‘Gracepoint’ 1.07 or Post Traumatic Stake Disorder or Boiling Points

gracepoint 107

Last night’s episode of Gracepoint was brought to you by the letter S. S stands for Stakes. And not the kind you eat. (Although there was a hamburger.)

Finally, I feel concern! And why am I concerned? Because there is something (or someone) important at stake. It took a whole seven episodes to make it happen, but that means Gracepoint gets The Serial Box Seven-Episode Survival Badge! Congrats.

Before we get to the good stuff, let’s lay it all out. This drama has had a lot of plot, a lot of characters, a lot of talk, a lot of people with feelings, but all in all very little to make us cringe or fear or gasp. Passively, we’ve wondered, we’ve suspected, we’ve felt for some of the most affected characters, but was anyone really worried? Shocked? I’ve had to shrug a lot of things off out of necessity. When there are THIS many suspects and red herrings you don’t worry too much about one, lest you miss out on another. Was I really wondering “OMG, what happens now?!?” or at the very least finger snapping an “Oh no he didn’t!“? No, I wasn’t. I repeat, so what if they never found the killer? Danny is dead and there was no real threat that there was a serial killer on the loose. (Until now.) Lastly, you know how I feel about the incongruent set design, lighting, and direction.

At times Gracepoint has felt like a stew on low heat with the cook gently throwing in every vegetable in the garden. Will this damn thing ever boil? And what’s it going to taste like?

Of course, I’ve enjoyed it as well. I’ve been milling the endless array of facts around in my head, trying to piece it together like most of us have, which is always fun. I also have enjoyed the performances, particularly from Anna Gunn (Ellie), Nick Nolte (Jack, RIP) and Virginia Kull (Beth). The dialogue is pretty good, believable. The chemistry between Carver and Ellie has also been improving. But last night’s episode was exceptionally well done on all these counts and improved upon in nearly every way. Characters moved around, changed their ways, and we the audience felt threatened, scared and confused: Where is Tom? Is he alive? And is this related to Danny? Yes! Gracepoint has reached its boiling point.

THE CHARACTERS

Carver: First time he has one of his attacks in public but curiously enough no one mentioned it. Seems like they just thought he was drunk. A reaction from Gemma would at least have been in order. His daughter, Julianne, is a sensible young woman and had no idea about her dad’s heart condition (reveal!) until now. She clearly came to tell him something, but he is too wrapped up in the case to understand or care. I would doubt if it were relevant to the case but if it were, wouldn’t that be terrible.

Ellie: The fierce protective mother instinct comes out. A shining example as to why Anna Gunn is a great actress: she is believable even with all that anger and fire while staying in character as the sensitive and polite Ellie we also know her to be. My favorite line of the episode goes to her:

Carver: I taught you well.
Ellie: Yes, I knew nothing before you came into my life.

Jack: Turns out the town believed in his innocence but only once he committed suicide and the truth had its opportunity to circulate. They blame Carver for not protecting him, which is beyond ridiculous. I understand other newspapers needing to blame anyone but another journalist, but Paul pointing at Carver? I thought Paul was blaming the town as a whole in his sermon (I heard it twice), and found it false when both Paul and Carver agreed that the sermon was about Carver.

Mark: When he announced his decision to go back to work (because Vince has been doing everything alone) I realized this would explain their conversation last week where Vince implied that Mark owed him money or a promotion. Amiright? Also, Mark confronts Paul about not doing a memorial service, rather a funeral service when Danny is ready to be buried. Finally, he takes charge on the search party for Tom, and Paul praises him. Paul makes a good point, many men would have fallen apart after what happened, and Mark has really kept it together in an honest way.

Beth: I hope to see more of Virginia Kull on television after this. She is so natural and heartfelt, I can feel the confusion that she is going through as she realizes that life must go on. Her hug with Ellie was excellent; no need for words. Best performance of the episode was in her brilliantly hesitant revelation to Joe regarding Raymond’s message.

Trailer Park Susan, Vince, and Kathy: Susan might be off her rocker but by Vince’s reaction and his attempt to pay her off, we know she is telling the truth when she says he has done something bad.  Susan’s exact words were:

You weren’t thinking straight Vincent. You need to talk to me. Tell me everything.

What was up with those brownies though? We even saw her at the supermarket buying them? Why would they include that scene? Vince warns his mother that Susan may have put something in it and I’m inclined to believe him. By the way, Kathy still looks very interested in having Susan investigated. Sounds to me like Ellie is making a big mistake not taking Kathy seriously and following up.

