It was a race to Mr. Mercedes Season 1 Episode 10, and it didn't disappoint.
From the opening scene to the close, there wasn't a minute wasted as the police discovered the facts behind Brady's "final" moments and what was coming next.
Every remaining character was utilized perfectly and had a part to play in Brady's planned destruction whether they knew it or not.
Hodges' nightmare was perfection. The best moment in it was, of course, Bill passionately kissing Ida. I'd hate to think all of the people I kiss passionately in my dreams mean I have repressed feelings for them, but I'm willing to assume that when it comes to Bill Hodges.
After all, just seconds later, everyone he loved was dead at the hands of Brady Hartsfield, and we know that much is eating away at his psyche (no pun intended).
Discovering exactly what Brady was doing in the moments before his house burst into flames proved he was recording himself in his own home while playing suicide, spouting a bunch of garbage to set the cops free so he would be freer to pull off his next big mass murder.
As he gobbled down the bottle of pills, I imagined him eating and chewing Smarties. Part of what he said was probably on his mind, such as "what have any of you done to be remembered," but he was taunting them. As usual.
Pete's boss went from wondering why an otherwise useless retired detective was hunting a mass murderer to appreciating his every move. Pete and his partner were doing what, exactly? Suddenly they were useless kids on the block, having left all the heavy lifting to Hodges.
Oh, how the tides turn when the tone of the investigation shifts.
To make matters worse, it was Lou who, with a flick of her cell phone, discovered where Robi might be instead of going to work.
Manager Josh at Supreme Electronix was such an asshole to begin, but when the rubber met the road, he cared about the company, his employees and his own ass (as would we all). It would have been really easy for him to look the other way when clues arose, but he called the police immediately.
He talks a big game, but in the end, he was standing in Robi's uniform running the store. I appreciate that.
It never occurred to me that Brady wanted to stay dead in the eyes of the police, and I was right about that. If nobody is watching him, he misses out on the fun.
It's a possibility, I guess, that Brady thought nobody would do thorough autopsies on the bodies he staged. He has been a little bit off of late, what with sleeping next to his fly-ridden rotting mother and all.
His plan may have been for the deaths of Hodges' loved ones to take him by surprise along with all of the others who were going to lose people at the gala. If that were the case, though, why the disguise?
Because Brady knew Hodges was a perfect match for him and his setup only bought him time. The Edmund Mills Arts Center wasn't even the focus of the police investigation. Until Hodges brought the focus back to himself, he was willing to go along with everyone else, ignoring his gut.
Hodges' attempts to warn everyone fell on deaf ears. He couldn't reach anyone at the gala, and reaching Ida meant nothing when she had a lovely dinner and a glass of wine in front of her. Her reaction was light in an otherwise dark night that was about to play out.
Brady's transformation into a wheel-chair bound patient hoping to enjoy the gala worked like a charm – at least for those who didn't know him.
Lou unwittingly saved the day by recognizing her "friend," and we finally got to see a different side to her when she was faced with death. I can't imagine what role she could play in Mr. Mercedes Season 2, but we never got enough Breeda Wool, so I'd be up for her changing her course in life and sticking around.
Are handicapped porta potties really large enough to include a wheelchair and to kneel down in front of it to do all of the work Brady was doing to ready his bomb? That must be the most popular potty with the teenage girls who can't pee alone at concerts and such.
Brady's decision to enjoy the music was a bad idea, even in the wake of Hodge's heart attack, but I never imagined Holly had the honkin' bronze bulldog in her purse. That was quite the magic trick.
Another magic trick is how Brady survived those holes in his head. With everyone in the hospital, I didn't expect him to be in one of the rooms.
This would have served as a fine series finale, but we're in for more Bill Hodges. I haven't read the books, but what comes next will be based upon them.
I have little doubt a lot of the characters we've gotten to know will be gone, but surely Pete, Ida, Holly, and in some form, Brady will be back. If there is a time jump, will we see Jerome after university?
The cast is so talented and the producers, writers, and directors so effective it could be about anything in Hodges' world, and I'd be jumping for joy.
My favorite King books have been his less traditional fare, and it's about time I check out this series to get an idea of what's in store. While it might ruin what's ahead on the series, I'd also love to know how Gleeson is interpreting the material. As one of my all-time favorites, I feel I own us both that detailed work on my part.
Nobody else could pull off Hodges' intensity to hunt Brady, his flaws, and mistakes against former suspects like Olivia, and compassion for his friends as did Gleeson.
This was, hands down, one of the best shows on television in 2017. It's going into my top five. What about you?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.