Kate Winslet as Mare Sheehan in Mare Of Easttown

Mare Of Easttown episode 4 recap: things are getting dark around here

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Warning: this article contains spoilers for episode four of Sky Atlantic’s Mare Of Easttown, so make sure you’re all caught up (or are actively seeking spoilers) before scrolling down. 

It’s not often that a crime drama delivers just as many laughs as it does dramatic twists and turns, but Mare Of Easttown’s fourth episode provides both in equal measure.  

With Mare’s (Kate Winslet) suspension from work leaving her with more time at home, this week’s episode starts by exploring the dynamic between her and her mum Helen (Jean Smart), whose judgmental looks and sassy comments (the delivery of “oh my god Marianne, I don’t know what the hell to say – oh wait, it just came to me: that was STUPID” was a personal favourite) are getting, in this writer’s humble opinion, iconic.  

Outside the Sheehan’s home, a lot went on in this episode, too. Despite warnings from Chief Carter (John Douglas Thompson) to say away from the investigation into Erin McMenamin’s (Cailee Spaeny) murder, Mare takes it upon herself to dig deeper into her personal life by paying a visit to her best friend, Jess (Ruby Cruz), who informs her and Zabel (Evan Peters) that Erin had intended to turn to sex work to pay for her baby DJ’s ear surgery.

Oh, and as for DJ, the paternity test Mare ordered last episode found that neither Dylan (Jack Mulhern) nor Frank (David Denman) are the baby’s father, so it’s back to the drawing board on that one.

These weren’t the only revelations to take place during last night’s episode. Elsewhere, another young girl called Missy Sager (Sasha Frolova) goes missing, prompting questions over whether there’s a serial killer on the lose who could be to blame for the disappearance of Katie Bailey (Caitlin Houlahan), and the murder of Erin McMenamin. 

Kate Winslet and Angourie Rice in Mare Of Easttown
Mare Of Easttown: Mare hosts a family meeting to talk about her suspension.

However, as the closing moments of the episode reveal, while there may not be a serial killer on the loose, the same person is responsible for the disappearance of Missy and Katie, the latter of whom remains very much alive. But who is this ‘masked man’? And could he be responsible for the death of Erin McMenamin, too?

If one thing’s for sure, the fourth episode of Mare Of Easttown left a lot of questions unanswered – here, Stylist’s Lauren Geall does her best to unravel them all.  

Who is DJ’s father? And why did Erin lie about it?

We now know that DJ’s father is neither Dylan nor Frank – so who is it?

Right now, my bets are on Deacon Mark. Not only do we know he had a relationship with Erin (in episode three, we found out his number was the last one she called before she was murder), but it was revealed during this week’s episode that he was transferred to Easttown after it was alleged that he had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl.

With this in mind, it’s definitely possible that Erin and Deacon Mark’s relationship was more than a friendship – and if that’s the case, it’s also possible that he could be DJ’s father.

Why is Mare hiding things from Zabel?

Mare isn’t supposed to be working on the Erin McMenamin case due to her suspension, but it’s clear that she’s happy to trust Zabel with her ongoing case work, as she involves him in her questioning of Jess, Erin’s best friend.

However, as the pair are leaving Jess’ apartment, Mare lies to Zabel about going back to get her phone, before asking Jess a follow-up question about where she can find Erin’s diaries, which she doesn’t tell Zabel about.  

If she thinks she can trust Zabel with the fact that she’s continuing to work on the case while suspended, why not trust him with this information?

Could Mare know more about the case than she’s letting on? Does she suspect her son or daughter had something to do with Erin’s death? Or does she just want the glory of solving the case, because she’s been unable to track down Katie Bailey?

What significance does 5-29-17 hold?

When Mare visits Erin’s bedroom to try and find her diaries, she comes across a gold, heart-shaped necklace at the back of her dresser with the date ‘5-29-17’ engraved on it.

The obvious explanation – that it’s DJ’s birthday – doesn’t quite check out: not only would he be too young for this to be true (I’m presuming this show is set in the present day, which would make him four), but also, why would she hide it if that was the case?

The only thing I will say about this necklace is that it’s interesting that Mare decides to hold onto it. Sure, she can’t exactly walk into the police station and say ‘hey, look what I found’, but you’d think she’d put it away for safekeeping, not walk around her house looking at it, as she’s shown doing later in the episode. Is it possible that she has a personal connection to that date too? 

Kate Winslet and Evan Peters in Mare Of Easttown
Mare Of Easttown: will Mare choose to go on a date with Zabel?

Who will Mare pick to go on a date with?

Ok, so this isn’t the deepest question of them all, but it’ll be interesting to see whether Mare chooses Richard or Zabel to go on a date with, seeing as both of them asked her out on the coming Saturday night.

Who has got Katie?

Just when it seemed like the murder of Erin McMenamin would be the biggest mystery at the heart of this show, the case of Katie Bailey’s disappearance suddenly took centre stage.

Indeed, at the very end of the episode, we learn not only that Katie is alive, but that she’s being kept prisoner in the attic of Bennie’s Tavern by a mysterious masked man, who is also responsible for the disappearance of Missy Sager.

The big question going into episode five, then, is this: is the mysterious masked man one of the Easttown residents we’ve already met? And if so, could he be connected to Erin McMenamin’s murder? 

Mare Of Easttown episode five airs on Sky Atlantic on Monday 17 May at 9pm

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s 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.