Tom and Vince: By the looks of the blood Vince is washing off his face and hands, and the freezer he is shutting closed, things are not looking good. After Tom’s disappearance and Raymond’s message about Tom bleeding he is looking like the best suspect. But even if he did take Tom does that mean he took Danny as well? Let’s also not forget that we don’t know Tom was taken for sure. He was pretty upset at the funeral, and we know that he knows much more than he is letting on. He could have just finally gone to find Pierson.

Owen and Renee: I defended her a few episodes back but as soon as she started bribing Owen with promises of bylines and money, I was done. I think she meant well in somewhere deep down, but was mislead by her desire to be relevant. Like I said earlier, in the end, the townspeople turned on him and he decided to kill himself. Per Owen, Renee “ran away as soon as they found Jack“. I kind of love Owen. Love him as in, he definitely didn’t do it, or I’m walking into the water, too. Thought it was great that he apologized to Kathy and that she welcomes him back.

Pierson: Aside from Tommy’s kidnapping, Pierson as a character, concept, and cause for concern is so good and so necessary. I found it particularly interesting the complex way his character was developed in such a short amount of time. First a hippie weirdo, then a cold creep, and finally a confused Army Veteran suffering from PTSD. I really felt for him, and whoever the actor who played him did a great job of following the range to it’s end. And what an end it was.

Joe Miller: Let’s talk about Joe, please. See “theories”.

OTHER THINGS WE LEARNED

  • Carver is keeping Paul very high up on his suspect list. In this episode alone he “uncovered” that Beth, Paul, and Mark went to the same high school which, Ellie was very “Well, duh” about, as was I.
  • Danny’s flip phone, found in the kayak, was set to forward all calls to another phone (the smart phone Tom spoke of) but it’s turned off. If it ever gets turned on Carver will be notified instantly.
  • Early on in the episode Carver revealed that the investigation was losing its budget. After the incident surrounding Pierson’s return and Tom’s disappearance, this may still be a problem by the Chief’s reaction.
  • Mr. Conroy — who we didn’t meet before or even during this episode — didn’t do it. Great, thanks.
  • Tom was seen “on the road to Lincoln” by “someone” that morning… as we do not know where Lincoln is in relation to the fictional Gracepoint, I can’t speculate but they end up in the middle of the woods. This is also on it’s way to Pierson’s house.
  • Tom’s bike is found in the woods.
  • Supposedly, Pierson ran into Danny the day that Jack said he did. They spoke about a crossword puzzle answer and Danny expressed his desire to see the world and leave Gracepoint. Pierson wrote his number on the crossword puzzle in case Danny ever wanted to talk.

THEORIES

I’ve been complaining for weeks that Tom has known Pierson’s address for several episodes and nothing had happened in regards to it. This week Tom disappears and is found in the some woods that are on the way to Pierson’s house. This would lead me to believe that Tom finally made the trip over there out of his own accord. Now, why he would leave his bike behind and not answer to any phone calls, I cannot explain but I think that at least at first he chose to venture off alone and was not lured or dragged by anyone.

In regards to Susan and Vince, I am convinced this matter is in direct relation to either Danny or Tom. This doesn’t mean either of them killed Danny but that they likely know who did. Let’s not forget that Danny’s diary revealed that he had followed his dad around and knew what he was up to but that his dad would “kill me”. Could Danny have found out that Vince was up to something bad and that if he knew that Danny knew, he would “kill him”? I can’t figure out what this has to do with Susan or how she could have gotten involved but that dog might have a lot to do with it.

One last theory, and this is only coming from a “what makes a good story” motive and not any character’s possible motiviation: What if it was Joe? Ellie’s husband, Joe. He’s the only character on the show aside from maybe Gemma, who doesn’t seem to do anything wrong but is always around. Not only does that make him the perfect “shocking” killer but would be the ultimate shock to Ellie who is choosing to trust those she knows and go nuts on strangers. What if Carver was right? What if her very husband was the least trust worthy? After all he is a stay at home dad… a lot of time and opportunity to get close to young boys.

There are loose ends here: Sara, Ellie’s sister/Owen’s mom, and what she claims to have seen. Just from a story viewpoint it is not present enough and yet existent which leads me to believe its going to pop right up and mean something; especially this late in the game. Also the $500 under Danny’s bed are still unsolved. Finally, the stealing and him becoming uninterested in sports. Something was happening to Danny and his parents were not aware it was happening. Of that I’m sure.

Did you enjoy this week’s Gracepoint as much as I did? Do you disagree with the lack-o-excitement prior to this week that I expressed? What are your theories? And what other likely relevant loose ends does the series need to tie up before the finale in three weeks?

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