One of the things I like about the show so far is that it’s doing a great job of showing and not just telling us how closely intertwined everyone in Easttown is. It starts from the beginning of the episode when Mare has to make the death notification to Erin’s dad Kenny (Patrick Murney).
Before she goes to tell him, she stops by Lori’s house. Lori’s husband, John (Joe Tippett), is Kenny’s cousin, and Mare thinks it’ll be better for Kenny to have family around when she tells him. Of course, the Rosses are shocked by the news, but Kenny explodes. He’s convinced that Dylan must have done it. (He also conveniently elides the fact that he himself wasn’t very nice to his daughter, either.)
Dylan would be the obvious suspect in any case, but when the police department gets a copy of the video of Brianna’s attack on Erin, they have to shift focus slightly. And I say “they” because Mare is being forced to work with a county detective, Colin Zabel (Evan Peters). It’s really not that bad, though, even for her. He seems like a nice guy, even trying to make it clear to her that she’s in charge of the case. Still, he’s obviously a bit taken aback by her manner.
Like when they go to arrest Brianna at her parents’ restaurant. At this point, you should know enough about Mare to know that she makes this as public as possible. Colin is visibly uncomfortable with the whole matter. Then again, he’s not the one who gets a gallon of milk thrown through his window later. (When that happened, I had to pause the show to laugh, if only because the culprit, Brianna’s dad Tony (Eric T. Miller), is driving away in a van with the family name just EMBLAZONED on the side.)
Despite Mare’s way, though, she and Colin seem to be working well together. At the same time, they haven’t really made much progress on the case. The montage of teen witnesses was excellent, but none of them had anything solid to offer. For instance, not a single one reports hearing a gunshot, which I guess is what killed Erin? (I might have missed it, but I didn’t catch anyone naming her cause of death.)
And as I said, everyone’s intertwined, so Mare even has to do some investigating close to home. First of all, it was a tremendous shock for her to see Siobhan on the video. And I know I keep calling Mare various synonyms for “abrasive,” but I’m with her on this one. How do you not mention that you were there, especially considering the altercation you broke up?
And even though I’m describing Mare accurately, I don’t dislike her. In fact, I feel a lot of sympathy for her for various reasons, including that her ex-husband, Frank (David Denman) is getting remarried, which has to sting. Also, he and his future new wife, Faye (Kate Arrington), live right behind Mare.
That does make it easy, though, to pick Frank’s brain about Erin. As a high school teacher, he was familiar with Erin. Unfortunately, like the teenagers, he doesn’t have much to give. He knew Erin, of course, but not well. He did get “a sense” that she had problems at home, but doesn’t know for sure what was going on there.
Well, we know a little more about that since we saw it last week. Kenny is unfriendly, to say the least. Actually, he’s highly volatile. Maybe the cousins should have stayed with him longer.
I say that, of course, because when Dylan pops out to go to the store, Kenny ambushes him in his own car. He forces Dylan to drive out to an isolated area (the same woods where Erin died?), then shoots him twice in the back. Is Dylan dead? It’s unclear.
Then again, there are a lot of things that are unclear in Easttown. Take, for example, the introduction of Deacon Mark (James McArdle). He seems so suspicious, right off the bat, and the show clearly wants us to notice him. But is he just a red herring (like I suspect Richard will be)?
Then, there’s the other cliffhanger-y moment, courtesy of Erin’s best friend Jess (Ruby Cruz). She tells her mom a secret about Erin, and you know it’s big and bad when her mom takes her to Lori’s house. Like, why aren’t they going to the police with this? At first, when Jess says what it is–that Dylan isn’t baby DJ’s real father–I had a sinking feeling, like, oh God. Is it John? But in retrospect, I think they probably wanted to tell Lori out of John’s earshot because Erin was his cousin’s daughter.
Anyway, Jess doesn’t actually know who the real father is. But, uh oh, she thinks it’s Frank Sheehan.
9/10 – The show wastes no time in getting right into the action and the story, which I greatly appreciate. (I am, after all, the person who will absolutely plow through a mystery/thriller book to get to the end. That’s where the secrets are!) But while it’s [extremely Sarah McLachlan voice] building a mystery, it’s also managing to incorporate an emotional edge to the series. I’m speaking specifically of the scene with Mare and Drew’s pediatrician. Talking about her son’s suicide, Mare is vulnerable in this scene in a way she’s not usually, and it’s a refreshing layer of her to see.