In a series that has been riddled with every twist and turn imaginable, it seems that Mare of Easttown saved the best for last. Anyone who had a theory going into the finale had to be stunned to learn just how wrong they were about the circumstances behind Erin’s death. The centerpiece of writer Brad Ingeslby’s tale was always this single mother’s death. We met her in the first episode. So many people appeared to have a reason or a motive to be involved. The act itself appeared to be motivated by vengeance or hate. In the end, it was anything but that. Before we go any further, if you haven’t seen the 7th episode yet, please wait to read the rest of this and watch it. Trust me!
Are we ready? Here we go!
5. And The Dad Is ….
It appears that John had every intention of taking Billy out fishing one last time before turning himself into the police. Remember, we learned at the end of episode 6 that he had killed her. What was puzzling is it appeared that John had every intention of reenacting the end of Godfather 2 while on the lake. Why go to all that trouble? If he’s guilty, then let him face justice! Well, we learn in the first 10 minutes of the episode that the picture we couldn’t see was that of a John in bed with Erin. What! Mare finds them out at the cabin, which prompts John to panic, and he decides to end it all, leading to a scuffle. Eventually, he’s subdued and placed in handcuffs. If John is the father, did he try to get his brother to take the fall for his own transgressions? Did he kill Erin?
John Ross confesses when they are back at the station to killing Erin and being the father of Erin’s baby. It makes sense to me! However, what’s confusing is how vague he was in the details surrounding that night and not to mention how early in the episode we learned about his guilt. Could there be more to this? Is there more to this? What we do see is John sentenced and him pleading with Lori to raise his child that he had with Erin. At this point, she should look shell-shocked over it all, but Lori seems surprisingly well for someone who just saw their spouse sentenced for murder. Is there more to this?
3. Happily ever after?
Even as the good professor goes off to his next job at a neighboring college and her personal life seems to be rounding into form, Mare seems not to shake that feeling of doubt about Erin’s case. To everyone else, the case is solved. Life is moving forward! However, we keep seeing these moments where Mare is looking over another detail or asking a question about ballistics. The point has been made that she uses these tragic moments to avoid dealing with the loss of her son. Maybe that’s how this show ends? Maybe it’s time she faces her demons after helping others do the same? But they never did find the murder weapon. The weapon John had wasn’t a Colt-45. It doesn’t seem to matter, though, as he did confess. Then a call from the house of John’s father changes everything. He wanted to report a missing gun but can’t now that it’s mysteriously returned. Does anyone want to take a guess what type of gun he has?
2. It was …
Only one person knew where that gun was at. It was John’s son Ryan. The gun was missing two rounds when Mare recovered it. When she went to speak with Ryan, he ran home. I so wanted it to be Lori. Seeing him go home to his mother crying that Mare knows. Watching Mare almost lose it, knowing what had to occur next, was devastating. Realizing that both his father and uncle were willing to throw their lives away to avoid this moment just crushed me. Why? Why were they willing to do that? Billy felt that his life was worthless, and John was riddled with such guilt over Erin and how it impacted the family that, in a way, this was his penance. His sacrifice was to atone for all the pain he brought, but the truth was revealed in the end.
1. She loses everything
Mare struggles with loss, and how she hides from them had appeared to be the sole focus of this series, but the truth is Mare of Easttown is about the various degrees of loss and how we sometimes struggle to find forgiveness. Lori legitimately loses everything she holds dear to her, and it’s not a far stretch to blame her husband because his actions had consequences. She knows this, but just like Mare, Lori doesn’t want to face reality. Kate Winslet and Julianne Nicholson have two scenes in this final episode that will take your breath away. The one in the car and the kitchen were masterclass moments and gave me goosebumps. My favorite moment of the series comes in the final six minutes of the series, where it’s nothing but silence, and the story is told through their actions towards one another. What little bit of my heart that had survived was now gone at that point.
Photographs by Michele K. Short/HBO