Episode 7 of Mare of Easttown begins with Jess admitting that she burnt Erin’s journals because she believed this is what Erin would have wanted. She was just trying to honour her friend.
While everyone frantically tries to contact Mare, down by the docks John holds the gun up to his brother and contemplates whether to fire. The two wrestle, with Billy pleading with him to pull the trigger. Mare shows up just before he does, serving as a distraction as the two brothers fight. Mare pries them apart, prompting an end to this skirmish.
Back at the station, Mare’s shown the obscured photo from the end of the previous episode. Here, it shows Erin and John together. Using a hairdryer to dry up her cast, she prepares to interview our suspects.
John admits that Erin called him out to the woods that night, angry and asking for him to pay for DJ’s ear surgery. His whole story sounds pretty credible, but for one glaring detail. The gun. We’ll get to that in a minute.
Just before John faces a lengthy stint behind bars, he asks Lori to look after DJ. She begrudgingly agrees, clearly carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. She even manages to sort out DJ’s ear surgery too.
Mare however, has found peace with her daughter. She allows Siobhan to head off to college, while her daughter touchingly retorts that Easttown is better with Mare sticking around.
In terms of Drew’s parental rights, Carrie has started using drugs again. It’s not so much an “I told you so” from Mare’s perspective, especially when Carrie tearfully admits she only started it again to stay awake. This is, of course, a direct reference to the bath incident.
This also means that Mare gets to keep custody of Drew after all. It’s a hollow victory at best though, especially as it shows Carrie broken and in need of help. Mare admits that she knows she loved her son.
Things are better between Frank and Mare too, with Mare mellowed out and no longer as hostile as she once was all those episodes ago. Sitting with her Mother, she admits that she took out a lot of her anger back then on Mare, for which she’s forgiven herself for. Helen suddenly starts crying, telling Mare she should forgive herself for what happened too.
Part of that healing comes from the wedding which Siobhan sings at. Faye and Frank have their special day and Mare causes no drama. In fact she even dances with Richard too. Unfortunately this is tinged with a bittersweet taste. Richard is called away for a year’s contract to another college.
When Mare catches up to say bye, he admits that she’s one of the best things to happen to him and promises to return. The two kiss; a passionate, tender show of love before parting ways.
With the case al wrapped up, Glenn Carroll throws a serious spanner in the works. Remember the gun incident earlier on? There’s another twist here waiting to unfold.
Glenn casually mentions to Mare how things have been going missing for a while – including his Colt Special pistol. Now, the Colt pistol is the same weapon that was used to kill Erin. Somehow it turned up several days later, but with two rounds missing from the chamber. There’s only two people who have access to the shed – Glenn… and Ryan Ross.
Mare immediately races inside to check the CCTV, noticing Ryan leave the shed in dark clothes. Struggling to hold it together, she heads up to the High School, realizing that he’s the real suspect from the way he rushes home. Mare’s voice breaks as she calls it in to the station.
John took the fall for his son, which explains why he was unable to actually describe the weapon, while Mare heads up to Lori’s house with the other officers, preparing to arrest Ryan.
In the station, we hear the true version of events from that night. Ryan admits that he knew about his Father’s relationship with Erin. He promised to hide this if he ended things with Erin. Only, that night when everyone was over at Frank’s, he noticed John leave and on the phone to Erin. He sent a message from John’s phone, telling Erin he’ll be there before grabbing the gun and heading to the park to wait for her.
Ryan only meant to scare Erin but the pair fought over the pistol, eventually leading to several gunshots ricocheting through the air. This explains the chips up on the wall too and why Erin was killed. Ryan realized what he did and put the gun back after getting nervous that it could link back to him. John and Billy sorted everything out to hide and protect Ryan. It also had nothing to do with John’s affair with Sandra Elliot either.
In finding out the truth and solving the case, Lori is distraught and takes her grief-stricken frustration out on Mare. It takes a while but eventually Mare heads over to see her friend. She doesn’t say anything, instead letting their actions speak louder than words as she embraces Lor and lets her get her grief out.
Speaking of which, Mare finally allows herself to face what she’s been afraid of for so long, heading up to the attic as the scene fades to black.
The Episode Review
Mare of Eastown bows out its fantastic 7 episode run with an incredible finale, one that showcases Kate Winslet’s amazing range as an actor. From the mannerisms and accent through to the dialogue changes she herself has made to the script, Winslet has really made this role her own.
Honestly, this is her best performance to date. Given how tightly written and well-acted this show has been, this definitely deserves some awards.
This tightly written series has so many nuanced ideas and themes throughout, ranging from grief, forgiveness rage and acceptance. All of these are wrapped up within a murder mystery that’s been as gripping as it has been shocking.
The real driving force here though comes from the idea of trauma. Both external and internal. Whether it be the external trauma from the events in Easttown or the personal anguish each of these characters face, every single scene is emotional and on-point.
The final reveal with Ryan is a big surprise, one that I certainly didn’t see coming and I’m sure a lot of other people didn’t either. In the end, the reveal is a nice way to end things and gives every character a consistent motivation going into this.
Endings are the hardest part of any show to get right. So often a great series ends with a whimper or an indifferent shrug but Mare of Easttown is a definite exception to the rule.
Every episode has fed beautifully into the next, and the 60 minute run-time here is just long enough to round things out on a high. This is a definite must-watch this year and easily one of the best shows of 2021.