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This Is The Real Killer In Mare Of Easttown

Who killed Erin McMenamin (Cailee Spaeny)? That question has been at the heart of HBO's "Mare of Easttown" since the character's death was revealed at the end of its pilot episode. The subsequent episodes of the series watch as Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet) works tirelessly to try and solve the case of Erin's murder, all while juggling a growing number of personal problems and coping with the lingering emotional trauma from tragedies in her past. Mare's journey has been an emotional and riveting one throughout the seven episode series, and fans of the series have been actively trying to figure out the answers to the show's various mysteries in recent weeks.

Now that the finale of "Mare of Easttown" has finally aired, there isn't much time left for fans to throw out their predictions about the identity of Erin's killer either. While the most recent episode of the HBO series seemed to reveal the two characters who were most likely responsible for the crime too, there are still some "Mare of Easttown" fans who believe Erin's murderer will actually turn out to be one of the show's few seemingly innocent characters.

The shocking identity of Erin's killer on Mare of Easttown

The "Mare of Easttown” finale, which aired on HBO this past Sunday, opens with John Ross (Joe Tippett) confessing to (and going to prison for) the killing of his niece Erin McMenamin, with whom he was carrying on an intimdate affair. However, the "Mare of Easttown" finale takes a dark and tragic turn around halfway through when Mare realizes, thanks to a particularly unique gun, that Ryan Ross (Cameron Mann), the teenage son of John and Mare's best friend Lori (Julianne Nicholson), killed Erin on that fateful night in Brandywine Park.

As he explains during his climactic, emotionally-charged confession to Mare in the Easttown police station, Ryan surprised Erin at gunpoint in the park in an attempt to intimidate her into ending her relationship with his father. Fearing for her life, Erin attempted to wrestle the gun from Ryan's grasp, which led to a struggle culminating in Ryan shooting and killing her. Following his confession, Ryan is sent to a juvenile holding facility, and Mare's relationship with Lori totally crumbles for several months as a result of his arrest.

The finale's closing minutes see Mare and Lori beginning to repair their friendship, but the glimmer of hope presented during their tear-filled reunion doesn't take away from the emotional weight of the episode's central reveal. Ryan being the one responsible for Erin's death is not only an unexpected resolution to the show's biggest mystery, but one that makes a devastating impact on Mare, the entire Easttown community, and viewers watching at home. To the finale's credit, it's also a fittingly heartbreaking turn for a series as emotionally complex and somber as "Mare of Easttown" to end on.