Warning: Spoiler Alert
“Creepytown,” got a whole lot creepier as the final episode of the FOX “Ten-Part Event Series,” “Gracepoint” concluded Thursday night and we finally found out who killed ten-year-old Danny Solano, sending the village into an uproar. The short answer to that question is, it’s complicated, a series of events led to the young boy’s death and in the end, it destroyed two families. I have to admit to feeling misled by the miniseries show-runners, as well as the star of the series David Tennant, who proclaimed that the American version of the British show “Broadchurch,” wouldn’t duplicate the ending of the original.
Technically, they didn’t which keeps me from saying they outright lied. However if those statements weren’t released, I would have refrained from exploring how the British series concluded. Unfortunately, that exploration cost me the shock most viewers likely felt when the hour ended. And in the end, it sullied the one person who was the most empathetic character on the show.
The episode opens with Gracepoint Detective Emmett Carver, getting an examination for his faulty ticker. We move to the Chief’s office, as the head of the department sits there with a binder labeled examination finding. As we’ve known for weeks, Carver flunks the exam and gets ruled as unfit for duty. The Chief tells Carver he’s got no choice, the detective asks for the rest of the day before he hands inn his badge. The Chief tells him, he’s assigning the case to Ellie Miller and Carver responds that’s a bad choice, but he’ll be out by 6:00 pm.
We find Detective Miller interrogating the case’s prime suspect, Mark Solano’s assistant Vince Novik, and she tells him a new witness stepped forward, saying they saw Vince putting a body into the Solano van, which he uses as his regular car. Novik says his mother needs her meds and probably hasn’t eaten since breakfast the day before, unless Ellie sends someone to check on her, he’ll remain silent.
Carver tells Ellie to get someone to check on Mrs. Novik and asks if she brought in her son Tom’s computer. She replies her son claims it got stolen, and Carver informs her that he’s got her son and husband waiting in a room for questioning. She asks why she wasn’t told and he responds he’s telling her now.
Tom and Joe are waiting for Carver when he arrives, he sets up a video camera to record the interview, but it quickly runs out of tape so he records it on his cell-phone. He says to Tom that his mother says someone took his computer and the boy replies someone from school stole it, Carver then pulls out Tom’s laptop in a plastic bag. Carver says he got it from Reverend Paul Coates, who claims that Tommy said he would tell the police that the priest hit Danny. He asks him if he saw Coates hit his friend, has heard that Paul struck Danny, or knows of anyone that hit Danny and the boy responds no to all the questions.
Carver then asks Tommy why he destroyed his laptop and he says to get rid of e-mails from Danny, then realizes his efforts were in vain as they recovered them from the hard drive. He then tells him that Danny used a different e-mail address than his normal account, that Tom and only one other person got messages from. Carver starts reading the e-mails from Danny and we see that Solano had been dissing his friend for a while. The last message from Danny told Tom to stay away from him, that he’s a follower, even his own father’s bored with him but Tommy’s yet to realize it.
Carver then asks the boy if that last remark hurt his feelings and Tom responded it did hurt a little bit, then the detective asked if it made him feel like physically hurting Danny? Joe steps in at that point, announcing the interrogation’s over and if Carver wants to talk with his son again, they’re getting an attorney. The detective says he finished his questions but then asks Tom and Joe their shoe sizes, which are six and ten, respectively.
The next scene open with Ellie and Emmett on the beach and he tells her that a kids camp used to stand at the edge of one of the cliffs, he looked for it when he took the job. He then reveals he vacationed there with his mom and dad during his childhood. Carver asks Miller what Novik’s explanation and she says he claims he’d carried a small deer, he’d hunted at night and cut through a farmer’s fence. She then says that Joe called and said everything went fine and he took Tommy out for ice-cream and asks her superior, if that’s true. He doesn’t respond, answering his cell phone instead, one of the officer’s discovered Danny’s smart-phone on and they’ve got a fix on where the signal emanates, Carver asks for it to be forwarded to his phone. He tells Miller to get back to the station and he’ll meet her there later.
We follow Carver’s journey, past the church where Reverend Coates prays, then we see a man from the back looking like he’s texting. He pulls into the driveway of a home, starts to go to the door then realizes the person with the phone’s in the separate garage. Out walks Joe Miller who tells Carver he’ll tell him everything.
