KAtee Winslet was just as reserved, gloomy, and glamorous as Marian “Mary” Sheehan, the detective who carries the weight of not only the shock of her family, but her entire city of Mary in Easttown. She lost a lot: her husband, Frank, and her son, Kevin, who recently killed himself. Furthermore, her grandson Drew could be taken in by his mother who is recovering from addiction. At one point Mary’s mother said to her, “That’s what I wish for you, Marian – you can forgive yourself for Kevin. It wasn’t your fault. He-she was not Your fault.” “Yes,” Mary replies. “I’m going to use the bathroom.”
Mary was also investigating the murder of young mother Erin McMenamin and the kidnapping of two other potentially related women. Everyone was in the picture: Erin’s violent father, her ex-boyfriend, the elusive deacon, the uncle, and even Mary’s ex-husband. And so for two months of 2021, Marie’s mania took hold. There has been wild speculation about who killed Eren – and whether anyone would raise the money for her poor child’s ear surgery. There have been countless stories about him being Winslet’s best performance ever, as well as her refusal to cover up her “bulging stomach” during sex scenes. There was a Saturday Night Live broadcast, called Murdur Durdur, which nailed the Philadelphia accent just as Winslet did.
The East Town mare could have easily fallen into the hands of a familiar tormented cop investigating a teenage dead zone. Instead, this was a game that mistook the viewer from start to finish – and had a lot more to it besides. It was exciting: things tense and seat edge, going great with plenty of twists and slopes. It was also very interesting: Sorbus’ mare usually got into stitches at her mother Helen after a man shouted at his wife’s funeral that he was having an affair with her; Mary Googles How The Hell To Take Care Of An Pet Ledro’s Tortoise When She Should Have Been At Work; Helen falls off her chair after one of many manhattans with her cousin the priest.
However, it was the love that was injected into the script — the depth and detail of each arc character and subplot — that set it apart. Writer Brad Engelsby grew up in the deepest Pennsylvania, and it shows every second, from cheese slices to small-town rumor channels. Even seemingly simple moments provided some of the scariest TV scenes ever: when we feared Drew’s mom would let him die in the bathroom; When Marie undressed her lost daughter Siobhan she cried “It must have been you,” referring to the day she first came home to discover her dead brother. In the end, when the full tragedy of each character was revealed, it was a miracle that anyone was still standing.
Not least a mare. The scenes with her therapist were devastating, as she finally revealed what had happened the day Kevin’s body was found in the attic. In another message, Winslet said almost nothing still makes me cry: The therapist asks if she fears her grandson will become depressed or overwhelm mental health diagnoses like her father and son. “Oh my God, yes,” she said softly, speaking only three words of fear of inherited trauma that other shows would have needed pages of dialogue to convey.
Winslet said she wanted Mary’s middle age to be revealed, and she dumped it. Millions of burdened women everywhere felt the vision. The fact that Mary was a high school basketball champion 25 years ago – Miss Lady Hawk herself! It is the perfect summation of how life frustrates people. One night over drinking with puppy detective Colin Zabel, she said, “I didn’t expect life to fall apart so spectacularly.”
This was a shocking, shocking picture of grief. In the end, Easttown’s Mary showed the desperate extent mothers would go to to protect their children from the infernal things the world could inflict — and women’s need to forgive themselves should the worst happen. In her extraordinary last moments, when Mary manages to climb the stairs to the attic once more, we see her finally allowing herself an inch of forgiveness—and perhaps beginning to heal.