‘Gracepoint’ Finale or Deus ex machina or A Pretty Red Bow Can’t Hide the Crappy Giftwrap

gracepoint 110

Last nights episode of Gracepoint was brought to you by the letter D. D stands for Deus Ex Machina. For those of you familiar with the literary term, you’ll recognize this plot device as it was used in exemplary form on Thursday night’s finale. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, deus es machina is an ancient Greek phrase translating to “God as the machine” and was used during early Renaissance theater criticism as reference to the ropes and cranes used to lower angels and Gods down on to the stage and resolve the conflict, quite literally “out of thin air”.

But enough with the metaphors. In fact, what happened last night on Gracepoint could have used some metamorphosis — unfortunately it was too wrapped up in misdirecting viewership and (just one more metaphor here) dropping it’s fallen angel, Joe Miller, on our proverbial heads. What. A. Crock.

Maybe you’re surprised at my criticism since last week I said that Joe or Tom would be the killer. You’ll recall I thought this the best resolution, thematically (and melodramatically), as it would have the most impact on the characters. That much it accomplished. Unfortunately, the writers took the money and ran leaving coherence and plausibility out of the equation. (No really, they bought the show from the BBC, added two more episodes, and reshot it.) Let me say, I had kept myself from watching past episode 6 of BBC’s Broadchurch until Gracepoint was over so that I could judge the finale impartially, but after my disappointment in the latter last night, I finished it. I won’t ruin the very similar finale of that superior series for you, but I will say that it is superior because the ending was plausible. Shocking, but plausible.

Someone explain to me why Tom would have gone looking for Pierson — and nearly gotten himself killed for it — if he knew who killed Danny all along? And worse, why would Joe not have confessed to the police when his beloved son went missing, if he so wanted to protect him? What kind of loving father would make his son go through this when the kid would clearly never be tried for Danny’s murder or even manslaughter under the circumstances? The only person Joe is protecting, is himself. Had Tom been breaking the law in some way at the time, perhaps, but that was not the case.

I will say that I somewhat enjoyed the tie up of Carver’s relationship with his daughter to Ellie’s relationship with Tom in regards to the lengths that a parent will go through to protect their child. Even then, I found Carver’s sacrifice (as revealed in last week’s episode) to be far more complex and true than the concoction surrounding Danny’s murder.

Finally — and again not spoiling Broadchurch, just in case anyone wants to check it out independently — it is disappointing to see that FOX (who has recently obtained the rights to recreate another BCC success, Luther) did so little to improve upon or complicate the dialogue, characters, or story in their adaptation. This observation bears no reflection on the merit of the original Broadchurch, nor do I mean to imply that it was lacking in some significant way, but if you are going to bother to re-imagine something, I would hope that there is a better reason than just making another buck. I mean, they recast David Tennant to play the same character, for God’s sake!

I know, I digress, but think about it in context of these half-assed comic blockbuster reboots. Even there you could make the argument that it’s worth a try what with the epic budgets and digital advancements in film that add a certain shininess to the original. Or perhaps the effects of time, and the social or political changes that come with it, which bring a new take to the same story in a different era (i.e. Battlestar Gallactica). Sadly, Gracepoint, not only added nothing*, but lost what was at the heart of the characters and the story as a stand alone series.

*(Virginia Kull, you are the exception!)

One Comment

  1. John the Martyr
    Posted December 13, 2014 at 5:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My feelings exactly. Talk about a stupid lazy ending just put in there so that Fox can prove they weren’t lying about this show being different. I hate the arrogance of the whole thing from David Tennant using it as his personal vehicle to try to get into US television (and then crapping all over his previous performance by not trying to do anything different), to adding stupid red herrings like the hiker, to using exactly the same shots in some scenes and finally to pull a ridiculous ending out of nowhere. The poor writing and acting in the last couple of episodes makes me think at some point the producers just smiled and admitted that they had been rumbled, gave the cast a copy of Broadchurch and told them to make the rest up based on that. It is some indication of how obviously this was done as an ego trip by the writers and the lead actor that British television have shown no interest whatsoever in showing this here because the word of mouth is so bad and they acknowledge this was a by the numbers job dumbed down to fill vacant air time in the US. Pathetic all around.


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