Let this be a warning, this show is for mature audiences only.
The pilot episode of Mr. Mercedes starts off with a bang and I mean that quite literally. The show begins in the early morning one day in 2009, so the recession is in full swing. A guy walks up to the line thinking he would be the first person in line for the job fair but sees he is in fact not even close to being the first person there. The line is extremely long. He gets in line and begins talking to a young mother who is in front of him. “But, Niles, how do you know she is a young mother?” you may be asking right now, well she has her baby. Loads of people are giving her nasty looks because of it too. After they talk for a while, the baby starts crying and the guy offers her his sleeping bag to her so she can feed the baby. As she’s feeding the baby, a guy in a Mercedes pulls up. As the job seekers are trying to figure out what this guy was doing, the guy puts on a clown mask and drives straight into the crowd. 13 people are killed, including the mother and baby (it’s an extremely brutal scene). Later, the cops get there and we meet our hero Detective Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson). The cops tell him they think the driver lost control, but after surveying the crime scene Hodges knows better, saying, “He didn’t lose control.”
Two years later and Hodges has retired and truthfully looks like he isn’t doing so well. He goes to eat with his old partner from the force, Peter Dixon (Scott Lawrence). His friend tells him how crappy he looks and quite frankly keeps harping on that for a while (I started getting defensive of my man Hodges). He gets a phone call and ends up having to leave in a hurry and Hodges tells him not to worry about the food and that he would pay for it.
After Hodges leaves the diner, we are introduced to our killer: Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway). Hartsfield is driving himself back to work, listening to “Pet Semetary” by The Ramones (a nod to Stephen King’s other work). He works as a computer engineer at an electronics company (sort of like a Best Buy or Radioshack), but they also make house calls and that sort of thing. His boss there seems like a tool and considers himself to be a mentor to the wayward youth (he may want to rethink his mentoring skills).
Back to Hodges, we see he is back home and there are kids playing in the street. The kids are playing hockey and hit a ball into Hodges yard. To prove that he is a grumpy old man, Hodges yells at the kids for having fun. That is when we are first introduced to Ida (Holland Taylor), Hodges neighbor. She gets onto him for not having his yard mowed which Hodges lets her know that the boy who mows it, Jerome (Jharell Jerome), has been busy with school so he hasn’t been able to come over and mow for him. Ida then invites him over for dinner. At dinner, Ida starts asking Hodges about his personal life, specifically his sex life. This soon turns into a proposition, with Ida giving her phone to Hodges so he can look at naked pictures of herself on the phone (which freak him out). She explains that she doesn’t want to see him wither away like her husband did when he retired and didn’t have a purpose for life anymore. She tells him that she is seeing the same thing happening to him and that he needs to find a purpose for life. Casual sex between neighbors being a good place to start I suppose.
Hodges goes back home and, wouldn’t you know it, find his purpose in life: solving the case that still haunts him, the City Center Massacre. Hodges opens his email to find an email from a Mr. M. The email is a talking smiley face cut with a mocking video of Hodges vowing that he would find the guy who drove the car into all of those people. The video is cut with the victim’s pictures and at one point the killer says he wore a condom because he thought the excitement would be too much for him to handle. To add insult to injury the message deletes itself after the video is over. When Jerome comes to mow his yard, Hodges asks him to look at the computer and Jerome tells him that he will, but it will take him time because the guy who did this really knew their stuff.
When we catch back up with our psychopath, he is bringing home lunch for his mom (Kelly Lynch), who is an alcoholic. She begs him to sit down and watch TV with her and after a bit of begging he concedes. Between looking down her shirt and a few other hints you start to get the feeling that there is a bit of an Oedipus complex, which is then confirmed when she asks for a kiss and they end up making out for a second. Brady then goes down to his computer room to “work”, but before he gets halfway down the stairs he has to…umm…relieve some tension in his…he masturbates.
Hodges, being completely back into the case, starts asking Pete questions about the case again and even pressures a former colleague into letting him see the car again. Hodges sits in the car and imagines the horror of that night two years ago as if it were he who was driving. After getting some surveillance cameras, Hodges has Jerome hook them up for him. At that point, the ice cream truck comes by and Jerome asks Hodges if he would get him something for the help, Hodges gives him some money and asks Jerome if he would get him something as well. While Jerome is away Hodges sees another ball and assumes it’s those damn kids again, but upon picking it up to see that same smiley face. He looks around completely baffled and scared. What he doesn’t realize is that Hartsfield is there watching him as he is the Ice Cream Man.
That’s where this episode ends. I know this has been excruciatingly long and I could have gone deeper into some other stuff that happened, but holy shit there was so much that happened. The only negative thing I can say about this show is that it is on the Audience Channel and not a lot of people are going to be able to watch it for a bit. Everything else is wonderful. It’s brutal, terrifying, all around great. Brendan Gleeson is arguably one of the greatest actors doing it right now. Everything is so effortless for him(I could go on and on about him and I probably will all season). Harry Treadaway is also really good. I have only really seen him in one movie before so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I am eager to see how he does the rest of the season. I am so excited to continue to watch this show, and hopefully, they continue to amaze me.