Who Killed Erin McMenamin in ‘Mare of Easttown’?
The Kate Winslet-led HBO drama presents a fantastic murder mystery, with too many suspects to build a solid case after episode 1.
Mare of EasttownTheories: Who Killed Erin McMenamin?The Kate Winslet-led drama presents a fantastic murder mystery, and after episode 1, too many suspects to build a solid case.ByApr 19, 2021I stand by my opinion that there are too many detective dramas. There are far too many
moredetective dramas dealing specifically with the gruesome deaths of young women. The new, Kate Winslet-led drama on HBO Max,Mare of Easttown,is one of these dramas. And yet, unlike so many other tired tales of borderline alcoholic cops and brutalized teenagers, it harnesses the stereotype to tell a bolder, smarter story, rather than regurgitating the same police propaganda we’ve had forced down our throats for decades.
To be clear, the audience is supposed to believe that, yes, deep down, Mare is a good cop. We just can’t be positive she’s a good person.In Easttown, Pennsylvania, Mare (Winslet) is a bone-tired police detective who believes herself to be an excellent cop. So the fact that she has yet to find a missing young woman named Katie Bailey (Caitlin Houlahan) galls her, especially when you consider that Katie is the daughter of Dawn, Mare’s former friend and high school basketball teammate. As Mare circles around a whole lot of nothing, she continues to spiral from the sudden loss of her son, Kevin (Cody Kostro); the creeping rot of poverty and the opioid epidemic inside her own community; and the impending nuptials of her ex-husband Frank (David Denman). She’s also raising a high school-aged daughter, Siobhan (Angourie Rice), and her late son’s own young son. headtopics.com
Meanwhile, teenager Erin McMenamin (Cailee Spaeny) is doing everything in her power to keep hope alive while raising her infant son. She lives with her verbally abusive father, Kenny (Patrick Murney), and attempts to co-parent with her ex-boyfriend, Dylan (Jack Mulhern), who is openly dismissive and cruel. Yet Erin, in all her exhaustion, remains optimistic, prepping for a date night at a party near the woods. But when she arrives, she realizes she’s been catfished by Dylan’s new girlfriend, Brianna (Mackenzie Lansing), who ferociously attacks Erin out of jealousy and spite. Despite Siobhan’s protests, an injured Erin ventures alone into the forest, where she is discovered, dead, the next morning.
Mare of Easttownis about who killed Erin MeMenamin. It is also about why that matters, and why our perceptions of who is evil are often so fundamentally flawed. It’s a fantastic show, but to glean the true meaning from it, we have to start with Erin—and what exactly happened that night in the woods.
Who killed Erin McMenamin?By the end of episode 1, which aired on Sunday, April 18, there are only a few bits of information to go on—and a few easy suspects.First, there’s Kenny, Erin’s dad. His track record isn't exactly glowing when it comes to Father of the Year nominations. He yells at his daughter after burning his mouth on her microwave-heated plate of food. He makes her do most of the work around the house. He demands she get money for her son’s ear surgery from Dylan; he won't pay for that kid anymore. And he clearly knows nothing about the mystery boy Erin wants to meet up with that night, as she hides her texts from her father and sneaks out when he’s not watching.
But fumbling fatherhood isn’t an indictment for murder, especially of your own kin. The likelihood that Kenny himself ventured into the woods, stripped his daughter of her clothes, and killed her with a blunt object seems a stretch. ButMare of Easttown headtopics.com
does a good job of giving you solid reasons to suspect anyone and everyone, without using the trope as a crutch. Kenny very well could be involved, even if indirectly.Then there’s Dylan, or Brianna, or some combination of Dylan and Brianna. We already know Brianna is capable of terrible violence, given that she was the one who forced Erin to run into the forest in the first place. She’s vicious and unafraid to show it. But kids are cruel, especially when they feel threatened, and cruelty, again, doesn’t necessarily beget murder.
So what about Dylan? He stood and watched his new girlfriend beat up his ex and didn’t do a thing to stop it. He clearly resented Erin for keeping their baby and expecting him to pay for that baby’s livelihood. Maybe he figured his waning teenage years would be better off without a baby mama. But, if that were the case, why draw attention to himself and Brianna with Erin’s (very public) beating? It was on camera! If he really wanted a quick and quiet murder, it makes no sense to create a crime scene right beforehand.
Finally, there’s Siobhan. She's Mare’s daughter, a sweet, charismatic teenager who enjoys singing with her band and rolling her eyes at Mare. She’s at the party the night Erin dies, and when she watches Erin get punched and kicked by Brianna and her posse, she jumps to Erin’s rescue, leading her away from the group. But when Erin wrenches herself away and walks into the forest alone, Siobhan does not follow. Ostensibly, she’s either the last person—or one of the last people—to see Erin alive.
Making Siobhan the murderer would certainly be one hell of a twist, but it’s doubtful given the lack of motive. Siobhan has no connection to Erin and her mother is a police detective, so she knows the case would land in her lap. She and Mare might have a contentious relationship, but is that enough to spark a murder file with her name on it? Yeah, probably not. headtopics.com
So we’re likely looking for someone entirely different, perhaps someone connected to Katie Bailey. But that doesn’t mean the perp won’t be hiding in plain sight. As new episodes of Read more: ELLE Magazine (US) »
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