“I have one goal - to find Danny’s killer. Now, maybe you don’t share that goal.”
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 (Kevin Rankin). One thing that significantly isn’t mentioned is Mark’s affair with Gemma (Sarah-Jane Potts), a discovery 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 her pregnancy. 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 At home Tom is withdrawn and monosyllabic.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, 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 (Madalyn Horcher) boyfriend, who dabbles in drug dealing and knew Danny better than he initially suggested. His testimony reveals a different side of Danny, and his evidence produces some video footage that makes uncomfortable viewing for the Solanos. Rightly or wrongly, Carver presents the footage to the family and that, with the revelation that Dean is Chloe’s birthday only exacerbates the family strife. Chloe thinks Mark is a hypocrite and Beth erupts with grief, paranoia and hostility.
Beth’s one safe haven seems to be with priest Paul Coates. They have the easy familiarity together of a long standing friendship, and Paul carries a photo of them both. He is also over-protective of her when pressing psychic medium Raymond Connelly (Adam Greydon Reid) to leave the family alone. But 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.
Meanwhile Vince 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. Renee (Jessica Lucas) continues her manipulation of Owen (Kevin Zegers), exploiting his money worries and his connection with Ellie. She has a score to settle with Carver and there’s no way she is going to let him slip off her radar this time.
Carver himself is still aloof and intolerant, impervious to Ellie’s attempts at humour, pointedly dismissing her obvious joy that the culprit could be an out-of-towner. Yet we start to see a more vulnerable side to him. First there’s the emotionally weighted call to the mysterious Julianne. Then there’s his collapse on the wharfside, clearly linked to his mysterious ailment. Eventually it’s Joe who extends the hand of friendship to Carver. The awkwardness of Ellie’s invitation to Carver to come to a dinner that neither of them want to take place offers a welcome moment of light relief.
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’ marriage survive? 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 ITV Encore and NOW TV from 10pm BST on Wednesday 29th April.