All posts by Andy D

REVIEW Mare of Easttown (S1 E7/7)

Wow. OK. They did it. They actually did it.

In 2021, a crime drama actually managed to deliver a satisfactory conclusion to its story.

Well, satisfactory for the viewers – not so much the characters, but we’ll get to that. And in doing so, Mare of Easttown immediately becomes the one to beat as front-runner for the best show this year. And it’ll take something really special to contest that position. Sure, it wasn’t anything wholly original, or even something that we hadn’t seen before in some regards – it absolutely wore the influences of alumni like True Detective and The Killing very obviously – but there was something special about the way it combined it’s dramatic elements that elevated it well beyond the usual formulaic mediocrity that plagues these kind of shows. It felt like it’s own unique world.

But before all the plaudits, action – and rewinding back to last week’s cliffhanger, there was plenty of it.

With brothers John and Billy at the river for an inevitable showdown, Mare was in hot pursuit and off grid – which was a shame, as the Chief had that crucial bit of evidence that flipped this case wide open, and no way to contact her. He had that photo.

A photo of John and Erin, in bed.

It wasn’t an unexpected revelation maybe, but it did change the dynamic of the case dramatically. John was the brother having the affair with Erin, John was her baby’s father, John was the murderer. In the ensuing scuffle between the brothers, both eventually begged the other to kill them – testament to the weight Erin’s death had on them. In a desperate bid to commit suicide, John turned the gun on himself – only for Mare to arrive in the nick of time and arrest him.

This turn of events didn’t bear too much scrutiny in the early running of the episode – and the show kind of rode roughshod over some of the more salient points this narrative beat exposed. For example, did we really believe Dylan burnt Erin’s journals then hunted down Jess and assaulted her at gunpoint in the previous episode purely to ensure his false paternity remained a secret, just to appease his parents? Or that his absence on the night of the murder minus an alibi was just coincidence? Likewise, what was John’s real intention in taking Billy out to the woods to be murdered? To ensure he didn’t ‘confess’ to his involvement? It didn’t really make much sense in retrospect and felt a little frustrating as a result, but the show wasn’t going to rest on it’s laurels as we weren’t done yet.

With John in custody, he gives a full confession (without a lawyer, which was a bit of a theme in this series) – he had been sleeping with Erin since the family reunion, and when she eventually got pregnant and refused John’s suggestion of an abortion, he had told her to say the baby was Dylan’s, as the teenagers were dating by that time. On the night of the murder, Erin had threatened to tell Lori everything if John didn’t pay for the baby’s ear treatment, and in the ensuing argument they had fought and he had shot Erin dead. It was as devastatingly simple as that.

Despite being open with the investigation, John comes across as cold and matter of fact about the incident – and the fact he had involved both Billy and Lori in the ensuing cover-up. The fact that Lori had lied to Mare seemed more upsetting to her than John’s involvement.

And with that the case comes to a close. John is sentenced, and we get a premature coda to the show. John begs Lori to taken in Erin’s son and raise him as her own. Deacon Mark is released from prison and returns to the church, much to Father Dan’s chagrin. Katie gets a new house thanks to the generosity (or guilt) of the wider community. Siobhan plans to go to university. Carrie lapses on her addiction and custody of Drew goes to Mare. Faye reunites with Frank and – god forbid – seems to be bonding with Mare. Richard leaves town on good terms with Mare, their relationship in the future a tantalizing unknown.

Things seemed to be returning to normal. And yet…

And yet.

Mare of Easttown has built an entire season on emotional gut punches and it had one more final, harrowing twist to deliver.

After a random encounter sees Mare confront John’s ex-mistress Sheila about renewing their affair – as intimated by Lori – she finds out they hadn’t actually rekindled at all, which leads her to review John’s interrogation tapes again. With his testimony crucially vague at the core details, it casts enough doubt in her mind to re-think the case.

Did John actually murder Erin at all?

Another random encounter seals the deal, and the scene that encapsulates it’s reveal is played so perfectly it takes your breath away. Called out to a general complaint from Mr.Carroll, they talk about loss and grief at a leisurely pace until the topic turns to his missing gun. An ex-cop’s gun. A Colt Enforcer. The exact same gun used to kill Erin. But it was taken, and now it’s back. When it’s clear that the only other person with access to the old man’s shed is Lori’s son Ryan, you can feel the world turn in Mare’s eyes as she reviews his CCTV footage to see the young boy take the gun.

