Episode 1 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 5/5
The key part of any murder mystery is the element of unpredictability. It’s a fine balance though between dragging out a mystery for too long while sprinkling enough breadcrumbs to follow a consistent thread to the main culprit.
There have been a few outstanding entries in the murder mystery catalogue in recent history, most notably the incredible Broadchurch and Korean darling Beyond Evil earlier this year, but very few manage to stand up to those entries. Until now.
Mare of Easttown is an incredible murder mystery. It’s a well-acted, enthralling and hugely satisfying 7 episode thriller. The show manages to combine deep characterization with a compelling narrative that runs through a series of different red herrings, clues and culprits in a believable way. All of this leads to the final episode where one final twist serves as the cherry atop this beautifully constructed cake.
The proverbial glue that holds everything together here though is Kate Winslet, who plays the torn and haunted investigator Mare Sheehan. Her dialect is spot on, her mannerisms wholly unique and the way her character unfolds and grows across the season makes her a prime frontrunner to win a lot of awards next year. Yes, Mare of Easttown is that good.
The mystery that complements this performance however involves a young girl called Erin. After a heated party one night, Erin is found dead in a stream with her head cut open. It’s a shocking turn of events, and even more so for Mare given she knows everyone in town. One among them is holding secrets and responsible for this. And it’s up to her to find out who.
Having lived in this small Pennsylvanian town all her life, Mare finds herself grappling with the ghosts from her past while trying to piece together what happened to Erin and who’s responsible. Joining her along for the ride is new recruit Detective Colin Zabel.
He essentially serves as the fresh eyes and ears that help Mare to try and solve this case. However, dark secrets lurk around every corner and it soon becomes difficult to recognize friend from foe.
This forms the crux of the mystery but we won’t spoil any of the twists and turns along the way. There’s much deeper ties that ripple across the entire season though, involving Mare’s estranged relationship with the father of her two kids, Frank. There’s a custody battle involved in this messiness too and it all becomes a heavy weight for Mare to carry across the season.
Providing some levity however is some surprisingly good deadpan humour. In fact, the show perfectly balances these moments of lightheartedness with the more serious mystery elements beautifully. Tonally it’s hard to fault this one, which manages to strike just the right balance between the two.
Unlike some series that tend to drag on their stories, Mare of Easttown’s episodes are perfectly poised to make the most of its plot. There’s no dragging out the plot here; this is a very solid, very well-written story that fronts a grieving Mother working through her problems with a compelling and emotionally charged murder mystery.
Mare of Easttown is hands down one of the best murder mysteries of the year and another reminder that TV is just as good – if not better – than the big screen blockbusters.
Verdict - 9.5/10