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Clare on Mare: Unravelling Season 1 of Mare of Easttown - Episode 2

This is Part 2 of a blog series about Mare of Easttown, the 2021 Sky Atlantic/HBO crime drama. I will be posting my response to each episode after watching, and doing a bit of analysis after each initial viewing. Be warned: since the plot will be discussed, there are spoilers ahead!

Mare of Easttown - Episode 2 - ''Fathers'

Director: Craig Zobel

Writer: Brad Ingelsby

The murkiness in the colour palette of the show has continued in this episode, and some shots even look desaturated. The life has been sucked out of many of the people in Easttown, not least our protagonist Mare who wears a brown overcoat and black rollneck for the majority of her scenes. A fitting costume choice given that she's a woman engulfed in guilt and grief, and you can't help but wonder if her job is doing her more harm than good. Still, we are given a glimpse of Mare outside of work when she attends a book event for Richard, but even then she is accosted by Tony for arresting his daughter, Brianna. This blurring of professional/personal boundaries and the problem with small towns emerges in this episode. Yes, they can be tight-knit, but even when you're in a position of power - like that of a detective - people in smaller communities talk and will know your business, whether that's conducive to effective work or not.

The episode title is very fitting as fatherhood is reiterated in its various shapes and sizes, as well as coming into question for several of the male characters of the show. Fathers are one of the constant threads tying the narrative together: fathers out for revenge, absent fathers, reluctant fathers. Their roles vary but in all the examples of fatherhood here, they are problematic, or are at least beginning to appear that way.

Mare meets her new work partner, Detective Colin Zabel (Evan Peters - pictured below) in this episode. He is a light addition to the office and is keen to get stuck in with a process, which is completely at odds with Mare's way of working. As partners go, he is supportive, sensitive and gives Mare space to use her own methods after observing how she works.

Even though he might be a bit on the cheesy side, it already feels like a well-matched partnership and he is happy to allow Mare to take the lead on the cases. He's the sort of character the show needed in order to bring a bit of optimism to the fore - he's the guy that brings you coffee in the morning and says things like 'team work makes the dream work'. You would never in a million years hear Mare utter such sunshine and rainbows bullshit, but his idealism does make her smile, which counts for something.

One of my questions from the previous blog was answered almost immediately in this episode: the body in the creek did indeed belong to Erin. So now we are embarking on a whodunnit and there are a hell of a lot of suspects. As the homicide investigation begins, let's look at some of the possible killers: