• Sun. Sep 19th, 2021

Five Takeaways from ‘Mare of Easttown’ Episode 5

Tonight’s episode of ‘Mare of Easttown’ is entitled illusions, and it’s the most aptly titled of the entire series. Perceptions are shattered, and nothing is the same after tonight. Everything we felt was pretty clear after 4 episodes are pretty muddled following tonight’s explosive 5th episode. If anyone is reading this recap of tonight’s episode and has not seen the 5th episode, let me caution that there are spoilers in our top 5 takeaways. I’d advise bookmarking this, watching the episode, then coming back to it. Okay? Cool! Here we go!

5) Just when we thought …

Mare of Easttown
Jack Mulhern, Mackenzie Lansing, HBO, ‘Mare of Easttown,’ Photograph by Michele K. Short/HBO

Just when we thought it was safe to like Dylan again, we see an interaction between him and his “girlfriend” (a term I use loosely) and learn that he went back out the night killed Erin. Why? Was it to meet Erin and eliminate his problem once and for all? Who had more of a reason to kill her than Dylan? It seems too obvious, and if we’ve learned anything, everything is an illusion in this town. Everyone has something they are hiding. Think about all that trouble he went to destroy her diaries? What was he so hell-bent on destroying.

4) Getting close …

Mare of Easttown
Evan Peters, HBO, ‘Mare of Easttown,’ Photograph by Michele K. Short/HBO

It seems as if Detective Zabel is highly motivated to crack this case for multiple reasons. For starters, that whole line about him being this hero for solving a cold case in another county is a bunch of nonsense (see … illusion). He wants to prove that he can truly solve one of these cases without relying on the notes of a recently deceased private detective. Zabel is also clearly into Mare and wants to impress her so much. Using the partial plates from the prostitute who had an interaction with this killer was a great move, and now they have it narrowed down.

3. Family life shattered …

Mare of Easttown
Julianne Nicholson, HBO, ‘Mare of Easttown,’ Photograph by Michele K. Short/HBO

Lori’s life seems to be falling based on her husband relapsing. It appears her husband has a history of cheating, and it seems their son has caught on to it, and he’s been persuaded to keep it quiet. What happens is that the pressure is starting to boil over (just as it would with any child), and he begins to lose it. When kids begin picking on his sister, who has special needs, he proceeds to act out of character smash them in the face. The only thing that isn’t clear is who he was cheating with. Could he have been caught by their son with Erin?

2. Coming to terms …

Mare of Easttown
Kate Winslet, HBO, ‘Mare of Easttown,’ Photograph by Michele K. Short/HBO

Through therapy, it appears that Mare is starting to come to terms with why her son eventually committed suicide. We do get the sense that she appreciates Detective Zabel to include her in every aspect of this investigation. What she doesn’t fully realize are the factors moving him to do so. He eventually professes his feelings for her after coming clean about what really happened with that cold case he apparently cracked. They do kiss, and we see her coming to terms with the possibility of feeling the same way. They table the discussion and pursue another lead.


1) Shock

The last 12 minutes of this episode is one of the best shot and well-blocked scenes of any show this year. The thing which struck me was how this show has been all about the little details. A partial plate and a brand of cigarettes are what ultimately lead to finding those two missing girls. While the feeling that Evan Peters’s character was somehow going to meet a tragic end seemed likely, seeing him shot in the head in the first moment of this hectic sequence got me by surprise. It was Mare vs. this monster as she frantically attempted to free those two. Making the chase scene go into the inner reaches of the home was a great call, and having Winslet’s character get roughed up was the right move as well. What is a bit creepy is that even though Colin is clearly dead and Mare appears to be a hero, this is far from resolved. The town will laud her for this moment, but it just seems as this is too easy. Something doesn’t add up. Could there have been other men involved in picking up those girls? Is this somehow tied to Erin’s death? So many questions and not enough answers!


Dewey Singleton

I'm a member of Critics Choice, Hollywood Critics Association, and The Society of Professional Journalists. I am also on Rotten Tomatoes. My bylines include @awardswatch, @deweysmovies, @awardsradar, @weliveentertainment, @bleedingcool, and @insessionfilm. I am married to @sgitw and have two sons.

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