REVIEW: Gracepoint Episode 3: A Change In Perspectives

The third episode of Gracepoint sees the police with their first real suspect. If he’s found guilty then the shock could tear the town apart. And right now he isn’t doing anything to help himself.

The closing minutes of episode 2 of the ten-part event series Gracepoint saw a lot of evidence come in that placed murder victim Danny Solano’s father Mark (Michael Peña) right in the murder scene. At the same time Mark was struggling to convince Detective Emmett Carver (David Tennant) that he had a credible alibi for the night of the murder and it was inevitable that he would be invited in for questioning. This is local detective Ellie Miller’s (Anna Gunn) worst nightmare. In the interview room the reality of the conflict between her working life, personified by the irascible and remorseless Carver, and her beloved home town, here her flailing friend Mark, is laid starkly open to her. She cannot be both a detective and a sympathetic friend to all: she must choose to be either one or the other. And Mark’s obstinacy at coming clean is very quickly making her realise that her faith in the people that she relied on and trusted all her life may not have been justified.

The evidence keeps stacking up against Mark. Not only do the police rip his wispy alibi to shreds in minutes, there’s also the statement from young Tom Miller (Jack Irvine) that he used to hit Danny. There’s even a couple of significant beats when both Joe Miller (Josh Hamilton) and Vince Novik (Stephen Louis Grush) are asked to consider Mark’s character, and he has a record of fighting. The detectives also check out his boat. It seems, for all the condemnation of Raymond Connelly’s (Adam Greydon Reid) psychic message, the notion of a boat has stuck in Carver’s head and he can see how one might have been used. Unfortunately for Mark that means more potentially damning evidence. As does the testimony of the unpleasant Susan Wright (Jacki Weaver), who firmly denies any plumbing repair at the rental property where Danny was killed. By the time Mark’s whereabouts is explained the seeds of doubt have already been sown in the heads of many, including his own wife and daughter, and also Ellie, who can no longer state with conviction that Mark is innocent. Moreover, it is questionable whether a bereaved parent would actually put their own social embarrassment over finding their child’s killer – do we have a plot weakness here or is Mark throwing up a smokescreen? He’s apparently absolved. There again he has a couple of hours still unaccounted for.

Beth (Virginia Kull), meanwhile, has been wallowing in the everydayness of her life before Danny’s death, but the news of Mark’s arrest and her subsequent discovery of where he really was make her start to look at what remains of her family in a new light. She turns to filling her spiritual needs, first through Paul Coates – and again we see signs of a former tenderness between them – and then via Raymond Connelly. The latter has managed to squirm into her life and has given her the message that the killer is someone close to her. However, nothing so far in what he has told her has been more than vague statements. At the moment we have no idea of Connelly’s real motivations, both towards her and towards Detective Carver.

Carver’s ill-temper has not improved in the slightest and he makes his feelings known about Gracepoint in a bitter outburst. He still seizes on every opportunity to put Ellie in her place too, but he’s in for a shock when she stands up to him and turns his own favourite ‘No’ back at him. She is growing in strength as the investigation proceeds. As each shock hits she toughens a little more. On the other hand, Carver is starting to show a few cracks in his shell-like facade. At the harbour he shows an aversion to being on the water. Significant, perhaps? Perhaps, but then many people are nervous of boats and Carver is, of course, a city boy. If anything it marks him out as an outsider. There’s also the question of his mysterious ailment. A clandestine meeting with his doctor reveals that Carver does indeed have a medical condition, and a potentially fatal one at that. He’s determined to ignore medical advice though and push ahead with the investigation, despite the stress and the long hours. “Penance,” he declares. For Rosemont? Or is there something even bigger and darker in Carver’s past? Rosemont still hangs heavy over him, and journalist Renee Clemons (Jessica Lucas) is not going the let the subject drop easily.

Renee, meanwhile, is still making herself few friends around the town. Jack Reinhold (Nick Nolte) is the latest to send her packing. Her best bet is the cash-strapped local reporter Owen Burke (Kevin Zegers) whom she tempts with offers of money and recognition and a way out of Gracepoint. Owen is having a wobble. He’s essentially being asked to betray his home town...but Renee is very, very manipulative.

With the release of Mark, Carver needs to find a new direction and quickly. He keeps his focus firmly on the Solano family, shifting it now to the drugs angle and to daughter Chloe (Madalyn Horcher). Is the deal anything to do with the slip of paper that the CSI team find in Danny’s sweatshirt with a phone number printed on it? What is the significance of the shotgun and reddish stains in he back of the van owned by Mark but driven by Vince? And there is still the question of that skateboard in the keeping of social misfit Susan. It’s too early to rule anyone out of the investigation yet. Episode four promises a whole lot of brand new leads in the hunt for Danny’s killer. However, this third chapter has changed perspectives for some of the residents of Gracepoint who will never look at their town, neighbours and loved ones in the same way again. And the most significant of these people has to be Ellie Miller, who is starting to regard her home town and its population through fresh eyes.

Watch episode 4 of Gracepoint on Fox in the USA and on Global in Canada on Thursday 23rd October at 9pm ET/PT, and also on the Universal Channel in Australia on Friday 24th October at 8.30pm.