Gracepoint, Season 1: “Episode Seven”

By Jena Keahon

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

With only three episodes left, “Gracepoint” finally diverges from the path of “Broadchurch.” When Tom’s little brother drops his toy on the way to school, Joe allows Tom to ride his bike the remaining three blocks to school by himself so he’s not late. Soon after, Ellie receives a phone call that Tom and his bike are missing, an unnerving parallel to the Solano case.

The police department springs into action, along with the community, which forms a search party under the direction of Mark Solano. For the first time that we’ve seen, there’s friction in the Miller family, with Ellie putting the blame on Joe for breaking their agreement to never let Tom out of their sight. While it could be due to the shock, Joe didn’t seem as upset as one might expect of a father whose son is missing and possibly dead because of his mistake. Or it could just be that they’re running with the “expressionless dad face” theme that’s been going on throughout the course of this series (seriously, Michael Peña’s face hasn’t changed expressions since episode one). In any case, I’ll be keeping an eye on him.

The detectives’ first suspect is a schoolteacher who called out of work the same morning, and was also listed among those who the Solanos think were involved with Danny’s murder. When this leads to a dead end, the backpacker resurfaces, and it is revealed that he hasn’t taken his anti-psychotic medication in months. During the interrogation, which Ellie insists on being in the room for, Anna Gunn finally shines. Up until this episode, her acting certainly wasn’t abysmal, but it also hadn’t achieved anywhere near Skylar White levels of greatness. Her performance is heart-wrenching as Ellie tries to hold herself together and remain professional while listening to the backpacker talk carelessly of her missing son.

During the search, the psychic reappears at Beth’s doorstep, apparently having received a “message” about Tom. He tells her that Tom is hurt and bleeding, and Beth hesitantly tells Joe this while they go searching in the woods. Given his accuracy in the past, we have no reason at this point not to believe the psychic. We also have to continue to wonder how he knows this information, and question the likelihood of his involvement in these cases, whether direct or indirect.

Carver’s daughter also appears, but unfortunately adds little to the episode. Amidst the search for Tom, Carver has little time to talk to her. We don’t learn anything knew about Carver or what happened with his family, except for that his medication is for a heart condition.

The episode ends with the discovery of Tom’s bike in the woods, but no sign of Tom. With “Gracepoint” having strayed so far from “Broadchurch,” and only three episodes left, it’ll certainly be interesting to see what’s to come.

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

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