'Mare of Easttown' Episode 7 Recap: Find a Way to Live With It

·5-min read
Photo credit: -
Photo credit: -

Well, we hate to say we told you so (yes, we have receipts), but the prowler really was the key to who killed Erin all along. There was something about the way the figure kept emerging that needed further investigation, and the fact it wasn't taken seriously felt like more than a sad footnote in this town which cares so little for women.

Allow us to rewind to talk through how we got to this shocking revelation, to the start of the finale where we quickly (a little too quickly, if we're honest) learn that in fact John is DJ's father. The scrap of paper which Jess stowed away is now a much larger colour photograph of Erin in bed with John at the Ross family reunion. After failing to gun down his brother and brawling in the river with Mare, John is taken in and confesses to accidentally killing Erin.

John walks us through how he and Erin begun a relationship, including some extremely icky justifications for having sex with a teenager, saying they had a connection and "could confide in each other". On discovering that John evaded her investigation thanks to using burner phones and making sure he had an alibi on the night, Mare looks pissed. At least she doesn't see the subsequent Easter egg that DJ's name is Dylan John, which feels like something that should have been picked up on?!!

In brighter news, Helen's drunk! It feels only right that we are saying goodbye to Easttown with footage of its best resident chugging Manhattans and falling onto the bin. Things seem to have softened in the Sheehan house, and Mare shares some warm moments with both Helen and Siobhan, with her daughter kindly telling her that Easttown is "a better place because you're here". The Phoebe Bridgers edible marathon seems to have done wonders for Siobhan's communication skills. Kids, just say yes.

We enter a little montage of end-tying moments where we see Katie Bailey getting a new home, Jess coming to terms with Erin's death, and Carrie admitting she's checking back into rehab and giving up on the custody battle over Drew. Things get even more conciliatory as Richard and Mare dance at Faye and Frank's wedding, where Mare says she's "having as much fun as you can at your ex husband's wedding". Are we in a Nancy Meyers movie? Maybe, if Mare and Richard's goodbye before he drives off into the distance is anything to go by. But hang on, we've still got 40 minutes of the episode to go, and that feels long even for a wrap-up therapy session for Mare.

Photo credit: HBO
Photo credit: HBO

Sure enough, Mr Carrol calls and reminds us there's one lead left to be chased up: the prowler, and he reveals to Mare that his gun – the gun we know was used to kill Erin – went missing from his shed and was returned with two rounds missing. The only person who had access to his shed? Ryan Ross, who cuts his lawn.

The bombshell that John killed Erin turned out to be disguising the real truth that Ryan did it after discovering his dad was having an affair with her. It all clicks into place that what Lori overheard wasn't to do with the affair John had with Sandra restarting up, but in fact John promising to keep a secret after he and Billy helped clear up after Ryan shot Erin. This explains Sandra's confusion when Mare confronted her in a restaurant earlier in the episode. John was the sacrament, as the episode title suggests, all so that Lori could keep her son.

Photo credit: HBO
Photo credit: HBO

After a lot of searching for answers Mare has one she'd rather not hear, and her relentless pursuit of the truth has cost her personally. "This one thing, why couldn't you just leave it alone?" screams Julianne Nicholson as Lori, who has been quietly scene stealing in recent episodes and is superb throughout the finale. There is a sad symmetry in the fact that neither Mare nor Lori could save their sons, but it dawns on Mare that maybe it didn't have to be this way for Lori. As she told Mr Carroll of his grief earlier in the episode, Mare will have to find a way to live with it.

We skip forward eight months and Lori visits Ryan in a juvenile detention centre, bringing along his brother DJ whom she has adopted. There's also an address from Deacon Mark who instructs the community to come together, and taking his words on board she visits Lori and holds her as she cries on the kitchen floor.

Photo credit: -
Photo credit: -

For all of its twists, turns, missing girls and shady men, Mare of Easttown is really about grief: the ways we bottle it up and then lash out when it becomes too much. The same pattern has been true of Dawn Bailey over losing Katie, Lori with Ryan's confession, and the whole Sheehan family over the deaths of both Kevin and Helen's husband. The conclusion of the finale leans into this, with Mare instructed to "finally face what you've been avoiding" by her therapist now that the case is over.

The show has been defined by it's twisty episode endings which delivered a bombshell each week. By contrast, the final shot, which slowly pans out from the ladder to the attic where Mare has gone to face her demons, feels like a final full stop.

Leads gone cold:

  • After so many false confessions, we finally have both DJ's real father and Erin's killer, who would of bet they weren't the same person?

  • Siobhan leaving for Berkley seems to have sealed the fact that her and Anne are finished. Maybe the edible wasn't so great for communication.

  • "I stopped trying to predict life a long time ago," says Richard. Now, are we SURE this man had nothing to do with killing anyone?

  • Now who do we need to call about a Helen spin-off?

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