Warning: Spoiler Alert
This week we begin with a large portion of Gracepoint looking for Tom Miller by flashlight. The introduction of the Tom Miller goes missing story line further plays into my theory that there is something much larger happening. It can’t just be that some person killed Danny Solano and it’s an isolated incident in an otherwise safe and good intentioned small town.
Ellie (mother of the recently missing and second detective) has responded exactly the way you’d expect the mother of the child in question to react. Every step of the way thus far. However, this is exactly why the families of victims are taken off of cases or removed from direct involvement. Carver wants her to get rest and circle back in the morning. Ellie wants no part of that. Nice little side detail, Emmett Carver finally called detective Miller “Ellie”.
Renee has come back to Gracepoint. Owen won’t return her calls. And now she’s trying to get a room at Gemma’s Inn. Also not going so well for Renee. This might be the first time I’ve written off an attractive female character as quickly as I have. Renee is a typical blindly idealistic journalist. She twists the factors in front of to rationalize what she does. She may think she has good intentions, but that’s all it is. As a viewer, I actually hope the town’s people make life for her difficult, as Gemma is doing right now.
AND…Just like that Reverend Paul Coates finds Tom Miller amidst the brush of the forest they have been scouring. Not to be too critical, I know they’ve got a job to do. But I would have strung out the “we found him” moment. It may be a small thing in the scheme of the story, but in that moment, the show runners could have tugged at the heart-strings a little.
Carver comes to Tom’s hospital room to ask some questions. Generally standard stuff. Don’t discredit the value of the viewer having more information than the characters. In episode one or two, Tom Miller was seen deleting text messages and other suspicious behavior. Despite what he is telling Det. Carver, I don’t believe for a second that Tom Miller is completely innocent of some wrong doing. The idea that he googled this backpacker and was headed to his house to make him feel guilty, seems off as well.
Carver departs the hospital to find Mark Solano just waiting. Normally I’d think that Mark should just go home. But in this instance, whether the information is credible or not, Mark just gave us more to think about in 30 seconds than any one character to this point has done in three minutes of screen time. The beauty of this series is that anything is plausible at this point. Mark finds it curious that Rev. Coates found Tom’s bicycle, found Tom, gets in front of the camera any time he can, he’s been in love with Beth Solano for twenty years, and finally Coates may or may not be going to meetings for Narcotics Anonymous. Not saying one way or the other, but something to consider.
Mark very well could be exonerated of any wrong doing when this is all over. I’m skeptical, but it could happen. What clouds my judgment is just how terrible of a person he seems to be. Every time he seems to be in a position to redeem himself, he puts his foot in his mouth. Just now, in their kitchen, Mark and Beth have a relatively cordial conversation. Then when Beth begins to unravel because “they get him back”, Mark begins to do admirably. Then he brings up the unborn baby. In this situation, any reference to that baby is going to force Beth to slam on the brakes. Which she did.
We finally get to a place where Det. Carver begins to show a sliver of humanity by calling Det. Miller, Ellie and then the whole thing falls apart. Ellie thanks Emmett for his dedication and support during their efforts to find Tom. He immediately asks her to not call him Emmett because its inappropriate. Yet I seem to remember him making some reference to the forensics guy in a dirty sexual connotation to Det. Miller. So where exactly does his sense of what is appropriate or not lie?
A short and virtually silent montage of Chloe Solano on her first day back at school, does a nice job articulating just how far the victim’s family is from normalcy. The same is true for Mark trying to get back to business as usual is difficult when he finds old newspapers with a picture of his son and the word “murder” on the front page in the home of a client.
At the precinct, Carver and Miller are getting a brief on what their guy found out when he did a little digging on Rev. Paul Coates. Violence, substance abuse, etc. Off to question Paul Coates. He is extremely defensive. Even for his character, extremely defensive and short with his responses. Borderline flippant.
Beth, by way of Renee, has met with the mother of the deceased daughter in the previous case that Emmett Carver has been trying to get passed. For the first time in this series, I am leaving the door open to potentially consider a ‘serial killer’ hypothesis. I still think it’s too convenient at this point. Beth went to meet this woman hoping for some advice, tips on how to handle things. What she got was anything but.
