HBO’s Mare of Easttown: Sacrament (Series Finale) Review
On the series finale of HBO’s Mare of Easttown, Sacrament, Mare (Kate Winslet) uncovers major secrets that bring Erin’s (Cailee Spaeny) case to a shocking conclusion and the entire community of Easttown reels from the traumatic year its faced.
Pretty much immediately, the entire situation with Jess (Ruby Cruz) and this mysterious photo is settled and it’s exactly what I expected. John (Joe Tippett) was actually the one having a sexual relationship with Erin, not Billy (Robbie Tann), and is actually the father to DJ – who’s initials are actually Dylan John. It’s a reveal that makes sense given his lewd behavior and the way that Billy’s confession never seemed totally real, and it surprisingly wraps up with very little conflict. I mean there is a wrestling match at the creek between the two and Mare, but everyone comes out fine and John even gives a detailed enough confession to be the true killer. Normally, this is where we would see the finale end, but this is really where things begin.
The way this series wraps up a lot of things is really great with how genuinely satisfying it feels. Deacon Mark (James McArdle) is let go and even delivers a great sermon about the town’s anguish and attempting to move forward through love and forgiveness. We see the Sheehans continue to grow and work towards healthier relationships. Mare attends Frank’s (David Denman) wedding with Richard (Guy Pearce), who I’m surprised doesn’t have a greater role here given Pearce’s notoriety. Mare and Helen (Jean Smart) actually talk about their past transgressions and Kevin’s suicide and even though both get upset, it’s very uplifting to see their relationship really mending. Even Mare and Siobhan (Angourie Rice) have a real mother/daughter moment and it felt so gratifying to see her able to move out of Easttown for college and get support from her whole family.
Honestly, everything with Mare and her family is sort of pitch perfect. Well, maybe outside of Drew’s (Izzy King) custody battle with Carrie (Sosie Bacon). Mare and her family end up not losing Drew, but its only because Carrie is once again struggling with drugs. It’s sad that Carrie’s arc has to end this way because she clearly cares for Drew, but just doesn’t have the support system to stay clean. It’s rough to see her have to walk away from Drew, but Mare’s interaction with her is much more compassionate and civil than before.
Things aren’t much better for the Ross family with Lori (Julianne Nicholson) having to pick up the pieces of her life as it continues to shatter. Every time you look at her, it’s easy to see her silently in pain and she’s unable to even get any kind of consoling from Mare because of her closeness to the case. As a last wish from John, she tries to help DJ and even gets him his ear surgery. Dylan (Jack Mulhern) also stops by to try to redeem his character by giving Lori some money for DJ and the money that Erin was saving. It doesn’t totally redeem him in my eyes given that he’s been a total psychopath these last two weeks, but it’s a nice moment, nevertheless. Even with these sad moments though, it really does feel like the case is closed and the fact that it’s really not speaks to the beauty of the writing and directing of this series.
This finale does such a perfect job comforting you into thinking that things are over only to pull the rug out once again from under you with one last little turn. The series ends up coming full circle with Mare discovering new evidence from visiting Glen’s (Patrick McDade) and finding the gun that actually killed Erin. No, Glen isn’t the killer, but information he provides finally clicks everything together in showing that Ryan Ross (Cameron Mann), the son of Lori and John, is actually the one that killed Erin. It’s a legitimately shocking answer that really rocks everyone to their core. At first, it’s tough to believe because Ryan’s role hadn’t been that big and has been majorly in the shadow of John’s affairs. However, with some real flashbacks to that night of him stealing the gun from Glen’s shed, talking about his issues with his father’s behavior, and making a stand to stop him and Erin from seeing each other, it’s clear that Ryan is the true killer.
It’s a reveal that’s completely devastating to everyone involved and the series fleshes out the destructiveness this realization has on Mare and Lori incredibly well. It’s disheartening to see their friendship disintegrate and for Lori to be emotionally torn as her family has pretty much crumbled around her. Even Mare, who usually is pretty stone-cold about these situations, feels absolutely broken by this and it really leaves you reeling from the whole thing. There’s always something so crushing about kids being at the center of killings, especially when they’re so remorseful, and it’s exactly what makes Ryan’s so damn troubling. Ryan was someone that neither Mare nor Lori thought would ever be in a situation like this and both Winslet and Nicholson deliver excellent performances here. From this hurt comes greater healing though, and the series leaves things on a perfectly emotional, almost triumphant note, of Mare and Lori consoling and Mare finally overcoming her fears and heading into the attic.
Mare of Easttown’s finale is a testament to the excellence this series has delivered throughout. It delivers devastating shockers that piece together the final pieces of its mystery perfectly while giving its characters an excellent end full of great emotion and touching performances. It’s easily solidifies itself as one of the best tv shows of the year.