REVIEW: GRACEPOINT - Episode 4: Suspects, Secrets And A Family Divided

Episode 4 of Gracepoint aired last night in the USA, Canada and Australia. Please see our latest review below – be aware that it contains spoilers

“I have one goal - to find Danny’s killer. Now, maybe you don’t share that goal.”

So Detective Emmett Carver (David Tennant) lays down the challenge to his colleague Ellie Miller (Anna Gunn) in a tense episode of Gracepoint in which new twists and suspects emerge and in which the underlying tensions and paranoia start to erupt into anger.

At the heart of the episode is the effect that the case is having on two families. The first is obviously the Solanos. Mark (Michael Peña) and Beth (Virginia Kull) are rowing. Constantly. About Mark’s mother’s imminent visit. About the memorial service for Danny. About Mark’s dislike of Paul. One thing that significantly isn’t mentioned is Mark's affair with Gemma (Sarah-Jane Potts), a piece of knowledge that Beth is holding close to her chest at the moment. The couple are so at odds that Beth won’t even undress in front of Mark, but then she is still hiding that pregnancy. In the meantime Mark’s temper is starting to show and Beth’s frustration boils over in a heated confrontation with Ellie. The family demand information and actions from the police and they want to know what evidence has been uncovered in the search for Danny’s killer. They should, as it turns out, be careful what they wish for.

The Millers too are being affected. Ellie is constantly out. Tom (Jack Irvine) complains about this to Vince (Stephen Louis Grush) on a visit to the latter’s workshop where he supplements his meagre income by building and repairing surf and skateboards. At home Tom is withdrawn and monosyllabic. His parents put it down to grief and to missing Ellie – Joe (Josh Hamilton) wants to see more of her too – but Tom, it turns out, has other things on his mind, and the moment Ellie’s back is turned he’s rifling through her case notes to find out about the investigation. He comes up trumps, with details of the detectives’ latest and most mysterious suspect, and wastes no time in tracking down a home address.

That suspect is one Lars Pierson (Brendan Fletcher), the owner of the cellphone whose number was found in Danny’s sweatshirt. He is an ex-soldier who was discharged from service in Afghanistan. The reasons for the discharge are not clear, but it is known he has a regular prescription of the anti-psychotic medication Risperidone. Pierson has not been seen by his neighbours for some time and to Carver’s frustration, a search of his house is being blocked. However, there are two positive IDs in Gracepoint. Jack Reinhold (Nick Nolte) recognises Pierson as the backpacker he saw chatting to Danny up on the cliff. And then, more worryingly, Beth recognises him as a customer at the visitor centre, one, she says, who was oddly interested in the photo of her ‘beautiful family’. The still missing Pierson is very much a person of interest in the case. The question is whether Tom has recognised him and, if so, why he is so keen to get in touch with him.

Lars Pierson isn’t the only person coming under Detective Carver’s spotlight this week. The other ‘person of interest’ is Dean Iverson (Kendrick Sampson), Chloe’s boyfriend, who supplied the cocaine found in the Solano house in the search that also turned up $500 dollars in cash. There’s a brief but dramatic chase to bring Dean into custody, but a trip to his own dealer reveals that there is more to his story than meets the eye. Dean was in the habit of talking to Danny, whom he initially claimed he knew only slightly, and giving him rides on his bike. Dean’s dealer Mickey claims that Danny was with Dean when he arrived to pick up the coke and that they were rowing. Dean eventually confesses that Danny had stolen a puzzle book and pen from the gas stop. With CCTV corroborating the story, and Dean’s uncle confirming that he was in work the night of the murder, Dean seems off the hook, but the garage footage will be uncomfortable viewing for the Solanos.

Rightly or wrongly, Carver presents the Solanos with the video footage that shows irrefutably that Danny wasn’t the angel that they’d believed, and predictably all hell breaks loose. Not only was Danny a shoplifter, it also emerges that Chloe is in a relationship with the ‘drug dealer’ Dean after the pair were spotted by Mark earlier in the day. This leads to a private confrontation between Chloe and Mark, not only about the similarity between her relationship and that of her parents at the same age, but also of Mark’s infidelity. He’s a hypocrite in Chloe’s eyes and she has no respect for him. Beth erupts with grief, paranoia and hostility as she now believes that people are deliberately withholding information from her. She needs closure, she needs the police to find the killer and she needs to understand the reasons. None of this is happening for her.

Beth’s one safe haven seems to be with priest Paul Coates (Kevin Rankin). Her arrival at his house suggests a certain familiarity: she is comfortable enough to simply step inside and begin a conversation without preamble. Paul also carries a photo in his pocket of the two of them together as children, and he acts in a decidedly ungodly way when pressing psychic medium Raymond Connelly (Adam Greydon Reid) to leave the family alone. Of course the issue of the validity of either source of spiritual messaging is questioned more than once during the episode. And, as with Carver, Connelly delivers a stinging parting shot to Coates that could imply that he’s done his research on the family. He knows that Paul and Beth were once close.

Other characters are behaving no less suspiciously. Vince, who was trying to extract information about the police investigation from Tom, seems to have some sort of connection with mysterious caravan dweller Susan Wright (Jacki Weaver). They have, Susan says, something to figure out together. She invites him to dinner: “You have to eat” she says with something approaching concern, shortly before wringing a chicken’s neck without a flicker of emotion. Naturally Vince doesn’t show (Susan's lonely dinner table reflecting Carver's similar one in the hotel dining room). However, Carver has forced Susan to confess that she was either lying or mistaken about Mark never repairing pipes in the hut. They now have the records to show that he did and she paid him. His presence at the murder scene is now explained.

Meanwhile Renee (Jessica Lucas) continues her manipulation of Owen (Kevin Zegers). She spots him with Ellie and realises that there is a connection. Owen wants Ellie to help him with his mum, who attends a support group for reasons unknown, but lately seems to be slipping back into trouble and has cleaned out his bank account. Renee shows up with booze and a sob story about being unwanted and close to leaving town. So Owen makes her feel welcome. This is just what Renee wants – there’s now way she is going to let Emmett Carver slip away this time.

But...whatever you do, don’t call him Emmett. It seems that along with hating the town, his colleagues and especially his work partner, Carver also hates his first name. Ellie is trying to make light of their fraught partnership, even trying to crack jokes with her impervious boss, but to now avail. Carver is still aloof and unblinking, carved of stone, and he makes a pointed remark at her apparent joy that both of their latest suspects live out of town. However, we start to see a more vulnerable side to Carver. He’s trying to phone someone, someone called Julianne, and it’s obviously an emotionally weighted call. And then there’s his collapse on the wharfside following the pursuit of Dean. It has to be related to his mysterious ailment, but thankfully he just manages to get out of having to explain it to Ellie. It’s Joe, though, who extends the hand of friendship to Carver, and his suggestion of inviting Ellie’s boss to dinner allows at least a little light relief and she as Carver negotiate the awkward minefield of presenting and accepting an invitation that neither of them actually want.

The episode concludes with new leads and more questions. Will Lars return to Gracepoint? Will we ever find the source of the $500 now that the drugs connection is ruled out? Will the Solanos get through this? One thing is for sure, Danny wasn’t quite the innocent that was once believed – what further secrets are going to emerge about this lonely, mysterious kid?

Gracepoint continues with Episode 5 on Fox in the USA and the Global Channel in Canada on Thursday 30th October at 9pm ET, and on the Universal Channel in Australia on Friday 31st October at 8.30pm.