REVIEW: GRACEPOINT Episode 5 - Revelations, Rumours And Reputations

Episode 5 of Gracepoint aired last night. With the investigation no closer to ending, the residents of the town are becoming increasingly fearful and paranoid and taking in upon themselves to look for the culprit. Read our review below - please beware that it contains spoilers for the episode.

“Let us handle the media”

Unfortunately for detectives Emmett Carver (David Tennant) and Ellie Miller (Anna Gunn), their run of keeping a lid on the press comes to an end in this episode. The lurking journalists step to the front as Gracepoint reaches its halfway point, and in making their presence known they are going to change life irrevocably for at least a couple of the town’s residents.

It’s an episode bracketed by two fires. Carver has raced down to ensure the salvage of the boat seen burning out at sea at the climax of the last episode. Fortunately some useful evidence has survived the deliberately-started fire and Carver seems almost gleeful at the thought that he has the killer in a state of panic. His happiness is short lived though, as he has to face the locals at the town meeting. They are understandably angry, frustrated and worried and Carver isn’t able to give many answers. His stress is rising and he’s not helped by the presence of Raymond Connelly (Adam Greydon Reid) who is still trying to insist that his premonitions are valid, even though, as Carver points out, it’s not a great stretch to guess a boat was involved in a town where everyone owns one.

With the investigation no longer focusing on any one suspect, the press take it upon themselves to find their own. The partnership of Renee Clemons (Jessica Lucas) and Owen Burke (Kevin Zegers), strengthened by a night spent in Owen’s apartment, is out to make a name for itself. Owen has made a discovery about Jack Reinhold’s (Nick Nolte) past that has implications for the investigation – Jack served time for statutory rape before moving to Gracepoint. Somehow he has slipped through the regular checks and now works with children. Carver and Miller have to investigate, to Jack’s contempt, though he still insists that his conviction has nothing to do with Danny’s death and that he has never harmed a child. Owen also visits Jack trying to glean information for his own report, and Jack’s hurt and anger explodes. “Owen Burke, you’ve changed!” he snarls, grappling with the reporter, “Now you’re nothing but a snake!” The altercation is observed by Vince (Stephen Louis Grush), who is quick to report back to Mark Solano (Michael Peña).

This story might be big enough, but the self-serving, back-stabbing Renee has bigger ideas. Realising that the family are becoming frustrated too at the apparent lack of progress, she ditches Owen at the first opportunity and gains access to the Solano family via her previous contact with Chloe (Madalyn Horcher). It doesn’t take much persuasion to convince them that going against police wishes and putting their story in the press is a good idea; in fact she’s doing them a big favour by even going against her usual practices and letting them approve the copy. Owen is pretty disgusted when he finds out what she’s done, not because of the family but because he was excluded from the by-line. It’s the incentive that he needs to get his piece about Jack written. It’s all going the way that the manipulative Renee wants it. Owen has other big problems too. The repo men are at his mom’s house and she’s in trouble again. He’s running out of reasons to stay in Gracepoint. It seems to be the incentive that he needs to perform an act of betrayal on a former friend and mentor.

There’s another piece of investigative journalism going on too, but with less immediately explosive results. Following an application for work at the hotel, Gemma Fisher (Sarah-Jane Potts) discovers that Susan Wright (Jacki Weaver) may be using an alias. Bearing in mind that Gemma is a woman who is giving accommodation to the lead investigator in the murder case and to whom she has been at great pains to prove that she is not an adulterous drug dealer, for some inexplicable reason she takes this information not to Carver but to Kathy Eaton (Alisen Down), the editor of the Gracepoint Journal. However, Kathy investigates and discovers that Susan did indeed use the name of Ruth Erlick. She confronts Susan to give her the opportunity to explain. Susan later retaliates in a horrifying late night encounter that leaves Kathy in little doubt that the real Susan/Ruth is a very dangerous individual.

