‘Mare of Easttown’ Crashed Amid Finale Thanks to a Tragic New Twist

HBO Max’s thrilling limited series Mare of Easttown ended with a bang. Many theories surfaced about killed Erin McMenamin (Cailee Spaeny) but not many saw the final twist coming. With so many tuning in, HBO temporarily crashed, sending viewers to an odd substitute. Here’s what we know.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers from Mare of Easttown Episode 7, “Sacrament’]

Here’s a recap from the ‘Mare of Easttown’ finale

‘Mare of Easttown’: Robbie Tann as Billy Ross and Joe Tippett as John Ross sit while talking to Mare.
‘Mare of Easttown’: Robbie Tann as Billy Ross and Joe Tippett as John Ross | Michele K. Short/HBO

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Throughout all 7 episodes of Mare of Easttown, Detective Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet) dove into the small-town murder of Erin McMenamin. The HBO crime drama was as gritty as it was realistic, with fan theories guesstimating the killer from episode 1.

The finale piggybacked from episode 6. The real killer was revealed and it wasn’t Billy (Robbie Tann) or John Ross (Joe Tippet) as previously believed. As the episode began, John confessed to killing Erin. He’d been having an affair with her and was the father of her baby.

John would’ve sat in prison for taking the fall if it wasn’t for Mare who found the real killer: John’s son Ryan Ross (Cameron Mann). Ryan found out about the affair, “borrowed” a gun from a neighbor’s utility shed, and went to meet Erin, accidentally shooting her while she struggled to get the gun. He told John, who agreed to confess to protect him, and John told his wife Lori (Julianne Nicholson).

“I agreed to lie to protect my son,” Lori said. “And I would have taken that to my grave if you didn’t show up at the house today.”

It was a lot to take in, but the series ended with completeness for every thread. Mare got custody of Drew just after saying goodbye to Richard (Guy Pearce), and she returned to Lori where we assume they patched things up.

HBO crashed amid finale, directing viewers to a totally different show

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Just as fans settled in to watch the Mare of Easttown finale, HBO Max crashed. Many took to Twitter to express frustration. All in all, the HBO servers were down for around 25 minutes before viewers could return to the unraveling mystery.

“We’re aware some customers may be experiencing issues streaming #HBOMax and appreciate your patience as we work to resolve this as quickly as possible,” HBO Max tweeted 26 minutes into the episode.

The episode may have landed at 10:00 p.m. ET to stream, but many didn’t finish watching until nearly midnight, thanks to the crash. In an even more bizarre turn of events, some said an episode of Big Bang Theory began playing while Mare was out.

“I got through to the Mare of Easttown finale and Big Bang Theory started playing instead,” this fan wrote with a video of the strange incident.

The show eventually returned to normal so everyone could manage the shock of that twist. Creator Brad Ingelsby previously told Entertainment Tonight why things ended the way they did.

I had the ending in my head even prior to writing the opening episode page one, but I hadn’t had Mare in my head, had a lot of these characters in my head,” he said. “It was about eight months of just having these characters in my head, but not knowing exactly where it was going to end.”

He continued: “And then it wasn’t until I kind of landed on Ryan and I was convinced that was a really emotional way to end the show, but also it would speak to the show and the female relationships and the loss of a son. And it would speak to the themes of the show in a way that was honest and organic. And so once I landed on Ryan, we stayed with that. It never changed. It was always going to end with him.”

Could there be a season 2 of ‘Mare of Easttown’?

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Mare was only meant to be a limited series with 7 episodes but that doesn’t mean it won’t return. Previous episodes garnered over 2 million viewers which is two times more than the premiere in April. HBO said Mare‘s ratings have only been topped by The Undoing, which was also a limited series.

That said, other limited series’ like Big Little Lies, True Detective, Sinner, and more have come back for another season so there’s no ruling Mare of Easttown out just yet.