[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Mare of EasttownEpisode 6, “Sore Must Be the Storm.”]
After the ending of Episode 5 of Mare of Easttown, it’s very considerate of Episode 6 to give us (as well as Mare) a little recovery time. Last week concluded with Mare and Colin discovering where Katie Bailey has been for the last year, Colin getting killed in the ensuing struggle with one Wayne Potts (the perpetrator of Katie’s kidnapping). Thus, “Sore Must Be the Storm” begins with Mare in the hospital, while the news breathlessly reports on Katie’s return and Colin’s death.
By the way, the only thing sadder than the rough and raw manner of Colin’s death is the fact that Evan Peters is no longer with us, which is a damn shame, given how much verve he brought to the show. Mare’s clearly shaken up by what happened, even while multiple people over the course of this episode thank her for her bravery and apologize for their past treatment of her. Fortunately, the Chief turns up to give her her preferred method of dealing with her problems — putting her back on the case of Erin’s death, since the Wayne Potts situation appears to have no direct connection to her death. So the murder investigation continues, with Pastor Mark still not looking clean as a whistle thanks to dumping Erin’s bike in the river (which they’ve now able to recover). But oh, there are still a number of suspects.
First, though, let’s cover all this interpersonal drama (since a lot of it has repercussions on what happens with the case). First, Lori kicks her husband John out of the house after learning of yet another affair; John goes to stay with his father and brother Billy, a situation which makes no one happy. Also, while still fumbling with her cast Mare gets a visit from Richard, and while his very sweet gift basket of Pennsylvania musts (including two ice-cold Rolling Rocks, which of course Mare likes best). Despite the thoughtful nature of his gift, she has to tell him that she’s a mess and can’t offer him anything, to which he responds by saying he’ll wait in such a cute and sweet way that I’m now halfway convinced that Guy Pearce is the killer, just because wouldn’t that really twist the knife?
Another thread is Siobhan grappling first a bit with the future, thanks to her girlfriend encouraging her to consider attending film school at Berkeley once she graduates, as well as the past, specifically the memory of her brother.
Siobhan is pretty mad at Mare over what happened to Kevin, but it turns out she has pretty good reason. Midway through the episode, it’s time for Kate Winslet to lock down her Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in a Limited Series by telling her therapist about the day her son died, the details of which were pretty much known: dead by suicide, and Siobhan was the one to find him before Mare came home (something Mare could have prevented). It’s pretty brutal, and also gets followed up by yet more death — a call from Bethie summons Mare to Freddie’s largely abandoned house, where she finds him gone, with a needle in his arm.
Mare also finds clothes in the room with Freddie, but they’re not Freddie’s. Instead, she identifies them as clothes belonging to Erin (which Freddie was given by Kenny, as potential gifts for Freddie’s daughter). The clothes include a T-shirt from the Ross family reunion which was attended by Lori’s family, including John, Billy, Kenny, and Erin, and it’s the family reunion that may prove to be the key clue to this whole mess. Her ex-boyfriend Dylan isn’t the father of her baby, we know, which means there’s someone else out there at least responsible for her pregnancy… and it appears that Erin was messing around with her cousin Billy.
The audience gets clued into this well before Mare does, because we get to see John come home to his upset father, who confesses that on the night of the murder, Billy came home covered in blood, which they washed away. Billy doesn’t seem all the way there right now, to be honest, and when John confronts him over Erin Billy does confess to killing her, but it’s hard to be sure he’s actually all there when he does it.
John tells Lori about this, and Lori confesses soon afterward to Mare, who’s already close to figuring it out thanks to Erin’s gold heart pendant, engraved with the date of the anniversary. So she heads out to find John and Billy, because as any of us would do after wringing a confession of murder out of a loved one, John takes Billy out to the cabin for “one last fishing trip.” It’s a sequence that reminded me way too much of the ending of Of Mice and Men. Except that George is the smaller one, and he’s got a gun stashed in the tackle box.
Another small subplot is that Drew’s mom Carrie really is trying to get her shit together, but working two jobs has her running on four hours of sleep a night, leading to a nailbiting moment while she gives Drew a bath. Falling asleep while he plays in the water, it takes the water spilling over the side of the tub for her to wake up and see him facedown, motionless. He was just playing, of course, but it’s an incident that’ll either lead to Carrie giving into her co-worker’s offer of uppers to keep up with her schedule, or giving up on her pursuit of full custody of Drew.
That intense scare is intercut with Erin’s bestie Jess contending with Dylan, furious with her about speaking to the police about Erin’s burned diaries. That doesn’t stop her from going to the Chief with something she was able to save from the diaries before they were burned, though, and whatever she presents to him has him yelling for someone to find Mare — now.
So yes, while Billy is looking like the odds-on favorite right now as far as guilty parties go, connoisseurs of sad HBO murder shows know that that’s just because this is the second-to-last episode of the series, and next week’s finale will contain at least two or three big twists on what we think we know. Monday, our ongoing list of suspects will be updated, but for right now we’re ready for any surprises
That’s right, Guy Pearce. You’re not off the hook yet.
Mare of Easttown airs Sundays at 10 PM ET on HBO.
There’s no time to lose for this fantasy adaptation.
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