Mr. Mercedes S3E9 “Crunch Time”

Bill Hodges looks at the Mercedes logo on the car in front of him

This show never fails to surprise. Chekhov’s Mercedes has been (re-)introduced, albeit a little late in the season. See if it doesn’t go off in the last act though. Of course, we still have a classroom full of Zappits out there that never amounted to anything, so I could be wrong.

The other surprise came at the end of the episode, with the quick and violent end of Alma Lane. It wasn’t a surprise that was coming, of course. The faceoff between her and Morris was well telegraphed by the out of sequence opening scene of Morris leaving Danielle a twisted, wooing voicemail. But boy, when the cards fell, it was surprising how quick things escalated. That Alma, when she senses even a hint of danger—blam—she takes care of it. Just not thoroughly enough this time.

Alma holds a ringing cell phone up to Marjorie
Alma taunts her captive.

“Marjorie, you better not be eavesdropping!”

Kate Mulgrew goes out with a bang, giving us the softer side of Alma in her last episode. The crying, weepy, hot mess side of Alma, that is, left behind in the wake of Rothstein breaking it off with her. Morris and Alma start out like giddy school kids as they run inside to read the first notebook. That turns around for Alma when she realizes that Rothstein never stopped loving her, in her mind at least. At that moment, she says “I’m sorry” and becomes inconsolable. Once again, I think this says that she knew darned well what she was doing when she pointed Morris in his direction, like a loaded gun. Her ultimate revenge as a scorned lover.

Is Alma really the character Susan from his Jimmy Gold series? Hmm, I kind of doubt it. I think she’s just seeing what she wants to see, though Morris apparently sees it too. Enough to turn him on again. And again. Ugh. Funny that she bites his head off for thinking of another woman, even a fictional one, while being “all in” with her. Meanwhile she’s been pining away for Rothstein this whole time.

What was Marjorie’s end game in taunting Morris? She clearly did not read the manuscripts, although she must be somewhat familiar with the original stories. I suppose she was just trying to get Morris to untie her, but she’s playing a dangerous game. She seemed to naturally favor Alma, and was even trying to warn her as Morris recovered behind her. But he caught her monologuing—a classic villain mistake—and now she’s gone.

Morris sits in a church pew, holding a notebook to his mouth
Morris’ prayers have been answered.

“I mean, how much smaller can our world get? Come on.”

Meanwhile, Bill and Jerome—OK, mostly Jerome if we’re being honest—are closing in on Morris. They search first Morris’ apartment and then Alma’s house, forcing the bad guys to move up their time table. While it was satisfying to see Jerome finally put all the puzzle pieces into place, their interest in the shed borders on psychic. The late night return trip should be interesting.

For his part, Pete makes the smartest move he’s made all season. Alma wants him off balance, but he puts them off balance by baiting them with the first of the Rothstein notebooks. Peter even tells Morris that he’s making mistakes because he wants the manuscripts so badly, and then hands one over. Nice move.

A bit of a spoiler here next, so just jump to the next section if you don’t want to know. In the original novel, Finders Keepers, the notebooks are all burned up in a similar exchange, and Bellamy never got to read a single one. The title of the next episode, “Burning Man,” sounds like we’re headed to the same conclusion. This is perhaps also foreshadowed by the Rothstein scene in this episode, with him talking to Bill all surrounded by fire.

Close up on Holly's face, with a fierce look in her eyes
Holly stands her ground.

“I said I know!”

As previously mentioned, Holly gets a surprise inheritance, and makes an even more surprising decision what to do about it. She had to know Bill would fight her on this, and she stood her ground. Good for her, I guess, though honestly, junk yard scrap was the better option. Way better option.

Lou seems to have it together for the most part. Except for risking strangulation telling Bill that he owes Brady for his second chance at life. Bill doesn’t want to hear it, but Lou’s analysis is kind of spot-on. Of course, so is his counter argument. Still, she now has access to the keys for the Mercedes, being Holly’s roommate and all. Not good.

The promo for the finale is solely focused on the resolution of the conflict between Pete and Morris. No hint at what might happen with the Brady-in-hiding storyline. Right up to the second-to-last episode here, and there’s no real momentum building. Maybe we’re going to get a cliffhanger ending, leading into a Season 4. I’m all for that, don’t get me wrong.

John Rothstein sits at a typewriter, curtains on fire behind him
Rothstein is literally on fire in Bill’s nightmares.

Quick Takes

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

  • If there is a fourth season, I hope it focuses in on Jerome like this season has focused on Holly.
  • I love the transition from Holly telling Bill that she needs to restore the car to its former glory, and then cut to the church where the choir is singing “glory be to God the Father.” Nice touch.
  • Morris has been such a punching bag this season. It’s almost comical. Just when the scars on his face were down to a few short nicks too.
  • Again with the sanctuary thing for Pete. Must be a fan of the movie Highlander.
  • Poor Ira. Yes, the boy she turned on to The Runner ended up murdering John Rothstein. Ouch.

The best lines of this episode:

  • “I can’t keep track of all your insanity. Someone needs to invent an app.”
  • “We need to cut down on his screen time, huh?”
  • “It’s not a good time.”
  • “Okay, well, let’s just narrow it down in the pool of next door neighbors who wanted to have sex with you.”
  • “I show you this not to gloat, okay maybe I do.”
  • “The police can’t necessarily make good on their promise. The people who have Marjorie? They can.”
  • “What size suicide vest are ya, do you know offhand?”

Mr Mercedes - Promo for Season 3 Finale

Mr. Mercedes in the News

Last week was a light news week, but this week there is literally nothing. Well, OK, in Stephen King news there a tsunami of articles about the release of Doctor Sleep, which is already trending a 94% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes and has Stephen King’s stamp of approval.

But since there’s nothing specific to Mr. Mercedes this week, I thought I’d take the opportunity to look ahead and see what other roles our actors are going to be playing in the near future (if this is indeed the last season of Mr. Mercedes). We’ve already talked about Brendan Gleeson’s (Bill Hodges) next big role, but let’s see what the rest of the show regulars are going to be up to:

  • Holland Taylor (Ira Silver) has five different movies coming up in various stages of completion, but the one I’m most excites about is Bill &Ted Face the Music (coming August 21, 2020), where she is going to play The Great Leader.
  • Justine Lupe (Holly Gibney) already has a recurring role in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and is a cast regular on Succession, both of which are renewed for third seasons.
  • Jharrel Jerome (Jerome Robinson) is filming a movie titled Concrete Cowboys.
  • Harry Treadaway (Brady Hartsfield) is going to have a recurring role in the upcoming Star Trek: Picard series (January 23, 2020). Super excited about that one too.

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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