With all the job fair references and the garbage with Brady's mom, Donna, molesting the guy, it seems like there should be a big social message coming down the pike in Mr. Mercedes.
But all you feel for Brady as Mr. Mercedes Season 1 Episode 1 progresses is disgust.
Don't expect that to change anytime soon. What you can expect, though, is to connect, at least somewhat, to the other characters, even if you don't always like their decisions.
As I said in my initial Mr. Mercedes Review, the opening scene, while painful and raw, was important to the series overall.
Or at least it should be.
Some clown at a job fair plows into the people waiting in line to better their lives in the wee hours of the morning. For what purpose? What's the message? I wonder if we'll ever find out. I have a feeling it's supposed to mean something, but all I get from it is horror.
With all the qualities they're piling upon Brady in the attempts to make his actions understandable, showing the horrors of his acts would make sense. Never forget the atrocities behind someone's criminal acts. It's too easy to make excuses for their behavior.
But weirdly, Mr. Mercedes doesn't seem to do all that much to help Brady.
Even as he's being abused by his mother (and that was a gagworthy scene if I've ever seen one), it's hard to feel sorry for Brady because he's so incredibly rotten. He always manages to look evil, never put upon.
Perhaps it was the masturbation in the basement stairwell that sealed the deal.
Honestly, he's a jerk at work, too. His coworker is unpleasant and his boss isn't winning any awards. The thing is, in real life, people tend to make the best of their shitty situations and cling together. Here? They make each other and their lives more miserable.
This is your job right here, Brady, and whether you choose to see me as such or not, I'm sort of your mentor in life.Boss dude
Brady and Lou might be attempting to connect through their disdain for their work, but it's not clicking on this end as much as it probably should.
By contrast, Bill Hodges and his stodgy retirement life looks pretty darn good in comparison. Granted, he's not a murderer, so there's that.
And I could watch Brendan Gleeson do just about anything and be satisfied, and he happens to play persnickety and annoyed awfully well.
We don't know what happened to Bill after the Mercedes case, but it's a safe bet he lost himself in it. Whether he retired early or not is yet to be discovered, but being pushed out is an option.
Once we're given an idea of Bill with an active case, the idea he'd go willingly with cases unsolved seems highly unlikely.
Sitting around at home after retirement without close friends or family drives a lot of people (especially men) to drink. For a man like Bill with the voices of the dead playing over in his head, it would be a blessing to get some quiet time with a bit of booze.
Bill must be really down in the dumps if he was unable to see his neighbor, Ida, practically throwing herself at him.
Their scenes together are so much fun, but it's hard to determine if Bill's awkwardness is old fashioned or if he's merely not interested in Ida. After all, he might have gone out with the young waitress, Sheila, if she had been so inclined.
Maybe he has a thing for younger women.
Ida: Take a look at that. It was taken two days ago.
Bill: Christ. That's you! You're buck naked!
Ida: You're goddamned right I am! I look incredible!
Ida forced the issue of her naked body on Bill, only further cementing her as the most delightful character on the series.
Hot on her heels, though, is Bill's other friend, Jerome. Jerome does what Ida needs the most when it comes to Bill -- keeps Bill's house looking presentable in the neighborhood.
Jerome is an intelligent young kid who doesn't mind Bill's terse demeanor. He appreciates Bill treating him like an adult, and more that he knows so much more about the things he offers to Bill when his help is needed.
While the people in Brady's life don't do anything to lift him up and make him a better person, the ones surrounding Bill accomplish the job despite his efforts to the contrary.
The lives of Bill and Brady are set to intertwine once again, and something tells me everyone they know will be scooped up in the vortex that's created.
Whatever drives Brady to do what he does wasn't satisfied during his spree in 2009. It's two years later, and he wants to engage the retired detective again. He's not out there (yet) creating public chaos, but he's ready to fan the flames of Bill's burning desire to capture the killer that got away.
It's hard to imagine anything good can come out of Brady working a job with customers or that being an ice cream man is in the best interests of anybody, so he could have been killing or maiming for two years without any fanfare.
Maybe the notoriety he received with the Mercedes killing was enough to get his rocks off doing small jobs for the next few years.
I didn't read the book, so I don't know how it ends. I don't want to know, so don't tell me.
I'm on board with the intention of getting to know the characters, seeing how grotesque Harry Treadaway can turn Brady and why he does the things he does (because I don't think it's simple societal factors), and discovering what kind of an amazing performance Gleeson can turn in with Bill Hodges.
The horror and mystery are kind of a bonus.
What about you guys? Did you watch and what did you think of the premiere? Are you on board for more?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.