"Proximity" is the sixth episode of Season 2 of Mr. Mercedes. It aired on September 26, 2018.
A visit from Lou elicits an unprecedented response from Brady, and Dr. Babineau pushes him to communicate. Holly begins to come around to Hodges' thinking about Brady. Armed with new intel, Hodges reaches out to Babineau and Cora.
Bill sleeps and dreams of his brother taunting him as a young man. He wakes up and finds Brady in his ice cream uniform there, and Brady says that he has his dick in a clinch knot. Brady taunts Bill and says that it could be real or Bill could be having a dream within a nightmare. He suggests that Bill ask him whatever he wants before he wakes up, and Bill asks him if he made Sadie kill herself. Bill says that it would make him godlike and Bill dumb to pick a fight with God, and then yanks him up and leads him to the bathroom to take his morning piss.
In the bathroom, Brady tells Bill to relax and let it happen, and then screams at him to do it. Bill wakes up and in the morning, tells Ida what he dreamed about. Ida suggests that he go into therapy, pointing out that his theory that Brady is a body snatcher is preposterous. She asks Bill how fucked up he wants to be.
At the hospital, Lou sneaks into Brady's room and says that he's pathetic and deformed. Brady hears her and watches on the monitors as Lou explains about the three surgeries she had after Brady stabbed her. Lou tells him that she's had to rely on knowing danger and didn't see Brady for who he really is. She talks about how a man beat her foster dad for stealing from him, and tried to take Lou's tricycle. Lou fought the man until they confirmed that the father's daughter's name was on the underside of the tricycle. She says that it was the worthless that she ever felt until Brady stabbed her. Lou wonders why Brady didn't finish the job, and Brady says that he was working on his masterpiece and she just got in his way.
Lou figures that if she doesn't understand, she'll be lost forever. As Brady's readings spike, Brady screams at Lou that mercy was his mistake. The nurse and orderlies come in, and Felix realizes that the eye-triggered keyboard he set up is responding. He runs in just in time to see Brady deleting what he thought.
Later, Maggie goes to Finder Keepers and tells Bill that she heard what happened and that Lou was the visitor that set Brady off. The nurse tells Bill that she'll come to him if she hears anything else and leaves. Holly asks if the message Brady left Montez was unclear, and suggests that Brady occupied the break-in artist. Bill wonders if she's nuttier than he is, and says that Montez won't try to cancel their license if they find out who canceled his dog. He then tells Holly that he's considering the idea of going into therapy because everyone says that he's nuts. Holly says that her research shows that her research shows that Brady's abilities may be possible, and he tells her about his dream. He wonders if Ida is right, and wonders what is possessing him to get close to Bill. Holly suggests that when Bill sees a wrong, he tries to right it.
As Scapelli exercises the comatose Brady, Felix tells Dr. Seth to find Lou. Brady listens as Felix tells Seth to seal all of the records against protocol. Once Seth leaves, Felix asks Brady who Lou was and what she means to him. There's no response, and Felix insists that they're on the same side and he's Brady's defense. He promises that he'll testify that Brady has no control over his actions, and they need to work together if he's going to bring Brady back to a free life. After a moment the message "fuck off" appears on the keyboard screen.
Montez shows Bill the only video he has of Al killing his dog, and admits that he hasn't been able to identify anything about him. Bill figures that Montez is holding something back, and Montez says that Felix has done some experiments on regenerating the brain so he ran interference to back Bill off. He ran the interference to get some celebrity of his own, and talks about losing his dog. Montez remembers that there was a big guy pushing a book cart who was on the floor when he squeezed Brady's balls.
As he leaves, Bill calls Holly and has her check on Felix while he meets an acquaintance for coffee. He refuses to say who it is.
The technicians run an MRI on Brady. Brady meditates, trying to shield himself as his mind-basement shakes.
Bill meets with Lou and asks how she's doing. She admits that she's doing shitty overall and Bill tells her that he's doing pretty much the same. He says that Brady's heart rate shot up when Lou visited him, and Lou admits that she didn't get closure from confronting Brady and just feels worse. She felt bad for Brady because he was hooked up to all of the equipment, and doesn't want to. Bill says that he feels bad for what happened to Lou, and she points out that he tried to warn her but she didn't believe him. Lou says that it felt like Brady was conscious, and Bill figures that Brady isn't really gone. She figures that they're the only people that Brady left behind.
The MRI technician tells Felix that Brady is clearly still conscious.
Al goes to his car and finds Bill there. Bill asks if he could ask a few questions, and Al says that he has to get home to give his brother Reggie a haircut. The PI asks if Al remembers Montez, and Al insists that he wasn't on Felix's orders. Bill asks him where he was the day before, and Al doesn't remember, but agrees to call Bill if he does. As Al opens his door, Bill notices blood and Al says that he probably brought it there from the ER. Bill "cleans" the blood off, taking a sample, and Al thanks him before driving off.
