Looking for something new to binge? Add this to your watchlist immediately! Mare of Easttown follows detective Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet) who puts her all into solving a local murder, while also trying to keep the pieces of her life from falling apart.
Where to even start with this series. There have been many miniseries’ in the past that begin with a murder and spend the next few hours unravelling the mysteries of “who done it?”, all while trying to keep you guessing as long as possible. Some execute this better than others… but not many better than Mare of Easttown. To say the series keeps you on the edge is an understatement. From the very beginning, as you begin to explore the troubled lives of Easttown’s residents, there’s an eerie atmosphere looming over everything in this small town. It’s bleak, riddled with shady figures and the constant threat of crime, and doesn’t leave much room for a sense of hope. This atmosphere builds tension really well in the early moments, with the first episode setting up a tonne of threads across many character arcs – giving us plenty to look forward to with each passing episode.
As the narrative progresses and characters come and go, there’s barely a single minute of this series that drops the ball. It remains engaging the entire way through and gives out just enough information to keep you coming back for more. There’s little twists and turns in each episode, the vast majority of which are entirely unexpected. The brilliance of this series is that not only does it get you to care about solving the mystery, but it gets you deeply invested in the lives of these characters who are all struggling with different things. This level of depth really ensures that no matter which characters are being focused on, there is always something for the audience to latch onto.
An issue with many of these shows is that they unravel half way through to the point where there’s maybe only one or two suspects left – leading to an anticlimactic finale. This doesn’t have that problem. It does a phenomenal job in keeping you guessing right through to the end, and ties everything together incredibly well. I can’t say any more without delving into spoiler territory, so I’ll just reiterate that the writing of this entire series is impeccable.
Amongst all of the dread looming over the events of the series, there are these little pockets of humour weaved in that act as nice little palette cleansers in various tense moments. Much of the witty humour is delivered through Jean Smart’s character, but the honours are shared around. These moments are short, punchy and weaved into scenes without feeling forced in. In terms of the pacing, it all moves along at a pretty steady, yet slow-ish pace – which is perfect for the story being told. The fact that it gradually reveals more and more about the mystery with each episode means that it never gets to the point of feeling like it’s dragging or stalling to up the episode count. It really is spectacularly consistent, which is a great compliment.
When looking at the cast of the series, it’s easy to get excited when seeing some of the A-list names involved. Well, you should get excited, because this series features a number of top notch performances from the lead to supporting cast. Firstly, I have to highlight Kate Winslet who delivers the performance of her career in this show. She hits it out of the park in every single scene. She’s an absolute powerhouse, fully committing to the role and nailing every line of dialogue so well that you buy into her entire character and understand the rough things she’s experienced. The amount of emotion she brings out of the series’ key moments is incredible. Whether she’s leading a scene herself or sharing it with other people, she’s always the centre of attention – really cementing herself an Emmys nomination.
That being said, the chemistry between Kate Winslet and Evan Peters, who plays a detective working on the case, is one of the highlights of the series. Every time the two of them are on screen together, it’s like watching the best buddy-cop pairing of the year. The way their personalities bounce off each other makes for some brilliant moments throughout. Evan Peters’ acting talents are on full show here, fully committing to the role and making you forget about everything else he’s acted in. There’s a scene in here where he has to act drunk – he’s so convincing in that scene that if someone said he was actually drunk, I’d believe it.
In the end, there’s not too much else to say about this series besides the fact that it’s incredibly well shot, brilliantly acted and flawlessly written. It’s a murder mystery miniseries that scores a home run in every department. Entertaining right from the get-go, the series gets you invested in the lives of these everyday people, their histories, and how they may or may not be tied into the central murder. If you think you know where it’s going… guess again. The writing is so tight and clear-cut from the opening scene, with tense moments strewn throughout each episode, that you’ll wan’t to binge through it all in one night. Even if it’s just to see the brilliance of Kate Winslet on screen, this is an absolute must-watch.