Evan Peters as Colin Zabel in Mare Of Easttown

Mare Of Easttown episode 5 recap: what the hell just happened?

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Warning: this article contains spoilers for episode five 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 you get a finale-worthy episode in the middle of a series, but you can’t rule anything out when it comes to Mare Of Easttown.

With two more instalments left to go in the first season of Sky’s new crime drama, the fifth episode of the series saw Kate Winslet’s sullen character solve the mystery of Katie Bailey and Missy Sager’s disappearance – only to have her life turned upside down once more by the shock death of none other than Colin Zabel (Evan Peters).

However, Zabel wasn’t the only character to meet their end in episode five. At the beginning of the episode, we learn that elderly Easttown resident Betty Carroll (you know, the one who has been complaining to Mare about the man lurking around her house since episode one) has died in a car crash after having a heart attack at the wheel.  

Because it’s Easttown, and everyone knows each other in Easttown, the whole community gets together for Betty’s funeral, only for her husband to reveal that he’d been having an affair with Mare’s mother, Helen. While Helen is less than pleased to have this news shared with the whole town – at Betty’s funeral no less – Mare finds it absolutely hilarious and teases her mother the whole way home.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt to expect from this series, it’s these little moments of humour among all the chaos – and it’s fun to see them play out.

The episode doesn’t stay lighthearted for long, however. From Brianna’s revelation that Dylan was missing on the night of Erin’s murder and his decision to burn her journals with the help of Erin’s best friend, Jess, to Deacon Mark’s admission that he saw Erin hours before she died, there were plenty of ominous moments. 

Dylan and Brianna in Mare Of Easttown
Mare Of Easttown: where was Dylan on the night of Erin's murder?

And then, of course, there’s those final ten minutes. After Mare and Zabel have an incredibly cute heart to heart (he admits he didn’t solve the case he’s ‘famous’ for, and she gives him a speech about how doing great things is overrated) and share a kiss, the pair set off to investigate a blue van which was linked to an attack on young woman and was also spotted in the area on the night of Erin’s murder.

After a few dead ends they stumble upon Bernie’s Tavern, the place where it was revealed at the end of last episode that Katie Bailey and Missy Sager were being kept. 

Basically, we know something’s about to go down, and as Mare and Zabel enter the tavern and spot the tell-tale packet of cigarettes on the table (a clue to the kidnapper’s identity they received earlier in the episode), things get real, fast, as the suspect pulls out his gun and shoots Zabel in the head.

Evan Peters as Colin Zabel in Mare Of Easttown
Mare Of Easttown: episode five is defined by Colin Zabel's death in the last ten minutes.

However, the episode doesn’t stop there. After a brief pause the action continues, as a defenseless Mare finds herself trapped in a cat-and-mouse style chase with the armed kidnapper. 

Cue lots of near misses and a rather frantic text to her police colleagues, and Mare only just makes it to Zabel’s gun in time to shoot the attacker.

With all of this drama unfolding in the last 10 minutes of the episode, it’s safe to say there’s a lot of questions the series needs to answer in its final two instalments.  

Sure, Mare’s discovery means she’s finally solved the disappearance of Katie Bailey. But with that revelation tarred by the trauma of Zabel’s death, and the murder of Erin McMenamin still left unsolved, there’s plenty more for Mare Of Easttown to address.

Where was Dylan on the night of Erin’s murder? Is Deacon Mark telling the truth about his involvement with the case? What was it that Erin’s best friend Jess took out of her journal? And will Mare be able to bounce back from yet another loss? We’ll have to wait and see. 

Mare Of Easttown episode six airs on Sky Atlantic on Monday 24 May at 9pm

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Images: Sky

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and women’s issues. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.