SEASON 3, EPISODE 1 – NO GOOD DEED
Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Justine Lupe, Jharrel Jerome, Breeda Wool, Maximiliano Hernández, Brett Gelman, Natalie Paul, Bruce Dern, Gabriel Ebert, Josh Daugherty, Rarmian Newton
Director: Jack Bender
Writer: David E. Kelley
Based on the book: Finders Keepers by Stephen King
Production Company: Sonar Entertainment
Distribution: Audience Network
“I’m not throwing money into your ‘fuck’ jar every time I have an opinion.”
At the end of the second season of Mr. Mercedes, the courts were trying to determine if Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway) should stand trial for the murders committed at the job fair. His attorneys were arguing that the experimental drugs he’d been given had changed him — changed his brain functions, in essence. In other words, they had turned him into Brady 2.0. Not only was this new Brady incapable of violence, but he was literally a different person and should therefore not be accountable for the murders. The district attorney obviously disagreed and used their star witness to drive home the point.
Recall that Lou Linklatter (Breeda Wool), an ex-coworker of Brady’s, was brutally stabbed by him at the end of the first season. She’s struggled with the consequences, both physically and psychologically, and didn’t buy for a second that Brady had changed, testifying to that effect. When she finally leaves the witness stand, she approaches Brady and shoots him using a 3D printed gun. With the main villain, who has driven the show for the first two seasons, out of the way, how is season three going to move forward? Brilliantly, if the first episode is any indication.
Based on the second novel of the series, Finders Keepers (2015), two storylines drive this third season. The first focuses on the murder of John Rothstein (Bruce Dern). After a successful publishing career, Rothtstein becomes a recluse. Unbeknownst to the world, he continues to write ideas for other novels. But in a home robbery gone wrong, these, along with some cash, end up in the hands of the robbers. And of course, as is often the case in many King stories, always expect the unexpected.
Morris (Gabriel Ebert) escapes, but ends up in a car accident. A good Samaritan finds him and takes him to the hospital. Meanwhile, the loot is then taken by Peter (Rarmian Newton) who’s out walking his dog and comes across the wreck. What follows is a dangerous game in which Morris seeks to get his loot back, while the police conduct an investigation. Bill (Brendan Gleeson) also gets involved at the request of Montez (Maximiliano Hernández), needing little convincing as he’s a Rothstein fan. And this happens all within the first episode, setting up what’s sure to be an exciting season.
The best thing the showrunners have done is to keep Brady dead. Though reviving him could have been possible given it’s Stephen King, that storyline needed to end. For two seasons, Treadaway and Gleeson monopolized the brunt of screen time. Another season of it would have been overkill, and quite frankly, boring. However, that does not mean that Brady’s DNA isn’t all over this new season. The second storyline connects directly to him.
Whether right or wrong, Lou murdered Brady in cold blood, in court, and in front of lots of witnesses. Her trial is looming and there are still issues to iron out. After the traumatic experience of the first season, and as she is more or less left to deal with it on her own during the second season, she will finally be able to tell her story. She doesn’t want to hide behind diminished capacity, and against Bill’s and the judge’s advice, she decides to face justice. Seen as a hero by the people, but a murderer by the legal system, it will be fascinating to watch the trial run its course.
Brady’s DNA doesn’t just stop there, as it finds its way into the Rothstein arc as well. Although Brady killed numerous people while they waited in line for the job fair, some were hit and survived, while others escaped harm but still witnessed the carnage. The two home invaders robbing Rothstein were there. Peter’s dad (Josh Daugherty), a broken man unable to get a job, was hit by Brady’s Mercedes. It’s well done and never feels contrived. The presence of these characters feels natural. And with Brady out of the picture, it’s a great opportunity to finally have some of our familiar characters come to the fore.
The interactions between Brady and Bill during the first two seasons were intense and well acted. However, it’s refreshing to see the rest of the crew get some well-deserved screen time, including several newcomers. Natalie Paul, who featured in last summer’s season 2 of The Sinner, plays assistant district attorney Sarah Pace. And facing off against her is defense attorney Roland Finkelstein (Brett Gelman). He’s funny, and both are stubborn, which is bound to make this an interesting storyline. Their court antics, overseen by a reluctant judge Raines (Glynn Turman), should be entertaining.
Bill and Ida (Holland Taylor) are back at it. Being two similarly aged people, they engage in fun, flirtatious banter, something that was sorely missed in season 2. Jerome (Jharrel Jerome) seems to be a full-time employee of Finder’s Keeper and offers perhaps the most rational voice in that detective agency. Holly (Justine Lupe) is back, unchanged, still particular in her mannerisms, and at odds with some of Bill’s behaviors. Her swear jar is definitely going to fill up fast. Finally, Bill is back to his old self. The sarcasm he oozes is hilarious and only makes his interactions with others that much richer. I’m looking forward to more scenes between Holly and Bill. Filled with humor and tenderness, Bill is at his truest and most vulnerable self.
If the first episode is any indication, character development and inter-personal relationships will play a significant role. Only one episode has aired so far, but it is well done. Gleeson’s sarcasm and his inability to stand any bullshit is going to rock. With elements of drama, suspense, humor, and romance, as well as two solid and engrossing storylines, rich source material, and high quality production value, this third season is off to an excellent start.