Ruby Cruz as Jess in HBO's 'Mare of Easttown'

This Small Detail On Mare Of Easttown Could Change Everything

What's in the photo?!

by Ani Bundel
Michele K. Short/HBO

Mare of Easttown has wrapped up the mystery of Katie Bailey. But with two more episodes to go, there's still the murder of Erin McMenamin left to solve. Episode 6 began with Chief Carter putting Mare back on the case, and she proves herself more than up to the challenge. By episode's end, she's tracked down Billy Ross, convinced he's DJ's birth father. But is Billy a red herring? Whatever is in the photo Jess brings forward in Mare Of Easttown may exonerate him.

Warning: Spoilers for Mare of Easttown Season 1, Episode 6 follow. Once Mare got out of the hospital, Carter confirmed what everyone already knew: The Bailey and McMenamin cases are entirely unrelated. So it's back to square one for Erin.

Or is it? Some of the loose ends are tied up. The bike, for instance, was found, and Deacon Mark confessed to getting rid of it. Some new clues are already found. For example, Mare has the heart necklace with the "5.29.17" on it she found in Erin's room. Moreover, Mare now has the community's trust back with Katie's return, leading to Brianna coming forward. She revealed Dylan was not in bed with her the night Erin was killed and is unaccounted for at the precise time she died: 2 a.m.

But Mare had what looked to be a break in the case. Freddie Hanlon died of an overdose, and in his room was a trash bag of Erin's clothes, taken from the house. Her father, Kenny, confirmed he told Freddie to take them, hoping they’d serve as hand-me-downs to someone else's children. But Mare was more interested in a particular t-shirt in the bag that read, "Ross Family Reunion, Lake Harmony. 5.29.17."

Michele K. Short/HBO

Mare's sudden focus on the reunion and her questions to Lori about it spooked the Ross brothers. Before long, Billy had drunkenly told John he killed Erin. By episode's end, John looked to be prepared to take justice for Erin into his own hands rather than turn his younger brother over to the law.

But there's a critical piece of information Mare doesn't have. Despite pressing Dylan when his alibi collapsed, Mare was not focused enough on him. And that means she missed the photo.

Viewers learned Erin had a photo secretly stashed with her journals in Episode 5 when Dylan and Jess went to steal and burn them. They also saw Jess pocketed the picture, although it’s not clear what the picture was of.

Now, Jess has come forward with the photo, and whatever Chief Carter saw in it has him frantic to contact Mare before she reaches Billy and John Ross. Audiences are confident that, whatever’s in the pic, it exonerates Billy. So who would be in the pic? The most obvious answer would be John. But what if John is covering for someone else? As he's said both to Lori and Ryan, we keep secrets "for the family."

Hopefully, all will be answered in the Mare of Easttown finale. The final episode releases Sunday, May 30, at 10 p.m. ET on HBO and streams on HBO Max directly after.