The second episode of the latest Stephen King adaptation, Mr Mercedes, Bill Hodges continues his pursuit of the maniac who killed 16 people with a stolen gray Mercedes. Let’s dive in with a quick recap of the episode.
Quick Recap of S1E2 “On Your Mark”
Bill Hodges seems as though he is slowly losing his mind. The episode opens with a paranoid, drunk Hodges watching another video delivered to him through email from Mr M. This video is of the little baby Patti and her mother that were ruthlessly killed in at the City Center. In this video, the happy duo is celebrating the infant’s first month of life, while her grandmother captures the memory. This video was manipulated like the first one, making the mother and baby appear distorted, bloody and down right scary.
Hodges, who is probably already knee deep in whiskey, is further shook when he hears a noise coming from outside. Checking his new security camera, he sees nothing but goes out to look, with his gun in hand, upon hearing the noise again. A shadowy figure is trying to hop his fence, and Hodges lunches after the perp, he gets flash backs of the video taken from the dash cam of the Mercedes as it ran people down. The images of the poor dead baby and her mother flicker pass his eyes.
The mysterious figure falls to the ground while Hodges threatens to blow his head off, before realizing it was just one of the neighborhood kids cutting through his yard. Luckily he didn’t get shot in the head, but he did break his arm bad enough for the bone to poke through the skin. Let me tell you how appetizing that was to see while I was eating my chilli dinner. Yum.
Ida comes to his rescue after hearing the commotion and calls the ambulance, but which also brings the police. The incident later gets back to Pete, who calls Bill down to the station to chastise him for being drunk and reckless with his weapon. He also tells him to let the City Center Case AND Mr. Mercedes go because he is no longer a detective and he’s getting obsessive.
It isn’t a total waste though, because during this chat, Bill learns that one of the people questioned during the investigation, Olivia Trelawney, has died by suicide. Olivia was the woman who’s car was stolen and used to commit the murders at the City Center Jobs Fair.
Bill is angry when he leaves, but as he tears out of the parking lot, he does flash back to when he and Pete questioned Ms. Trelawney after the massacre. She insisted she didn’t leave her key in the ignition. She also insisted there was no spare. Olivia Trelawney was confident that the only key, the one she carried and used as a possible weapon against would-be attackers, was in her hand the night her car was stolen. Yet, now she was dead by suicide. Guilt, maybe?
Completely ignoring his partner’s advice, Bill ends up in the upscale gated community where Ms. Trelawney lived. When approached by the private security guard, he asks what’s happened to the house, and learns that Olivia’s sister, Janey has inherited it, but doesn’t stay in the home.
When he returns home, he thanks Ida for her help with the cops the night before by delivering a Portuguese pastry and staying for tea. Ida is one sassy lady, and I adore every second she’s on screen! The nice afternoon tea is quickly forgotten when Hodges checks his mailbox and sees a written communication from the psycho himself.
The letter reads:
I hope this letter finds you well. I fear the opposite. I am informed that retired police officers have an extremely high suicide rate. In most cases, the officers have no close family members who might see the warning signs. Many, like you, are divorced, their grown children living away from home. I think of you, all alone in your house on Harper road, Detective Hodges, and I grow concerned. Are you watching a lot of TV? Are you drinking more? I certainly hope you’re monitoring your diet. Many retired depressed officers–rather than sticking to their high fiber, nutrient-dense foods, instead opt to eat their gun, shedding years off of their lives in the process. I do hope you look after yourself, detective. If not, well… rest assured that I’ll keep close watch.
Your devoted follower,
P.S. Care to get in touch, try Debbie’s Blue Umbrella. I even got you a username: “kermitfrog19” Password: “Smush”
Two very significant things about this letter that Mr. M mailed to Hodges: (1) it proves that he’s been watching Hodges, which isn’t a surprise really, but now Hodges knows that he has been watching, closely, and (2) he knows A LOT more personal details like being divorced and that Hodges legal first name is Kermit. A name he hasn’t used since immigrating from Ireland to the U.S. when he was a very young man.
Jerome arrives, with his dog Odell in tow, and helps Hodges figure out what Debbie’s Blue Umbrella is all about. Hodges then kicks the kid ut, and tells him don’t come back around. We all know THAT won’t last!
Hodges gets in touch with Olivia Trelawney’s sister, Janey (Mary-Louise Parker), to ask a few questions about her sister’s suicide. He makes it very clear that he is no longer a detective, but she seems just as determined as he is to flesh out the person responsible for the death of the 16 people at the City Center. Bill tells her that he believes that he has been contacted by the Mercedes killer, and Janey mentions that Olivia had been contacted by him as well. Olivia had reported it to the cops, but they never did follow up, thinking she was crazy.
Now, Janey is starting to believe that Mr. M is responsible for driving her sister to suicide and enlists the help of one Det. Ret. Bill Hodges to try and catch this killer.
Across town, the Ice Cream Man has a plan…
Lou and Brady are being constantly monitored by their ‘beacon-of-light’ manager. Clearly, he thinks they are far beneath him, and even calls Brady ‘weird’, but has an odd fascination with making Brady his own special project. mom questions him about basement project
Speaking of “special projects”, when Brady arrives him, his mom questions him about what he’s got going on in the basement. In a very stark contrast to their interactions last week, she is actually acting motherly, but making him a sandwich and talking about her concern for his welfare. He ensures her that what he is doing in the basement is going to help them in the long run.
Later, he gives in and shows her one of the ‘projects’. A large, clunky looking remote he lovingly calls “Thing B”. Basically, he tells her, it can be programmed to open or turn on just about anything. It can even manipulate street lights. Brady feeds her a line about trying to sell it to the army and making a bundle. But, as the audience, we have to believe he has a much more nefarious purpose in mind for Thing B.
Wrapping Up “On Your Mark”
This episode was nowhere near as exciting as episode 1, but it is (for the most part) staying faithful to the book. As a Constant Reader, I greatly appreciate that, especially with this novel. The changes that are being set up make sense, and will probably work better for the series in the long run. There is a bigger story developing that, whether you know the story or not, is captivating and very, very scary. Brady is one of King’s scariest characters because he is of the notion that is brilliance is above all else.
He’s a dangerous cat, and he knows it. Those types can be the scariest villains of them all.
P.S. Though it isn’t “technically” in the Dark Tower Universe, I did love the inclusion of the #19 in Hodge’s username. Because all Constant Readers know… it’s all 19.
Mr. Mercedes episode 3 airs on Wednesday, August 23 at 8 p.m. on Audience and Uverse. Episodes are available for streaming through AT&T a few days after first airing.