It’s bravura film-making, followed in quick succession by the expertly framed (and largely wordless) slow motion pursuit and arrest of Ryan. His subsequent interview is a heart-breaking testimony to the sins of the father, and the first time the show affords us a little flashback to the night of the murder to frame the narrative. With young Ryan traumatised from his father’s previous affair with Sheila, he begs him to end his current dalliance with Erin. When it becomes clear John isn’t going to do that, he catfishes Erin by text message into meeting him in the park (a nod back to the opening episode when Brianna similarly tricked her), before confronting her with the stolen gun. Erin attempts to take it out of his hand and he shoots her in the face. It’s then that he involves John and Billy into hiding the body, and eventually, involves Lori into the conspiracy.

John had taken the fall to protect his child. Ryan was the real killer.

In the ensuing fallout from this final, horrific twist, Lori struggled to make peace with Mare – her family wholly devastated, she can’t understand why her best friend couldn’t have let go of this one last piece of the puzzle to keep Ryan safe. Eventually they find a way through, and in a truly affecting scene, Mare takes Lori’s emotional weight – both literally and physically – as she cradles her sobbing on the kitchen floor. In a beautifully-shot epilogue, Mare finally summons all her courage to venture into the attic where her own son killed himself.

It’s a truly emotional ending that shows both mothers in parallel stages of grief, both desperately trying to hold their families together, and both trying to find a way through the pain. It absolutely brought a tear to your eye.

Mare of Easttown isn’t anything new. But the sum of it’s parts elevated it to something unique – and a large part of that was down to the core performances in the show, which were impeccable. Kate Winslet was virtually unrecognisable as Mare, submerged within the character so well you forgot the actor inhabiting the role. Likewise Julianne Nicholson’s performance as Lori was a revelation, especially in this closing episode when she had a lot of emotions to process, drawing you into her sorrow with a level of intimacy few performers can replicate. Equally, Jean Smart as Mare’s mum Helen was an absolute joy to watch as always, and really centered the emotional core of the show – especially in it’s much-needed lighter moments. Angourie Rice as Mare’s daughter Siobhan was also a stand-out, and how refreshing is it to see a young woman in a crime drama have a wholly restorative narrative arc, from beginning to end? The show had an absolutely stacked cast of character actors, but the plaudits definitely go to the women that made up the core of what this series was all about.

So now the show has been such a huge success, the obvious final question would be – does Mare of Easttown need a second series? Whilst I would enjoy returning to this town and it’s characters, I think I prefer it as a single season experience. Looking back at the overall journey it took us on, it had such a well-crafted and self-contained story, it feels like lightning couldn’t strike twice. But who knows? After all, I would like to see Mare achieve some form of happiness – even if the world around her seems so reluctant to allow it.

One thing is for sure though – Mare of Easttown stands as one of the best new crime dramas not just this year, but any. So long Mare, and thanks for the memories.

Andy D

Episode rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Series rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.







Mare of Easttown is currently showing on HBO in the US and Sky Atlantic/Now TV in the UK

REVIEW Mare of Easttown (S1 E6/7)

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.

And yet…

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.

Andy D

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.






Mare of Easttown is currently showing on HBO in the US and Sky Atlantic/Now TV in the UK

REVIEW Mare of Easttown (S1 E5/7)

It’s fair to say that Mare of Easttown has been one of the bigger TV hits of the year so far, and whilst it’s tale of a small-town murder uncovering dark secrets isn’t particularly original, the story is enthralling all the same. That’s largely in part to the stellar performances throughout the cast, as well as the showrunners rather refreshing glee in upending a lot of the tropes this kind of drama relies on. But with only a few episodes left on the slate, it felt like there is a need to bring this story to a conclusion – and this week we got a little way toward that, with explosive results.

A neat opening conceit involving a town-wide blackout allows us to catch up with a lot of the characters away from the shocking revelations that closed out the last episode. In some ways, this episode followed a similar pattern, spending a considerable amount of time slowly navigating the minutiae of it’s second story characters before bringing us back full circle to the case with a wallop. Whereas Dawn was the focus previously, Lori took centre stage this week as she uncovered her husband’s affair – and whilst that was initially set up as a casual misdirect toward John’s intentions which was done and dusted by the episode’s end, it also helped formulate some suspicions around his brother Billy whose interactions with Erin seemed to be more involved than he’d previously stated.

And it wasn’t just Billy who was acting oddly. Freshly released from the hospital, Dylan was equally shifty when challenged by girlfriend Brianna about his whereabouts the night of Erin’s murder – and if that felt like a callback to the first few episodes where everybody was a suspect, it was with good reason – because, even though we thought we had our villain all set up last week, we were wrong – and the show was once again taking a sharp left turn and dragging us along for the ride.

