Hmmm. In my enthusiasm over “Episode Seven’s” big departure from Broadchurch, I might have overestimated Gracepoint‘s decision to really strike out on its own. “Episode Eight” was more or less a kind of reset, and the kind that made “Episode Seven” look largely like wheel-spinning. Nothing much was revealed in this new episode, either, which seems to suggest that the two-episode expansion from the original series may not ultimately yield any different results. Hit the jump for why I’m running hot and cold about this series.
Tom has proved an interesting subject on Gracepoint, but somehow the least interesting thing he did was disappear and reappear (because, as we learned in this hour, he was doing his own investigation). That whole storyline petered out early, with Tom’s excursion not shedding any particular light on the crime. What was far more intriguing was the circling back to Tom’s deletion of emails and documents from his hard drive. After Owen suggests things can be recovered, he takes his laptop outside and smashes it with a hammer. Not the stealthiest of crimes, but with Joe MIA, Tom clearly saw an opportunity.
The rest of “Episode Eight” was just a rehash of a formula used in earlier episodes, minus the good times had by the Solano family (which were genuinely moving). Mark builds up a circumstantial case against Paul, and Emmett buys into it. It seems like yet another red herring and dead-end, where an innocent man is hounded about the crime, and his character brought into question (the same was true of Lars, who was also released because of an alibi). At this point, almost every male in town has been accused of the crime, except for Emmett, Joe and Vince. Only one of those is completely preposterous, which means things are really narrowing down.
Of course, Vince’s guilt (or innocence) could be proved by the mysterious Susan Wright, who Kathy is able to get dirt on and tip off the police about. She also, oddly, drops Danny’s skateboard off for Tom. Did they not dust that for fingerprints? Vince secretly taking Susan’s dog (and being unable to decide whether to kill it or feed it) makes Susan absolutely lose it, and refuse to speak to police until the dog is found. It’s a delay tactic not only for her, but for the show. Unfortunately, viewer patience at the false leads is really running low at this point.
Another false lead could be the person who attacked Ellie and escaped from the scene of the murder. He or she isn’t necessarily the killer making sure the scene is clean. The crime has garnered enough media attention that plenty of unscrupulous people might be, like Tom, trying to conduct their own investigation, or find tokens to sell. Or, it could even be the psychic trying to have his own little seance at the scene of the murder.
The most important part of Gracepoint, one that hasn’t always been handled well or given its proper due, are the Solanos. In “Episode Eight,” Chloe struggles returning to school (and to its scrutiny), while Mark is given pause when he sees a newspaper with Danny on the cover at work. Beth is given the most depressing “advice” ever from the mother of one of the Rosemont victims (where, we finally find out, Emmett lost evidence and botched the trial), who is now an alcoholic and pill-popper, and whose life has essentially stopped.
But Beth, mercifully, is able to find another way through Chloe. Beth, Mark and Chloe (and even Dean, in one scene) are able to bond together, and the bowling alley scene and afterwards showed a Solano family we haven’t met yet during Gracepoint. They’re happy. And Beth, now, seems more and more likely to keep the baby she wasn’t sure she wanted to have (she’s also referring to it as a “he”).
Obviously, with only two more episodes to go (though there will a holiday break next week), we’re going to finish this thing out. These next two episodes should tell us everything; not just regarding Danny’s death and his killer(s), but about whether there was a point to this remake or not.
Episode Rating: B
— Emmett calling Ellie “Ellie,” finally, was a nice moment (even though he essentially retracted it later).
— Ellie: “Has everyone any told you that you run hot and cold?” Emmett: “No.” Ellie: “Really?” Emmett: “I’ve heard the cold part.”
— “You don’t get to belittle my faith just because you’re too closed off to understand it” – Paul.
— I loved that the town shut its doors to Renee, and that she was forced to sleep in her car (even though she awoke with hair and makeup perfectly done … oh, television).
— Emmett’s heart ruins everything again! (When trying to catch that runner). Poor guy, though.
— “I need a break from being the dead kid’s sister” – Chloe.