Let’s Go Roaming
You Can Go Home Now
Fell On Black Days
Nobody Puts Brady in a Crestmore
Walk Like a Man
Fade to Blue
Alongside 11.22.63 and The Stand, Mr Mercedes is one of my favourite Stephen King books. The first season did a great job bringing this world to life too, with a thrilling cat-and-mouse vibe emulating that of the first book as Brady played his psychological game with Bill, leading up to the climactic finale. Back for a second season, Mr Mercedes takes a much more supernatural slant to proceedings this time around, with a more methodically paced season that slowly builds up to a dramatic finale whilst straying quite a bit from the book material.
With Brady in a coma, the second season picks up some time after the first, with Bill obsessed with Brady and convinced he’s not really gone. Reduced to a vegetative state in hospital, Bill continues to visit him, addicted to the adrenaline high the madman offered last season and unable to lay the case to bed. Assigned his case as a way of testing an experimental, high risk drug, Doctor Babineau bites off more than he can chew as he exposes Brady to his experiments. Unfortunately, this sees the comatose Brady gain psychic powers, allowing him to control people around him and bend them to his will.
As Bill catches wind of what’s happening at the hospital, he finds himself drawn back into the case as the horrifying reality of what’s happening slowly comes into view over the episodes. What begins as a slow paced build eventually brings that same tense thriller vibe from the first season into the fold, culminating in a dramatic and exciting set of episodes late on and a shocking climax that brings a close to the Brady saga…or does it?
The show sticks closely to the same standards of the first season, with some slick camera work and long shots to accentuate the acting prowess on display here. Despite the show straying quite far from the book material and changing elements of the plot, the second season works reasonably well here and a lot of that is thanks to the acting, which is excellent across the board. I’m a big fan of Brendan Gleeson and he once again shines in this role as the retired cop Bill. Harry Treadaway brings a delicious crazed edge to Brady too, with Holland Taylor adding a charming edge of comedy to Ida’s character, acting as light comic relief from the supernaturally charged main narrative.
Ultimately, this supernatural edge will either make or break the experience for you. There’s no denying that the tone and pacing of the second season is a far cry from the exciting first 10 episodes and the opening 3 or 4 episodes do, admittedly, take a while to get going. Around the midway point though the show does improve and it’s from this point that Mr Mercedes starts to grow into its role.
Aesthetically, Mr Mercedes sticks to the same style and tone of the first season, with plenty of long shots used to build character and engaging dialogue between characters whilst the slightly muted palette helps retain that gritty edge that made the first season so endearing. The creative way Brady’s inner psyche is presented, with his basemen full of computers and iconic memories is really nicely presented and helps Treadaway really bring Brady’s maniacal attitude back into the fold.
With the door left wide open going forward, Mr Mercedes looks set for a dramatic and exciting third season to follow but whether you’ll have the patience to see this through some of the slower segments and take to the new supernatural slant to proceedings remains to be seen. It’s classic King territory though, blending the supernatural and spiritual with reality, and to be honest, the changes made here don’t detract too much from the enjoyment. While the newer characters don’t quite leave a memorable impression, the charisma and talent of both Gleeson and Treadaway should be enough to see you through to the end.
Verdict - 7/10