Gracepoint, Season 1: “Episode Six”

By Jena Keahon

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

The episode opened eerily with a restaging of the night Danny went missing. Tom Miller acting as Danny in the restaging not only creeps out his mother, but it also creeps us out, as we suspect from previous episodes that Tom knows more about the murder than he’s been letting on.

The suspicion around Reinhold intensifies, with him experiencing harassment from reporters and members of the community due to rumors of his conviction of sex with a minor. The harassment gets so out of hand that Ellie and Carver agree to give him protection, but only if he tells them what happened. He comes clean and tells him that when he was a 38 year old piano teacher, he fell in love with one of his 16 year old female students. He served two years, and when he got out, he married her. The detectives ease up on him, because according to the logic of the show, if you marry your victim, you’re no longer a pedophile. Alright then, writers.

While this episode was more focused on moving the plot forward than character development, we did get to see Beth turning into a badass. She confronts Mark about his affair with Gemma, and she also tells him about the pregnancy. When he tells her she has to keep the baby, she shuts him right down. “Gracepoint’s” Beth is a lot fiercer of a character than the passive Beth of “Broadchurch,” making her a far more interesting and complicated character. After this confrontation, which Chloe overhears, Beth goes to the bar at Gemma’s inn and threatens her, smashing glasses and hurling them at Gemma. It is a truly unnerving scene to watch unfold.

Something very strange was Vince’s obsessive anger at Reinhold. Why is he so invested in tearing down Reinhold? His relationship with Mark seems to be rocky and he doesn’t even have kids of his own. In any case, Vince riles up other members of the community, which proves to be very easy since Gracepoint has the “small town” mentality. He rounds up a mob to go after Reinhold, but when Mark hears about it and goes over there to stop them, Reinhold explains his statutory rape conviction. He tells him that the girl was the same age as Beth was when he got her pregnant.

Though Reinhold may not deserve the harassment and threats he’s been getting, it’s difficult to feel as much sympathy as the show would like us to. Even if Beth was the same age as Reinhold’s young wife was at the time, Mark surely wasn’t approaching 40 at the time. Nevertheless, the harassment worsens, with someone breaking Reinhold’s window and writing “pedophile” on his porch, and the papers releasing more stories about him. This escalades into the climax of the episode, where Reinhold commits suicide by drowning himself in the ocean. The sequence is particularly haunting, with his scenes alternating with the Salanos looking at Danny’s baby pictures. Whatever you choose to believe about Reinhold, Nick Nolte’s portrayal of this character was excellent, and his presence on the show will definitely be missed.

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

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