The Mare of Easttown is the best dead-girl-in-a-sad-town TV show to come out of the US since Twin Peaks. To be clear, the 30-some years that separate them still have many good shows of the genre, but none were American. When they weren’t busy churning out the millionth iteration of CSI, Americans could only muster pale copies of what came out of Britain and Scandinavia, with characters and plots lifted wholesale and Northern European sentiments crammed oddly into New England toponyms.
The Mare takes its setting more seriously, and not just with flannel shirts, odd accents, and dozens of bottles of Yuengling and Rolling Rock drunk per episode. You quickly learn that the town is not all that bad: it has decent homes, an upscale college and high school, and a pretty good sense of community. It’s the people who are sad, each in their own way and for their own reasons, with the titular Marianne the saddest of them all, and the show mostly dedicated to exploring how and why this happened.
There is also a murder or two, some kidnappings, and an action scene that brought back some of the best moments of The Silence of the Lambs. A few of the cliffhangers were the murder mystery equivalent of a jump scare, but that can be forgotten because the show manages to pull off a successful double-twist ending that is both reasonable and unexpected.
Ultimately, if a show is good enough for Kate Winslet to be in, it’s more than good enough for me to watch.