It's been a year since Katie Bailey disappeared and in that time, Mare (Kate Winslet) has been unable to come up with any leads. But in episode 4 of Mare Of Easttown, we finally see what happened to Katie. In a final twist, we learn that Katie is alive, being held by a man who drives a van and has a connection to a place called "Bennie's Tavern." It's not a lot to go on, but this man, whoever he is, could be key to solving the Erin McMenamin case, too.
It starts with a shady phone call to Katie's mother Dawn Bailey (Enid Graham) from a man who says he knows where her daughter is. He asks for $5,000, which Dawn doesn't have, and it's hard not to think she's being scammed. But she can't take the chance that her daughter is really out there. Especially when this guy seems to know so much about her.
What she finds when she drives to some rundown house off the highway is that she had been played. Worse, it was Freddie (Dominique Johnson), Beth's opioid-addicted brother, who had set her up. He wanted the money for drugs. After a year of searching without anything to show for it, you can imagine how hopeless Dawn must feel.
What she doesn't know is that Detective Colin Zabel (Evan Peters) and Mare — who is not officially on the force right now after planting drugs on her late son's girlfriend (Sosie Bacon) — are actually on to something. When another girl named Missy goes missing, the two start looking for connections between this latest disappearance and Katie and Erin's cases.
Turns out, all three girls had posted on Sidedoor, an escort website. Erin's friend says she made a Sidedoor account to save up money for her son's ear surgery, but never actually went through with meeting or sleeping with anyone. Is it possible Erin just didn't tell her friend the truth? That she possibly met with the same man that took these girls?
As more clues begin to crop up, we get to see how good Mare is at her job when she is really locked in. We see her combing Erin's Instagram for clues, watching a video in which she talks about her journals, which could have information about that night.
Listening to Erin talk about being a "bad mother," you can't help but draw a line between the other struggling mothers in town, Mare and Dawn. Both feel, just as Erin did, that they didn't do enough for their children, but Mare has been given a second chance. She can't bring her son back, but she can help protect Erin's son. She can find justice for the murdered girl. She can also help bring back Katie, who for too long she assumed was a lost cause.
Mare isn't able to find Erin's journals, but she does find a heart-shaped necklace with the date, 5.29.17, inscribed on it. It's hard to believe that necklace and that date won't be key to finding out what happened to Erin that night at Creedum Creek.
It's definitely too soon to assume that the same man who kidnapped Katie was responsible for Erin's murder. As Zabel points out, Erin's lifestyle was far different than the other victims. Katie and Missy were both drug abusers who turned to sex work to pay for their habits; Erin only turned to Sidedoor out of desperation and to help her son.
But this episode feels like an important break in both cases. We now know that neither Frank (David Denman) nor Dylan (Jack Mulhern) are the father of Erin's son, which means there is someone out there who might have a motive.
We also learn that Deacon Mark Burton (James McArdle) had been transferred to Easttown following a sexual misconduct allegation from the parents of a 14-year-old girl. He tells Zabel that the allegation was investigated by the Archdiocese, who found no evidence that it was true. Should we believe him? It's safe to assume Mare will be asking these same questions very soon.