The following story contains spoilers for Episode 5 of HBO’s Mare of Easttown.
We lost a good one, folks; as the classic saying goes, ‘Outside Philly giveth, and Oustide Philly Taketh away.’ Just as things started looking even slightly positive for Detective Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet) and Detective Colin Zabel (Evan Peters), the heroes of Mare of Easttown, things immediately became grim once again. Mainly, the fact that despite a pretty rough date (seriously!), the two connected afterwards, had a quick, spontaneous kiss, and even seemed to track down the blue van that was central to tracking down missing girls Katie Bailey and Missy Sayers.
Unfortunately, though, just after Mare and Zabel tracked down that blue van—which did turn out to be where Katie and Missy were being held—that owner of the van also realized what was happening. And since Mare—technically off the case, suspended after a bad deed of her own—was gunless, it left Zabel to face off with the bad guy, Wayne Potts, mano a mano. And he simply wasn’t fast enough. As soon as the situation got sticky enough, Zabel got shot right in the face. Farewell Zabel—it’s a testament to just how good Evan Peters was in this role that it hurts so much to lose him, even though he only appeared in four episodes of the show in total.
While this is TV, and technically anything can happen, you can safely give up any hope that Zabel is still alive after taking a bullet clean to the face. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Peters confirmed that while it’s hard to tell in real-time what happened to Zabel, his fate is in fact sealed.
“It was pretty shocking,” he said. “It felt like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, where they’re having that standoff and staring at each other. We played with time a little bit there and slowed it down. But Colin is not a quick draw. That is for sure. He is not a quick draw. Poor Zabes.”
Peters double confirmed Zabel’s death in another interview with The New York Times, basically saying that his character was basically developed for, well, the exact feeling that everyone had after watching that scene. “To craft this whole character and formulate this whole plot so it’s almost like we did it for that moment,” he said. “It’s this interesting way to develop a character, knowing that he’s going to die in such a way.”
He also perfectly compared the moment to a beloved Coen Brothers film; if you haven’t seen Burn After Reading, maybe sit this next quote out.
“It felt very real, and it sort of speaks to the danger of being in this line of work,” he explained. “It reminded me of that moment in Burn After Reading where Brad Pitt gets shot in the forehead in the closet which is sort of hilarious but also really shocking, and we wanted to have that sort of feeling once it happens.”
Mare of Easttown is already the second great TV role for Peters in 2021. You may remember that he did a wonderful job playing Pietro Maximoff—or, rather, “Pietro Maximoff”—in WandaVision earlier in this year; he’s shown a wonderful talent over the years of bringing a likable charisma to every character he plays, and this year has seemed to put an exclamation point on that in these two high profile projects.
Next up for the 34-year-old? A pair of re-teaming projects with Ryan Murphy. He’s scheduled to return to American Horror Story for its next season, likely airing in the fall, and he’ll also star in Murphy’s chronicle of one of the most infamous serial killers in history, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. That last one probably won’t be quite as much of a fan favorite as our friend Mr. Zabel—but we’re excited to check it out nonetheless.
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