HBO Max's gripping drama offers a nuanced look at motherhood set against the backdrop of a small town murder investigation.
There's one episode left of HBO Max's Mare of Easttown, but thanks to on-demand streaming, you can still catch up. Starring the always impeccable Kate Winslet as Mare, a Pennsylvania detective investigating a murder in her small town, the premise is bleak, to be sure. Mare's family is a mess, the community itself is reeling from the disappearance of two young women, and now, a murder of another girl on top of everything else. And everyone really seems to hate Mare. Despite the grim plotline, this engrossing thriller has been a welcome escape for the past five Sundays.
I must admit that in the first two episodes, what grabbed me the most about the show was the cast's Pennsylvania accent interpretation (turns out it wasn't just me; SNL spoofed the PA drawl in a hilarious skit). But, once I got past that, I was in deep, and my Sunday night routine became something to look forward to again, instead of mourning the end of the weekend (ok, I still do that).
Here are 4 reasons why I think you should start tuning in to HBO Max's Mare of Easttown:
- Well, obviously it helps if you enjoy thrillers as an entertainment genre. I usually pride myself on figuring out "who done it" by mid-season or halfway through a movie, and while I thought I had figured it out this time, viewers were thrown another curve ball in last night's episode that continues to leave me guessing. I appreciate that with every twist and turn of both investigations, you're also seeing what Mare is like with her family and friends. As the plot develops, you begin to understand her harsh exterior a bit more.
- The nuanced look at motherhood in Mare of Easttown is so compelling. You have Mare, the polar opposite of warm and fuzzy, whose inner pain and unresolved trauma is masked with vaping and Rolling Rocks. That said, you can tell that she loves her grandson deeply, and learn she will do anything to protect him. It's a far more difficult relationship with her teenage daughter, played by Angourie Rice. Jean Smart plays Helen, Mare's mother. The pair's combative relationship, while relatable to a lot of mothers and daughters, reveals a deeper connection as the series progresses. And lastly, Sosie Bacon plays Carrie, a recovering drug addict and mother of Mare's grandson, who is at once tragic and hopeful, as she desperately tries to regain custody of her child. Each mother wants to protect her family, and there will be moments you feel for each of them intensely.
- Special shout outs to Jean Smart, who's having a moment. I've loved her since Designing Women, and her work in Mare of Easttown is incredible (especially when you picture it in contrast to her starring role in Hacks, another new HBO Max show I'm enjoying.) Evan Peters is another big draw for me. His character is charming yet intense, and somehow innocent-seeming, despite his role as a police detective. Without divulging anything, I'll say his character was able to bring some levity to Mare's life, which helped reveal another side of her personality.
- Over one million homes tuned in to the premiere, so it's safe to say Mare of Easttown is a hit. And hit shows that are only on once a week are fun to discuss with friends, especially thrillers that keep you guessing. I must admit I kind of miss the days of going in to work and discussing the latest hot show with co-workers and friends. And because programs only aired weekly, there was no way anyone else could get ahead of you in the storyline, or "binge", as the saying goes. With Mare of Easttown, it's fun to once again discuss and theorize on plot lines of a new show, provided everyone has watched the same amount of episodes.