As HBO’s crime drama “Mare of Easttown” has entered the zeitgeist in recent weeks, columnist and culture critic Mary McNamara and staff writer Meredith Blake have traded thoughts on the death of Det. Colin Zabel (Evan Peters) in Episode 5 and theories as to who killed Erin McMenamin (Cailee Spaeny) after the cliffhanger of Episode 6. Now, after meeting over video conference from Los Angeles and New York to watch Sunday’s highly anticipated finale together, the pair breaks down the series’ stunning conclusion.

Mary McNamara: I’m not going to say I told you so, but I did tell you so, and I have the Slack messages to prove it. Sorry. I just had to say that.

I went into this finale with three expectations: The murder of Erin McMenamin would be solved. It would not be who we were led to believe it was (a pretty neat trick because so many characters had been presented as likely suspects over the course of the show). The revelation would take a lot of ‘splaining and likely force viewers to choose between the surprise and the show. So many series become so intent on pulling off a shocking reveal that the final episode can feel more like a narrative magic trick than an actual resolution to the events that preceded it.