Mare of Easttown fans were in for a shock at the end of the HBO miniseries' fourth episode, titled "Poor Sisyphus," Sunday, as it was revealed that missing teenager Katie Bailey (Caitlin Houlahan) is actually alive. More than that, the show's centric character, presumed dead for the last year, was revealed to be a hostage locked away in an unidentified man's house, completely changing the investigation's premise.
Mare of Easttown follows Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet) as she hunts for the truth as to what happened to Bailey, who was dealing with substance abuse issues when she disappeared more than a year before the show's start. Sheehan's investigation fueled by the missing girl's mother, Dawn (Enid Graham), who thinks police have fallen down on the job when it comes to her daughter's case, as well as the discovery of local teenager Erin McMenamin (Cailee Spaeny), who was found murdered. While fans speculated that the two cases were related, the latest revelation regarding Bailey has some rethinking their theories completely, wondering if the two are related at all.
Mare of Easttown director and executive producer Craig Zobel told Decider that while Episode 4 was the first time the audience has seen Bailey, he hoped they would connect to her already through "Dawn's story, the story of someone who had someone [they loved] go missing like that." Zobel continued, "Enid, who plays Dawn, I just thought was so compelling and interesting to kind of watch. I felt like people would connect to Katie, just through the virtue of knowing like what her family is. That's my hope anyway."
The show, which depicts the opioid crisis and mental illness, comes at a turning point for the country, showrunner Brad Ingelsby told Black Girl Nerds: "When we first started writing it in 2018, I was feeling like we were in a dark time in this country. I wanted to portray the need for compassion and mercy and to help each other with a certain level of kindness and decency," he explained. "I think we've turned a corner in the country. I hope we're in a different place. There's a certain level of optimism now which was what I wanted to achieve with this story — those traits of kindness and decency and just taking care of each other and a sense of duty towards the members of a community and towards family." Catch up with Mare of Easttown on HBO Max.