huston, Jharrel Jerome, Breeda Wool, Virginia Kull, Nancy Travis
Director: Jack Bender
Writer: David E. Kelley
Based on the Novel: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
Reviewed by Sidney Morgan
This review CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS.
At the end of the last episode, Brady Hartsfield opened his eyes, leading us to believe that he was awake. But that was slightly misleading. He’s back alright, but only his consciousness. Physically he’s still paralyzed, lying in his hospital bed. And Let’s Go Roaming uses an interesting way to show how this pans out. Recall that Brady had quite an impressive computer installation in the basement of his mother’s house. That’s where his awakened ‘spirit’ operates from. His monitors are his eyes and what he sees through them (or those of the people he controls) appears on the monitor. Regardless of how strange this may seem, it’s now apparent that this version of Brady has the potential of being far more dangerous than before.
Finders Keepers was meant to help keep Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) busy, give him a purpose in his retirement. However, his temperament doesn’t agree with the cases the agency has taken on. Repossessing a car from a single mother who can barely make ends meet is not the type of work he enjoys. Nor is tearing a single father away from a camping trip with his two young boys to stand trial, one which will likely end up in his pointless death. The frustration is building. It’s affecting his relationship with Holly (Justine Lupe). It’s particularly disappointing after witnessing last week’s emotional breakthrough between them. He cares for her, essentially needs her, as she does him. And at this rate, if nothing changes, it wouldn’t be surprising to see his health begin deteriorating again.
Let’s Go Roaming is aptly titled as the show wanders in and out of the characters’ lives, many who simply go through their daily routine. Jerome (Jharrel Jerome) returns for a visit, his parents still proud that their son is attending Harvard. But the happy, driven kid who helped Holly and Bill during the first season is gone, replaced by a morose, weed smoking young man. And unbeknownst to his parents, his grades have taken a serious drive.
Lou (Breeda Wool) is still undergoing physical therapy resulting from her injury, while no clue is given about what she’s up to. Ida went back to teaching summer school, spending her evenings alone on the porch. Though none of them have contributed much to the plot this week, their presence is a strong indicator that they’ll play a role in the coming weeks. Surely Brady is going to want his revenge on those who helped Hodges, and those who are important to him.
Meanwhile, Hodges is growing frustrated by the day because of the cases he’s working on, and it’s making him grumpy. Already a man with a dry sense of humour, this is just fuelling his sarcasm. And when it comes to sarcasm, Gleeson is brilliant. It worked with Mad-Eye Moodie (Harry Potter), and it works here. Some of his interactions are hilarious, which is a nice break considering the dark material of the show. But he’s also a sad man. Losing his friend Peter takes its toll on him. He visits with his ex-wife Donna (Nancy Travis) to talk. It only leads him to admit that happiness may just not be meant for him. Remember Ida’s (Holland Taylor) prophetic words, that in order to survive retirement, he needs a purpose. Conveniently enough, toward the end of the episode, he receives the phone call about Brady waking up.
Brady’s active consciousness appears to be a direct result of the experimental drug Dr. Babineau (Jack Huston) has been secretly administering. There’s an interesting side effect as Brady is now able to control people’s minds. He’s only tried it on nurse Sadie (Virginia Kull) so far but testing the extent of that control clearly hints at terrifying results. But the true horror lies in the kind of people who’ll likely be pushed to carry out Brady’s actions. Brady (Harry Treadaway) arguably ‘looks’ the part of the insane psycho (he certainly plays the role brilliantly!). However, Sadie doesn’t. It will be interesting to watch how Hodges, a man apparently stuck in his ways, deals with this new foe.
Verdict: The first season was frightening because the killer was a human. The actions of that one man and their far-reaching effects were grounded in a reality we could understand. This second season is now going beyond our normal understanding of reality with the inclusion of telepathic abilities. But this isn’t new territory for King (Carrie, The Shining). If you’re willing to suspend your disbelief, you’ll find this new embodiment of evil terrifying, yet brilliant. Season two is a slow burn, but it works. Spending time with the characters and how they were impacted by the events of the first season, trying to cope with the realities of their world, while a new threat is emerging (heck, Hodges has already flirted with death, and it’s only the second episode) makes Mr. Mercedes a must watch.