Gracepoint: “Episode 8” Season 1 Episode 8 Review

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With only two episodes to go, Gracepoint takes some very disappointing steps backward into its Broadchurch storyline.

“Something doesn’t make sense. I’m just not sure what it is.”

So says Ellie after she and Emmett are forced to release the backpacker when they can’t find any sufficient evidence against him. She’s not wrong, but her statement reflects the tone of the episode as a whole. It really doesn’t make sense that Gracepoint would make major strides to offer us a wholly new storyline, only to circle back to the one of its predecessor.

I suppose it’s still anyone’s guess who the killer could be—and I still hope that it’s going to be someone different from the culprit in Broadchurch—but the fact that Tom was found just as quickly as he was lost is cause for some concern. Why introduce this major plot twist, only to have it be resolved the following week? Additionally, why have the resolution be so unsatisfying.

Tom’s explanation for his disappearance is that he got lost on the way to find the backpacker, in an attempt to confront him about Danny’s murder. Because, you know, the best way to catch a killer is to go confront him yourself. I suppose it’s sweet that he did this all to get his mother back in his life, but it still rang very false to me. Tom is smarter than the average kid, and he’s still very much a suspicious character. I don’t think he blatantly lied, though, so I’m just very confused by the whole thing.

The highlight of this episode came from the Solanos, who finally start to rebuild their lives. Perhaps it happens all a little too quickly, but after weeks and weeks of grief it’s a very refreshing change of pace. I’ve always liked the way the show has dealt with the aftermath of a murder, and this week was no exception. Beth’s conversation with the mother of the murdered girl in Rosemont was extremely depressing, which is perhaps what drove her to lift her spirits. After all, she’s not completely alone in this.

Chloe Solano got some much-needed screen time this week, as we saw just how Danny’s death has affected her. I especially liked her comment about needing a break from feeling so sad. Anyone who’s ever grieved the loss of a loved one can attest to how physically and emotionally exhausting it is. Sometimes, you just need to take a break.

Hence the bowling sequence. Sure, having them break Danny’s record was a little too on-the-nose, but I really liked the brief moment when Chloe whispered to him to ask for forgiveness. These people are never going to forget Danny, but life goes on and they need to try and find a new normal.

As far as the mystery goes, there are now several potential suspects. Susan Wright’s past is dug up, but the real shady character is Vince, who steals her dog and is just…the worst. Meanwhile, Paul the priest continues to be aggressively self-righteous in the face of some startling new information. How he can calmly sing church hymns while looking for Tom, or refer to the bar where he got in a drunken fight as “the local tavern” is astonishing. It’s only for a few seconds, but the scene in which he shines his flashlight on Tom is very telling. Tom looks worried, and perhaps it’s not just because he thinks he’s in trouble for running away.

The episode ends with a sequence straight from Broachurch as Ellie and Emmett chase down a mysterious person who flees the beach house crime scene. The camerawork here effectively builds-up suspense, but I wasn’t surprised at all when Emmett collapsed because of his heart condition. Last week I mentioned that I was no longer worried about the show taking a circuitous route to the same ending, but now that worry has resurfaced. I hope Gracepoint strives for some originality in its final two episodes. It’s certainly still got some fight left in it.  Grade: C+


By Mike Papirmeister

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