December 7, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Mare Of Easttown “Illusions”

Episode Five

You know, I generally like these kinds of shows, but there’s generally so much going on with side characters that I never know how much of it is important to the main story and how much of it is just there to give some actors something to do.

That’s generally how I feel about, say, anything going on with Mare’s close friend Lori.  Lori overhears her husband tell their son that something is a secret between the boy and the man.  What secret is that?  Lori pushes the boy and gets no response.  Well, technically not true.  She gets a response when the kid ducks out of the family car and runs off for a while.  There’s some talk of something happening before, but what exactly that is, I don’t know.  Worth noting Lori’s husband John is a cousin to the late Erin McMenamin.

Is that important?  Seems like it could be.  If this were not a seven episode mini-series, there’s a chance it isn’t as it is there just to give a member of the cast who otherwise isn’t doing anything something to do.  But Lori isn’t all that interesting a character in the grand scheme of things compared to, say, Mare’s mother Helen, here outed as someone who had an affair with a married man once when the guilt-ridden man confesses as much during his wife’s wake.  That doesn’t seem to add to anything more than to give Helen and Mare a more comedic scene together as they drive home from the wake.

There’s a lot of value to the character-based stuff, and I don’t object to seeing it, but when I sit down to do these write-ups…what exactly if anything do I say about them?  This is the fifth episode, and I am not sure I have even mentioned Lori before, or at least mentioned her by name.

That said, the character stuff here is largely on Zabel as his date with Mare goes very poorly since all she wants to talk about is the case she can’t quit even while on suspension.  We learn a lot about Zabel, including how the big case he is known for cracking was actually cracked by someone else.  We see his frustrations, hear a bit about his asperations, and even briefly meet his mother as he and Mare continue to work the case and find a promising lead that actually takes them to the mysterious fellow who kidnapped Katie Bailey and that other woman in the previous episode.

It also ends with Zabel dead, one of the more predictable things to come out of this series.  You know how it goes.  A character we haven’t seen a whole lot of suddenly gets a lot of development and then he dies.  Happens a lot in things like this.  Despite the fact that Mare, running around wounded and unarmed in the killer/kidnapper’s house and eventually shooting the man dead with Zabel’s gun, thus saving the two trapped young women, doesn’t change the fact that that one bit there was a very familiar trope.

Of course, since there are two episodes left, even if Mare is something of a hero for a better reason than being a high school basketball star, I somehow suspect this violent jerk was not the man who killed Erin McMenamin.  And wouldn’t you know it, Deacon Burton actually has what sounds like a plausible story for his actions that suggests he didn’t do it either…