[Editor’s note: The following post contains spoilers for “Mare of Easttown.”]
Evan Peters exited HBO’s “Mare of Easttown” in shocking fashion as his character, Detective Colin Zabel, took a bullet to the head and was killed off at the end of the fifth episode, “Illusions.” The twist is the latest TV water-cooler moment for Peters in 2021 following the controversial reveal about his “WandaVision” character. The actor told The New York Times he knew from the start about Zabel’s death and “was excited by the idea that that would happen, to craft this whole character and formulate this whole plot so it’s almost like we did it for that moment.”
“It’s this interesting way to develop a character, knowing that he’s going to die in such a way,” Peters continued. “To me, it felt very real, and it sort of speaks to the danger of being in this line of work. 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.”
“I felt like it was very clever,” director Craig Zobel added about the death in an interview with Vanity Fair. “He’s having his cathartic moment where he’s becoming more active as a character, after we’ve heard his backstory and how he didn’t really solve that case in Upper Darby. It’s just taking a person directly at a point in which they have the most opportunity, and stopping them.”
While Zabel’s death is the biggest “Mare of Easttown” shock so far, it’s not the scene that left Peters most rattled when filming. That would be the viral moment in Episode 3 where a drunken Zabel reveals his vulnerabilities to Mare. Peters told Vanity Fair that filming the moment caused him to question his own future as a working actor because he was convinced he bombed.
“The reason Craig and I were emotional and hugging was because I was hysterically sobbing,” Peters said. “I thought we didn’t get the scene. I was like, ‘We didn’t get, we didn’t get it. I can’t do this. I’m terrible. I’m going to shadow you, Craig, and be a director, because I can’t do it anymore.’ And he was like, ‘It’s OK. It’s cool, man. I think we got it.’ […] What’s going on with my internal judgment? Where I don’t even know if it’s good.”
Zobel revealed on Twitter after Episode 3 aired that Peters drank cups of apple cider vinegar every half hour in order to “trigger sense memories” of being drunk. The scene became a standout for “Mare of Easttown” thanks to Peters’ inebriated acting.
“Mare of Easttown” continues its run Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.