"Great Balls of Fire" is the fifth episode of Season 3 of Mr. Mercedes. It aired on October 8, 2019.
Morris can't make sense of Danielle's disappearance; Alma approaches Marjorie Saubers; Pace calls Hodges and Montez to the stand during Lou's trial; Holly and Finkelstein grow closer.
Bill puts on a record and goes over the facts that he's gathered on John's murder. He imagines John appearing to him and telling him to give up because he doesn't have what it takes and never did. John admits that he's dead but not gone, and figures that Bill fears not having a legacy. The writer says that finding his killer won't give Bill a legacy, and legacies don't meet shit.
The next morning, Bill meets with Antonio at a diner for breakfast. Bill tells the ADA about his vision, and wonders if "John" was right, and asks Antonio where he is with his investigation into the John Doe. Antonio admits that they have nothing, and tells Bill that they're going to have to solve the case without "ghosts".
Morris leaves the store, calls Danielle again, and gets her voice mail. He asks her to let him know if she's okay, and looks at the copy of The Runner on the front seat of his car.
A young Morris returns home and finds his mother Anita reading his copy of The Hunter. Morris objects to her going into her room, and Anita says that she spent her day trying to understand her pretentious son. She says that the only the last of the three books are good, and Morris talks about how John sold out Jimmy. Anita reminds her son that John just showed them that everyone becomes normal eventually. Furious, young Morris chokes her.
Later, Morris tells Alma what he did. He says that he doesn't know why he stopped choking Anita, and Alma asks Morris if Andrew told him if Peter came back. Peter hasn't come back to the bookstore yet, and Alma suggests that Andrew is lying to Morris. She tells Morris to go see Andrew while she talks to Marjorie.
As they go to the courtroom, Roland tells Bill that they have to take a chance by having Holly testify as Lou suggested. The lawyer says that he'll handle Holly, and Bill says that he knows what's going on between them. Bill warns that Roland has to tread careful because Holly is fragile, just as Holly comes up. She says that she sensed that they were talking about her, and Jerome arrives and says that he has an address on Don Fenten, the dead thief's father.
Morris visits Andrew, who says that Peter has never called him again. Andrew says that Peter hasn't, and Morris insists that he's interested in John's material, not Peter. The owner notes that it takes money to be a collector, and Morris points out that Andrew deals in stolen books and everyone knows it. Andrew points out that Morris seems especially interested, and Morris says that it's his one chance to get his hands on a Rothstein original. The owner agrees to call if anyone comes back asking about John's manuscripts, and asks what Morris is up to. He's heard that Morris and Alma are spending time together again, and Morris tells him that it's none of his business. Andrew points out that Alma was involved with John as well, and Morris leaves.
Bernard calls the courtroom to order and Bill notes to Holly that she seems fidgety. She insists that she's fine and tells her that she has time before she has to testify. The judge reminds everyone that he's not going to have a circus in his courtroom. Sarah calls Bill to the stand, and Roland points out that Bill isn't on her witness list. The DA says that Bill is on Roland's witness list, and Bernard calls them to the bench. Bernard tells her to rethink her approach, but Sarah insists that Bill was a material eyewitness to Brady's shooting. The judge gives Roland five minutes to prep Bill before he testifies.
Ida calls Peter into her classroom and gives him his paper on John. She comments on how confident it was, and points out that Peter has never written so well in the past. Peter says that The Hunter is the first book Ida has taught that he liked, and Ida tells him that she doesn't agree with Peter's conclusion that Jimmy Gold is an American hero. The boy displays his knowledge of the material, and Ida wonders why Peter didn't talk about John's death in his paper. She says that John's major work was done, and suggests that John kept writing and left his manuscripts behind. The bell rings and Peter quickly excuses himself.
Bill is sworn in and Sarah questions him about his involvement in the Mr. Mercedes case. Bill testifies that Brady got justice, and notes that Brady threatened Lou's life. When Roland objects, Sarah says that she's establishing Bill's bias. The DA notes that Brady killed Janie, and Bernard tells her to get on with it. Sarah has Bill testify that he saw Lou shoot Brady in the head, and says that Lou performed a community service.
The DA has Bill testify that Lou seemed in control of her mental facilities. She asks if Bill would have killed Brady if he had the chance, and points out that he didn't kill Brady even though he had two chances. In both cases Bill stopped himself, and Sarah says that he told the police he didn't want to sink to Brady's level. When Roland objects, Sarah says that Bill is there to testify in Lou's behalf. She tells Bill that he's a unique witness, understanding the hatred against Brady. Sarah asks him if he wants to advocate on behalf of vigilantism, and Bill says that he's there to advocate for Lou and she stopped Brady. Bill doesn't respond when she asks if he's advocating that people can take the law into their own hands.
Bill, Holly, and Roland walk out past the protestors, and Bill complains that Roland didn't help him in court. Roland warns that he can't go near self-defense, and says that they have to pursue involuntary manslaughter. Holly tells them both to stop arguing, and the two men curse each other before Bill leaves. Holly asks if it went that badly, and Roland says that Bill came off sympathetic to Lou. He warns that it will come down to Lou's testimony and Holly's, and Holly insists that she has to be up to testifying. Roland says that she just has to be herself on the stand.
