After a murder, the first people to be questioned are often close family members. In this week's episode that doesn't just mean Kenny McMenamin, but several different fathers who might want to get rid of Erin.
We pick up straight after the dramatic discover of her body in Creedham Creek, with Mare driving towards the crime scene; the missing posters for Katie Bailey in her passenger seat are a reminder of another thing that went wrong on her watch.
A preliminary look at Erin's body and Mare thinks she's been out there a while, and that the killer would have had to come face-to-face with her to cause that kind of damage. Write that down in your detective notebook. When Mare breaks the news to Kenny he becomes crazed and lashes out physically, insisting that Dylan is the only person who could have done this. There's no obvious hint his reaction is put on or suspicious, but we do hear Mare asking him where exactly he was last night.
The Sheehan family tree is untangled somewhat with the introduction of Carrie (Sosie Bacon) who is Drew's mother and a recovering addict living in a sober house. She tells Siobhan and Helen that she has filed for full custody, and their facial reactions give some hint of how bad things must have been before.
There are a lot of potential suspects being dangled in this episode, like Dylan, who Mare questions with a warning that, "if you're lying to me it's going to be very bad for you". She then lets him know that he's the only one with a motive.
We see inside the community church, with a sermon from Deacon Mark Burton (James McArdle) who reveals that Erin came to the church after having her baby, though expresses regrets they didn't keep track of her. Another one for your suspect notebook? Maybe, although Mare's cousin Father Dan Hastings (Neal Huff) doesn't seem to be suspicious about his answers.
Detective Colin Zabel (Evan Peters), who we learn once solved a case of a missing ten-year-old girl nearby, shows up to assist, and Mare isn't exactly thrilled to see him, though for now he seems happy to let her lead and trail along. When they are tipped off with the video of Erin being assaulted in the woods, he accompanies Mare as she arrests Brianna in the middle of her parent's restaurant. To his disdain, Mare keeps pushing Brianna until she snaps and says "no wonder your son fucking killed himself". Later, in an appointment with Drew's teacher, she reveals her son had the same blinking tics which Drew is showing, pointing to her fear that history is repeating itself.
On a peacemaking mission, Mare's ex-husband Frank asks about the Erin case and we find out he was her teacher. "I got the feeling things weren't good at home," he says. So far, we've seen Frank as the gentle antithesis of Mare in his relaxed and warm manner, but is there something more sinister lurking underneath? Teachers who prey on students often pick those who are isolated and insecure, as they know they have nobody to tell.
Mare agrees to go to a party thrown for Richard after he twists her arm, and the scene of her digging through hairy lipsticks and sniffing her armpits while getting ready offers a bit of much-needed light relief. Or at least until she shows up and is ignored, spitting an unwelcome canapé out and slumping on the sofa. We're used to seeing Mare in control and giving commands while on the job, and seeing her dressed up and watching the guy she likes ignore her, you can see just how uncomfortable she feels in her own skin. It also shouldn't go unnoticed that Richard ignores Mare because he is surrounded by adoring women, which feels like it could be something given the context we're seeing it in.
The episode ends with a string of dramatic twists: Kenny shoots Dylan; Brianna's father threateningly smashes Mare's window; and Erin's best friend reveals that DJ's father is not Dylan. "I think it's Frank Sheehan," she says, before we cut to the image of Mare vaping with Frank picking up children's toys in the background. Here we realise the title of the episode isn't just about the fathers closest to Erin, but one close to Mare too, and it won't be long before she has to ask him some uncomfortable questions.
Leads gone cold:
Number one suspect: Creepy priests and a whole bunch of other angry dads make this week a hard one to hedge, but the twist ending has definitely pulled Frank into focus.
Is it too early to be talking about supporting roles at the Emmys? Because Mare's vape is a scene stealer in getting across how on the edge she seems.
'Fathers' is clearly about the many dads involved in the case, but is there a chance that fathers of the church are part of this group too?
That canapé spitting and stuffing moment? Yes, it is the most grotesque thing we've seen so far.
Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox
Need some positivity right now? Subscribe to Esquire now for a hit of style, fitness, culture and advice from the experts
You Might Also Like