Once upon a time there was a small town that hated itself. He hated himself as strongly as he hated his only detective, Mare Sheehan. Mare Sheehan had once been a local glory. He scored the final goal in the basketball game that led his high school team to win the only thing that place has ever won: a high school tournament. Then time passed, and what was already rotten then continued to rot, because, as Grace Metalious would say, every small town is a big hell. And more, when all the people do is lose. For example, you lost a teenage girl a year ago. Mare Sheehan, the only detective, has not been able to find her. Nor has he been able to avoid losing his son. The mechanism of mistreatment, the one that an entire town can exercise, has been going on for so long that Mare has forgotten how to smile.
The starting point of Mare of Easttown (premiere on Monday 19 on HBO Spain) devours the mere police to light a pospolicial in which, even more than Happy Valley (2014-2016), Sally Wainwright’s masterpiece, the detective’s life is imposed on mystery, and the tragedy is a sum of infinite tragedies, an overflowing Russian doll, a time bomb. No one would understand Mare better than this protagonist, Catherine Cawood, another great police detective of the 21st century, and the viewer of both will not be able to avoid dreaming of the possibility of seeing them share a coffee and talk about an unjust guilt – they both take care of their grandchildren because their children are not there, because they must have done something wrong, or so they believe, for them to disappear – which is suffocating them and separating them from the world, isolating, as the abused – especially Mare – is isolated, and from everything they would give because nothing would ever break. But everything is broken from the beginning.
What makes Kate Winslet’s character unique, which she magnifies beyond belief – her performance is a spectacle, iconic instant classic level – is the same thing that makes Cawood’s character unique, although Winslet’s is even more round because it concentrates in itself the violence that the environment — macho, frustrated — exerts against women. She has grown smaller as everything that was going wrong in the town has grown, and try as she might – she wakes up at three in the morning to hear the madness of any neighbor, she sprains herself chasing a little girl. delinquent on his way to an aquarium store to buy a terrarium for his grandson — there is no way to bail water on the sinking ship. We are talking about a town in the Midwest full of teenage mothers.
It is precisely the murder of one of those teenage mothers that will effectively set the abuse in motion, or in what other police officer has the town been seen attacking the only person who can discover the culprit of the death of a girl? In reality, it is not the town, but the father of the main suspect, another teenager, jealous that “her man” was the father of the girl’s grown baby, Erin. But she does it before the complicit gaze of the rest, because Mare is a bad detective, and a bad mother, and a bad grandmother, and she is nothing of the kind, but she thinks she is, and that’s why the only day she goes out and she bumps into nothing less than a writer (Guy Pearce), winner of the National Book Award, who knows why passing by, can’t believe he’s trying to hook up with her, really?
Mare repels everything, and repels everyone, and she is angry, but she is also sad, because she feels guilty, and believes that she deserves all the blows that this new variation of Knockemstiff —The town that gives its name to Donald Ray Pollock’s novel: another collection of unstructured families and claustrophobic rural savagery. His ex, a seemingly good-natured high school teacher, is going to remarry, but no one tells him, because does it matter? Things begin to change when Colin (an always great, and here restrained, Evan Peters) lands in the office, the outsider detective who will give him a hand: not even the police force itself believes that Mare can find out who killed Erin because He has yet to find the daughter of one of his teammates, although everyone knows that he searched for her for months and everywhere.
Says its creator, Brad Ingelsby (The Way Back), that the series is a reflection of the tension that was lived in the United States until not too long ago – in the worst and most oppressive, sectarian, moments of the Trump era – and at the same time a hopeful setback to it. Because no, he says, it is not, even though it may seem, the classic police officer “with a dead girl.” The turns, it does not take long for the viewer to discover, are more closed and unpredictable than it might seem, and they end, a bit in the Big Little Lies, but a way that has more to do with the stabbing pain of Open wounds than with the sentimental landscaping of that one, turning the story around, letting it close on itself. But at the same time, self-destructing it. Yes, redemption is there, next to the wick that burns and that will first make everything explode. We may be before the cop of the year.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.