(Warning: this article does contain spoilers. Look away now)
Sadly, we have just one more episode left in the first season of Mare of Easttown. That means one more hour of Kate Winslet vaping her way through the wretched Philadelphia suburbs, trying to solve murders and keep her family together. Mare of Easttown may not be uplifting television, but the show's creators have built a compelling world of woe, and we'll definitely miss these beer-swilling Pennsylvanians.
After the Episode 5's rollercoaster with its violent finale, this week's episode left us on all on a cliffedge. Young Jess has brought a photograph from Erin's diary that she chose not to burn to the police station. Chief Carter seems flabbergasted by its contents. A pivotal clue about the father of Erin's son and the killer of Erin exists on that photograph.
So who's in this photo beside Erin McMenamin? There are plenty of internet theories. Here are the best ones.
No one seems to think Billy Ross is actually guilty of the murder. That's despite the fact that he confessed to the killing in this week's episode. We know that he came home late the night of the engagement party blind drunk and was seen by his dad disposing of bloody clothes. But we also saw how angry he was at the beginning of the episode that his brother John was moving back home due to repeated infidelity.
Billy seems like a fall guy.
Yeah John is definitely the father not Billy. And why did they end the episode there?!?! 😩😩 #MareofEasttown
— K. (@Kryztyna_de_Vil) May 24, 2021
Most internet sleuths seem convinced that John is in the photo. We know John has a history of infidelity. We know he was on that trip to the Poconos. We all noted how he extracted that confession from his brother. If John was not himself guilty of something horrible, it's hard to know why he'd take his brother on a final fishing trip with a loaded handgun.
— ginger 🐈⬛📚🧋 (@ginjokat) May 24, 2021
As for other suspects, it seems unlikely that a photograph with Deacon Mark would elicit such a surprised reaction. Mare's ex Frank was already ID'ed by Jess as a possible father of DJ but the paternity test has supported his claims of innocence.
There is, however, one outsider that has internet sleuths intrigued: Mare's deceased son Kevin. What if Kevin had been the father of Erin's son DJ and the two had a relationship? Kevin has been dead for two years and the child is aged one. (This theory is likely erroneous though: Frank's paternity test would likely have revealed similarities to DJ were Kevin the dad).
Do note that the person who is in that photograph (and who is the father of DJ) isn't necessarily Erin's killer. Fans of the show on Reddit remain convinced that John's wife Lori, his son Ryan and even Mare's daughter Siobhan all have questions to answer.
Our guess is we won't be much the wiser come this time next week.