HBO’s Mare of Easttown: Fathers (Episode 2) Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
On this week’s episode of HBO’s Mare of Easttown, Fathers, Mare (Kate Winslet) begins to question suspects alongside a county detective that’s brought in to help her solve Erin’s (Cailee Spaeny) murder as the town begins to unravel.
In the premiere, we really got a sense of the small Pennsylvanian town of Easttown with how everyone knew everyone and how Mare is truly at the center of it all as a well-known name. This week, we see this elevated even further with how the interconnectivity plays a big, visual role in uncovering the truth about Erin’s death. It’s not only crazy how everyone knows each other, but how everyone comes across each other so much. Frank (David Denman) was apparently Erin’s algebra teacher at one point. Mare’s friend Lori (Julianne Nicholson) and her family are related/have a strong relationship with Erin and her father Kenny (Patrick Murney). Even when Mare goes into a gas station before heading home, she ends up seeing Dawn (Enid Graham) working there. In the premiere, it seemed like there were too many characters to manage. However, the series manages to effectively rotate characters in and out really well and create engaging character relationships.
Mare is still at the center of all this and frankly, she probably doesn’t want to be. She’s now stuck on another murder case that elevates the frustration and hate she’s still receiving from being unable to find Dawn’s daughter. She publicly arrests Briana (Mackenzie Lansing) for questioning after a video surfaces of her hitting Erin in the woods and ends up getting stalked and harassed by her father Tony (Eric T. Miller) all throughout the following night. She finds out that her daughter Siobhan (Angourie Rice) was in the woods without her knowing. Worst of all is that Mare finds herself stuck with how to handle everything happening with her grandson Drew (Izzy King) and it ends up bringing up how her son Kevin (Cody Kostro) died.
So, Kevin apparently struggled with mental health issues for most of his life and Mare and Frank’s marriage took a major toll in trying to figure out how to handle it. As Kevin got older, things seemed to get harder, especially adding in the stress of being a young dad, and he eventually took his own life. Mare talking about this to Drew’s teacher is just as tragic as you’d think, and it opens her up in a way that connects you to her hidden pain. Winslet continues to deliver an amazingly captivating performance and her discussion with Drew’s teacher about if he’s exhibiting the same behavior is incredibly touching. Mare might be rough and tough around the edges, but there’s an invisible pain that stems from her life falling apart that doesn’t go unnoticed. Also, it looks like Drew’s mother Carrie (Sosie Bacon) wants full custody, so things are only going to get tougher.
Mare also has to deal with working with a new county detective named Colin Zabel (Evan Peters) who adds a light-hearted humor to the series as a whole. Maybe its just because I’ve mostly seen Peters in American Horror Story or as Quicksilver, but I’ve never seen him look so normal and easygoing as he does here. His shock of Mare knowing everyone and everyone knowing her as well as her brash demeanor and execution when dealing with witnesses is really funny and fleshes out that city versus small town mentality. It’s great that his openness and willingness to work with Mare helps bring her out of her shell a little more and the terms they end on in the episode is one of the only moments that feels hopeful. Peters’ presence brings a very welcomed warmth to the series and it’ll be interesting to see if it stays that way when he discovers some of the chilling conclusions of this episode.
Although he was shown to be aggressive towards Erin, there’re moments, admittedly very few, where you feel a little sorry for Kenny knowing that his daughter is gone and as expected in these scenarios, he ends up taking things into his own hands. He believes that Erin’s less than approving baby daddy Dylan (Jack Mulhern) is the one that killed her and ends up cornering him with a gun in the woods and killing him there. It’s a shocking moment that’ll definitely cause some big waves in the case and in the town, but, oddly enough, it’s not even the most shocking turn in this episode. That title belongs to a secret that Erin had told her best friend. She apparently said that Dylan is not the father to Erin’s baby and that it very well could be Frank. This was one hell of a bomb to drop considering how much fire Mare is already under and the fact that Frank lied about knowing much about her when Mare asked him. Frank probably still didn’t kill Erin, but there are secrets clearly hidden within the entirety of Easttown that’ll blow this case wide open, and this is a killer one to start with.
Mare of Easttown and Winslet continue to create a captivating mystery full of shock, intrigue, and personal demons. The way the series continues to delve into Mare’s hellish personal life and drop secrets that are about to blow the case and the town wide open make the wait for next week’s episode of this must-watch series truly unbearable.