“Sore Must Be the Storm” leads to many personal and professional breakthroughs for Mare, but the case isn’t quite cracked yet.
This recap of Mare of Easttown episode 6, “Sore Must Be the Storm”, contains spoilers.
One of the first things that “Sore Must Be the Storm” does is confirm what we saw in last week’s episode to be true. That seems like an obvious thing, but it’s not, really, since so few shows are willing to kill off a main character and solve one of the season’s overarching mysteries two episodes out from the finale. But, yes, Colin is dead, Katie and Missy have been returned home to their families, and Mare is, for once, in the good graces of the townsfolk, though for how long and at what cost remains to be seen. If you thought the show was bleak before, you’ll be pleased to discover that it only seems to be getting bleaker, and while only Erin’s fate remains to be unpacked, the implications of that (not to mention DJ’s parentage) could supply plenty more misery in the finale.
In the meanwhile, it’s the Ross family who’re promoted to the top of the suspect list, at least regarding Erin, and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that one, several, or perhaps all of them are guilty of at least something. Billy’s own admission that he killed Erin is supported by his drinking, increasingly erratic behaviour, and testimony of his father, Pat, that he came home covered in blood on the night of the murder and hasn’t talked about the evening since. Does this make him the likeliest culprit? Probably, yeah.
That’s in Erin’s murder, anyway, but a lot of other stuff remains a bit unclear, and the Ross family name, in general, is often used as a clue without the Christian qualifier. In other words, a jewellery order made by a Ross wasn’t necessarily made by Billy, and you know how brothers are. There’s every chance that one is covering up for the other, or is deliberately implicating the other to cover up for themselves, or one of several other possible permutations which all amount to shared complicity. Mare of Easttown episode 6 is the penultimate chapter, remember, and it’s rare for any show, much less a very serious prestige small-town mystery, to not save some big revelations for its finale.
And plus, just because someone says they did something doesn’t mean that they actually did, or that others weren’t doing things at the same time. Dylan, Sean, and Jess obviously still have a part to play, and while Deacon Mark continues to stick to his story in “Sore Must Be the Storm”, there’s still a general weirdness surrounding his involvement and the timeframe of Erin’s ill-fated final evening. Nobody is in the clear yet, despite evidence and confessions suggesting everything is more or less sewn up.
This is much more plotty than Mare of Easttown usually is, obviously, but it has plenty of effective character drama too – perhaps even more than usual, all things considered. And most of it, fittingly, centres on Mare, who finally breaks down following Colin’s death but also breaks through several longstanding psychological walls and defence mechanisms that she has put up to protect her from her own trauma. Kate Winslet is phenomenal here, truly, and in several scenes rather than just one big blowout moment. Breaking down in Helen’s arms after being slapped around by Colin’s mother is a powerful scene, and her explaining to her psychiatrist how Siobhan found Kevin’s body after his suicide is absolutely top-notch drama. Since many of the plot revelations are crammed into the final few scenes, Mare is left to carry all this weight alone for long stretches of time, and she does so capably. It’s an awards-worthy performance, this, no doubt about it.
But it’s also a fitting crystallization of a lot of the show’s themes and ideas. Mare undergoes all this personal progress, but once Lori spills some tea about John and Erin that the former asked her to keep quiet, Mare, despite being warned to the contrary and despite knowing deep down that her propensity for doing so got Colin killed as his own mother claimed, saddles up for a showdown. She can’t help herself. The fact that Erin was abused and eventually killed, and that many more people knew about her suffering than it would have taken to put an end to it, is a black cloud hovering over her psyche that all the admissions and hugs in the world can’t dispel. She’s determined, one way or another, to close this case. There’s still no telling what it might cost her.