Warning: Spoiler Alert
Although Emmett Carver could prove that he’s a brilliant detective, there’s no room for doubt that he’s a sorry excuse for a human being. The detective heading up the murder investigation of young Danny Solano, in the new Fox series “Gracepoint,” lacks any compassion or social-skills. At one point in the third episode of the Network’s ten-part mini-series, his partner Detective Ellie Miller gives him a cup of hot coffee from her thermos, while on a stakeout, and Carver never thinks to thank her. She asks him if he’s got kids, and totally thrown off by the question, Emmett asks her why, and she responds because they must got lousy manners.
Before delving into this episode, some observations about the first three episodes of what Fox labeled a “Premiere-Event,” starting with suggesting a title change to “Creepy Town,” as the residents are some of the bizarrest characters to grace the small screen since “Twin Peaks” aired in the early nineties. Although our heart breaks for Danny’s mother Beth Solano, isn’t someone you’d describe as a “likeable character,” after going through the tragedy of losing her son. I can make a serious argument, that Ellie Miller’s the only truly good person in the seaside village, although her husband seems like a good guy, let’s see what episode four reveals.
Although the show’s held my interest through the three episodes, one thing that’s off-putting to me, telegraphing punches before they’re thrown, there were a few incidents of scenes that’d make viewers sit up and take notice, but the effect got blunted, because of tipping their pitch before it got thrown. I find it patronizing; as if the show-runners believe the viewers will get lost without obvious road signs.
A perfect example of that, played a prominent part in the third episode, that centered around where Danny’s father, Mark Solano was the night his son got murdered. Was there any doubt, that Solano stepped out on his wife that night and that’s why he didn’t cooperate with Carver and Miller? The only question that sprang up, how long would they keep that a secret and identify whose company he kept?
At the previous episode’s conclusion, we found out that Solano’s fingerprints got discovered at the hut where forensics believe Danny met his untimely fate, while he talked with Carver. The detective sent him home, and be at the station the next morning. When Mark gets home, he leaves a message for his apprentice Vince Novik, to tell the cops they got together on the night Danny got killed. He told Carver he couldn’t remember who he hung out with, at the time of Danny’s death.
When he arrives the next morning, he claims he got flustered and blanked, but he and Novik went out for food and drinks, but Carver knows he’s lying through his teeth. Miller and Carver head to Novik’s house and while he attempts to cover for his boss, while talking to Carver, Ellie finds out from Vince’s mom that they’d been home together that night, until she sent him to the drug store at 10:00 pm. One alibi flushed down the drain by a plumber’s apprentice.
Beth feels like she’s suffocating in her home and needs to go for a walk, her mother wants to join her but Beth says she wants a private walk to clear her head. As she leaves the house we see a man in a white jacket follow her, when she gets to the park, he asks if he can join her on the bench and we see yet another familiar and creepy face, “Mr. Telephone Man,” the psychic phone repairman, Raymond Connelly. He tells her he knows she’s Beth Solano and tells her he doesn’t know how she gets out of bed each morning, she smiles and replies her problem’s what to do once she leaves the bed. He then says he’s not trying to upset her but he’s got a message from Danny for her, she freaks out and runs away, but later slips a note under her front door with his contact info.
San Francisco Globe reporter Renee Clemons’ not winning any friends in Gracepoint, except for local reporter Owen Burke, whom she’s trying to arrange a you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours deal. She knows Carver from his time in Rosemont and neither like each other and he wants zero contact with her. When Vince Novik and Jack Reinhold, realize she’s a reporter they tell her to get lost, simply and plainly.
Ellie and Emmett head to Susan Wright’s, trailer at the local trailer park, a woman who resembles Fred Mertz in drag in the looks and personality departments. She’s got even less social skills than Carver and when she opens the door berates the detectives, for waking her dog. Mark Solano told Ellie and Emmett he’d fixed a busted pipe at the hut three weeks earlier and he got the keys and the work order from Wright, but she denies it. They ask her if she’ll submit to a voluntary fingerprint test to help catch Danny’s killer, she acknowledges she will by asking if they’re through talking.
