Gracepoint Review: “Episode Six” (Season 1, Episode 6)


Besides this essential subplot, tonight’s episode was still a tremendously moving hour of Gracepoint. The show’s central constant of greatness, Virginia Kull, gave another aching performance. Instead of pouting around her home though, she heads to Gemma’s bar and starts breaking glasses. The moment stuck out as spineless for the character, but then again, it added flair and made complete sense given how Beth’s anger has felt misdirected ever since she found out Danny died. All she has is her anger, she explains to Paul, and she doesn’t know where to direct her rage. “I had one job as his mom and I failed him!” she seethes as the two-some walk – of all places – through a cemetery.

As the town built up Jack’s connection with Danny’s murder, Gracepoint also shined more doubt on the innocence of other townspeople. It looks like the next major suspect is Susan Wright. After a bewildering comment in the Gracepoint Journal office last week, she make an insinuating comment to Tom to come over to her trailer to pet her dog whenever he pleases. Further, after forensics specialists comb up a few cigarettes on the beach, we see Susan puffing on one, overlooking the shore where the boats are tied.

Meanwhile, could Owen be the murderer? It was his boat that was left unchained, ended up burning in the middle of the ocean and had traces of Danny’s blood on it. Perhaps his stare across the street to Jack at the episode’s start meant something else? Could he have tried to frame the old man to get away with an awful crime?

For an episode so somber (if superior to the rest of the uneven mini-series), there were a couple moments of much welcome but ill-placed comic relief. Both were awkward flirtations between the investigators and two minor characters. Forensics expert Hugo asks Ellie to go out for a drink, which she reacts to in a priceless way. However, even more awkward is Carver’s misread social cue that Gemma wanted to spend the night in his room, which only makes it harder for him to reach her gaze in the following minute. These wry moments were needed for a show that hasn’t had much in the way of levity, but they seemed a tad misplaced. In between moments of Jack playing a quiet yet delightful tune on the piano and the Solanos looking through the family photo albums – both remembering their deceased boys in their own way – the humor felt a little off.

Considering that Gracepoint is now about to pivot away from the final episodes of Broadchurch, fans of the British series have a reason to keep watching. Nevertheless, the performances, pacing and sense of place were all on point in this powerful hour of television.

Now for a bit of a plug, but it’s connected to the show – I promise. This episode of Gracepoint focused on a town’s divisive response to learning that an admitted pedophile is part of their populous. The excellent documentary The Overnighters – a film that I gave a rave review a few weeks ago – deals with a similar subject: a small community inflamed by an influx of men with criminal pasts. I implore anyone moved and shaken by this episode to go and see that non-fiction title, which is now playing in select cities.