Hodges is right in the thick of things again.
Pete is standing beside his former partner on Mr. Mercedes Season 1 Episode 9, and if anyone doubted Hodges before, they're giving him full court access now the case has broken wide open with the Mercedes Killer.
And oh, boy, has it ever broken open.
I wasn't feeling all that comfortable with Pete's handling of the case at first.
He seemed so cavalier when took it from Hodge's hands, essentially telling him they had it covered from now on. I felt a bit better when Pete's boss wanted to know why in the hell Hodges was involved at all and Pete ensured her he was not only the best man for the job, but kind of the only one.
This is when, if I didn't care about my pension, I'd tell you to go fuck yourself.Pete
He could have very easily taken credit for what had been uncovered. But that's not the kind of guy Pete is, thank goodness.
Without Hodges' dogged determination to push through the terrorism of a friggin' madman, Brady could have gone large already. As it stands, he's been fairly satisfied toying with Hodges, instead.
All of that toying makes the hour incredibly tense. We only just lost Janey and suffered through the horrific death of Deborah, so the closer Jerome and Holly get to Hodges, the easier it is to worry about their future.
Holly, especially, doesn't want to take no for an answer. Bless her, through it all, she feels safe at Hodges' place, and keeping a bronze bulldog by her bedside that was once Ali's now helps her sleep.
But I think they're wrong when they begin thinking the killer's next venue will be another job fair. Holly's reasoning is too pretty thinking Mercedes was stomping out hope. Does Brady think that way? He's more of a merciless kill-to-kill kind of guy to me.
Grasping at straws to give killers meaning, though, is what we do. It helps those left behind to think there was a reason. But as Mulder once said on The X-Files, sometimes a psychopath is just a psychopath. No, I don't remember quotes, so there are no marks. You get the gist.
As Hodges was running to and from Brady's house and Brady was running to and from his house to Supreme Electronix, I was worrying about Jerome and Holly and Ida.
There was no need, not these days, anyway.
Brady had his hands full. At the same time Pete and pals discovered the connection between Olivia and Supreme Electronix so did Hodges and his crack team of Holly and Jerome. They hit the parking lot at the same moment just minutes after Brady and Robi tussled inside.
Search warrant smearch smarrant was what Hodges thought when he recognized the freaking Ice Cream Man, Mr. Friendly, as the man who had serviced Olivia's computer.
Discovering just how close Brady had been to his house and his friends sent Hodges to Brady's house and friends for a little payback. Brady is, of course, a little too wily to be discovered on Episode 9, but Hodges was persistent.
Hodges went to find Lou for her advice on Brady. Lou, who has done nothing but support Brady from the get-go. But she cracked, just a little, under the pressure of the weight of what Brady told her about his mother's angina.
That terrible angina that left her rotting in a bed, covered in flies while Brady eats his lunch on his breaks from work. Can the guy get any more disgusting? He's cracking most of all.
But still, as much as he cracks, he has a diabolical plan for seemingly all things.
Somehow he knew Robi threw him under the bus or gave out enough information to get him nailed a little tighter against the wall with the authorities. Always underestimating exactly who he was working with, it pained me when Robi opened his mouth to speak.
What's going on here, Brady? Are you the Mercedes Killer?Robi
Those aren't bad for a set of last words, though. Even with so much evidence stacked against him, you know Brady hated being discovered. He thinks he's so superior that the idea Robi figured him out must have really galled him.
I didn't expect the end to play out as it did, though. Brady's arrogance was fully apparent as he sat in his own bathroom preparing for his big event. I was certain while the team of police was circling outside that he was a Robi's house, but he was right inside.
Only Hodges thought the place might be rigged to explode, which I thought was ludicrous. Shooting at the ice cream truck and running up to it as they did without expecting it to blow was one crazy pants.
Brady not rigging the truck to blow was just another taunt. He had plans for that team. He needed them to get inside. It was all part of his plan.
I can't help but think Brady has a great sentimental attachment to his ice cream truck, and the thought of blowing it to bits was even more painful than killing his mother.
For all the "love" he showed her and her rotting corpse, his desires to make her proud, Brady certainly didn't think much of her at the end, did he?
Deborah was part of Brady's swan song, at least as far as the police were concerned.
Pete: It's over, partner. We got him.
Did Pete think it was going to be that easy? Why would Brady go to so much trouble, clean up so many kill scenes, only to curl up and die next to his mother?
Those final moments were also suspenseful as hell with the countdown in the basement, and Pete and Hodges heading upstairs. Only on TV (or in a novel), could a killer so perfectly time an explosion for everyone to arrive at their destinations, see what they needed to see and then escape unharmed.
There's no reason to think everyone was supposed to escape unharmed, but Hodges hasn't finished suffering yet. There are loved ones left alive. Brady has work to do. Why bother staging a scene of his death if he was going to trap everyone and kill them?
If he wanted to kill them, he could have had the house explode to bits the moment they entered. That's no fun.
And that wasn't a dummy in bed with Deborah. She's been further debased by going dying a second time, this time intertwined with Robi.
Who is going to make it out of Hodges private hell alive? Will they discover his intentions before it's too late? How will the story be left open for another season?
This story has been building like one of the frenetic songs Brady loves so much, with Brady as his instrument of choice. It's deafening now, isn't it? Turn it up!!
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.