Who else could be the spiritual adviser for “Creepy Town,” than a creepy preacher, otherwise known as the Reverend Paul Coates? He’s got a huge crush on Beth, although it’s tough to determine if she realizes it. He comes over for coffee and to offer her solace, when she shows him the note from Connelly and reveals what he told her. Coates strongly advises pursuing this thread, but there’s no doubt she’ll contact Connelly, she also gets a bit uneasy when Paul holds her hand a bit too long.
Carver and Miller arrive back at the station and tell Mark that Wright claims that no pipe burst or did she authorize a work-order, but Solano says she’s lying. Emmett, basically says he doesn’t care if Wright’s lying, unless Solano tells the truth where he’d been the night Danny died, he’s going to arrest him for obstruction. Solano asks Ellie if he can do that and Miller pleads not to make them take that step, but Mark remains silent.
Sure enough Connelly arrives at the Solano house in the next scene and he and Beth take a walk. He tells her Danny says he’s fine, he’s no longer in pain, then he tells her son says he died in a boat. The third message, Danny told his mother not to pursue his killer, it’s someone they know well and he doesn’t want her more upset.
Carver interviews Ellie’s son Tommy, whose best friend’s Danny. He didn’t offer up much information, but after Emmett tried his best at being comforting and telling the boy anything he says stays in that room, Tommy says that Danny told him his father beat him at least twice. After they leave, he digs into Solano’s record and finds he got arrested ten-years earlier in a bar brawl, but charges weren’t filed. This convinces Carver to place Mark under arrest.
Soon after Beth arrives home, Pete the officer that’s watching the house tells her and her daughter Chloe that Mark’s under arrest and held at the station and Chloe goes ballistic. She starts ripping Pete a new one, about the way the police is treating her family until Beth pulls her out of the room and into another room and locks the door. She says that she’s got to act older than her years, Pete’s not their friend he’s a police officer who constantly observes them. When Beth leaves the room, Chloe pulls out her cellphone and sends a text-message stating that if the recipient knows where Mark was on the night Danny got killed, they need to tell the police and nobody else needs to know. Once again, they tipped their hand as Gemma Fisher obviously was the recipient and was with Solano that night.
Gemma walks into the station and says she got instructed to talk to Carver and Ellie, then admits she and Solano got it on the night Danny got killed. She chastises herself for the lousy decision and Miller told her she had a far higher opinion of her before her admission. She then says she parted company with Mark at 1:00 am, but if that’s true where was he for the remaining 2.5 hours to reach the time he claimed to arrive back home.
Carver heads to the beach and meets with a man who seems like Emmett’s doctor, who tells the detective he needs to take a medical leave and avoid stress, or he’d soon drop dead. Carver tells him that he can’t quit until this case’s wrapped up and the doctor asks why he loves it enough to risk his life. Jeremy responds he despises everything about Gracepoint, the architecture, the weather and especially the people. When the doctor asks why he continues, Carver tells him he’s serving penance.
Solano arrives home a bit later, with charges dropped although Ellie and Carver still got suspicions. He hugs Beth and Chloe and when his daughter asks why he got arrested blamed it on a police mess up. That night Beth asks if he killed Danny and instead of saying, no he responds with questions; is that what you believe, do you think I’d do that. However he never denies it, gets up from the bed, gets dressed and leaves the house. Beth watches him leave through the bedroom and once again it’s obvious where he’s heading.
Solano told the detectives this was his first betrayal of his marital vows and he got punished by Danny dying. He heads to see Gemma, tells her the one-night stand lost him his son and asks her what to do, they start kissing passionately, but Fisher pushes him off and tells him to go home. What neither realize, is Beth watched them from above and saw everything.
Emmett’s heading home when the head of the CSI tells him they recovered a phone number minutes before in Danny’s vest, and though grousing about it, Carver goes back inside the station to attempt to trace the number.
The Story Continues Next Thursday at 9:00 pm on Fox.