Mare of Easttown Is a Story of Addiction – Den of Geek

When Mare chases down Freddie for burglarizing his sister Beths house, she sticks him in a cop car and runs down his options. His heat has been turned off for lack of payment, so he can either stay in his freezing house or he can stay at the local shelter run by the church. After some convincing by Mare, he opts for the shelter. She directs the newbie officer driving the car to bring Freddie to the hospital to have a wound looked at, then bring him to the shelter, and then call the power company. Whew. Thats quite a lot for an officer to take responsibility for, but the young man agrees without blinking an eye.

Mares directive to the officer takes mere seconds, but it encapsulates why police funds desperately need to be redirected to agencies that have the capacity to truly help people in Freddies situation. As a part of the police department, Mare is doing the best she can with what she has, but she is unable to take proactive steps to help people like Freddie recover. She can only take reactive steps after a crime has been committed.

Faced with a scarcity of well-funded and competent community supports, even well meaning authority figures like Mare can and do become desensitized and inured to the humanity of people struggling with addiction. Its clear from the jump that Mare had mostly written off Katie Bailey, the Original Missing Girl, as simply an addict who was probably dead at the bottom of the Delaware River. But, shocker, Mare was wrong. Katie has been alive the entire time, as the end of episode 4 reveals.

Even though she had issues with addiction, Katie was certainly worthy of saving. However, the way that American society has conceptualized addiction is that it is a moral failing on the part of the individual, and therefore these individuals are responsible to deal with their own respective consequences and recoveries. We now know that this is dead wrong. The continued scourge of addiction is a policy failure that treats substance misuse as a criminal justice issue instead of a societal one. Therefore there are no readily available resources for people to access even when they do want to seek help. This is likely why Katie was engaging in risky behaviors to obtain money for drugs, and why she was in a vulnerable position to be exploited and kidnapped by a monster masquerading as a man.

On a different side of the spectrum, we can also look to Drews mother Carrie as a prime example of this problem. At one point, Mare visits Carrie at her halfway house. Its a small, dilapidated structure. A new admit just arrived carrying bed bugs. According to Carrie, the agency is called Rebirth, implying that the residents were all dead before we got here. To the system, individuals who suffer from addiction problems dont actually count as people until they get clean and sober. Carrie, like so many others, is managing to succeed despite the system, not because of it. (Also despite a scorched earth, drug planting campaign from Mare, but thats a whole other story.)

Carrie. Katie. Mare. Freddie. There isnt a single character in Easttown who has been untouched by addiction. It is a complex evil that encourages people to stay quiet out of pride, guilt, and shame even when they need help and support. It is an evil that often goes unnamed until it is too late. And it will continue to infect the shadows of towns both small and large unless we bring it into the light.

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Mare of Easttown Is a Story of Addiction - Den of Geek

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