Kate Winslet is a LONG way from Rose Dewitt Bukater in Titanic in her new role in HBO Max’s new Mare of Easttown. Far from the glitz and glamour of on-board privilege, Mare (Kate Winslet) is a small-town detective who watches as her life slowly unravels around her. She could be a hero-cop, the onetime Lady Hawk basketball star with accolades and respect — if only her personal and professional life would just fall in line.
Things are just not going well. A local teen, Katie Bailey, has been missing for a year, and Mare tells her best friend, Lori Ross (Julianne Nicholson): “We’re never gonna find her, never. She’s a needle in a thousand fuckin’ haystacks.” Under pressure from Dawn Bailey (Enid Graham), Chief Carter (John Douglas Thompson) warns her that they’re bringing in outside “help” to solve the case. Pressure is mounting, and then it just gets worse when they find a body.
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With unsolicited assistance from Detective Colin Zabel (Evan Peters), Mare digs into the life of Erin McMenamin (Cailee Spaeny), the murdered teen mom whose body was dumped in the river. There’s no shortage of suspects in a community where everyone is struggling. In her gruff, tough-as-nails style, Mare bulldozes her way through the list, unearthing more questions than answers.
With so much on the line in her desperate hunt for Erin’s killer, the threads of Mare’s personal and professional life completely come apart. Her live-in mom, Helen (Jean Smart), tells her: “Oh, God, Marianne, I don’t know what to say…Oh wait it just came to me, that was stupid!” Her daughter, Siobhan (Angourie Rice), agrees with Helen. The women in Mare’s family are fiercely self-reliant, with streaks of mutual protectiveness and self-sabotage.
— Meghan Woods (@Miss_MEW_) May 10, 2021
The episodes are run through with grief, sadness, and loss. We learn that Mare’s son, Kevin, committed suicide, so she’s already traumatized by the loss of her child. That might just explain part of her obsession for finding the murderer and making things “right,” but this isn’t melodrama. With loss, nothing can ever be the same. She grapples with her inner demons, questioning. Did she do enough for Kevin? Is she somehow at fault — then and now?
Mare may not want to talk about Kevin’s death, her divorce, her job, or her other fracturing relationships, but all the skeletons in her closets will be revealed when they’re good and ready. After all, the tagline for the series is: “All truths come to light.” In the perfect interplay of character, place, and plot, Winslet’s stunningly grounded performance brings it all together.
It’s not just that we need to see what happens. We’ve become immersed in the lives of Easttown. We feel their sorrows, loss, and even those brief moments of what feels almost like hope. With new episodes dropping every Sunday on HBO Max, we’re gearing up for the “Sacrament” episode on May 30. I can’t wait!
Have you checked out Mare of Easttown yet? Let us know what you think about it below in the comments!
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