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Season 2 of 'Mr. Mercedes' Brings More Mystery and Fright
August 22, 2018  | By David Hinckley
 

At the end of the first season of Mr. Mercedes, psychotic mass murderer Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway) almost died.

That’s the almost good news as Season 2 of Mr. Mercedes launches at 10 p.m. ET Wednesday on Audience Network.

The bad news is that “almost dead” isn’t dead enough for retired Detective Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson, below), who thought he had finally stopped Brady after the dark and disturbing first season.

If he’d read more books by Stephen King, on whose three Bill Hodges novels this series is based and who serves as an executive producer, he would have known that psychological violence has a long shelf life in King stories.

Season 2 of Mr. Mercedes features what in other shows might be called dream sequences, but are nightmares here.

In the broader picture, King is simply doing what he’s always done best: playing to the “what-if” in our own worst nightmares.

What if you finally stopped a monster, with the attendant sense of relief, only to gradually sense a tiny disturbing fear that maybe he wasn’t really stopped after all?

As this season opens, Brady lies unmoving in a hospital bed, hooked up to tubes, officially declared brain dead after being shot in the head.

While Hodges has a few problems of his own, like recovering from a heart attack, he’s working hard at moving on. He has started a private detective agency, Finders Keepers, with Holly Gibney (Justine Lupe). Her OCD makes her a perfect assistant, doggedly pursuing all the leads and information he needs.

Holly is one of the delights of the show, injecting a bit of essential humor. She’s also not menacing, which in a King-derived story is a big plus. The same is true for Ida Silver (Holland Taylor, left), Bill’s wisecracking next-door neighbor.

Other locals in Bill’s small town of Bridgton, Ohio, weave themselves into the story, including apparent success story Jerome Robinson (Jharrel Jerome), who is back for the summer after a triumphant first year at Harvard. To no viewer’s surprise, Jerome has a few complexities alongside his academic brilliance.  

Much of the early action in Season 2 unfolds inside the hospital where Brady is being kept.

Sadie McDonald (Virginia Kull), the neurology nurse assigned to Brady’s monitoring and physical care, has an unsettling moment with her notorious patient, and things only get creepier from there.

Reminder: This is Stephen King we’re dealing with.

At the same time, Brady has come under the care of Dr. Felix Babineau (Jack Huston, left), who isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of traditional brain treatments in hopes that radical therapy might pave the way ultimately to cures for everything from Alzheimer’s to cancer.

While Babineau stresses caution and checks at each step of his treatments, his wife Cora (Tessa Ferrer) urges him to move forward more boldly. As the head of marketing for a major pharmaceutical corporation, she sees fame and fortune in even a modest flash of success.

Mr. Mercedes offers plenty of character dramas and mini-dramas. At its heart, however, it’s your basic Stephen King, whispering that anyone who ever told you “It’s all good” was probably lying.

 
 
 
 
 
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