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Mare of Easttown

Totenkindly

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I described Episode 1 here.

This is a seven-episode limited series. Maybe there will be a further season, but right now I'm just really enjoying this one. Some shows I have trouble sticking with, here I think I could binge the entire season if they were releasing it at the same time.

So, thoughts on Episode 2, entitled "Fathers" (for good reason, it turns out):

Kate Winslet is just really great. They're letting her be an average person at her age, in fact Mare is rather dour and beaten down over the years. (Winslet is 45 IRL, and based on the ages of her kids, Mare's probably a similar age in the show.) She can be obstinate, and set in her ways, and defensive on a personal level. She doesn't forgive easily, and she's not as accessible on a personal level as some people -- although she takes her job seriously and will do her best (and actually has a really good way about knowing what can defuse a specific situation while on the job... it's just her personal life where she sometimes mucks it up nicely). She's kind of the person who you have to feel your way carefully into getting her to open up, because she's quick to just shut everything down if it's too much trouble or frustrating to deal with. But she's not a bad person. I love how they let her face actually show that erosion and weather of the years, working in this small town.

So the first episode ends in a death, with a murder some months back still lingering in the town mind.

Episode 2 brings Evan Peters into the cast, a county detective who is brought in "to help" and it kind of adds some comic relief since his delivery is kind of friendly and gruff and he's just the kind of guy who Mare loves to hate, but she also doesn't get a choice about it. So he keeps making overtures that she eventually has to accommodate to some level.

But there's other hard stuff in the episode, due to the aftermath, and I love how the show has a bunch of interconnected characters. it's really small town pseudo-rural mentality, because everyone literally knows everyone else, so while Mare is trying to do a professional job, there's no way to avoid that part of doing this job involves -- rather than detachment from those you're interacting with, like the "blind eye of justice" -- you're gonna know a lot of the town secrets and personalities and who everyone is and part of it is leveraging those relationships. Or that those relationships keep getting dragged into things.

I love how no one is cookie-cutter, really. it would be so easy to drift into pure cliche, but they do not. I love how one woman and Mare have an adversarial relationship despite being friends at one point, yet here when the chips are down, they still find some solidarity. Everything is so complex and nuanced. There's a big bombshell in this episode by an unlikely character (but makes sense afterwards), and another inevitable tragedy you can see coming from a mile away because everyone deals with grief differently... and some people don't deal with it at all. Some people are nice, some are assholes. Some try to work together, others are always aggressive and fighting for turf and to be heard. It's all really fascinating in regards to small-town dynamics, and the town feels very "lived in."

mare-of-easttown.jpg



Review: Mare of Easttown Is More Than It Appears to Be
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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I think I'm going to check this out because it's about my old hood.
 

Totenkindly

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Episode 5 was great, but I am devastated and not going to get over this for awhile. I need to sleep, to get up early for work, but I don't know if I can. Dammit.

There was an SNL parody last week of the show that I didn't find funny. They obsessed over the accent, except I don't hear a large accent (is that because I'm from pa? It all sounds close to normal to me) and just felt way overblown. The show is more subtle. If the accent were that large, then sure, but it felt stupid to me.

Anyway, part of the mystery is solved, but we still have the core mystery to figure out in the final two episodes.


edit: Yeah, I ended up rewatching that sequence later. The guy ain't getting up after that. Devastating and shocking.

The whole bit is definitely vibing off the end of Silence of the Lambs; instead of trying to change it, they just leaned into it. I mean, some of the details are different, but the look and feel of it is similar.
 
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Totenkindly

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It's been an enjoyable, interesting show.

I like how there's been a lot of red herrings along the way -- at least, we'd call them that in terms of "detective fiction" but in reality an investigation (which sometimes involving inspiration) has a hell of a lot of activity around just collecting and investigating countless leads. Some cases might get solved quickly due to evidence left by the obvious perpetrator. For those that persist, most leads do not pan out, no matter how hopeful you might be to start with. Occasionally leads might lead to the awareness and investigation of other unrelated crimes. And then, hopefully, eventually, you get leads that end up contributing to a case's resolution. This is more about what the series does, it sometimes sets up believable leads that upon investigating either leads to awareness of something untoward but not illegal, or simply end up not panning out at all.

Episode 6 involves some revelations, including the identity of the murderer (I think this revelation is accurate) but also potentially a particular baby-daddy... which I am not so convinced is true. (It's down to two people IMO.) There is also a third startling revelation about a piece of evidence that was revealed an episode or two back but never shown to us... and once the authorities get a hold of it, it's considered important... yet we still are not shown what it is. I can't for the life of imagine what it reveals, although it alludes to something condemning about yet a third suspect who I don't think is the killer but... there's something we have not been told.

{this is a real spoiler, don't read unless you've been watching}



One pleasing thing about the episode is how it manages to stage suspenseful episode ends without feeling like a rip-off and even after it reveals the likely killer. Like, i'm still really concerned about how all of this will play out in the finale.

Another thing is that, along with the reveals we've been waiting for, it's also a fairly cathartic episode. Mare begins the series in an aggressively defensive stance, isolated, pushing back against everyone who reaches out, generally being unapproachable and unable to be talked to except by maybe one or two of her closest confidantes. But the things she has gone through in the series (along with the final bit in episode 5) have left her in a more contemplative and receptive stance. IOW, she's finally willing and able to deal with some of her own shit. There's multiple times in Episode 6 when she normally would have dropped back into a surly junkyard dog stance and just refused any assistance or offers of comfort / engagement, but ... somehow she holds herself open and manages to engage. It's like the addict who finally realizes truly that they need help. She's open, listening, and willing to accept new data finally. Winslet is doing some fine work here.
 

Totenkindly

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Kate Winslet Wouldn't Let Mare of Easttown Director Edit Out a 'Bulgy Bit of Belly' in a Sex Scene

"Draw me like on your OLD french girls, Jack!"

You go, girl -- she's just so awesome. This was a huge part of why the show was so great; Mare felt real, not airbrushed.


The finale was decent. As expected there were a few more twists along the way. There was also hail back to prior bits on the series, and it focused more on catharsis overall, not necessarily just the murder resolution. the whole thing is pretty sad. It would be interesting on a rewatch to see if anything leaps out along the way once you know how it wraps up.
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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It took me four episodes in to realize that was Evan Peters. He's quite good, as usual.
 

Totenkindly

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It took me four episodes in to realize that was Evan Peters. He's quite good, as usual.

He was excellent.

Did you see the bit where he gets drunk? I know it's kind of overhyped, but he actually did one of the more nuanced presentations of inebriation that I've seen on screen.
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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He was excellent.

Did you see the bit where he gets drunk? I know it's kind of overhyped, but he actually did one of the more nuanced presentations of inebriation that I've seen on screen.

Yeah! That was very good. Also, I think he should have stopped at that point, but he kept ordering more. He's not going to feel great tomorrow.
 
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