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Mare of Easttown - Illusions - Review

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Hi, hello, yes, I would like my (figurative) money back, Mare of Easttown. I got attached to a character, and you killed him off! Five episodes in!! He didn't even make the freaking finale!!! If you couldn't tell, I'm mad, and sad (insert Sookie from Gilmore Girls gif, I'm SMAD). As far as my wellbeing is concerned, the last ten minutes of this episode never happened, and I will be going in full ostrich strategy. Because until I see a death certificate, Colin Zabel will happily be (not) solving cases and flirting with Mare. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, this episode actually delivered on quite a few points, and... well, blurred a couple more, because there are still two (desperately Colin-less) episodes left, and we still don't know who killed Erin.

Often, the most obvious explanation is the right one, and after going back and forth on whether Dylan could be a suspect, this episode puts him right back into the proverbial murder seat. Seriously, Dylan? Threatening Brianna (and god knows there's no love lost for that bullying little... witch), lying about his whereabouts that night, prowling around Easttown on an evidence-destruction mission, stealing money from not-his-baby's ear surgery? After a short redemption arc during which he seemed a little clueless but ultimately not heartless, this is quickly turning into not a good look, Dylan. Not a good look AT ALL. Was he the one who sent Erin the text about meeting at Brandywine (did I miss this being set in The Shire), that sent her into hysterics? And if so, why! What could he possibly have told her? She already knew he wasn't likely to pay for the surgery, they were already broken up... Dylan's not that good an actor that I could believe he already knew about DJ's paternity and pretended to be surprised about it for quite this long.

And what about Jess? How long has she been lying to the detectives about Erin? Has she been trying to throw them off this whole time, including but not limited to: accusing Franck of being DJ's biological father, providing a handy link between the cases thanks to the Sidedoor account, lying about where Erin was hiding her journals, the list goes on. Suddenly the way she looked at Mare and Colin leaving during last week's episode makes a lot more sense. What else is she hiding? More precisely, WHY is she deliberately leading them astray? Surely this isn't about protecting Dylan, or Sean? We'll never know if those diaries held anything of note that could've helped solve this, but we do see Jess slipping something from them into her pocket, before the lot of them burst into flames.

On the bright side (if you can call it a bright side, he still allegedly raped a 14 year old girl...), I'm pretty positive we can definitely put the 'Deacon Mark killed Erin' theories to rest. His story seems more pathetic than murder-y, and now we know why he had her bike. Cousin Dan asking him, in what way, exactly, he was "with" Erin on the night she died kind of says it all, and I'm not sure we'll ever know if more went on, but it doesn't seem like it, for what it's worth.

Elsewhere in Easttown, adultery was quietly making the rounds. In probably the funniest moment of the show (and which I will cling to), it was suddenly revealed (during the wife's funeral!) that the brand new widower had an affair with Helen. Yes, that Helen, our favorite ice-cream hiding, tablet playing, mother of Mare, Helen. Mare's delighted cackle that lasted all through their post-reveal drive of shame was a wonderful moment of levity in an otherwise heavy episode. I, for one, am glad Helen managed to find love again, if you can call it that, since she can't properly remember how many times *that* happened. Helen's life is otherwise fraught with grief, as we learn that her husband, Mare's beloved father, suffered such deep bouts of depression that he shot himself when Mare was thirteen. This provides a small, yet tangible, breakthrough during Mare's therapy sessions, as she acknowledges that she's suffered from depressive periods too, and mental health issues likely run in the family. The glimpses of young, carefree Kevin we get from Siobhan's podcast also contribute to complete the image of this broken family, and one wonders how much more they can possibly handle.
The other subject of adultery is far less frivolous, and in fact quite heartbreaking. Lori's perfect little family is anything but that, as her daughter gets bullied, her son has to defend her AND cover for his cheating father, and that Billy person has now joined the list of murder suspects in Mare's mind. We don't know which woman Lori's husband is cheating on her with, but it's not the first time, and it's the same woman. Ryan breaking down after the altercation at the school was particularly devastating, and the world-weary look in Lori's eyes would be enough for anyone to give up. Back to Billy though, he conveniently left out the fact that Erin had lived with him for a couple of weeks/months (the length varies depending on whether you're hiding something or not) 3 years ago, and he was awfully shifty about it when it was brought up, leaving precipitously as the others pressed him about the subject. Live footage of me (and Mare) running the numbers as he mentioned the alleged timeline:
If this was 3 years ago, and Erin stayed a couple of months, and DJ is between 1 and 2 years old... Technically, technically, Billy could have impregnated Erin at the beginning of her stay (when she was...14? 15? Ughhhh), 9 months later (which puts us at a year) DJ pops out, and if he's about 2 years old, it would... kind of... work. Does this also explain the necklace with that date? Now assuming that the show is taking place in 2020, May 2017 would be three years ago. I still don't know what it means but hey, thanks for coming to my very factually-light presentation! We're running out of potential fathers anyway, so it might as well be Billy. The question is, is he also the one who killed her?

Mare isn't only swiping DNA from unsuspecting beer bottles (let's hope, anyway), she and Colin are actually going on that date. Meaning she ditched Richard on his birthday (cold) to get all glammed up for a fancy dinner. Unfortunately for Colin (and me), after a stellar "holy shit" start as he took in how pretty she looked, the date ended disastrously. Colin wanted Mare to be there for him, and not because she was clinging on to the case and he was her only in, and as he pointed that out, she stormed out mid-tortellini. He isn't wrong, clearly, but I don't think Mare was only there because of the case. It's just that the case was a big part of their relationship, and she still wanted to work on it, especially after devoting thirty minutes to his childhood stutter (can he be any more endearing though... I think not). Mare's contact network brings her to a new lead for Katie and Missy's cases, and Colin puts his pride aside to try and nail who, exactly, is terrorizing young girls by kidnapping them in a blue van.
Unfortunately, this also leads us to The Moment Which Must Not Be Named... I should've known, after that tender little moment by the water, and that kiss, that everything good was about to end. Actually, thanks to social media and even though I tried not to get spoiled, I knew something involving Colin was going to happen, but I didn't know what. My worst case scenario was the show revealing he actually was that headless, flannel-wearing monster who'd been keeping Katie and Missy hostage. Yes, I realize their body shapes are completely different and it would've been super twisted but hey, how should I know! When they had that little heart to heart about Mare's terrible homelife, the reason behind her leave of absence, and the truth about Colin's Big Break of a case, it just about melted my own cold little heart.
"What was that for?"
"How do you know what I want?"

After that, it was just one horrifying moment after another. First of all though, I'd like to know why Mare had to push it and not immediately leave that creep-fest of a house and call backup. She didn't have a gun! The guy was clearly (badly) hiding something! She was supposed to protect Colin, sweet cinnamon roll Colin, at all costs! (Okay, that last one is from me, but still. I realize if Mare had left, Blue Van Guy could've killed Katie and Missy then and there, but... I'm not proud to admit I would've swapped Katie and Missy being safe, if it meant Colin was still alive). Mare barely makes it out alive herself, and as her consciousness fades through shock and loss of blood, she hears Kevin calling out to her again, asking her to jump. Of course, I'd never believe the character the show is named for would die in episode 5 out of 7, but the show did a good job making us wonder until the very end.

Only two episodes left now, so come cry with me in the comments and lament about Colin (some of you had predicted he'd die an untimely death and I did not want to believe you, so please don't go making predictions I am not emotionally prepared for again!), rejoice about Katie and Missy being alive and safe, and get your bets on about who did kill Erin: Dylan or Billy?

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