As Miller talks to the detective in the interrogation room, we see what took place the night of Danny’s murder. Danny rides his skateboard to the Harvey Ridge Hut, meeting Joe there. Miller tells Carver that’s the first time they met at night, Danny used to come to the Miller home afternoons, with Tom at soccer practice and Dylan taking his afternoon nap. They’d met together for about three months, Danny originally showed up looking for Tom, upset that Mark had hit him in front of the soccer team and they talked things through and things escalated from there. He said that he never molested the boy but developed deep feelings for him.
The Millers returned from their vacation in Spain that day and they made plans before the trip to meet at the hut that night. Joe kept telling Danny how great it was to see him and he really missed him, then gives the boy a Maraca, as a present. He starts to rub Danny’s face and the boy said no. Miller told Carver he backed right off, but we see that he tries to convince the boy that it’s okay, Danny pushes him away and runs out the door.
Joe says Danny threatened to jump off the cliff, but he talked him out of it. Danny tells Joe he’s sick and Miller admits he is, but Danny’s fine and nobody needs to know about anything, he can pretend that they barely know each other. Danny then gets more upset at that solution and says he’s going to tell his parents and starts to run away. Miller then tells Carver that he grabbed Danny’s sweatshirt and the boy fell banging his head on the rocks and dying instantly. We then watch Miller clean the hut, put Danny’s body in the boat, cut the lock and chain off it and takes the body to the other shore where he dumped it along with the skate board. He heads back to the hut for a once-over and sees Mark and Gemma Fisher get together for their one-night affair.
Miller also admits that he gave Danny the five hundred dollars to pay his cellphone bill in cash and he got the phone for the boy, telling Ellie he needed it for household expenses. The only thing that doesn’t ring true is the autopsy showed that Danny died by getting hit with one blow by a blunt object. If he’s running and tripped, it’s unlikely that would have caused that injury.
A quick aside; at this point I’m madder than a wet hen, as except for the method of death, this is exactly the scenario that played out on “Broadchurch,” as the British Joe Miller strangled the boy to death. Carver walks into Ellie’s interrogation of Novik with a uniform, announces into the tape recorder interrogation ends at 12:43 pm and tells the officer to get Novik out of there, Miller looking shocked at the turn of events.
She asks him what’s going on and he asks her where she was when Danny Solano got killed and she asks if Carver thinks she killed him? The detective says they’re going to play by simple rules, he’ll ask her questions and she’ll provide him answers and once again asks about her whereabouts that night. She tells Carver they just returned from their vacation and she felt wiped, she bathed Dylan put him in his crib then took a sleeping pill and went to bed at 9:00 pm. Emmett asks if she knows what time Joe went to bed and he says the sleeping pill makes her incoherent.
Carver then tells Miller that Novik didn’t kill Danny, they’ve got a suspect in custody, that’s admitted to being responsible. Emmett starts to come sit next to Ellie and she asks him why he’s coming closer to her? Carver then tells her that Joe killed Danny and the news doesn’t register right away. She says he’s lying and he denies it, says it can’t be true and he says it is. We watch her face as the news sinks in and she runs to the waste basket and vomits. She then starts crying not Joe, as she accepts the news as reality.
She tells Carver she needs to see him, needs to hear him admit it. Carver walks her to the room, telling her not to touch him or do anything to jeopardize the case. She enters her face a mask of rage as Joe apologizes to her, she says he was just 12-years old, he says he realizes that and he doesn’t understand how this happened and she repeats herself. He then says he loves her and wants her to know he’s a good man, that pushes her over her limit. She screams he’s not a good man, then starts pummeling him and kicking him repeatedly as he falls to the floor. Carver and the uniform come in and pull Miller off her husband and out of the room.
She tells Carver that she doesn’t understand any of this and he replies that Joe says the same thing, he claims it’s some part of him that came to the surface he’d been unaware of. She rhetorically asks if he’s always had this sickness and Carver just looks down. He then tells her this isn’t her fault and he’s arranged a room with double beds in a nearby motel, draw the blinds and shut out the world. He then tells her only answer the phone if the call’s from him.