Felix tells Cora that Brady communicated, and Cora figures that it can be monetized for billions of dollars. Her husband admits that it scared him a little bit because Brady was a killer, and Cora tells him that the most terrifying thing in the world is success. Cora assures Felix that it's huge and she's proud of him, and she gas sex with him on the counter.
Jerome works with Holly and together they research Felix and Cora. They discover that Cora works for a pharma company and finds a photo of the couple at a summit meeting with Jiankang Pharmatech. Amnesty International has filed lawsuits against Jiankang for their civil-rights violations in prisons, and the judge ordered gag orders.
That night, Bill is at home feeding his tortoise. Ida comes over and asks if he considered her suggestion about getting therapy, and tells him that he's an addict and Brady is his drug. She suggests that Brady brought a rush to Bill's life and made it more thrilling. Bill tells her that it's not his imagination and Brady communicated with his doctor, and says that he's going to ride out the madness a little bit longer before he tries to dismiss it. Holly joins them and says that she found out information about Jiankang, and the lab results came back on the blood confirming that it's canine.
The next day, Bill meets with Montez and tells him what he's discovered. Montez brings officers over and they search Al's car, and find a pair of bloody gloves in the trunk. The officers break into the house and tackle Al when he panics and yells to Reggie. Montez swears at Al for killing his dog, and a police tech finds a bloody knife in the kitchen. Bill watches as the officers take Al to a squad car.
Back at Finder Keepers, Bill tells Holly that he didn't pick up any evil from Al, and points out that Al has no record and no motive. They agree that the one thing Sadie and Al had in common is Brady. Jerome gives them everything that he has on Felix and Cora, and the records show that Cora has big ties to Jiankang. Bill wonders why Jerome is there and asks if he's going back to Harvard. Jerome says that he likes it there and suggests that he might want a life as a private detective. Bill wonders why, and Jerome talks about all the things in the world that they can't see but keeps them alive, and he wants to be part of that world. He tells Bill that Harvard is lies and subtext, and it's all cold and empty. Bill tells him that it doesn't solve things, and Jerome says that it'll do for now. He admits that he doesn't know anything and leaves, and Bill tells Holly that Jerome has an opportunity few people do, and she says that sometimes the hardest thing about parenting is knowing when not to.
Cora and Felix visit Brady, and Cora introduces herself to Brady and says that she's looking forward to meeting him. Brady admires her via his monitors and licks Cora's image, and his heart rate increases.
When Felix and Cora go to the cafeteria, Bill sits down with them and congratulates them on their work with Brady. He tells Felix that Brady has an ability to communicate according to rumors, and has a special relationship with Brady. Bill tells Cora that he knows about Jiankang and that she has a lot of money riding on Brady's recovery, and says that he may be the only one who can get to Brady so offers his services. Cora tells him that they don't need his help and none of her private interests have any bearing on Brady's treatment. Bill points out that Jiankang makes a brain regenerative drug, and says that he knows what they're doing and if they awaken Brady then they may be opening a box that they can't close. He asks to be there if something bad happens, and if Brady does show up then he can arrest him or ship him to a secure facility. Felix insists that it will never happen, and Bill points out that he's risking lives. The doctor says that Bill sounds a bit unhinged, and Bill tells Cora that he's the best bet to provoke Brady. If he succeeds then they get Brady either arrested or moved out of the city. Cora says that they can't help him and Bill leaves.
As Felix and Cora drive home, Cora says that they need to move faster and Felix needs to wake Brady up. She figures that Bill is working for someone, possibly corporate, and Bill checking their Chinese protocols makes her nervous. Felix wonders why, and Cora pulls over and tells her husband that Jiankang tested the drugs on a control group in a Chinese prison. The control group on the sugar pills killed themselves because the prisoners on the drugs got into their minds and drove them to kill themselves. She didn't tell Felix because she's under strict confidentiality. Felix gets out and walks away. Cora goes after him and says that she needs him to stay focused. She advises Felix to threaten Brady with a craniotomy if he doesn't communicate. When Felix objects, Cora says that he can't understand because he wasn't born "safe". If Brady stays in his coma and they get a warrant, they'll never survive the investigation. She figures that Bill is a man on a mission and doesn't want to be that mission.
Montez and Bill go to Brady's room and Montez tells the police that he's giving Bill permission to "interview" Brady. Bill suggests that he might have more luck on his own and Montez lets him go in alone. Inside the room, Bill taunts Brady to come out and reveal himself. He thanks Brady for wittingly or unwittingly enriching his life. Now he has friends, a community, and satisfaction. Brady, listening, tells Bill that he isn't going to get into his head. Bill says goodbye and leaves.
That night, Bill goes to his backyard and drinks. Ida comes over and asks if he's okay, and Bill says that he really is. He talks about the speech Ida gave him about how she'd go on after her husband died, and he's doing the same. Bill admits that he doesn't know if it's a life, but they agree that it's a start. He tells her that there's no sex in it for her, and they chuckle as she leaves. An unknown texter sends Bill a message repeating his words from Brady's room.
- Brendan Gleeson as Bill Hodges
- Harry Treadaway as Brady Hartsfield
- 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