There are no answers and nobody seems to know anything – with the exception of a miscellaneous drug dealer named Mickey and the snoopy son of one of the detectives. Four episodes in, and nobody can seem to catch a break, whether it is Ellie and Carver or any of the townsfolk from Gracepoint. Everybody seems to be hiding something.
A good sign that the show remains compelling is how the big reveals this week have almost nothing to do with the central murder mystery. Without any major answers coming from the suspiciously hefty investigative unit – it amused one to see a room packed with people trying to help the detectives – there is doubt in the air and everybody is starting to point fingers.
Even for those who absorbed the eight episodes of Broadchurch, there is enough strong acting, palpable tension and curiosity within these 43 minutes of Gracepoint to make a case that this show can stand on its own. While Tennant’s accent is starting to wane slightly, Gunn remains a powerhouse, trying her best to keep her allegiance to both the investigation and the friends whose son’s death she is trying to solve.
Episode four spans over a day, and it looks hopeful from the start. Chloe’s older boyfriend, Dean, evades Ellie and Carver when they go to question him, suggesting he has something to hide. Back at the station, they realize that Dean knew Danny better than he let on, even allowing the boy to come with him when he collected the cocaine. The young boy was also moody and withdrawn, showing signs of a dark streak. “Nobody knows me,” Danny told Dean during one of their meetings, a quote that seems to echo for all of the characters on Gracepoint.
The one character whose secret is out, unbeknownst to him, is Mark. The two-person scenes between Kull and Pena are bruising. She knows what he has been up to, and he is annoyed that they are drifting apart. Director James Strong tries to separate the husband and wife from each other in the shot variety this week and mostly succeeds. Meanwhile, Kull continues to do shatteringly good work as the grieving mother. Just a look from a young boy with a Botticelli face disarms her on her daily run.
Meanwhile, Anna Gunn continues to show her firm control on the character, albeit playing a woman trying her best not to spiral out of control. Ellie’s dual loyalty is coming to bite her both ways. Without the allegiance of her community, she is missing that connection and sense of trust she used to own. Ellie has started to turn into Carver’s protégé, trying her hardest to separate her emotions from her job. This irks Beth, who cannot understand why she is so out of the loop on the police’s activities. If officers around town are canvassing with Lars’s picture in their hands, why isn’t Ellie notifying her? Gunn is adept at showing the thick skin she wants to wear but also how uncomfortable she feels underneath that layer.