Mr. Mercedes S03E06 “Bad to Worse”

A jury sits in the stands, all dressed as ice cream men. [Mr. Mercedes S03E06]

While guest star Bruce Dern (John Rothstein) is absent for the first time this season, our other big name guest star Kate Mulgrew (Alma Lane) was killing it. Her attack on Pete (“whoopsie daisy”). Her performance at the grocery store. Her pep talks with Morris. She’s just so wonderfully diabolical. And I love that duster and hat outfit.

Even more fun is Alma’s penchant for Broadway divas. Last episode we had Barbara Streisand. Now we get Ethel Merman singing “Anything You Can Do” from Annie Get Your Gun, as she arrives home after the near-miss drive by. Then we ended with Liza Minnelli singing “Some People” from Gypsy, as she preps for impromptu bullet surgery. We knew that Bill is an audiophile, of course, and it turns out that Holly also uses music for motivation, though she falls back on the children’s classic “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.”

So we have the last two big testimonies, Holly’s and Lou’s. Next episode should give us the verdict and close the doors on the courtroom drama portion of this season. Just in time too, because things are really heating up with the Rothstein case. Expect that to wrap up somewhere around episode 8 or 9, and then we go into the real end game between Hodges and Brady. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Bill sits in his car weeping uncontrollably. [Mr. Mercedes S03E06]
Bill sits in his car weeping uncontrollably.

“You got cancer or something?”

So this week we get the episode title right away (well, 10 minutes in), coming straight from Bill’s dialogue as he talks to Jerome about the call from his daughter. He feels that his personal mental state is going “from bad to worse.” Which, given his somewhat prophetic nightmare and his little breakdown after Holly’s testimony, might be true. With some fairly momentous happenings in many of the other plot threads, it’s interesting that they devoted the title to this minor moment. Probably means we should be paying attention.

Jerome asking Bill if he had cancer is very interesting for those of us who have read the books. Another book spoiler here, so skip ahead if you don’t want to know. In End of Watch, Bill does indeed have cancer, pancreatic cancer specifically, and has been given only a few months to live. He keeps this secret from Jerome and Holly as long as possible, but the reader is aware of what is going on. So given that, I don’t think they’re going down that road here in the series. Hopefully it was nothing more than a nod to the books.

I’m glad that Bill finally acknowledged the crappy way he has been treating Jerome lately. I thought that was a bit out of character, but now see there’s an explanation behind it. This also leads to his confession that he thinks of Jerome and Holly like his kids. Though in Bill’s case that just gives him more stuff to feel guilty about.

Holly sits on the floor in a bedroom, curled up and rocking. [Mr. Mercedes S03E06]
Holly is having a panic attack.

“Speak, hands, for me.”

Holy crap. Holly’s testimony was amazing. She had everyone wrapped around her finger–the judge, the jury, the gallery. The only one not completely enraptured was ADA Pace, who suddenly found the floor very interesting. I love the moment when she tries to raise an objection and the judge just waves her back down in her seat. He doesn’t want to speak out loud himself and break the spell. If Justine Lupe (Holly Gibney) doesn’t receive multiple award nominations for that performance, there ain’t no justice.

Lou’s testimony I thought went pretty well too, but obviously Finkelstein wasn’t happy with that last answer, that she would kill Brady all over again. Still, I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. The problems are going to start once she’s acquitted and walks out of that courtroom a free woman. If it doesn’t blow up before then. I still stand by my prediction that Brady is going to sacrifice Lou to get at Bill. We’ll find out next week.

Morris stands in front of his car at night, hands up, as Pete holds a gun on him. [Mr. Mercedes S03E06]
Pete holds Morris at gunpoint.

“Don’t shoot the messenger.”

Well, well, well. So Halliday has been seeing Pete behind Morris’ back. That’s a very dangerous game to be playing, and he looked guilty as sin when he told Morris that the kid was a dead end. Again, once people put two-and-two together and figure out that Morris must be the one who killed John Rothstein, why don’t they run in the other direction? He’s a killer. Hello?

