Mr. Mercedes — “Bates Motel” meets “Mr. Robot”
Mr. Mercedes, an Audience (DirecTV) mystery-thriller original series, is based on the Stephen King trilogy “Mr. Mercedes”, “Finders Keepers” and “End of Watch”. The macabre master again conjures alarming boundary-breaking drama, this time in economically depressed Bridgton, Ohio.
The opening scene is horrific: a Mercedes sedan mows down a crowd of job-seekers waiting late at night for the next morning’s job fair to open. A few of those waiting in line have babies. A massacre occurs, but the viewer does not know who the driver is or what motivates him or her.
Soon we meet Brady, the toxic male sociopath rivaling Norman Bates of “Bates Motel”, (played by an astonishing Harry Treadaway), pressured by a seething rage, the source of which is a seriously sick relationship with his mother. Brady is part Mr. Robot, dwelling in the basement, plotting cyber revenge on the world. And the main character and investigator who, for the second time, has to solve the crime is a disheveled drunk but nevertheless rather appealing Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson), who retired after unsuccessfully investigating the “Mercedes Massacre” years ago.
Slowly Brady boldly begins to reveal himself, through cyber messages to Hodges, promising another attack. For the retired detective, Brady provides the opportunity to redeem himself by proving once and for all that the Mercedes massacre can be solved. And as for Brady, he craves validation and recognition, wanting to assert his own dominance over others. The two–Brady and Hodges– play off each other’s unhealed wounds.
As the episodes in the first season progress, viewers learn just how obsessive both Hodges and Brady are. In the second season, now being broadcast (but not completed), we see Brady suffering locked-in syndrome, a condition in which the mind is aware but cannot move or communicate verbally due to complete paralysis. What is happening inside Brady’s mind? Will he maintain his sick mental state or morph into a new one?
Visceral and emotional turmoil seem to be sustained in season two, with science fiction strongly inserted as only Stephen King can. I naturally wonder if Mr. Mercedes can maintain the horror and suspense. Highly recommend season one and will withhold my assessment of the current season until the finale!
Note: Only available as Audience streaming to DirecTV subscribers at the time of this writing.