"Bad to Worse" is the sixth episode of Season 3 of Mr. Mercedes. It aired on October 15, 2019.
Holly and Lou testify in court, while Morris' plan to frighten Peter doesn't go as planned. Alma gets closer to Marjorie, and Bill breaks down after a call from his daughter.
Bill dreams of the aftermath of the job fair massacre and imagines his daughter Allie as a corpse. The phone rings and Bill wakes up. Allie is calling, and he wonders what's wrong. She says that she's home in Seattle and asks if he's okay, and says that she had a dream that Brady came back and Bill was in trouble. Bill promises that Brady isn't coming back.
Peter is walking Booger down the highway, and Alma pulls up in her truck. After a minute she starts up and tries to run Peter down, and he jumps off the road at the last minute. Alma keeps driving.
Bill arrives at Finders Keepers and goes to get Holly. Jerome calls Bill up, saying that Holly hasn't answered her phone or her texts but her door is open. They go up to Holly's apartment and find her sitting on the floor, hugging herself and singing. Bill gets her attention and Holly says that she's fine and just having a bad panic attack. She tells them not to look at her like she's weird, and talks about how she sings as a mantra to calm herself. Bill wonders if she can go on the stand, and Holly insists that she can. When Bill tells her that she doesn't have to be a hero, Holly tells him that she very much does and asks them to meet her downstairs.
Peter returns home and Tom offers him some temporary work cleaning up a place he bought. Marjorie notices Peter's bruises and asks what happened to him, and Peter describes what happened. He tells Tom that he didn't get a license plate, and Tom figures that he's lying to him. Peter sticks to the truth and goes upstairs, and Marjorie wonders if they should go to the police.
Jerome suggests that he go to court with Holly, but Bill says that he'll do it and needs Jerome to question Don about Carl's friends. When Jerome says that he hasn't found the hospital John Doe, Bill curses and Jerome asks if he's okay. Bill tells him about Allie calling and her nightmare, and admits that he's had the same nightmare of Brady not being gone. He wonders if his nightmare is more about failing Allie and if he's taking it out on Jerome. Bill suggests that he's micromanaging Jerome because he's like a son to him, and says that he'll stop talking about Harvard. He admits that Jerome and Holly are like his kids, and Jerome wonders if Bill is dying.
Alma drives to her house where Morris waiting, and tells him that she scared Peter to "prime" him for Morris. Morris figures that it's risky approaching him, and Alma points out that Morris has already accidentally killed two people. She'll convince Marjorie to talk, and tells Morris that it's his Jimmy Gold moment. Alma tells Morris to find Peter after school and "Jimmy" him up.
At the courthouse, Bill warns Roland that Holly is vulnerable and she could flip. Roland explains that Holly represents a victim and Lou, and Bill figures the defense idea came from Brady. Holly arrives and insists that she can do it. Roland tells herself to be truthful and let the jury hear her, and Holly goes to the restroom.
At Don's home, Don shows Jerome Carl's collection of newspaper clippings. Jerome finds a picture of Carl with Morris at the job fair. Don doesn't know who Morris is, and Jerome takes a photo of the clipping.
Alma approaches Marjorie at the grocery store and "recognizes" her from when they met at the Saubers'. Marjorie claims that she's okay, and Alma says that she doesn't seem fine. She offers to listen to anything Marjorie has to say.
Tom arrives at the courthouse and walks past Bill and Jerome. Jerome is telling Bill that Carl was at the job fair, and Bill figures that Brady put Rothstein's murder into motion. He goes into the courtroom, and Roland calls Holly to the stand. Holly talks about how Brady stole her aunt's Mercedes and caused her to commit suicide. She describes how Brady psychologically tortured Olivia for months, and then how he killed Janie. Holly says how she and many others can't make the nightmare go away.
Roland continues questioning her, and Holly talks about how she helped Bill investigate Brady's subsequent bombing attempt. She says that she hit Brady's head with a paperweight, beating in his skull, and Roland enters it into evidence. Holly says that it wasn't her intent to kill Brady but to stop him, and that she was a monster. Holly insists that she was acting out in a human way.
Holly talks about how she met Lou after the art gala, and knew her as someone torn up inside but was overtaken by hurt and rage. Roland points out that Brady couldn't do more harm, and Holly testifies that Brady did harm in a quota and smirked at his victims when he was in court. She talks about how Brady could get to feel whole but the job fair survivors couldn't, and quotes from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: "Speak hands for me." At the art gala, she got what the line meant.
Later, Bill gets into his SUV and quietly cries.
Morris goes to the diner that Peter frequents and hails him by name. He starts talking about Shakespeare and "Don't shoot the messenger," and Peter tells him to go. Morris refuses and accuses him of having Rothstein's manuscripts. He tells Peter that the next time the truck might not miss him, and insists that he's just "the messenger". Morris offers Peter his life for the manuscripts, and says that he can keep the cash and the $50,000 after they sell the manuscripts. If Peter doesn't then he'll end up in prison when people learn he has the manuscripts. Peter gets up and walks away without a word.
Later at Alma's place, Morris tells Alma that he shook Peter but didn't break him. Alma is sure from talking to Marjorie that Peter is in some kind of trouble, and says that Morris has to go after Peter again the next day.
