Thanks to “Mare of Easttown,” I’ve realized a “Why did you say ‘Martha’” is just the natural extension of an “It’s not your fault.” Writer Brad Ingelsby and director Craig Zobel riff on it poorly this episode, as they reveal major characters and major character backstory details five episodes late. Sore Must Be the Storm is all about working through the secret tensions, which aren’t secrets from the characters, just secrets the show’s kept from the viewer.
Turns out “Mare” only needed to be four episodes. This episode, next episode, first episode, second episode. Nothing in between matters. Including major characters who are no longer with the show—having been replaced with guest star Gordon Clapp, who’s far less interesting as an old man character actor than I would’ve thought back in the day. Very disappointing.
There are big acting scenes for Kate Winslet this episode, as she returns to therapy of her own volition to work things out. Big revelations, which happen to perfectly coincide with her daughter having a breakdown so they can have a breakthrough together and you can use the same footage in the Emmy nomination reel for both Winslet and Angourie Rice.
Though Rice is really bad this episode. It’s not her fault as much as Ingelsby and, especially, Zobel’s. “Mare” has always been well-produced prestige but Zobel completely loses control this episode, unable to figure out how to direct his actors in actual acting scenes. Rice at last remains sympathetic. David Denman is a complete flop when he’s got to do an honest, quick scene opposite Winslet late in the episode.
Having resolved the cold case, Winslet has got her cop job back. Gets her badge in a momentous scene with chief John Douglas Thompson. All the last episode’s big events get fast resolves. Because now they’re finally going to reveal who killed Laura Palmer.
Only they’re going to be real cheap about it and drag “Mare” out another episode.
The episode’s entirely based on being surprising and twisty and every single one of Ingelsby’s tricks are rote. Some of them he’s used before on the show itself.
But at least Zobel’s okay at the twists. Even if they’re obvious. He’s also not good with the actors involved in the twists. Like Julianne Nicholson, who’s got more to do and it’s not good material and Zobel’s no help on it. Ditto Joe Tippett as her husband; he gets a bunch more too. Very unimpressive performance and Zobel’s fine with it. The prestige-y might all be gone by next episode.
Though Ruby Cruz is great this episode as the dead teen mom’s friend.
Even if she’s part of the second serving of red herring.
But, you know, Winslet’s real good. Jean Smart’s real good. Not sure those pluses are going to matter in the end though.