According to the ratings, I’m not the only one who has been finding Gracepoint a bit of a slog. Though its British forebear, Broadchurch, already has a second season in the works, that future looks unlikely for Gracepoint. But Fox will probably air the rest of its episodes, just because it doesn’t have any reason not to (it’s only ten weeks, the episodes have already been produced, and with the holidays coming up, there aren’t going to be any major scheduling changes at this point). At the same time, “Episode Five” is actually where Gracepoint has started to make its turn. For those of us sticking with it, it could possibly prove to be worthwhile, after all. Hit the jump if your only alibi is a book.
In “Episode Five,” the Great Unspoken element of Danny’s death was finally addressed: was he murdered by a pedophile? And is it someone in the town? Jack Reinhold’s past was dredged up by the local muckraking duo of Renee and Owen, and it caused an avalanche against a man who was once considered benign. Many years ago, he was convicted and jailed for statutory rape, but he won’t give any details (Ellie and Emmett don’t provide any, either). Was it a boy, or a girl? How old? And yet, the suggestion of Jack’s guilt makes all of the suspicions immediately fly towards him: he has a program for young boys, he likes to take pictures, he has easy access to boats and was close to Danny. Ellie even makes a leap when another police department alerts them to one of their cold cases with some similarities, because it happened in a town near where Jack had been living at the time.
But like most quick and easy suspects, with Gracepoint as no exception, there’s clearly a lot more going on. When Mark Solano was considered a suspect, it ferreted out his relationship with Gemma, which also led to an explanation about the cocaine Chloe had, as well as Chloe’s boyfriend bringing in a key bit of evidence regarding Danny’s shoplifting. Jack is not the only potential child molester in Gracepoint, but the other option also seems too easy: is it the priest, Paul? He has a long-standing affinity for Beth, could that have transferred to Danny? His odd habits also help cast suspicion on him, not to mention little insinuations like when Emmett asked about the unusual practice of having the priest teach Sunday School.
“Episode Five” also showed Susan Wright to be a mysterious and threatening figure, even more so than before. Her social security number links her up to a different name — Ruth — which the Journal‘s editor, Cathy, confronts her about (to no avail). Later, Susan creeps into Cathy’s office late at night, and says, “I know men who would rape you.” That’s pretty sick on several levels, and it also betrayed everything we needed to know about this dreg. Susan was also aggressive with Gemma regarding her picking up more shifts because Chloe has been with her family, but Gemma tells her there’s not enough work to warrant more help. What, exactly, would Susan have to gain from this tragedy? Or what is it she’s hiding from? Not to mention Tom and Vince, and the things they are hiding. Are they somehow connected?
The character moments in “Episode Five,” (like Beth realizing that Raymond had duped her, if he had — speaking of suspects, why was he so emotional in the car by himself later? Because he had failed his spirit guides?), all helped build to several emotional scenes. Emmett begs Gemma not to tell anyone about his collapse, because he needs this case. Jack pleads with Mark and Beth about his innocence, and leaving himself and Beth in tears. Mark, being Mark, flew into a rage, and smashed a photographer’s equipment outside of his house (also showing how the interview Beth gave is already spiraling out of control with the media). Things are getting messy, like how Jack handed over the evidence of Danny’s phone, but also burned his personal photos that could either incriminate him, or cast enough doubt on him that he could be tried by mob rule anyway.
Gracepoint has always had a deluge of evidence and suspicions to contend with, and at the mid-point to the season now, it seems like the answer isn’t going to be a straight-forward one. Mark’s affair with Gemma is just one small piece of what is sure to be a mountain of other revelations that come to light during the investigation, none of which might ultimately have to do with Danny’s death. And yet, through the uncovering of those secrets, we are starting to get a sense of the interconnectedness of the town, and how that might have indeed played into the murder.
Episode Rating: A-
— As lackadaisical as some of the local law enforcement is portrayed, surely Emmett couldn’t have been the only one to understand the significance of getting to the burning boat as quickly as possible (also, could it be important that the episode both started and ended with flames? Is Jack connected to both?)
— Emmett also came into his own a little more in “Episode Five,” when he actually had time to interact with Ellie and her husband Joe at dinner (awkwardly, but ultimately triumphantly). There were a few more clues given about his own background and family, just like with Beth when Renee interviewed her for the story in the paper.
— Beth asking for a hug from Tom … all of the tears!
— I was happy that Ellie finally had an idea that Emmett could get onboard with: releasing the hiker’s picture to the parks service.
— Renee is slimy and loathsome, but she served some purpose in this hour by telling the story of the Loneliness of the Middle Distance Runner (and former scholarship recipient, whose life took a different path). Renee is the Rita Skeeter of this show.
— I’m assuming that the quick scene with Owen’s mother losing her possessions is going to play out in future episodes, where he’s desperate for money and willing to sell his soul to the media devil.
— Why isn’t Ellie more involved with that situation? Is that her sister? Did she say?
— “Why does everyone have to use first names, are we in group therapy or something? If you’re looking at somebody, why do I have to use your name to … create some false sense of intimacy…?” – Emmett.
— Emmett: “You’re a terrible liar.” Joe: “And you’re a terrible boss.” Emmett: “Touché!”