So now we know what Pete was doing last episode with the books and money. He’s got them out of the house now and safely stashed away in the old Bridgton Jazz Club building that his dad is renovating. The bigger story with Pete is how he reacts when backed into a corner. Just like when the bullies pushed him down and tried to take his shoes, he pulls a gun on Morris when he’s confronted on the road at night. I have say, I was with Morris in thinking that no way this kid pulls the trigger. At best maybe he fires a warning shot. Not so much though. Well good for him.

In a prison conference room, Lou, in prison orange, touches Finkelstein. [Mr. Mercedes S03E06]
Lou touches Finkelstein.

Quick Takes

A couple of quick takes on the rest of the episode:

  • Morris has no priors (no prints or DNA in the system). That’s kind of unexpected. Especially given that his buddy Carl did.
  • More mirroring this episode, as the biblical references are replaced with two Shakespeare quotes, one from Holly and one from Morris.
  • There was a weird moment between Lou and Finkelstein where she reached out and touched him twice as she told him that Brady thought he was a good lawyer.
  • The Ira-Pete link is revealed to Bill over their fireside chat. So the over-connectedness paid off–well played, writers. Now Bill has just as much confirmation on Pete as Morris does. Well, minus the bullet in his leg.
  • Bill is so close to being onto Morris as well. Jerome has his picture from the newspaper clipping and Bill has seen him in person. Just one dot left to connect. This makes me wonder if Alma wasn’t setting him up as her fall guy when she had Morris go meet Hodges in person.
  • Another similarity between Pete and Morris is that he is also an amazing crack-shot under pressure.

The best lines of this episode:

  • “Good looking strapper, I got to admit. If I were five years younger…”
  • “Risky? Morris, so far you shot and killed two people by accident. The being careful bus long left the depot without you on it.”
  • “Wrong place, the wrong time’s nothing to be proud of.”
  • “Everything is six degrees from fucking Brady.”
  • “Take a leap and the net shall appear.”
  • “You shot the messenger. You shot… the fucking… messenger!”
  • “Look on the bright side. We’re living exciting lives.”
An ice cream man stands behind a TV camera in the courtroom, Finkelstein blury in the foreground. [Mr. Mercedes S03E06]
Ice Cream Man Brady stands behind the TV camera.

Mr. Mercedes in the News

First up, we have one more interview that I missed last week, this one with Brett Gelman (Roland Finkelstein) published on Assignment X, a pop culture web site (October 8).

In Stephen King TV/movie news, Clive Owens has been cast to star opposite Julianne Moore in the upcoming Apple TV project, Lisey’s Story. The series will be co-produced by King, Moore and J.J. Abrams, and Stephen King wrote all of the episodes himself. That’s some serious star power, both behind and in front of the camera. We also have a premier date and new trailer for HBO’s The Outsider, which will begin airing on January 12, 2020.

The much bigger news item is that Brendan Gleeson (Bill Hodges) has been announced to play Donald Trump in the upcoming 4-hour limited series based on former FBI Director James Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership. Quite a change of pace from playing a retired Irish cop! According to Deadline, filming begins next month, but the air date and specific platform (CBS, Showtime, etc.) has not yet been announced.

Season 3 of Mr. Mercedes airs Tuesdays at 10pm ET/PT on AT&T AUDIENCE Network. AT&T AUDIENCE Network is available on all AT&T video platforms including DIRECTV CH. 239, AT&T TV NOW, and U-verse.

Written by Brien Allen

Brien Allen is the last of the original crazy people who responded to this nutjob on Facebook wanting to start an online blog prior to Twin Peaks S3. Some of his other favorite shows have been Vr.5, Buffy, Lost, Stargate: Universe, The OA, and Counterpart. He's an OG BBSer, Trekkie, Blue Blaze Irregular, and former semi-professional improviser. He is also a staunch defender of putting two spaces after a period, but has been told to shut up and color.


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