A ride that got brutal, and fast.

Any eagle-eyed viewers who had seen the show’s pre-release trailer would have been worried for Zabel’s safety since his first appearance, and as the episode began to double down on some (rather clunky) prophetic statements from the young detective about achieving greatness and ‘not playing it safe’, it couldn’t have been more obvious he was a dead man walking unless he’d started claiming he was a day away from retirement and had bought a boat named Live4Ever. His fate was widely telegraphed way before it materialised, but perhaps the bigger shock than his demise was how willing the show was to wrap the narrative arc they’d only just developed an episode ago.

Following some fairly speedy exposition centered around a former prostitute Mare knew, we helpfully got a partial plate and even a cigarette brand to tie to the perp keeping Katie and Missy hostage. And after a brief procedural montage chasing down potential suspects, the scene was set when they entered the kidnapper’s home for what culminated in an admittedly tense stand-off. Your mileage may vary on how you felt about the way Zabel was dispatched in such a perfunctory manner, but it was definitely in keeping with Mare’s previous speech about aspiring to greatness versus the numbing reality of their profession. No heroes here.

So long Zabel, we hardly knew you.

With that story wrapped up, where does that leave the original case? It’s clearer than ever that Erin’s murder wasn’t linked to the other girls’ disappearance, which returns our focus to the town’s inhabitants themselves. Deacon Mark further removed himself from the line-up this week when he explained to Father Dan that he had seen Erin the night she died, but only to drop her off in another park. It felt like his tussle with the local pizzeria’s teen justice squad was the punctuation mark on his involvement in the case, and that Jess’s purloining of Erin’s diary scraps will exonerate him for the sake of plot convenience going forward.

But with two episodes to go, there’s still a lot of players on the board – which is a testament to how much of a labyrinth the show has made it’s narrative. It equally feels like we’ve had our action-packed ending already, and the actual conclusion to who the murderer is will be a lot more downbeat (well, more so then being shot in the face) – and crucially, closer to home. Which brings up another question. Mare of Easttown continues to impress, but can it stick the landing?

Andy D

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.





Mare of Easttown is currently showing on HBO in the US and Sky Atlantic/Now TV in the UK

REVIEW Mare of Easttown (S1 E4/7)

You know you’re onto something when your show is mercilessly parodied by other people, which is what happened to Mare of Easttown this past week on Saturday Night Live. And whilst that satire was firmly centered more on the rather unique Pennsylvanian accent than the actual content of the show, it was another indication that this intriguing drama has definitely begun to capture the popular attention of mainstream audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.

That popularity is well earned. The best crime dramas keep you guessing, and this show has been all about subverting your assumptions by continually taking a left turn on any theory you might have been carefully constructing.

And wow, did this episode give us yet ANOTHER – and much, much darker – left turn than before.

But before we got to that, the show did something interesting beforehand – it took it’s foot completely off the gas pedal. In the previous episode’s cliffhanger, we saw Deacon Mark offload Erin’s bike into the local river and Mare get her marching orders for trying to fit up Carrie. It was a lot to leave us with, but the show – once again – didn’t do what we expected. Instead, we got an even slower burn than previous episodes, with a complete detour into exploring the side stories of other characters as well as a heart-wrenching flashback that examined Mare’s relationship with her son Kevin.

It was a bold move, and it worked.

Mare of Easttown has had a lot of comparisons to other great crime shows thrown at it, most of which have been warranted – but it never felt more like The Killing than this episode, as it navigated some very intriguing second story-lines that felt like we were widening the scope of the narrative well beyond just Mare’s pursuit of Erin’s killer. Sure, we got plenty of that too (more on that later), but it was fascinating to see Dawn’s story evolve beyond just a side-sketch of a grieving mother.

Embattled from chemotherapy treatment and working a dead-end job, her story seemed desperate enough already even before she became a victim of blackmail over her daughter’s whereabouts. The fact the wild goose chase she went on was book-ended by the (largely predictable) reveal of her tormentor being local addict Freddie just made the whole escapade even more crushingly sad, for both parties. But it was part of a wider attempt by the show to explore the impact Erin’s death is creating on the town, and by doing so, expand the agency of the characters within it independent of the core investigation – something that The Killing excelled at.

Back to the case. The two big mic drops on the last episode were kind of a swing and a miss here, at least in terms of a resolution. With Mare suspended, Zabel pursues Deacon Mark on his past – and whilst a hushed-up case of sexual misconduct with a minor is certainly enough to have him firmly in the police crosshairs, it increasingly feels like he’s a misdirect we’re intentionally being led to follow whilst the show took another, disturbing twist.

