HBO’s Mare of Easttown: Poor Sisyphus (Episode 4) Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
On this week’s episode of HBO’s Mare of Easttown, Poor Sisyphus, Colin (Evan Peters) continues the investigation while Mare (Kate Winslet) works out some family woes and Dawn (Enid Graham) gets new information from a mysterious source about Katie (Caitlin Houlahan).
In terms of the new suspects and information we got last week, there’re aren’t many updates. The test results are back and both Frank (David Denman) and Dylan (Jack Mulhern) are not the father to Erin’s (Cailee Spaeny) child. So, it seems like Frank is out, although it’s still odd to me that he lied about stuff, and Dylan struggles to come to terms with DJ not really being his son. He snaps at his parents for taking care of DJ in front of him but manages to console DJ when he’s crying. With those two not being DJ’s father, all eyes are on Deacon Mark (James McArdle) since he was the last person to talk to Erin and has a pretty relevant history. We do find out that a sexual misconduct allegation was what got Mark transferred and although there’s no direct proof that Colin can find about his connection to Erin’s death, we know that he knows more than he’s letting since he dumped Erin’s bike at the end of last week’s episode.
Frankly, we don’t even get much progress with Mare attending counseling as we just see her start to get her know her therapist and make some cliché remarks about how therapy isn’t really her thing. Although Mare is able to open up to her mother Helen (Jean Smart) and Siobhan (Angourie Rice) about her getting suspended and what happened with Carrie (Sosie Bacon), she’s still closed off when it comes to Kevin. A traumatizing flashback she has takes us back to a time where Kevin and Carrie were raiding her purse for drug money and gives us a glimpse into their tumultuous relationship. It’s actually a very heartbreaking scene to watch because of how vicious it feels and how vulnerable Mare looks. It’s been tough to exactly pinpoint where things went so wrong. Whether it’s Mare’s parenting and inability to accept Kevin’s flaws, Carrie’s bad influence, or something else that affected Kevin, there’s clearly some bad elements to this relationship that aren’t really recognized by the rest of the family.
Truth be told, although everyone rides Mare for not talking about Kevin, we never really see anyone else talk about it aside from Siobhan as she makes her documentary about his suicide and starts a relationship with a new girl. She’s trying to understand exactly why Kevin committed suicide and perhaps this could be a good place for her and Mare to reconcile a bit. To be fair, after telling Siobhan and Helen about her suspension, things don’t feel as tense in their household. Yes, they’re mad at her for nearly getting Drew (Izzy King) taken out of their custody, although it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen given Drew’s reaction to staying with Carrie for the night. He just seems totally uncomfortable and even though that flashback makes Carrie look like a total monster, it’s hard not to feel some sympathy for her for having to bring him back to Mare’s and feeling like she’s failing as a mother.
That’s not even the worst for Mare’s family this week as Siobhan bringing her new girlfriend home not only causes some issues between her and her ex-Becca (Madeline Weinstein), but ends up giving Helen a head injury. It was actually a really sad moment because Helen had been absolutely killing it with her hilarious banter and hiding ice cream in vegetable bags. She ends up being all right for now though and there’s a feel to the entire thing of Mare and her family being a little warmer to each other.
Even with all these good family vibes though, Mare continues to put herself back in hot water with her romantic relationships. While still seeing Richard (Guy Pearce), Mare also accepts an invitation from Colin for a dinner date. Frankly, Mare already has enough on her plate and doesn’t need to be juggling two romantic relationships. She’s clearly a glutton for punishment and I’m still wondering Richard’s part in all this. Regardless, Mare makes more headway in the case with Colin’s help as they discover that, like Katie, Erin had turned to prostitution to try to make some money to pay for DJ’s ear surgery. With Katie also turning to prostitution before she disappeared, it seems like her and Erin’s cases are connected, and a third call girl named Missy (Sasha Frolova) has now also gone missing heightening the tension surrounding the case even more.
Throughout the episode, Dawn is also dealing with a stranger on the phone telling her that he has Katie and that she’s still alive. It’s pretty easy to see that this is all just a cruel trick and the moment of Dawn eventually finding out that this is a ruse by Freddie (Dominique Johnson) to get some drug money is legitimately crushing. There’s so much build-up with her in this episode and her desperation to find Katie is put into the spotlight in a very emotional way. Even after this crushing blow Dawn still believes that Katie is out there, and we learn that she’s not wrong. As we see Missy get thrown into a room hidden within a bar, we see that Katie is still around and it poses a lot of questions. What exactly happened that made Erin get killed versus the rest of the girls getting kidnapped and who is this mystery kidnapper? These answers might be unclear, but this mystery just got much more interesting.
Although it doesn’t feel like the most consequential episode at times, Mare of Easttown further unpacks some of the emotional baggage of its titular detective while closing some doors on some suspects and opening others that lead to some shocking discoveries. As another girl goes missing, things are about to get much more interesting in the case.