Mark walked by Chloe’s school. Just to find her getting on the back of Dean’s dirt bike and speeding away. Mark got Beth and they chased down where Dean stays. They broke in to find Chloe dancing. In a room that looks like it was designed for just that, next to a bait shop. Middle of the day, feeling rejected or ignored by her peers, Chloe needed to get away. And that was something Dean could provide. Then Chloe brings up the baby. Stop bringing up the baby. I don’t know anything about the alternative to keeping the baby. And I would certainly never breach that discussion here. But I have to think, Beth’s world could and should give her some breathing room on whether or not she’s going to keep the baby. This poor woman is re-living the worst nightmare a person can experience. Give her some time.
Carver has Coates at the precinct to get a DNA sample and to further the dialogue of questions incited by Mark Solano’s questions the night before. Most of Coates’ initial responses are his way of pushing back. The answer to “why did you attempt to insert yourself into that family’s grief” is absolutely his way of pushing back. They came to him because Carver has nothing to go on besides suspicion.
Carver has a dream sequence in which he cannot save the kids whose disappearance he has been charged with solving. He reaches for his ‘medicine’ and is unable. He then passes out again. Meanwhile the Solanos go do a thing as a family. I’d call it bowling, but it’s not like any bowling I’ve ever seen. Five pins instead of 10 and a ball the size of a grapefruit. Or maybe I’m just disconnected from what the kids are doing in their free time these days. That said, Chloe is very good at this strange game. She gets to the final frame with an opportunity to break Danny’s old record. She in encouraged by her parents to go for it. She buries all five pins and what follows is the most normal, affectionate, family like moment we’ve witnessed from this show to date. Very nice warm moment. A moment that ends with Beth at least hinting at the idea that she is considering keeping the baby.
At the Miller’s home, Tom lies on the couch attempting to read something in the relative dark. Then the crazy lady shows up with her dog. She’s holding the manila envelope that Kathy Eaton (newspaper editor) left at her trailer with her “Susan Wright” written on it. One has to believe it is evidence of who Susan Wright really is. If that is true, what happens next would make more sense. She knocks on the door and Tom answers. She pulls out Danny’s skateboard and gives it to him. He’s so busy looking it over, he doesn’t notice her slip away. Tom’s dad walks in from the back yard. Once he realizes what has happened he loudly tells his son to drop the skateboard. If that envelope has background on the crazy lady, she very well could be shedding the evidence in her possession.
We are welcomed back from the break to multiple cop cruisers racing to the crazy lady’s trailer. Ellie gets a call and the next thing we see is Kathy Eaton telling the crazy lady that they have done some digging and since the crazy lady threatened Kathy earlier, it was important she knows it was Kathy who tipped off the police. Conveniently, Vince walks by to find the crazy lady’s dog. He then unties the dog and slips away. Which is something that completely unhinged the crazy lady.
Tom calls Owen to ask if a deleted file is really gone forever. Earlier in the series we found Tom aggressively deleting a number of digital files. From his phone and his computer. Tom knows something. I’m not willing to claim he was directly involved by he knows something.
Carver and Miller attempt to question the crazy lady who will under no circumstances say anything of consequence until she sees her dog.
Coates walks by the Miller home (seems innocent enough) to find Tom doing something suspicious. Based on Tom’s previous scene destroying his hard drive would not be beyond the realm of possibility. Coates advances slowly. Asking where Tom’s parents are and being very shady. I actually said out loud to no one, “Don’t let it be the priest”. He asks if that is Tom’s computer and he says yes. The camera reveals the entire keyboard panel missing and a reasonably centered direct blow to the monitor.
During heightened concern to find the crazy lady’s dog, someone calls in a tip that they saw flashlight from within the murder scene which is supposed to be sealed off. Once there, Carver and Miller attempt to see inside the small building. Just as she attempts to open the door, the door flies open and a man in a hoodie runs out. They give chase. The unidentified man gets close enough behind Miller to shove her and run off. Carver pursues and just before you think they might have a chance to get this guy, Carver falls to the ground.
Miller: Sir? Sir? What’s happening?
Carver: I think I’m dying.