Mistakes. If the life of a human being has to be summarised in one word, it would be – mistakes. Since biblical times, our actions or inactions are often labelled as mistakes if they aren’t right according to the order or guidelines. But who decides the order? How often we’ve seen peoples lives spiralling into disarray because of the choices they make? Is it because they were bad people who made the choices? Or was it plain, old good people, taking bad calls at the opportune moment? HBO Max’s new show, ‘Mare Of Easttown’ talks about the fragility of human beings and their mistakes. As the curtain falls with the telecast of the seventh and final episode of the limited series, we finally get to know the real killer of Erin McMenamin. It’s a devastatingly gut-wrenching end to a series that always had threatened to unravel the demon in the closet. What a beautiful mess it turned out to be!

In the sleepy town called Easttown, everyone knows everyone. So it’s quite natural when a scandal occurs, it’s usually the neighbour next door. Detective Mary-Ann Sheehan, known to all and sundry as Mare, is in the middle of an investigation of the disappearance of a young woman when the dead body of another young woman is found. Nothing is what it seems, in this sleepy town where each family has a secret of its own. And Mare is no stranger to it, with her own life in doldrums, which contains a son lost to suicide, an estranged daughter, a rocky relationship with her ex-husband and a legal battle to get custody of her grandson. She tries to piece her life together and in the process, tries to figure out who could’ve killed this young woman. 

The highlight of the series is its writing. The writer Brad Ingelsby heightens the suspense as he produces a no of suspects, each having motives to kill the young woman. He also keeps sharing the red herrings now and then, so when the viewer finally sees the actual killer, everything starts to make sense. But more than the whodunnit story, it’s the characters that stay with the viewer. A community of people, who’ve grown together by living almost half of their lives at a place like Easttown, when something like a murder occurs, it disturbs the peace. But more importantly, it blows away the lid that was kept over the uncomfortable tensions that people had been brewing over time. Beneath the facade of a happy family, there lies a betrayal, a compromise, a silence. And when that silence shatters, it’s often uglier than you can ever imagine. This revelation is what makes the show even more brilliant. 

Led by the charismatic Kate Winslet, it’s a terrific ensemble that makes the show immensely watchable. Ably supported by brilliant actors such as Julianne Nicholson, Jean Smart, Angourie Rice, Guy Pears, Evan Peters and David Denman, the cast slogs their guts out. It’s an out and out Kate Winslet show. As the detective whose life has already gone for a spin, she is breathtakingly splendid. Channelling her inner grief, she tries to hold to every last bit of sanity remaining in her life, as she hurls herself into the investigation. I still remember her face, contoured with horror, when she finally figures it out. Mark my words – When the award season begins, Kate Winslet, Julianne Nicholson and Jean Smart would be the front runners.

Go for the ‘Mare Of Easttown’. It is a show about grief and generational trauma, hidden inside a crime drama. But most importantly, it is an epic tragedy with a twisty finale that makes you ponder over the futility of life, yet leaves you with plenty of hope in the end.

‘Mare Of Easttown’ all seven episodes now streaming on HBO Max. In India, it can be seen on Disney Hotstar. Each episode’s run time 50-60 mins. Rated Adult for brief sexual content, strong language and violence.

The Cinemawala Rating-4/5

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