TV Review: Mr. Mercedes – Missed You (S2, E1)

MR. MERCEDES
Missed You (S2, E1)

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Harry Treadaway, Justine Lupe, Holland Taylor, Scott Lawrence, Jack Huston, Tessa Ferrer, Nancy Travis
Director: Jack Bender
Writers: Dennis Lehane, Stephen King 
Based on the novel: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Reviewed by Sidney Morgan.

This review CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS.

Let’s quickly recap that intense ending of season one. Brady stabbed Lou, leaving her to die (no worries, Bill got to her in time, remember?). He then prepares to detonate his explosives-rigged wheelchair in the middle of the crowd at the art center grand opening. A standoff between Hodges and Brady ensues. But Hodges hesitates to shoot, fearing that it would give Brady just enough time to press the trigger. Luckily, Holly didn’t heed Hodges’ warning to stay away and sneaks up behind Brady. Using that dog statue she’d taken from Hodges’ house and conveniently had in her purse (were we even surprised she did?), she brutally beats him over the head. Meanwhile, as she does her best Hannibal Lecter impersonation, Hodges, of all the possible times, has a heart attack.

In the end, Brady is brought to the hospital to have his head/brain injury cared for, as is Hodges, for his heart attack. In a final and brilliant scene, Hodges, who’s being released, is leaning over Brady. He looks him over and senses he’ll be back because, as he tells him, “hate hangs on, and hate’s all you had.” Hodges then promises that when he does come back, he’ll be there to “finish it.” A perfect finish!

Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson).

In this first episode of season two, Missed You, the clock turns back, returning us to the moment when both Brady (Harry Treadaway) and Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) arrive at the hospital. Brady is in bad shape as Holly did quite a number on him. He undergoes surgery, but the doctors determine him to be a ‘gork.’ Ya, I had to look that one up. It means that Brady’s brain is non-functioning and will be kept alive with machines. Not too good a prognosis, hey? Hodges though comes out alright. After undergoing some physical therapy, he’s released. While he’s at the hospital, he visits Brady every day but realizes that he needs to move on. Upon his release, he seems ready to do so. He’s quit drinking, he’s helpful with Ida (Holland Taylor) and has opened an investigation agency with Holly (Justine Lupe). What could go wrong?

Let’s start with the fact this is a Stephen King story. Something, if not everything, is bound to go wrong. Hodges has every intent to change his life. Who wouldn’t after experiencing a scare like a heart attack? Back in his house, he’s moved on from Brady and has apparently made peace with retirement, running a private investigator business (Finders Keepers) with Holly as his partner. He’s not drinking anymore and seems more active. He’s mended fences with Ida, offering to rebuild her broken gazebo. And he seems to be on good terms with his ex-wife Donna (Nancy Travis). Perfect, isn’t it? Well, not so fast.

Hodges may have made some changes, but if there’s one thing he can’t control, it’s the unpredictability of life, especially as one ages. Ida is still on Hodges for not having a purpose. Meanwhile, as he’s trying to deal with heart issues, another issue seems to be creeping up (he complains about something being wrong with the back of his neck). (** SPOILER ALERT **) And then there’s Pete (Scott Lawrence) who’s also facing retirement, but has his own unfortunate problems, which lead to his passing. And like a trigger, it makes Hodges realize he can’t escape who he is, nor what he does. Which, of course, brings us back to Brady.

Brady (Harry Treadaway) and Bill.

While at the hospital, Dr. Babineau (Jack Huston), pressured by his wife Cora (Tessa Ferrer) decides to use Brady as a guinea pig for an experimental drug that repairs brain tissue. Though ethically torn, Brady being a mass murderer helps with his decision. Though not clear whether it works, given the nature of the show, it wouldn’t make sense if it didn’t in some way. Either way, Hodges is still haunted by Mr. Mercedes. The dream sequence with the two of them is completely bonkers, yet frightening. Either Hodges is in for one heck of an investigation, or he’s losing his marbles. Brilliant!

Having Holly back and working with Hodges is perfect. Hodges is still that rough, awkward and grumpy old man. His sarcasm and in some cases, naiveté, is perfect. It adds an element of humour to an otherwise serious, tense and heavily dramatic show. Holly with her OCD tendencies, is perfect as his youthful partner, seemingly solving their cases with greater ease than Hodges. Her kind and touching mannerisms juxtaposed against his gruffly ones are nice, giving both, who are broken people, the true therapy they need.

The title, Missed You is appropriate. Hodges missed his daughter for all those years but has seemingly made some sort of peace with her. Ida missing her old job, returns to summer school teaching. Holly’s mom misses her and checks in on her regularly (to Holly’s slight displeasure). Pete, missing Hodges and nearing retirement spends more time with him. And Hodges, who’s been trying to get Brady out of his head, realizes he can’t and after a year, visits him again. But with everything that’s happened in this first episode, it’s safe to say that the title also refers to the show itself. It’s been a year and Mr. Mercedes. We’ve Missed You.

Verdict

As in season one, Mr. Mercedes starts off slow, but it’s necessary and fits the show. Missed You brings us up to speed, telling us what happened from the moment the ambulances left the art center at the end of season one, to the present, one year later (a nice touch given it’s literally the amount of time that’s passed since the first season). It’s like visiting an old friend. The comfort returns easily, and in no time, the excitement and the suspense have wrapped their fingers around us and pulled us right back into this warped world of Mr. Mercedes.

Mr. Mercedes Season 2 airs on Audience Network and Super Channel Fuse, Wednesday, August 22nd.

Excited for more Mr. Mercedes? Check our recap of season one and Audience Network’s season one recap & the outlook for season two

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