Alma drives to the Saubers house and parks down the road as two police detectives arrive. They go inside and tell Marjorie that they're checking anyone who might have seen the truck, and Peter has been known to walk the area. Marjorie insists that Peter would have told them if they'd seen anything, and Detective Hunt tells her that there was money in the truck possibly connected to the Rothstein murder, and Detective Gibson tells Marjorie that they're talking to anyone in the vicinity. Marjorie takes offense and says that Tom is attending Lou's trial. She explains that Tom was crippled at the jobs massacre, and Hunt notes that Tom has recently leased some office space and it's not cheap. Hunt asks if Tom came into some money.
Bill goes to the auto shop where Don works, and Don says that his son Carl was chosen to do something over his head. Don insists that Carl didn't own a gun and was never convicted of armed robbery, and his accomplice killed John. All Dan can say about the accomplice is that he was probably an alpha that dominated Carl.
That night, Roland suggests to Holly that she visit Lou before court. Holly agrees although she's clearly uncomfortable at the thought of returning to the mental hospital. The lawyer tells Holly that he's duty-bound to protect Lou if she becomes unhinged, but he's also worried about Holly's emotional footing. Holly worries that she doesn't know how to be, sitting in a car with Roland, and admits that she's terrified Roland will kiss her but she also wants to kiss him. Roland tells her that she's the most honest person he's ever known, and Holly says that worries her. He offers to show her the future so she won't fear it, leans over, and kisses her. Holly says that it was really good and asks if he can still put her on the stand, and Roland tells her that he can.
Morris returns to Alma's home and tells her that Andrew was curious about his interest in John. She figures that other people are interested in John's manuscripts, and Morris tells her that he's rooting for the cops. He figures that if they find the books, at least he'll get to read them. Alma figures that it's about Morris reading the books, and Morris says that he has to know what Jimmy became. He texts Danielle and says that he doesn't understand why she disappeared. Alma asks him if he thinks of Danielle when he and Alma have sex, and insists that a man better be with her all the way. She tells Morris that he's going to court because she has an idea.
At the Saubers, Tom accuses Peter of lying to him and wants to know where the anonymous cash donations are coming from. He figures the money came from the truck, and tells Peter that they're honest people. Marjorie asks Peter if he's in trouble, and he insists that he isn't. Peter tells him to fuck off and Tom grabs him by the jacket, and Marjorie tells her husband to back off. Peter leaves, angry.
At home, Bill turns off the news reporting about the trial. John appears and says that he talked to Lou. He tells Bill that he's a spectacular failure, and explains that bad publicity is still publicity. John says that he never spoke to Bill when he was alive, and now Bill is speaking to himself. Bill asks him if Brady is Satan, and John says that there is no Satan. The author says that the only way out is in.
The next day, Alma goes to the Saubers house and knocks at the door. Marjorie comes up with Boogers and Alma says that she's looking for her missing cat and is passing out flyers. She stares at Marjorie and then claims that she's psychic, and says that she's worried about her.
Lou tells Holly that she needs to be pretty and not too twitchy. Holly stares at her, and finally says that she's worried about her because she seems erratic. Lou snaps at her, saying that Bill failed her, and Holly says that she'll need to tell the truth as well. Smirking, Lou says that they're both "Brady bashers" and Holly smashed Brady's skull in. She tells Holly to show the jury that Brady bashing is a good thing. Holy points out that she has an odd tone, and Lou says that she'll sound good when she gets out.
Later, Holly meets with Bill and says that Lou is talking like Brady would talk. Bill agrees and figures that Brady is in Lou's head. Morris approaches them and claims that he was at the job fair, and thanks them. He says that many of them are grateful to both of them. Bill asks him if he wants to see Lou convicted or set free, and Bill tells him that Lou is a hero to him.
In court, Sarah questions Antonio. He testifies that Lou printed a 3D gun, and Sarah notes that demonstrated premeditation. The DA confirms that Brady wasn't posing a threat to anyone when Lou ended his life, and Antonio says that it appeared that Lou executed Brady. Roland cross-examines and points out that Antonio is an officer of the court. He has Antonio testify that Brady provoked Lou in the months leading up to the shooting, and asks if Lou suffered great emotional distress. Lou hears Brady's ice cream truck and hallucinates Antonio's eyes bleeding.
Roland asks Antonio if he thought Lou was a murderer when he saw her shoot Brady. Sarah objects and Bernard sustains, Roland has Antonio say that he figured Lou giving testimony would be upsetting because Brady tried to kill her. Sarah confirms that Antonio stands by his testimony that Lou was calm and collected when she shot Brady.
As they drive back to the office, Bill tells Holly that Lou could be convicted. Holly worries that her testimony could be very important, and Bill asks her if she likes Roland. She admits that she does, and Bill says that Roland seems good.
Peter gets the suitcase with the money and the manuscripts from his hiding spot and puts the manuscripts into his backpack.
Roland tells Lou that it went as well as they can hope, but he wants her to plead. Lou insists that they're going to win and Roland asks if that's what "Brady" is telling her. He points out that Brady mislead her before, and Lou says that Brady hurts and helps and hurts her. All she has to do is know which one is which.
Morris calls to tell Alma that he made contact with Bill and Holly, and she confirms that she contacted Marjorie. She figures that she'll get inside the Saubers family eventually, and she's cleaning up in case the police check her house. Once she hangs out, Alma goes out to her work shed, gets out Danielle's body from the freezer, cuts up the frozen body, and feeds the pieces into a wood chipper.
- 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