Lou tells Roland that Holly was a genius, and Roland figures Holly might have wont the day. He says that jury will still have to hear Holly and figure she's not a menace to society. Roland warns that Lou stay calm under Sarah's cross-examination, and Lou says that she won't let Brady out. The lawyer asks if Brady is still speaking to her, and says that the jury can't sense that. Lou tells him that she knows how she has to be, and that Brady will be a no-show. Roland brings up the 3D gun and advises Lou that she "shouldn't remember" making the gun. Lou insists that she's got it and that she'll be how she needs to be. As Roland gets up to go, Lou tells him that Brady thinks that Roland is excellent.
That night, Bill tells Ida about how he broke down over everything that's happened. Antonio calls Bill and says that he doesn't have anything on Rothstein's murder, and Bill mentions Peter. After Bill hangs up, Ida says that Peter is one of her best students. Bill figures that Peter is a leading candidate to have found the manuscripts, and Ida notes that Peter has recently become a scholar of Rothstein.
Peter drives to the old jazz club that Tom has him cleaning and goes inside. He finds a cooler in the DJ booth.
The next day in the court, Roland calls Lou to the stand. Lou says that she and Brady were close until he stabbed her. When she jokes about it, Roland tells her not to do it. Lou says that Brady went to the evil side and was out to kill hope, and she knew that it fell to her to kill him. Roland asks her if she has remorse, and Lou says that she believed she served a greater utilitarian purpose. She tells the court that she loved Brady, but he was a monster and needed to be stopped.
Roland points out that Lou manufactured a 3D gun, and asks when she made the decision to kill Brady. Lou testifies that she doesn't know if she ever did, and there was a vengeance part of her and a fear part of her. A toy ice cream truck drives up the aisle, a truck that only Lou can see and hear. Lou hesitates and then says that she felt the same when she brought the gun to court. She insists that she needed to have it with her in court. Lou sees Brady as one of the cameramen in the courtroom, and says that she looked Brady in the eye and knew he wasn't done so she shot him.
Peter gives Andrew one page of the manuscript. Andrew says that he wants all of them, and Peter demands to confirm Andrew has provenance and can find a buyer. The owner figures Peter doesn't have proof of original ownership, and Peter haggles on the price. Andrew finally agrees to Peter's price, and Peter leaves. Morris watches him from across the street.
Sarah cross-exams Lou and has her state that she understood she was performing an illegal act. She asks if it was voluntary or involuntary, saying that she'll let Lou amend her plea to insanity if she claims she acted involuntarily. Lou hallucinates the jury wearing ice cream driver uniforms for a moment, and then says that she doesn't want to go with insanity. Sarah asks why Lou used a 3D gun rather than a usual firearm. When Lou says that she couldn’t get a regular gun through the metal detectors, Sarah points out she was thinking ahead.
The DA asks Sarah if she would do it all again if she had the chance, and Lou says that she doesn't know. Sarah repeats the question and Lou admits that she would do it again.
Morris enters the shop and asks if Peter has anything. Andrew says that he hasn't and claims that Peter hasn't brought him anything, and Morris leaves.
Over dinner, Roland tells Holly that what happened were grounds for a mistrial. However, he figures that Sarah wants a mistrial so she can do it over, and tells Holly that they have a chance of winning in large part because of Holly's testimony. Roland says that she was sensational, and Holly nervously says that she should go work. The lawyer agrees and calls for the check.
Peter returns to the jazz club and hides the money and the manuscripts in the cooler he found earlier.
At Holly's apartment, Holly and Jerome discuss the trial. Jerome says that he admires her for what she did in court, and asks how she's holding up. Holly admits that she's about to have another anxiety attack over Roland, and Jerome figures that she really likes him. She worries that Roland plans to kiss her, and says that she doesn't know how to kiss. Holly asks Jerome to give her a lesson, and then tells him to forget it. Jerome assures her that it's okay that she asked, and says that he's done it and it's just two lips touching... with tongue. Jerome asks if she trusts Roland, and when she does, Jerome advises her to take a leap and a net will appear.
Peter drives home, and Morris pulls up behind him in his car. He pulls ahead of Peter and stops, and Peter brakes just in time. Morris gets out of his car and tells Peter that he's a psycho. Peter draws his gun on him, and Morris insists that he works for a much bigger syndicate that wants the manuscripts. He advises Peter to think it over, and Peter tells him that he'll kill him if he bothers him again. Morris figures Peter isn't the killing kind, and if he was then he'd be the prime suspect in the Rothstein murder. Peter shoots him in the leg and tells him to stay away, gets in his car, and drives off.
Later at Alma's house, Alma probes for the bullet and tells him that he can't go to the hospital because they'll ask questions. She puts on some music, grabs a paint brush for Morris to bite on, and goes to work.
- Brendan Gleeson as Bill Hodges
- Justin Lupe as Holly Gibney
- Kelly Lynch as Deborah Hartsfield
- Jharrel Jerome as Jerome Robinson
- Scott Lawrence as Peter Dixon
- Robert Stanton as Anthony Frobisher
- Breeda Wool as Lou Linklatter
- Justine Lupe as Holly Gibney
- Mary-Louise Parker as Janey Patterson
- Holland Taylor as Ida Silver