Gracepoint, Season 1: “Episode Two”

By Jena Keahon

via A.V. Club
via A.V. Club

Gracepoint is a town filled to the brim with suspicious characters and cringe-worthy American accents.

Tensions are growing between members of the Solano family. Cooped up in their home ever since the discovery of Danny’s murder, and unable to plan Danny’s funeral until his murderer is found, there are definitely some feelings of cabin fever. Beth, frustrated and growing suspicious of her husband Mark, goes to the supermarket unaccompanied, where she has breakdown in the parking lot.

Watching Beth wander around the supermarket made me realize what “Broadchurch” had and “Gracepoint” is lacking – the feeling of this being a small town. “Broadchurch,” is set in a very small, isolated town in the English countryside where everyone knows each other’s business. Setting “Gracepoint” in the suburbs of California makes the show lose these feelings of gloom and claustrophobia.

The list of suspects has grown exponentially within this episode. Aside from the priest, who knows of Beth’s pregnancy and may or may not have a romantic history with her, there is Jack Reinhold, the fisherman, who miraculously remembers that he saw a hitchhiker talking to Danny before his murder. We also see this fisherman creeping outside the playground, watching Ellie and her family talking to some concerned parents.

Other suspects include Ellie’s son Tom, who, last episode, was seen deleting his texts with Danny and deleting his computer hard drive, and this episode we find out has been yelling out Danny’s name during his nightmares.

There’s also the creepy blonde woman, Susan Wright, who has spent almost all of her scenes in this episode and the previous episode eavesdropping and walking around ominously in the background with her big, scary dog. When Carver comes around to her trailer to acquire her keys to the abandoned cabin, we see that she has Danny’s skateboard he was seen riding the night he died in her closet.

We also find out that the innkeeper, Gemma Fisher, asked Danny’s teenage sister Chloe, who works there sometimes, if she could get her some cocaine for a couple staying at her inn. When the couple leaves before she can get the drugs, she tells Chloe to just keep them. Not messed-up at all, right? However, later in the episode, she lessens our suspicious in one of the standout moments of the episode where she tells off a patron of her bar who complains that Danny’s murder is losing the town money.

Speaking of Chloe, why is she allowed to have an English accent, but Tennant couldn’t keep his Scottish accent for Detective Carver? His American accent is teetering on the edge of being so terrible that it’s distracting.

Bad accents aside, we find out that Carver is hiding some secrets of his own, and later in the episode we meet a suspicious electrician, Raymond Connelly, who we find nosily looking at some of Danny’s murder case documents and pictures that are lying open on a desk while he’s supposed to be working.

However, in terms of suspects, Danny’s father comes out as the front-runner this episode. After discovering security footage of Mark waiting around in a parking lot during the time he claimed to be on an emergency call for work, Carver goes to Mark’s house to question him. Mark admits that he was meeting a friend, who he refuses name. As Carver grows more and more irritated, he receives a call from Ellie, who tells him that they investigated the semi-abandoned cabin and found blood, size six footprints and Mark’s fingerprints.

In short, in only its second episode, “Gracepoint” is already beginning to prove itself to be an intense, exciting mystery with solid acting, beautiful cinematography and some great pieces of dialogue. In the standout scene of the episode, Ellie tells Carver, “Most people have a moral compass.” To which Carver replies, “Compasses break.”

Jena Keahon is a contributing writer.  Email her at entertainment@nyunews.com

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