Mare of Easttown (Disney+ Hotstar)
In the ongoing trend of Hollywood stars moving over to the smaller screen, Kate Winslet starrer thriller Mare of Easttown dropped recently on Disney+ Hotstar. The trailer itself was compelling with a great hook of an unsolved missing kid case. And so we binged the show in 1.5days.
The beauty of the show is not just in its gripping investigation storyline but also in the handling of a large list of characters. The show has managed to make the audience feel for an entire town of people by ensuring we get to see layers of each character throughout the 7 leisurely paced episodes.
We are dropped straight into the life of detective Mare Sheehan and the closely knit community of Easttown. She's introduced as the erstwhile Lady Hawk of the town, a laurel that's behind her both literally and metaphorically. The size of the town ensures that everyone knows every other person and we are shown the life and circumstance of every relevant character in painstaking detail. There is some aspect to empathise or despise in each person. For example, the show builds up sympathy for Mare having a dysfunctional family during the first 3-4 episodes only to bring about the reckless side of her later on.
The portrayal of multiple issues such as mental health and teen pregnancy is nuanced and tasteful while not being overpowering. The show still remains an investigative thriller through and through but the drama just begs for emotional investment apart from the expected intellectual one.
While some people in the audience might draw parallels to Searching, the depth that is available to the show with 7 episodes, is what the gripping 90 min thriller might have missed out on. The slow pace of the show works in favour of it in terms of building a vivid world for the audience where there are characters you can care/root for.
The chemistry between characters is also something that works for the show. The pairing of Jean Smart and Kate Winslet is the most enjoyable as the two banter along sometimes bitterly and sometimes as the cutest pair on screen. The tension between Colin and Mare is also to watch out for. The show manages a surprising number of lighter moments in an overwhelmingly grim setting as the audience moves from a present day tragedy to another historical one.
Overall a great show for any crime or drama enthusiast.
One after thought was that the town suffers more from lack of economic opportunity than any other single overarching factor. Perhaps, there's an underhanded commentary on US small towns where multiple such cases might be going unreported or uninvestigated.