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Mare of Easttown
HBO Television Television Reviews

Five Takeaways from ‘Mare of Easttown’ Episode One

Mare of Easttown begins its limited run on HBO tonight and it’s destined to become the next great crime drama. Not since True Detective stormed into our lives in 2014, has a show been so well crafted and so balanced that it has the potential to capture the world’s attention. Let’s take a look at our five big takeaways from episode one.

5. Background –

Mare of Easttown
Guy Pearce, Kate Winslet HBO, ‘Mare of Easttown’, Photograph by Sarah Shatz/HBO

Kate Winslet plays Detective Mare Sheehan, a divorced mother who is overworked and hasn’t come to terms with her own son’s suicide. For her, personal and professional lives are the same thing. She’s never off the clock. She doesn’t censor what she says to anyone whether she’s investigating a death or talking to one of her former High School Basketball teammates. She meets a local creative writing professor named Richard Ryan in the first episode and they immediately have a connection. Ryan is attracted to her by Mare sees him as a means to an end. Perhaps there’s more to Ryan’s story than we realize?

4. Jean Smart as Mare’s Mother-

Kate Winslet, Jean Smart, Neal Huff, HBO,’ Mare of Easttown’, Photograph by Michele K. Short/HBO

Casting Jean Smart as Mare’s mother is a stroke of genius. The chemistry they have throughout the series injects just the right amount of comedy that gives the show the balance other crime dramas lack.

3. A Window into who Mare is –

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

This is the second most important moment in episode one but it does us a glimpse into who Mare is. She happens to be driving by and sees someone breaking into Beth Hanlon’s home (Chinasa Ogbuagu) and immediately spring into action only to find the prowler is her strung-out brother. Beth wants to kill him but Mare intercedes explaining that he was looking for things to sell cause his heat had been turned off. Now after this interaction, one would think that this where we see Detective Sheehan show some compassion towards her brother but Mare keeps that same matter-of-fact tone with him explaining his options. It seems life has beaten her down so much that any level of compassion is reserved for her grandson and that’s it. Is it because that’s Mare’s only connection to her son who has since passed? It’s as if the circumstances of the last year have made her numb.

2. This doesn’t feel right –

Cailee Spaeny, Ruby Cruz, HBO, ‘Mare of Easttown’, Photograph by Michele K. Short/HBO

Erin’s (Cailee Spaeny) best friend Jess (Ruby Cruz) seems all too eager to get her ready for this date she has with someone in the woods. Is she in on it?

1. Her Dad –

Cailee Spaeny, Patrick Murney, ‘MARE OF EASTTOWN’, Photograph by Sarah Shatz/HBO

Could Erin’s Dad be the one who did this? That’s too easy … right? Or is it?

'Mare of Easttown' Episode One - Recap
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My name is Dewey Singleton, and I've been a film/Television critic for going on seven years. My reviews have been found on,,,, and I am a member of the Critics Choice Association. I'm married and have two beautiful children.