Who killed Erin McMenamin? The best theories of the “ Mare of Easttown ”
Let me be fully the most awake, my friends: I’m still (sipping Wawa coffee) unfinished (take the hoagie that I keep two feet from my right arm at all times) the death (throws the Mike-Schmidt era Phillies hat) detective Colin Zabel (switches to a double-punched Yuengling-Rolling Rock, or as I call it, in college.)
But life moves on, and there’s a mystery to be solved, and we’re here to help you do that as we go through the final hours of waiting for the seventh and final installment of the Philly-riffic series, Kate Winslett from HBO. Easttown mare (tonight, 10 p.m. ET).
Naturally, there will be spoilers here, if you are unaware of the series. But also, I’m not sure you understand what I’m saying in this article if you haven’t seen the series.
Episode 6 ended with a horrible cliff hanger. It was so unfair that I am considering buying tickets to Delaware men’s basketball games this season so that I can kick things off (a great Philly sporting tradition!) To Blue Hens coach Martin Ingelsby, whose brother Brad is the writer and producer of Mare.
The end scene has Mare chasing down Billy Ross, who earlier today confessed to his brother John that he actually killed Erin McMenamin.
However, back at Easttown Police HQ, Erin’s best friend, Jess Riley, arrived to reveal that she had recovered a photo from Erin’s diary, before they were burned by the ex-boyfriend Dylan Hinchey, and that this could affect the case.
Chief Carter looks at the photo and quickly tries to contact Mare. But you never see what’s in the photo. We only know that it will change the direction of the narrative.
With that being said, let’s take a look at the possible suspects and why they make or don’t make sense. I’m going to weave some of my own observations as well as the best of the many, many theories that are circulating on the Internet.
It’s Billy up there on the left. Sad eyes. A little haunted. Frequently agitated. He’s the star of one of the most beautiful and precise scenes in the series: Mare begins to suspect him when he leaves her house in the middle of a discussion about when Erin – his cousin’s daughter – stayed with him. Mare’s eyes register their skepticism as… focusing on the full beer Billy has unusually abandoned.
But no. This answer would be too simple. We have an hour of show left, first. There must be a twist or a bend here. Billy’s confession is wrong, we just don’t know why.
Which brings us to Bill’s brother John.
It feels like John has become everyone’s # 1 suspect in the moments after episode 6 ends. As in: he’s him in this picture that Erin kept, which Maybe means he’s the father of Erin’s son, which means he would have a motive to kill her because we know she was threatening to go public with this revelation.
So, according to the theory, John forced or convinced his brother to take the fall. We know John is also manipulative: his wife, Mare’s best friend, Lori, has seen him ask their son to keep a secret before. His son later reveals that John was asking him to hide an affair.
Either way, Vanity Fair (among others) took a comprehensive look at this theory. There is a lot of compelling evidence in this take.
That is why I am inclined to reject it. Again, a lot of show remains and the threads on this are already too easy to hook up. It gives the impression that it would ultimately be an anti-climate end.
Lori probably knows more than she lets on, but I find it hard to imagine her as the murderer. Maybe she had a motive if she knew John was the father of Erin’s baby, and as far as I can remember she has no alibi, having left the bar the night she died. ‘Erin at a reasonable time.
I still can’t see it.
We can now get into the more complex theories based on guesswork.
Dylan was an obvious suspect; at the time of Erin’s death he believed he was the father of her child and she was asking him for money to pay for an ear operation.
Later, after surviving a gunshot wound at the hands of Erin’s father AND finding out that he is NOT the baby’s father, Hinchey works with Jess Riley to retrieve and then burn Erin’s diaries for reasons still unknown. He also ends up chasing and threatening Jess for reasons that remain unclear.
Finally, he lacks an alibi for the night of the murder.
So, yeah, Dylan is a mess. But just having him as the murderer would be way too tidy after everything we’ve been through. He must be more tangled up than that.
Which perhaps brings us to my favorite theory.
The beauty of creating a mystery in the suburbs of Philly is that you can make a person react in the most dramatic way possible – Tony throws a gallon of milk out of Mare’s window – then shrug your shoulders and say, “Hey, that. could be a sign he’s guilty, maybe it’s just a guy near Philly.
