It’s a rare these days that we call a show ‘appointment TV’ – oftentimes it can’t be defined what even makes a series so moreish that you look forward to each new episode. Well, Mare of Easttown is pretty much the closest we’ve got to that phenomenon this year. Sure, it’s not perfect – but when it’s good, it’s damn good. Overall, the season has been absolutely thrilling – twisting and turning the plot over and over to confound your assumptions and dash your theories. But with only two episodes to go, it has one final trick to perform – sticking it’s landing and closing the series out in a satisfactory manner.
For a show that’s been all about the slow burn, Mare of Easttown wasted no time at all in hitting the ground running this week. Zabel’s death was neatly wrapped up within minutes of the opening credits, using news footage to frame the unfortunate detective as a fallen hero. With Katie back home (presumably Missy’s story was done and dusted off-screen), the Chief returns Mare to active duty when it becomes clear that the kidnapper Potts had a cast-iron alibi for the night of Erin’s murder.
The cases weren’t connected – which meant we were back to looking closer to home.
Subsequently, we were hit with a tornado of suspects and updates that came and went fast. Frankly, it was hard to keep pace. Deacon Mark confessed to his part in Erin’s final hours after her bike was dredged from the reservoir, only to get slapped with an arrest for tampering with evidence. The bullet that killed Erin came from a cop-issued gun. Brianna redacted her alibi for Dylan on the night of the murder, leaving him floundering to explain to the police where he actually was. Freddy sadly overdosed and died, resulting in Mare finding a batch of Erin’s clothes in his squat – only for Kenny to admit he gave them to the unfortunate addict as an act of charity. Leads came in at lightning speed, only to be resolved so the next clue could immediately replace it.
But it was all building to a conclusion that placed the heart of the case back into what this show has always been about.
Having been kicked out by Lori, John was back at his childhood home with brother Billy and their dad. We’d seen Billy react very oddly the previous episode when pressed on his connection to Erin, and now we found out why – his father had seen him return home the night of Erin’s murder covered in blood. When John pushed him on the reasons, Billy crumbled and confessed.
He had killed Erin.
It was a predictably unpredictable moment in a show packed full of them. A low-key revelation that was all the more impactful for how underplayed it’s significance was. It was also truly heart-breaking – Billy was the father of Erin’s son, the fruit of an incestuous relationship, and a grim secret that had made Erin’s life unbearable.
With Billy ready to turn himself in, John went into damage control mode, cruelly pressuring Lori into keeping the revelation a secret and then conspiring to take his brother out to the woods for one final hurrah before his arrest – where he planned to shoot him dead. It seemed like Billy’s fate was all but sealed, and the secret could be contained.
But you never count Mare out.
She had already pieced the details together about Billy’s involvement from a necklace Erin had kept in her room, and her t-shirt from Freddy’s that placed her at Kenny’s family reunion. It didn’t take much for Lori to fold when pressed by her best friend, and without hesitation Mare was back on the warpath to intervene between the brothers and close this case for good. It seemed like things were reaching a conclusion.
This is a show that is built on twists, and we are definitely not done yet. John seemed way too eager to kill his brother, and his previous form in bullying his own son into secrecy over his affair feels like there’s more to his story than we’ve been shown so far. Likewise, Dylan is being used once again as a misdirect representing the show’s villain, and whilst his behaviour has been unconscionable it feels like that is more related to something a little more criminally pedestrian. However, his brutalisation of Jess did provide the episode’s final smoking gun as it were, when she bravely delivered a scrap of photo from Erin’s diary to the Chief which was shocking enough for him to try and call Mare off the hunt (and cause crooked necks across the nation as viewers tried to do a Line of Duty and scrutinise the freeze frame).
Whatever revelations that photo holds, it’s clear there’s another left turn coming – and with so many threads left hanging loose in this story, it’s anybody’s guess where that turn will take us. One thing is for sure though – Mare of Easttown has been one hell of a wild ride.
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE ONE REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE TWO REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE THREE REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE FOUR REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE FIVE REVIEW
Mare of Easttown is currently showing on HBO in the US and Sky Atlantic/Now TV in the UK