Because out of nowhere, we’re introduced to a new character – Missy – who is assaulted and kidnapped by persons unknown that kind of looks like the Deacon, but I have to believe isn’t – at least based on this show’s track record for twists. This was a bit of a jaw-drop for me, because it shifted the momentum of the storyline well beyond a standard police procedural into something much more akin to a high stakes thriller.

And the show wasn’t done with us yet.

Missy’s disappearance is the key to getting Mare back into the saddle with some private sleuthing, but when she teams up again with Zabel it was my first gripe yet with the show – mainly because it negated the impact of her suspension the previous week. If it’s this easy to carry on unimpeded as if she’s still on the case, why have that story element in there? That aside, the duo’s investigation on Missy’s background leads to a crucial connection that both her and Katie were involved in prostitution to support their drug habits. The only missing link is Erin, but best friend Jess reveals she was also setting up to do something similar. So we have our connection, and we have our show’s villain now in plain sight (sort of). Things were definitely picking up pace.

But the biggest shock was yet to come.

Somewhere in an remote area (in an abandoned bar whose name is surely going to become key to the case), we see Missy forcibly dragged to a makeshift cell – where she is greeted by Katie Bailey, alive if not well. With this reveal, you felt the whole dynamic of the show shift substantially from a small-scale whodunnit to something much larger in scope – and with the two girls still in evident peril (and again, I’m desperately concerned for Siobhan even more now), it almost feels like we’re moving more into True Detective territory with what may be a final, crazy pursuit to justice of whoever is behind all this. Mare of Easttown continues to surprise at every turn, and it’s all the better for it.

Andy D

Rating: 4 out of 5.




Mare of Easttown is currently showing on HBO in the US and Sky Atlantic/Now TV in the UK

REVIEW Mare of Easttown (S1 E3/7)

Mare of Easttown is definitely starting to pick up considerable critical acclaim as it progresses, with a lot of fans online comparing it favorably to Happy Valley. Certainly in the titular role, Kate Winslet has struck gold with a central character as memorable as Sarah Lancashire’s towering performance in the much-loved UK series – and if this HBO series can match even a scintilla of that show’s dramatic power then we’re onto a good thing here.

I made mention in last week’s review how keen Mare of Easttown was on subverting the traditional twists and turns that would tie up any other show’s entire runtime.

And wow, did it deliver on that again this week.

That process started off in spectacular fashion with Mare barging into Frank’s house for a combustive confrontation over the previous episode’s cliffhanger about his potential paternity around Erin’s son. Your mileage may vary on how much you trust Frank to tell the truth – certainly it’s odd he never mentioned his relationship with Erin previously – but his subsequent explanation around being a grieving father helping out a struggling teenager seemed initially robust enough to deter Mare, if not simultaneously crush her with his damning words about her own troubled times with her son Kevin.

So no hanging about here – and with little pause we also discovered that despite Kenny’s hasty murder confessional, his victim was well and truly alive – if a little sore – with Dylan recuperating in hospital. If last week was centered around fathers, then this episode seemed all about sons (and daughters) – Dylan’s relationship with his own father as they struggle over DNA tests, Siobahn’s memories of Kevin’s fragile mental state around Mare and her enduring battle for custody over grandson Drew with his troubled mother Carrie. It was a lot to absorb – but consistently absorbing it was, drawing you in ever further to being thoroughly invested in these characters and their struggles.

Siobahn (well played by Angourie Rice) continues to be the smartest person in any room and it was good to see her achieve a little happiness with radio DJ Anne this episode amongst all the fire-fighting she continually seems to be doing within the two dysfunctional families her parents occupy. I’m curious though. I feel like the amount of airtime the show is giving her character seems a little redundant so far, to the extent I worry it might be to lead her into some form of peril later in the season – or make her a suspect, even – she was, of course, the last person to see Erin alive (although judging by how many times the show has flipped my expectations so far, who knows?).

And so to the case. Erin’s murder continues to be the catalyst for unpacking murky secrets across town, most notably when her cellphone records show the last call she made the night of her death was to Deacon Mark. This led to the first audible “OH SHIT!” from me when he popped his trunk to reveal Erin’s missing bike at the episode’s close – and certainly this revelation was one of several misdirections (along with his mysterious moving around parishes) that the show will have to be careful about deploying going forward, for fear of viewers catching on to the bait and switch they are running with each weekly cliffhanger. Certainly it seems he’s our “suspect of the week”, to be presumably cleared the following episode (although how he explains away everything will be interesting).