The mother and children arrive at the motel and Miller tries to make the best of the situation asking Tom if he likes the room, he asks her if she’s going to tell him what’s going on? She tells him yes, but first she needs to get his brother settled, Tommy goes into the bathroom and sits on the floor, looking fearful. She enters a bit later sits on the floor next to her son and tells him they caught Danny’s killer and Joe confessed to everything. Tommy screams no, that his father couldn’t do that and she tells him that it’s true.
She tells her son that it’s not any of their faults that Joe did this, then asks her son if Joe ever touched him or Dylan inappropriately and Tommy denies it and shows the disgust on his face. She apologizes and he asks her how she could even ask that question. She apologizes again and she says she just doesn’t get it and he tells her she’s correct, in a way that indicates Ellie’s unaware of the whole truth. She then flashes back to the CSI investigation of Harvey Ridge Hut and the investigator telling her there’s size six footprints all around the place and she asks Tommy if he knows something he’s yet to tell her?
We once again return to the night Danny died and we see that Tom followed Joe out the door, saw his father hug Danny outside the hut then listened to the conversation. When Danny runs out Joe chases him, but Tom steps out with a canoe paddle asking his father what he’s doing and attempting to whack Joe with it. Danny stops running and tells Tommy no, when the backswing of the paddle smacks him in the head killing him instantly. Joe and Tommy look at each other and Miller tells his son to go home, go to bed and don’t say anything, this is Joe’s fault. Ellie then hugs Tommy.
Carver informs the department personnel and then heads over to the Solanos to inform them. When they find out, Chloe cries, Beth asks about Ellie and Carver says she was clueless. Mark gets up and walks out the door, we assume to confront Miller at the jail. That’s confirmed as an officer tells Mark he’s got five minutes and a slot opens the door putting the men face to face. Mark’s incredulous, he’s Joe’s friend they’ve been at each other’s houses, how could he do this. Miller apologizes but says it started after Mark hit Danny at soccer practice and Solano admits that’s a pain he’ll live with forever. He then tells Joe that he knows he molested Danny and he’d better hope he’s locked up for a long time.
There’s a knock at the motel room door and it’s Owen, whose going to watch the boys as Ellie goes out for a while. She first heads to the Solano home, Beth sees her in the bedroom, closes the drapes and comes out the front door, her eyes brimming with tears and looking like she’s going to hit Ellie. She asks Miller how she didn’t know then storms away and goes back in the house. She then goes to the jail and talks with Joe, telling him what Tommy told her. She asks if that’s what he meant that he’s a good man and he asks his wife what she wants him to do? She asks if she now knows every detail and he confirms she does, she looks him in the eye and says that he’s never to tell anybody about Tommy’s involvement.
Although I totally understand Miller’s motivation as a mother to keep her son out of any further involvement, I can’t say I agree with it. Tommy attempted to save his friend, not hurt him and certainly any District Attorney or Judge would clearly see that and the boy could get publicly exonerated, making things far easier to live with. I also lost respect for Ellie Miller for that decision as she’s truly been the one empathetic soul in this village.
The funeral takes place the following day, with Reverend Paul Coates trying to heal the community, Carver’s in attendance but Ellie’s not. They meet later that evening sitting on the beach, she tells him she’s going to take the kids to a new town and get a fresh start. She jokes they now comprise the ex-detectives club. A procession of mourners arrive at the spot Danny’s body ended up, Mark and Beth light a funeral pyre in their son’s honor, soon we see other fires springing up all around the shore for miles. Mark asks Paul if this is his doing and Coates said he might have spread the word and the word’s good.
Carver’s walking back to the inn, when his phone rings and it’s his daughter Julianne, he called her earlier to ask the date of her graduation and tell her he’s going to undergo the corrective heart surgery and would she take care of him while he recovers. She tells him her graduation’s June 11, and she’ll gladly be his Florence Nightingale. He says he shouldn’t have asked but she tells him of course she’ll be at his side when they slice him open. They end the conversation and he accidentally clicks onto the footage of the interview with Tom and he notices before the boy answered if he saw anybody hit Danny, he looked to Joe first before answering. Carver knows something’s a miss and calls Ellie but she doesn’t pick up, the look in his eyes grows in intensity, will Carver put all the pieces together? We’ll never know that answer as the series ends there.
Although the first three episodes dragged, the miniseries picked up momentum in number four and finished strongly. My only complaint’s to the show-runners and Mr. Tennant for releasing their respective statements, that way I would’ve gotten shocked at the conclusion.