Mare, 2

Previous: Mare

After a good night of sleep—the kind of sleep that allows the stringing-together of multiple words into sentences, multiple sentences into paragraphs, etc.—there are two thoughts about Mare of Easttown that stick with me.

First, there are plenty of pauses in the show. There are many interactions—friend to friend, family to family, stranger to stranger—that happen slowly enough, and with a tendency to leave space. There wasn't much capital-A Action in the show, just a lot of suspense and tension. What this did for me is let me have a few moments to consider how I would react in a situation, to consider how my morals—or their opposite, whatever that might be—would come into play. Instead of being caught in a rush and having the show happen to me as it went by, I could think about whether or not I would also lie to shield a family member or a friend, or if I would consider someone innocent or guilty and how I would treat them after deciding that, or if I would keep digging to find one more truth and one more truth and so on. Since so many characters took their turns as antagonists and protagonists, there was both a rich story on the screen and in my thoughts.

Second, there were quite a few scenes with Kate Winslet's character Mare that I came to appreciate after watching the show. Since she is a flawed hero, she ends up several interactions where she gets yelled at or assaulted—and her reaction is silence. She chews on it, and swallows it. She certainly has enough scenes where she is doling it out, and it would be easy to turn a character like that into someone who doesn't take any crap from anybody. But she does—she takes a lot of crap. And sometimes that crap is just... dealt with. Silently. Like you can feel her hold the abuse, feel its shape and size and heft, before setting it aside on a shelf with the rest. It holds the tension in the show in a way that a violent reaction wouldn't; an immediate reaction releases the tension immediately, but the silence allows it to hang there, and sometimes, if the tension isn't released after that silence, it's still there somewhere in the background quietly pulling until it gets its chance to release.

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