In its fourth episode, Gracepoint is finally starting to address the cracks that are forming in the community in the wake of Danny Solano’s death. Though there are still plenty of new clues and twists (and many red herrings), “Episode Four” also brought up the question of how well we can ever really know another person. The Solanos (and the police) are starting to find out that Danny had his secrets, while Beth becomes distraught to find that everyone else in her family does, too. Hit the jump for why you should “follow the evidence, inform the family, and don’t get emotionally involved.”
Gracepoint is still lacking in urgency, but “Episode Four” did open the door to deeper, character-driven narratives, which the show also needs. As mentioned last week, Beth remains the most compelling character, with Virginia Kull‘s very natural and heartbreaking performance grounding what would (and what is) otherwise a very plot-driven procedural. Her finding out about Chloe’s secret boyfriend, as well as Danny’s penchant for shoplifting, blew the lid off of an already smoldering cauldron of hurt after she witnessed Mark with Gemma in “Episode Three,” and it signaled an unravelling that’s starting to happen all over Gracepoint.
Each week, we’ve gotten a peek at different characters who are all are somehow part of Danny’s mysterious murder. It’s easy to put together the suggestive material alongside our own prejudices, and begin to suspect each in turn: Susan, the gruff trailer park dweller, invites Mark’s employee Vince over for dinner, saying there’s something they need to work out. She also buys a live chicken and cracks its neck, mixing in a little violence with her already suspicious nature. As for Vince, he has a shed where he fixes skateboards, and Tom visits him for a repair on his (a hokey red herring had Vince seemingly shutting him in the shed after asking ominously if Tom’s mother Ellie knew he was there). The skateboard connection is a tenuous one, though, since Susan has Danny’s. What else do they share?
Tom, too, seems to have his own secrets on the matter, and raids Ellie’s bag to find information on the current investigation (including his own search for Lars). Despite being called Danny’s best friend, Dean says to Ellie and Emmett that he never saw them together. And of course, there’s also the matter of Tom deleting his text messages and emails from Danny.
“Episode Four” did a nice job of exploring interconnectedness when it comes to the town of Gracepoint, not only in these examples, but in tying together Beth and Paul’s past, as well as Mark’s long-standing dislike of Paul. Paul touching Danny’s picture gingerly, in addition to his threatening nature towards Raymond and his clear pining over Beth, all raise questions about him as well. Was he somehow involved in Danny’s death? With so many possibilities, is there perhaps a larger conspiracy at play, involving several characters?
While Emmett still somehow remains a static character, Ellie has started coming into her own. She jokes with him early on in the episode, then later shows genuine concern after his collapse. She doesn’t let her pride get to her when interviewing the drug dealer, Mickey Felton, and invites Emmett from the car to join her in interrogating him (even having him repeat what he knows to Emmett). Though she still spars with him over what he reveals to the Solanos, there seems to be a dawning horror in her that the killer may well be among them, even as hard as she tries to deny it (like attempting to pin everything on the war veteran Lars, who admittedly, is a suspicious presence. But is he too obviously suspicious?)
The most successful personal story of “Episode Four,” though, was Dean’s. He’s the first of (sure to be) many “persons of interest” whose lives are being wrecked by the investigation (in Dean’s case, he could get thrown out of his living situation and lose his part-time job). And then, of course, the Solanos are starting to break apart as well, as they come to the cold realization that the Danny they knew was only a small part of the story.
Episode Rating: B+
— “Episode Four” also did a nice job of recapping the evidence so far right from the beginning (the number found in the jacket, the $500, if that had a link to the drugs, and where is Danny’s skateboard).
— A veteran hiker who “seemed off,” who is on anti-psychotics is the most obvious suspect. So of course, he’s the least probable one regarding this show.
— The boat on fire should have made me so excited to see the next episode, but it didn’t. Light a fire, Gracepoint!
— Does Gracepoint not have grocery stores? Can you not buy chicken there?
— “If I turn over every stone, maybe I find something” – Emmett.
— Emmett’s story is falling so flat, I forget sometimes he’s on the show.
— On the other hand, his exchange with Ellie where she invites him to dinner (her husband’s idea) was so hilarious and real in the stilted way she asked and the fake way she pretended to want him to come over. His wild-eyed look was also priceless.
— “Teaching him the eighth commandment while you were buying cocaine?” – Emmett.
— “I don’t even know my own family” – Beth.