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June 18, 2021

Evan Peters listened to a Dr. Dog song to prep for standout 'Mare of Easttown' bar scene

Detective Colin Zabel's masterful rant required outside inspiration to set the mood

TV Mare of Easttown
Mare Zabel Bar Michele K. Short/HBO

In the third episode of HBO's 'Mare of Easttown,' Detective Colin Zabel, played by Evan Peters, spills his emotional baggage to Kate Winslet's Mare Sheehan at a dingy Philly-area bar.

A few weeks have passed since the stunning conclusion of HBO's hit detective drama "Mare of Easttown," giving viewers some time to process the series and reflect on its high points.

Undoubtedly, a moment every fan of the show will remember is the scene when Detective Colin Zabel, off-duty and hammered after a high school reunion, pours his heart out to Mare at a local bar. His bro-infused vulnerability was so expertly portrayed that you have to step back and marvel at how actor Evan Peters could have nailed this without actually getting drunk.

But here it is, Zabel explaining to Mare that he was dumped by his ex-fiancé two weeks before their wedding and he's been living a hollow existence ever since. There are too many nice touches to cover them all, but Zabel calling the bartender "bar guy" (and immediately apologizing for it) and referring to Mare as "Ma'lady" in his first effort to flirt with her are perfect moments.

In the background of the clip, you can hear The Killers' "Mr. Brightside" playing at the bar. There's no question that was the right and most realistic choice for the moment, but it turns out Peters prepared for the scene by listening to a defining track from Philadelphia's own Dr. Dog.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Peters explained how he got into the right frame of mind by playing "Where'd All the Time Go," from the band's 2010 album "Shame, Shame."

"That feeling of being in this long relationship," Peters said of the song, "and it ending badly."

Interestingly, the song has been enjoying a bit of a second wave lately as part of a TikTok trend in which users post childhood photos that transform into their adult selves.

Peters also said he listened to John Mayer's "New Light."

The Vanity Fair article dives into Peters' trepidation about the outcome of the scene, which he thought he had bombed on the morning it was filmed. It was an important moment in director Craig Zobel's reframing of the Colin Zabel character, who had originally been constructed as a more cocky figure under former director Gavin O'Connor. Zobel, who took over directing duties after the show already had begun production, thought the series needed a more complex arc to lead Zabel to his tragic fate.

As for Peters' recipe for success in the scene, he said he took shots of apple cider vinegar.

"It has a very acidic, strange taste to it," Peters said. "But if you drink enough of it, it starts to taste good."