It’s a difficult week for Beth (Virginia Kull) too, as the impact of her isolation hits home. Unwisely she has let Raymond Connelly back into her home and is pinning hopes on his ‘evidence’. But this time Carver and Miller have done their homework. Connelly is exposed as a thief and con-artist who seems out to exploit the family and the case for his own gain. Beth is crushed by the realisation of her own gullibility. “I am so alone in this,” she wails. She still hasn’t spoken to Mark, still hasn’t told him about the pregnancy or that she knows about the affair. Ellie is one of only two people she feels she can trust, but Ellie is in the difficult position of being torn between her professional and social roles. Beth, we learn, is a person who once had aspirations which were crushed by impending parenthood. Her life seems to be a stream of plans and events derailed by circumstances; her frustration and anger seems ever more understandable.

Beth’s other confidant, the Reverend Paul Coates (Kevin Rankin) is under police focus too. He’s visited for questioning as someone without an alibi, and because Ellie has spotted him up at night wandering. He has insomnia, the priest explains wearily, but without elaborating. Carver is more interested in his regular contact with Danny – in fact with all of the town’s kids – through Sunday school. Coates is outwardly pleasant, but later at his full-house sermon he delivers a stinging rebuke to Carver, laying shame upon those who come to Gracepoint to stir up bitterness and turmoil.

Carver might not be making many friends this week, but at least he has a dinner date to look forward to. He arrives at the Millers, an awkward bundle of nerves and gifts and stilted conversation. However, Joe (Josh Hamilton) is the one person in town who actually manages to extract the real, human Carver from inside his tough shell. He even manages to make him laugh. Joe also directly questions the detective – will he catch the killer? Carver is certain that he will. The wine-fuelled and untypically light hearted Carver actually reveals a little of his back story: there’s an ex-wife, a daughter, a vague explanation of a failed marriage. Carver later feels confident enough to try to make contact with his daughter Julianne again. However, his post-meal euphoria is short lived as the symptoms of his medical condition get the better of him again, and he wakes up in hospital, pleading with Gemma Fisher to keep his collapse a secret. Even so, the meal must have had some good consequences – the following day he actually acquiesces to a couple of Ellie Miller’s suggestions instead of his usual flat ‘No’.

There are, in fact, two significant meals in this episode as the Solanos try to have a normal roast dinner, cooked by Vince and attended by the Millers. It’s significant particularly for Ellie who, for the first time, and to her acute awareness, finds herself as an observer rather than a participant. She is sitting at the table among her friends and observing them for signs of weakness and unusual behaviour. If Carver is showing signs of becoming more open, Ellie is going the other way and toughening up. It should be a pleasant enough gathering, but in a stark reminder that nothing can ever be normal again, they are visited by a frantic Jack who hands back Danny’s cellphone. With the seeds of suspicion already sown, things could turn nasty, had Mark’s rage not been diverted by the timely arrival of the nation’s paparazzi. Mark, at last, explodes.

To try to alleviate some of the damage that Renee’s article on the Solanos has caused, Carver calls a hasty press conference to raise the profile of the investigation. The idea is to present the family as a unit. So, it’s here that Beth chooses to drop onto Mark the psychological nailbomb that she knows about Gemma. The consequences for the family and for Beth’s unborn baby are still to be determined.

The episode ends with the second fire. As the press event proceeds, a broken Jack is having a clear out and burning anything that could link him to Danny, anything that could suggest an unhealthy interest in the young people he works with, and particularly the photographs that detective Carver was so interested in. And he knows too that the refuge that he carefully constructed in Gracepoint to escape from whatever happened in his past is going up in smoke along with his memories. Especially as, unbeknownst to him, the police have seized upon a new clue: that fifteen years ago a similar murder occurred along the coast. And who lived in that town then? Jack Reinhold. 

Gracepoint continues on Fox in the USA and Global in Canada on Thursday 6th November at 9pm ET.
It also airs at 8.30pm on Friday 7th November on the Universal Channel in Australia.