Warning: this article contains spoilers for episode three of Sky Atlantic’s Mare Of Easttown, so make sure you’re all caught up (or are actively seeking spoilers) before scrolling down.
While the first two episodes of Mare Of Easttown took their time setting the scene and introducing us to the crime at the heart of the series, episode three sees Kate Winslet’s character diving headfirst into the investigation into the murder of Erin McMenamin (Cailee Spaeny).
Accompanied by uber-keen county detective Colin Zabel (Evan Peters), the episode follows Mare as she works through a series of leads, including the claim that Frank (David Denman), her ex-husband, is the father of Erin’s baby, DJ, and the call log which shows that the last phone call Erin made before her death was to Deacon Mark Burton (James McCardle), who we learn was transferred to Easttown under mysterious circumstances.
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Mare Of Easttown episode 2 recap: is Frank hiding a big secret?
Elsewhere, Mare is dealing with problems in her home life, too. On top of having to confront Frank about his links to Erin (something that obviously doesn’t go down well with Frank’s fiancée), she’s facing a custody battle with Carrie (Sosie Bacon), Drew’s mother, who wants him to live with her full time.
We already know that Mare isn’t the most likeable character – you could probably count the number of times she’s smiled in the series so far on two hands – but her response to this custody issue is a whole other story.
Indeed, instead of trying to work something out with Carrie, she goes in hard – first threatening that she’ll paint her as an unfit mother in court, and then planting drugs (which she steals from the station’s evidence locker) in Carrie’s car.
However, Mare gets her comeuppance. After Carrie is caught with the drugs in her car and arrested, Mare’s boss Chief Carter (John Douglas Thompson) puts two and two together, and as the episode ends, he puts Mare on administrative leave, instructing her to get grief counselling to help her cope with the death of her son.
Essentially, a lot happened in episode three – and we’ve been left with some big questions ahead of next week’s instalment. Here, Stylist’s Lauren Geall does her best to unpick them all.
What was Erin’s killer’s motive?
Episode three opens as Mare and Zabel are being presented with the forensic evidence uncovered from an analysis of Erin’s body. The evidence is conclusive: despite the fact that her body was discovered naked and bruised, there are no signs of sexual assault – an event which might have explained her lack of clothes.
So, why did Erin’s killer decide to remove all her clothes? And, along those lines, what exactly was their motive in killing her?
Is Frank telling the truth?
With so much evidence pointing at Deacon Mark’s role in Erin’s disappearance, it’s easy to forget that Frank isn’t off the hook just yet. Sure, he may have shrugged off the suggestion that he had a relationship with Erin when questioned by Mare, but only the results of the paternity test will reveal the full truth.
However, if Frank is telling the truth and he isn’t DJ’s father – who is? After all, the only thing Erin’s best friend was sure about was that Dylan (Jack Mulhern) wasn’t the baby’s father.
What’s up with Deacon Mark?
Mare Of Easttown has presented us with a lot of unanswered questions so far, but if one thing’s for sure, there’s definitely something up with Deacon Mark.
Seriously, this guy couldn’t look more suspicious if he tried. Not only was he the last person who spoke to Erin on the night of her murder (what a coincidence, right), but later on in the episode we also see him tossing a pink bike into the river – the same bike Erin was in possession of back in episode one.
There are a number of reasons why he might have the bike, and none of them are looking good. Even if he didn’t murder Erin, this fact seems to suggest he saw her on the night of her murder, whether or not she was dead or alive by that point. Could he be covering for someone else? Only time will tell.
Will Mare really give up Erin’s case?
When Chief Carter places Mare on administrative leave at the end of the episode, he warns her against continuing her investigation into Erin’s case.
The problem? As we’ve already seen, Mare tends to do things her own way – and after uncovering that stray bullet and making progress in the case, it seems unlikely that she’ll step away and let Zabel take the lead.
Mare Of Easttown episode four airs on Sky Atlantic on Monday 10 May at 9pm
As Stylist’s junior digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.