Martin Carr reviews the third episode of Mr. Mercedes…
Flashbacks of childhood trauma, alternative methods of getting over migraines and a plethora of unbalanced individuals makes up Mr. Mercedes again this week. As each episode goes by it becomes more apparent that no one here is completely squeaky clean. Brady leans on Hodges, widower Ida Silver seeks solace from Hodges, while Brady and Lou antagonise their porn watching boss. There is a lot of damage that seems beyond repair amongst these people, which makes this detective story into something else entirely.
Hodges is a disillusioned drinker searching for purpose beyond the small confines of his retirement. With defence mechanisms in place he lives in a clouded existence where other personal issues are undermining the integrity of an illustrious career. Flashbacks to the crime scene do little to enlighten him or us, while his questioning of Mary Louise Parker is turning into an odd relationship of sorts. Bonded by a mutual tragedy this liaison is also destined to end in tears as their attraction comes from loneliness rather than physical desire. At this point their meetings are purely professional but you can see the seeds being planted for later on.
Gleeson does curmudgeonly lothario with tinges of indifference to perfection. Not your everyday leading man he draws charm from underneath his alcoholic demeanour, somehow convincing us this is a coupling which might realistically happen. Parker does her part with an underwritten role which may yet grow in size, but for the time being remains insubstantial. Harry Treadaway’s Brady on the other hand is growing into mummy’s little monster and no mistake.
Malevolent, cunning, childish and seedy with few redeeming qualities and fewer social skills, Brady is a caricature with malicious intent. King takes the tradition of ice cream vans and subverts them just as he did with clowns for ‘IT’, whilst essaying a cyber terrorist for the modern millennial age. Like the most extreme example of socially inadequate misbehaviour Brady uses his technical skill to alter reality. Appalled by a gutter trash mother who thinks minor masturbation is an essential parenting skill, Brady is the result of guilt, fear, lower class angst and dead-end prospects.
Those not hanging onto the bottom rung hide behind case work, disbelief and an unshakeable faith in laws and procedure. Those who are aware look only to protect their own and circle the wagons. Mr. Mercedes is going somewhere slowly and there is a distinct sense of progress as we head into episode four, Gleeson, Louise-Parker, Lynch and Treadaway take their time building a world from character not structural necessity. Slow and sure but entertaining.