Last time on Gracepoint, inn owner Gemma Fisher (Sarah-Jane Potts) aptly remarked, “Everyone’s got something to hide.” This statement, while obvious, became oh-so relevant this week. Some of the many secrets Gracepoint’s citizens have to hide come to the surface in Gracepoint‘s fifth episode. We have reached the halfway point of this Fox series, and Miller (Anna Gunn) and Carver’s (David Tennant) investigation has finally picked up steam.
Episode five starts right where it ended last week. It’s the dead of night and a boat sits aflame on the water. The shot is stunning. The fire consumes a key piece of evidence in Danny’s murder. The fierce, bright light stands against a perfect black night as the “Gracepoint” title appears in white lettering.
The title sequence is always my favorite part of the show. It is also one of its strongest as it usually makes an important thematic statement about the subsequent episode. This week especially the title sent a powerful message: this killer has no interest in subtlety when it comes to covering his or her tracks.
I experienced a sense of whiplash viewing Gracepoint‘s fifth episode. The investigation, dialogue and action have all kicked up to a ferocious pace. It’s about time. This change is not only refreshing, but also a relief from the bogged-down, laborious feeling I got from the last few episodes.
Up til now, Gracepoint has been plagued with slow-moving plot and lazy action. The show’s heavy reliance on its only intrigue (“Who killed Danny Solano?”) and tired plot devices (“The dad did it!”) have kept audience’s attention for several hours. But this week, a new suspect and a fresh scandal has revitalized the series.
Yet while I appreciated the quicker pace of this episode, I also felt the story moved a bit too fast in places. Writers Anya Epstein and Dan Futterman are right to include more action in the show. However, their newfound speed doesn’t always allow for digestion. We get a lot of information about the plot and characters this week, but the writers never offer enough pauses for us to hash it all out.
The episode begins with Miller’s nephew, Owen (Kevin Zegers), who tells her and Carver he’s dug up information about Jack Reinhold’s (Nick Nolte) past. It turns out that he was convicted of child molestation a long time ago but was never logged in the registry. Apparently the crime happened before public lists were a mandatory part of sex crime sentencing.
All eyes are now on Jack. There is no hard evidence to back up that he’s the murderer, but no one cares. He has a record of sexual abuse. By popular decree, he must be the killer.
Gracepoint still has five episodes to go, so I highly doubt that Jack is actually Danny’s killer. He’s likely a red herring. I was especially convinced of his innocence after the emotional scene where he bursts in to the Solano home pleading with them to not believe anything they hear about him. His line – “I’m looking you in the eye and I’m looking Beth in the eye and I’m telling you I didn’t kill Danny.” – still resonates. It reverberated off my core, and I found I had softened toward this convicted child molester.
The moment brings questions to the surface about what happened in Jack’s past. Based on what we’ve seen, he doesn’t appear to be a bad guy at all. He genuinely seems to want to put his past behind him. As the town desperately searches for Danny’s killer, the ensuing witch hunt generates real empathy for Jack.
Aside from Jack’s emotional outburst, Beth (Virginia Kull) has the most heartbreaking scene once again. Beth seeks solace in Tom Miller (Jack Irvine), Danny’s best friend, while Miller’s family is over at her house. When she asks for a hug because she misses them so much, her pain and struggle to cope with her loss are written on her face.
While Beth’s strife continues to move me, I also wonder about her pregnancy. She mentions it after her breakdown in the second episode of the show, but it hasn’t been brought up since. Why put so much emphasis on that moment if it’s never going to be mentioned again? What is Gracepoint planning on doing with her this reveal?
It is hard to know who killed Danny. I know that the murderer is different from the character in Broadchurch, but the U.K. hit also never featured the killer; it came as a complete shock when the culprit was finally unveiled to U.K. audiences. We’re told that Danny knew his killer but that doesn’t mean that we know them. If Gracepoint is follows its British counterpart, then there’s a good chance that none of us will be able to figure out who it is until the show gives us the answer.
If it turns out that his killer was unknown to us the entire time, I’ll definitely feel cheated. One of the best parts about watching a show like Gracepoint is trying to figure out the mystery along with the characters. If we get blindsided by a random person we’ve never seen, it’ll feel like a cheap reveal.
Carver and Miller’s chemistry still is a little stiff but after a dinner at Miller’s house, the two seem better at tolerating one another. The get-together with Miller’s husband shows how fantastically awkward Carver can be outside of work. The scene also unearths more background on Carver and his home life. It’s nice to see a new side to his character. Before he came across as a grimly one-dimensional workaholic. Now that we know about his divorce and his daughter whom he rarely gets to see, Carver finally seems like a real person.
Nevertheless, while Carver and Miller may have gathered more information for the Solano case in this episode, it still feels like they are collecting more than they can put together. With only four weeks left and more clues than ever before, I’m anxious about whether Gracepoint will manage to wrap everything up neatly.
The show’s halfway to the finish line. Who do you all think the murderer is? If it’s a new character whom we haven’t met yet, how will you react?