Mr. Mercedes offers a promising start for season 2

Mr. Mercedes, photo courtesy Audience Network
Mr. Mercedes, photo courtesy Audience Network /

Mr. Mercedes’ second season is a well-crafted slow-burn, but it helps if you’re familiar with the first season.

The second season of Mr. Mercedes is, by all accounts, extremely well-crafted television. Star Brendan Gleeson embodies the role of Bill Hodges with the kind of weathered, gruff persona he’s become known for. The way it captures small-town Ohio, and it’s leaf-blown, desaturated hopelessness is second-to-none. However, it’s hard to wonder how much more captivating Mr. Mercedes‘ second season would be with some better context.

Granted, it’s not that easy to jump into a show in the middle of its second season, especially in our current Peak TV era that makes writers and showrunners carve out seasons-long storylines that reward the most meticulous of viewers. It’s that same embarrassment of riches called Peak TV that makes it harder to carve more free time to go back and get caught up with any and all previous seasons.

The plot of the show involves an attempted mass-murderer, Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway), who’s kept a hospital in his vegetative state. Hodges, meanwhile, is a retired police detective who’s trying to move on from his involvement in the case. He’s opened a private detective agency called Finders Keepers, and by all accounts is trying to move on with his life.

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Yet, Hodge’s obsession with Brady, and his general frustration with what it means to be a private detective, keeps pulling him back toward the case.

This being a series based on Stephen King’s work, specifically The Bill Hodges Trilogy, there’s a supernatural element at work. That’s where Brady’s vegetative state keeps coming in.

While Brady lies in his hospital bed, he “sees” himself in his consciousness, watching and hearing the world around him through a makeshift A/V booth in a blue-hued room. Slowly, Brady starts reaching out to occupy the minds of others, and slowly take them over to do his bidding.

For what it’s worth, the second season does start to pull even a novice like me in pretty effectively, as slow-burns do tend to take a while before they really get their hooks in you. Once Brady’s psychic abilities start to manifest, and Brady himself grows more confident in what he can do with them, it’s easy to see that Mr. Mercedes clearly has a long-term plan in mind.

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It’ll be interesting to see where Mr. Mercedes goes in the second season, and if it’ll be enough to prompt newcomers to go back and play catch-up with season one.

Mr. Mercedes premieres tonight at 10/9 p.m. central on The Audience Network.