The internet is NOT happy to think Tony is a scared dad (as Mare graciously puts it.) Oh, no. He’s the region’s drug kingpin – drugs constantly hover over the story – and Dylan Hinchey is his best henchman, according to a Reddit theory you should definitely take the time to read. It’s pretty detailed, but the idea is that Erin could have stolen something from Dylan, thus endangering Tony’s profits and / or the safety of his operation, leading him to take it upon himself to kill Erin.
I don’t feel like this story is going in that direction, but it’s worth including.
Too mundane, right?
Yeah, too mundane.
We know that Deacon Mark 1) was once accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a young girl and 2) picked up Erin the night of her murder and then threw her bike in a river rather than speaking candidly to the police. .
So he surely has a part to play in everything that happened that night, but if you ask me to imagine this character wielding an old cop… no.
Guy Pearce is on this show, for reasons that no one is quite clear about yet. He plays a guest speaker at a nearby university who spends a few dates with Mare. There is nothing so suspicious about him from what we’ve seen so far and his goal, as far as there is one, seems to be for him to be able to force Mare down. a bit of her shield and to open up to her family life. He’s also one of the few strangers in a story where everyone is seemingly linked. it therefore offers a slightly different perspective.
Maybe that’s it. But it still seems suspicious that a well-known actor is cast in such an auxiliary role. He’s unlikely to be involved in the murder – he was with Mare much of the night when it happened – but there’s surely something more to Richard’s presence in this world.
Internet sleuths have wondered about Father Dan from the start of the show when he randomly appeared and made himself a cocktail in Mare’s kitchen (he’s, of course, her cousin). Other than that, he had some tense interactions with Deacon Mark.
This is another one that just doesn’t make sense to me. One theory that does the trick is that Dan may have assaulted Mare’s son Kevin, who later committed suicide. In this scenario, Kevin was also close to Erin (and possibly had a relationship with her), meaning he may have spoken to Erin about Dan, giving her a motive.
I’m including Lori and John’s son – the one who was asked to hide his father’s secret, and then revealed it after he beat up a bully at school and got caught by his mother – because this one- this is rampant on the internet but also makes sense. if the ultimate culprit in this story is supposed to be – forgive me for being so broad – society.
The Ross family clearly have dark secrets. Easttown is plagued by drug addiction and drug abuse. The leadership of the local Catholic Church is hiding things. Young girls and women seem to turn to potentially dangerous sex work to get by.
Maybe this all culminates with a storyline in which this little character ends up being the killer. It would be an indictment against the adults around him, the institutions they control and the place they inhabit. I could see this show ending this way.
Frank remains suspicious in large part because he originally lied about not knowing Erin McMenamin well. Jess then reveals that she saw him bring Erin diapers and other supplies, and postulates that he could be the father. A paternity test refutes this, but there is still something disturbing here.
He was also with the Ross brothers on the night of the murder.
Also, her engagement to Faye seems to dissolve as the show progresses; Perhaps it was just the result of Mare barging in with the accusation that he had imprinted one of his students. Or maybe it’s proof of something more.
I don’t know how we’ll get there, but Episode 7 will take us to two places:
- To the months / weeks / days and circumstances that led to Kevin’s suicide and …
- The secluded park where Erin was killed before being thrown into the woods where she was jumped earlier that night.
These intrigues feel compelled to intersect in one way or another, ultimately forcing Mare to reckon with the death of her son in order to resolve the case.
Mare and Colin walked through the park scene, but there’s so much the show hasn’t revealed about this particular part of the mystery.
And while we have learned more about Kevin’s suicide, there are still big gaps in our understanding of his life, his apparent hatred for his mother, and the addiction he suffered from.
There has been so much we need to hang onto throughout this show – what can we learn from Siobahn’s documentary about his brother? Why did the Carroll family install a camera early on? Did the kidnapping of sex workers have anything to do with Erin’s murder? – so the writers have a lot to work on as we move towards the end.
The only way they can really mess this up is to * not * bring Mare to a reveal due to something Colin Zabel related. Maybe she will remember something he said. Or find his notes. But we can’t erase Zabel. The poor guy died for this mystery, but only after this drunken talk.
Cheers. With nuts. Hazelnut.