*Warning: Minor spoilers ahead*

I’ve seen Kate Winslet play quite a few noteworthy roles, but I’ve never seen her like this. I’m talking about the new HBO Max series Mare of Easttown, which just premiered earlier this week.

In honor of the highly anticipated debut, I watched the first episode of Mare of Easttown with the sole purpose of determining whether it’s worth your time. (TL;DR: It is.) Here’s my honest review.

mare of easttown kate winslet
Michele K. Short/HBO

To start with, what is the show about? The series tells the story of Detective Mare Sheehan (Winslet), who lives in a small Pennsylvania town. Although she’s a trusted investigator, she’s haunted by her past as a high school basketball star, who scored the winning shot in the championship game. (As in, she’ll always be linked to that moment, now matter how old she gets.) Today, Mare spends most of her time investigating burglaries, but she occasionally lends a hand on other cases, including one involving a prowler who’s lurking in the area.

Meanwhile, a teenager named Erin (Cailee Spaeny) is trying to navigate life as a single mom. In an attempt to step out of her comfort zone, Erin agrees to meet up with a boy she’s been texting. When she arrives at their meeting spot, it doesn’t take long for her to realize that she’s been set up by a group of mean girls, who created a fake dating profile to catfish Erin.

The episode concludes with Mare receiving a horrifying call about…well, we’ll let you watch and find out.

mare of easttown hbo max
Sarah Shatz/HBO

So, most importantly, is it worth the watch? I’ve only seen the first episode, but so far, the answer is 100 percent yes. I was hooked from the moment it began as I tried to piece together what’s happening. The series sort of reminds me of True Detective, following multiple story lines that are interconnected through a series of events that are slowly revealed as the show progresses. However, it has more of a personal element, since it focuses on Mare’s family life in addition to her career as a detective.

One of the biggest takeaways is I couldn’t take my eyes off of Winslet. Everything from her American accent to her lackadaisical mannerisms are spot-on for the character. Not only did I find myself searching for inconsistencies that weren’t there, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if she receives an Emmy nomination in her near future.

Not to mention, the thrilling story line is accompanied by an all-star cast, which includes Julianne Nicholson, Jean Smart, Angourie Rice, Evan Peters, Guy Pearce, David Denman and Phyllis Somerville.

mare of easttown hbo max review
Michele K. Short/HBO

PureWow rating:

4.5 out of 5 stars. The only reason I didn’t give it a five-star rating is because I still have several unanswered questions after watching the first episode. The answers will likely be revealed throughout the season, but until then, I refuse to get ahead of myself.

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