“Walk Like A Man” was full of exquisite writing and performances, leading Mr. Mercedes along an unexpected path to its second season finale.
This recap of Mr. Mercedes Season 2, Episode 9, “Walk Like A Man”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
He’s loose! Dressed as a doctor and staggering along the roadside in newfound freedom, Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway) is out of his coma and indeed out of the hospital. Could we quibble about the speed of his recovery after being completely vegetative for God-knows-how-long? Sure. But this is a guy who has also been possessing people through technology from a basement sanctuary in his own mind, so let’s not get hung up on the details.
Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson), Dr. Babineau (Jack Huston) and Antonio Montez (Maximiliano Hernández) arguing about Brady’s escape is delightful, to say nothing of Bill setting about Felix with a sock filled with ball bearings. Mr. Mercedes doesn’t seem to get anywhere near enough credit for its writing and performances, and this early scene in “Walk Like A Man” is a superior example of both. And not enough can possibly be said about another sequence in which Brady confronts Felix and Cora (Tessa Ferrer) to discover what could possibly have been done to him to suddenly provide him with a conscience. Treadaway is acting his socks off here.
Brady spends most of “Walk Like a Man” tormenting these two, as Bill prepares himself and his loved ones for an inevitable confrontation. (I didn’t realise how much I needed to see Cora humbled until it happened.) While Brady surrenders himself to the authorities (uh-oh), Bill visits Lou (Breeda Wool), who makes a decent point. Now that he’s awake, he presumably can’t infiltrate nearby gizmos and force people to jump off buildings or stab dogs.
There’s a face Montez pulls while Brady is explaining how guilty he feels about his crimes that I’ll probably be laughing at for the rest of my life. Treadaway is, again, magnificent here. Of course nobody believes that Brady is showing genuine contrition, but from the performance alone, you could believe it. And the great tragedy of “Walk Like A Man” is that the public consciousness is compelled by the idea that Felix and Cora, despite breaking the law, have possibly done something miraculous and vital in service of the greater good. They’re treated as minor celebrities. And Bill, meanwhile, is arrested, both for smacking around Felix and crimping Brady’s oxygen supply while he was comatose, and perhaps for a variety of other offenses that’ll stick. It’s the great turnaround of fortune; Brady, now free, has by surrendering himself and confessing to his crimes done more damage to those least deserving of it than anyone thought possible.