Elsewhere, Mare jumps light-years forward to the usual season end’s trope of relinquishing her badge and gun when she inexplicably (inevitably?) succumbs to desperation in planting drugs on Carrie, causing the chief to put her on administrative leave. Luckily she has a willing disciple in Zabel, who’s not just enamoured with her spectacular detective skills but the woman herself (albeit with a gutful of whiskey for courage). And as much as Zabel is learning his craft from her, Mare will need to re-educate herself that charging into every situation head-first isn’t always for the best. Certainly there is a zesty chemistry to their dynamic, and the interplay between Winslet and Peters is engaging and charming.

And those performances are a core part of what makes the show really shine – the characters feel well constructed and three-dimensional, and whilst Zabel had his moments this episode to show how vulnerable he really is, it’s Mare especially that is the stand-out here – somebody unable to comprehend their own grief and hurtling recklessly toward some form of resolution, which we can foresee won’t end well. One thing is for certain – she’s definitely well on her way to joining the pantheon of incredible women that hold up the best crime dramas we know and love.

Andy D

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.



Mare of Easttown is currently showing on HBO in the US and Sky Atlantic/Now TV in the UK

REVIEW Mare of Easttown (S1 E2/7)

Last week’s excellent opening episode of HBO’s new series Mare of Easttown took it’s sweet time to explore the titular location and it’s characters, rather than actually delving into any crime; instead, the show was setting out it’s stall early on as a forensic examination of family ties and the secrets they hide, before setting up the catalyst for what would inevitably expose those secrets. This week, that examination came to fruition with explosive results – and then some.

The previous episode had left us on the cliffhanger of Erin’s death, and this episode picked up immediately in the aftermath of her body’s discovery from Mare’s initial call-in to the crime scene itself. For a community as close-knit as Easttown, the murder of one of their own hits hard, and Mare immediately corrals the brothers of Erin’s dad Kenny into helping break the terrible news that his daughter is dead. He is immediately unequivocal in his assertion that only one person stood to gain from her death – Dylan.

Mare presses Dylan on his whereabouts the night of Erin’s murder, and his teenage bravado holds her off initially – unfortunately it doesn’t hold off Kenny, who subsequently forces Dylan to drive into nearby woods where he shoots him dead. Kenny’s actions are indicative of a townsfolk unafraid to take matters in hand, with Mare being barely able to keep a lid on all the simmering tensions – not least in her own wranglings with Dylan’s psychotic girlfriend Breanna and her equally violent dad Tony, when the video of her assaulting Erin surfaces online.

Mare of Easttown might have been a slow burn study previously but it definitely switched up gears this week to really motor through some key plot points, flagging twists I thought would take all season to percolate – chiefly Frank’s presumed paternity around Erin’s child. It was pretty evident from the start of the show he wasn’t all he appeared to be, and his whereabouts on the night of the murder definitely puts him in the cross-hairs of the investigation, and a showdown with Mare. It was a pleasant surprise to see a show so confident in it’s own story that it was unafraid to pivot quickly on a plot point other shows would draw out needlessly.

Likewise the old chestnut of dropping a fish out of water into the investigation by introducing Detective Colin Zabel (the ever excellent Evan Peters) as Mare’s outsider foil. Their initial interactions had the same spark of True Detective’s past pairings, but again the show didn’t labour the point of contrasting personalities – Mare is initially antagonistic toward Zabel, who she feels represents a threat to her authority, but together they squash the animosity quickly and work together to get the case moving forward. It felt refreshing to not have to endure something that again, other shows would have laboured all season.

All of which might seem a bit swift to simplify certain strands of the story in favour of the more soapy elements – certainly there’s some odd tonal choices here and there, with jaunty comical music accompanying Mare’s attempts to blend in at Richard’s swanky book night – which is strange given the unrelentingly grim atmosphere elsewhere in the show. The hope would be the speed picking up in the narrative is to afford more room for some twists and turns later in it’s run time, as it’s almost certain the paternity issue can’t be the end motive, despite this episode being focused (and titled as such) on ‘Fathers’ (and was that episode title also designed as a sly dig toward a certain Deacon who had previous history with Erin?).

Again, it feels like the death of Erin goes beyond just exposing one secret, and instead will continue to expand outward, damaging other characters living other lies. It lends the show an air of unpredictability that compels you to keep watching. So far, Mare of Easttown is essential viewing.

Andy D

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Mare of Easttown is currently showing on HBO in the US and Sky Atlantic/Now TV in the UK