Clare on Mare: Unravelling Season 1 of Mare of Easttown - Episode 3


This is Part 3 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 3 - ''Enter Number Two'

Director: Craig Zobel

Writer: Brad Ingelsby


The plot has started to thicken now, with more suspects revealed as red herrings are unveiled.


A visual parallel is shown in one of the first scenes as Kenny is found laying across some rocks in a similar place and position to Erin when she was discovered dead. Whether or not this was intentional or a coincidence isn't clear but it can't have been a comfortable place to sleep for the night. It's almost as if his guilt over how he treated her when she was alive is manifesting by him putting himself in her position. He even tries to do the right thing (presumably that's his logic) by turning himself in and admits that he kidnapped and killed Dylan... only to find out that Dylan is alive and recovering in hospital. He is a character that evokes great pathos, despite all his obvious flaws.


The fatherhood thread continues in this episode but the onus is now on the bond with their children rather than the men themselves. Dylan struggles to comprehend and cope with the possibility that he may not be DJ (the baby)'s father after all. Nevertheless, he and Frank both agree to take a paternity test to find out the truth.


Frank was heavily implicated at the end of the last episode but it now seems he is not as involved as we were led to believe. He had a closer relationship with Erin than he initially let on to Mare, so he's not completely off the hook because he lied, but he is no longer in the villain spotlight.


On the subject of villains, a new wrongdoer has come to the fore: Deacon Mark Burton. I'm not sure if the title of the episode refers to the Deacon, since we already have Father Dan Hastings and the 'Number Two' could be referring to him as the second man of the cloth serving the town. (As an aside, Detective Zabel seems to find it just as strange as we do that Father Hastings is also Mare's cousin - everyone is just so wrapped up together!) It's revealed that the Deacon is one of the last people that spoke to Erin on the night of her death and Mare questions why he withheld this information from the police after the news was announced about Erin's death. His behaviour is incredibly suspicious and James McArdle does a brilliant job of playing into the creepy priest stereotype with this role.



Drugs also play a central part in this episode with Siobhan's girlfriend ODing on edibles just before an important performance with their band, and Mare herself also dabbles with drugs - not taking them, but planting them. It was a futile attempt at sabotaging Carrie (Mare's dead son's partner), who is a recovering junkie and would like custody of her son, Drew. In a moment of desperation (with a touch of stupidity), Mare places the drugs she steals from the evidence room in Carrie's car. We understand why Mare does this, and that it comes from a place of protection for her grandson, but the impulsive decision really wasn't well thought out and it costs her tremendously. She may be an excellent detective (as shown in the scene where she tracks a bullet ricochet to a tree), but that isn't enough to stop her Chief from reprimanding her by placing her on suspension, prescribing counselling sessions and taking away her gun and badge - a literal and symbolic removal of power and pride.



What questions do I have at the end of episode three? Have we met all suspects now? Hopefully so as the cast is already a considerable size for the length of the series!


What predictions do I have at the end of episode three? Mare will not be able to resist still being involved with the case, despite the clear orders from her Chief to stay away.


Other thoughts: Mare's mum, Helen, continues to provide humour in the midst of the all the tragedy. Her pose and flirting on the stairway as Richard picks up Mare for a dinner date is hilarious, and the chemistry between Kate Winslet and Jean Smart in these roles is fantastic in every scene, with the highlight so far being the, "That's your cue to fuck off" line - delivered with such tenacity... and the twisted love only a live-in grandma could withstand (and give back).

 

You can stream Mare of Easttown on Now TV or HBO Max now.


In case you missed it, read Part 1 of the blog series here: Clare on Mare: Unravelling Season 1 of Mare of Easttown - Episode 1. Read Part 4 here!