HBO’s Mare of Easttown: Illusions (Episode 5) Review

*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*

On this week’s episode of HBO’s Mare of Easttown, Illusions, Mare (Kate Winslet) and Colin (Evan Peters) make major breakthroughs in the case that lead to a violent altercation.

Mare has put herself in hot water these past few weeks with how she continues to let her unresolved feelings about Kevin’s (Cody Kostro) death and Drew’s (Izzy King) custody cause major rifts in her personal and professional life. She’s finally talking to a therapist about things and is shockingly very open about her family issues that stem from her deceased father. It’s a really interesting scene that lets Winslet flex her emotionally dramatic chops and brings Mare out of her shell. There’s a great question posed by Mare about whether the therapist thinks that depression and mental illness are hereditary that leaves you thinking and hits hard with how both her father and Kevin sadly met the same end, and she worries that Drew could also suffer the same issues.

It’s great to see Mare really start to open up and think deeper about her unresolved feelings. It’s also great to see that Carrie (Sosie Bacon) gets another opportunity to be a better mother to Drew thanks to Helen (Jean Smart). Sure, it’s essentially because Helen is worried that Carrie will rip Drew away from them, but it’s progress. Helen has a lot happen to her this episode that makes her just a blast to love. Outside of helping Carrie, a hilarious secret comes out at an inappropriate time. The whole scene of Glen (Patrick McDade), the patriarch of the old couple we’ve seen throughout the series, telling everyone that he had an affair with Helen at his wife’s funeral didn’t really have anything to do with the episode, but was such a hilarious side-scene. I was laughing with Mare the entire time.

Mare (middle) uses an old source to make a big break on the case. PHOTO: The New York Times

Mare also continues to go through her relationship struggles as she leaves Richard (Guy Pearce) out for her to go on a failed date with Colin. Although Colin’s intentions are romantic, the same can’t be said about Mare. It’s pretty obvious from the start that Mare doesn’t care about this date and really just wants to stay close to the case and it’s pretty heartbreaking when Colin calls her out on this. There wasn’t a whole lot to expect from this “romance,” but its still sad to see them hit a rough patch. Just as quickly though, they’re right back at it with a lead from a semi-retired escort that gives them a big break in the case.

It’s definitely impressive to see Mare use these great sources and it really shows her prowess as a detective. It’s something that still impresses Colin and the two have a great heart to heart where he reveals something truly shocking – he didn’t really solve that missing girl case. Apparently, a dying private eye cracked the code that Colin couldn’t and Colin was able to take the credit when he used the P.I.’s notes to help him out. It’s an interesting turn for his character and the way Mare comforts him is super meaningful and another way we see her genuinely open up this episode. The way she talks about how cases become a big part of your life and you end up feeling the same way about the case as the families of those involved felt incredibly cathartic for Mare. It makes sense given how her and Dawn (Enid Graham) are now in the same place of things with Katie’s (Caitlin Houlahan) disappearance. It ends on a sudden kiss from Colin that just makes you love his lovably dorky attitude.

Colin (pictured above) reveals something shocking about his past as Mare comforts him. PHOTO: Decider

The big get from Mare’s source though is what really breaks this case wide open as a tip about a blue utility van leads them to the kidnapper. No seriously, they end up finding the bar that Katie and Missy (Sasha Frolova) and the man that kidnapped them – a new character named Wayne Potts (Jeb Kreager). The second they walk in you instantly feel uneasy and see the pieces line up as quickly as Mare and Colin do. Things get bad fast too as the girls use the pipes to alert Mare and Colin and Colin loses a quickdraw contest to Wayne and gets suddenly shot in the face. Now, before you freak out like I almost did when this happened, it looks like he just got shot in the cheek, so it doesn’t seem like he’s dead. Rather it kicks off a very thrilling cat and mouse chase between Mare and Wayne that thankfully has Mare come out on top.

With Wayne being bagged and tagged and the girls rescued, it seems like this case is all wrapped up, but with so many other threads and reveals happening in this episode, it seems like Erin’s (Cailee Spaeny) case isn’t connected to Wayne or Katie. Deacon Mark (James McArdle) tells Dan (Neal Huff) that he didn’t kill Erin but had her bike from dropping her off at the park. Dylan (Jack Mulhern) is now super suspicious with Brianna (Mackenzie Lasing) saying that there was a period of time where Dylan was missing and he’s now burning Erin’s journals likely because there’s something about him in there. There’s even trouble in the Ross household with John (Joe Tippett) having an affair with a mystery woman and his brother Billy (Robbie Tann) withholding some information about being Erin’s guardian for a little while. While this whole ordeal with Katie and Missy might be done, Erin’s case is far from over.

Mare of Easttown continues to keep you guessing with how it brings Katie’s case to a surprising and gruesome conclusion but opens up Erin’s case even more with its growing list of suspicious characters. It’s a great episode that’s contains both nail-biting thrills and warming character growth for its titular detective of Easttown.


Watch the Trailer Here:

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