Kendrick Sampson

All posts tagged Kendrick Sampson

Courtesy of Fox

Courtesy of Fox

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.

 

Courtesy of FOX

Courtesy of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

This week we pick up the pieces of Mark Solano’s infidelity (and follow-up poor choice) and the reverse phone number search they left us on. The phone number belongs to Lars Pierson. A more direct and immediate problem is where did Chloe get the cocaine from? That answer has been obvious for a couple of weeks now. It’s the boyfriend and you should have picked that up a couple of weeks ago. I do love how the teenaged girl believes the almost adult guy is such a good guy because he’s getting his GED and has a plan. Everyone has a plan, whether everything goes according to that plan or not is a different story. And having a plan does not counter balance the fact that if she wants cocaine, he can get it for her.

The crazy lady living in the trailer has to play a role. If we get to the end and discover that the show runners of Gracepoint just wanted to throw us off the scent with a painfully creepy lady, I’m going to be disappointed. Further canvassing gets us back to Jack Reinhold (Nick Nolte). The only person who has been any sort of help. Earlier he mentioned a hiker. After seeing the photo of Lars Pierson, Jack is certain Lars is the hiker.

I want to give Anna Gunn the benefit of the doubt. No one liked her on Breaking Bad because she played a disliked character exceedingly well. However, Skylar White keeps showing up on Gracepoint. Some people are Tom Hanks and some are Denzel Washington. A topic for another day.

Smart move. Police arrive and you run. Dean, Chloe’s boyfriend and coke supplier, just ran from the Detectives. Has he never watched Cops? Carver is losing it. In the pursuit something happened that caused him to fall. He still has his gun on Dean long after it wasn’t necessary. Carver has some condition (that was referenced last episode) that we still don’t know about.

Follow the drugs. We go from Chloe to her boyfriend Dean to now this Micky guy. Micky tells the story he knows. And that story involves the cocaine, Dean AND Danny. This is the first sniff of anything resembling a lead. And with Dean in the cuffed in the car, this just got a little more interesting.

Vince, Mark Solano’s apprentice and the crazy lady apparently have a connection. A connection that Vince clearly wishes wasn’t there. She informs him that they will be having dinner tonight, and Vince doesn’t have a choice. Important to remember, the crazy lady has a skateboard remarkably similar if not the same as Danny’s. Vince has a connection to Mark. They have something “to work out together”. Could be nothing, but it could also be something.

Raymond Connolly (the electrician medium) is approached by the good Reverend. There seems to be a clear interest from Rev. Coates and Beth Solano. I don’t expect this scene to end well. It started off innocent enough. But than Raymond pushed back (verbally not physically) which then forced Coates to strong-arm (again figuratively) Raymond. I’m sure that’s not the last time these two will be a thorn in each others side.

Dean is in the interrogation room and while not excited about it, does cooperate. Or at least that’s what it sounds like. He has an alibi for the night Danny was killed. However, their relationship was not that of “I hardly knew him” as Dean said earlier. After leaving the room Det. Miller confronts Carver about his ‘episode’ on the docks. He ducks out before having to answer.

Earlier Beth stormed out when she returned from her run after Mark showed her the picture of Lars Pierson. Now we catch back up with that. The problem with murder investigations is that the police are governed by a compulsion to ignore emotion, while the victims only operate with emotion. They can’t tell Beth any more than they have to per protocol. Beth wants hourly updates. Beth believes she should be the fly on the wall. With all of that said, Beth has met Lars Pierson.

Beth is adamant that the man in the photo is a man who came to the visitor center where Beth works. She was incredibly detailed in her description of him. Even down to the detail that he pointed out a picture of Chloe and Danny from her desk.

Oh Mark you are a piece of work. Mark drove past Paul Coates’ church and saw the flier for Danny’s memorial. Because Beth and Paul have a history, Mark has never been alright with that. So, Mark charges in with the anti-Paul rhetoric. There’s one MAJOR problem. Mark cheated on Beth with Gemma. Very recently. And like a person who perpetrated the wrong doing, he is projecting that onto Beth. The problem is that Beth saw him getting fresh with Gemma. Clearly, Beth is holding onto that little nugget. Waiting to see where things go. She’ll use it I’m sure. I just don’t know what she’s waiting for.

Everything Dean told them has checked out. Up to but not limited to the fact that Danny was not the ‘angel’ everyone thinks he was.

The crazy lady purchases her chicken (for cooking) from an equally creepy lady. It was like a bad drug deal, but with live chickens.

We aren’t getting much headway on a court order to search Lars Pierson’s residence. A factor that seems to outright enrage Carver. While the military discharge is virtually impossible to crack through, the chief of police did connect a few dots that lead to Pierson was on anti-psychotic medication.

Tom, Miller’s son and Danny’s best friend show up to Vince’s place. They have a cryptic conversation about what Tom’s mother knows and doesn’t know. Vince walks towards the door of the shed that houses his ‘shop’, asks Tom if his mother knows he’s even there. Tom says no and Vince looks outside, then closes the door. The very next scene following the break has Tom at home playing a handheld video game or something and completely acting anti-social to his mother. If you didn’t think Tom has something to do with this on some level, then I don’t know what you’re watching. While his mother serves up ice cream and rejects her husband’s suggestion of killing Carver with kindness, Tom goes through her work stuff looking for something. He finds Lars Pierson’s phone number and memorizes it.

Carver and Miller pay the Solano’s a visit. They wanted updates. They wanted to be kept up to date. So Carver’s plan is to give them exactly what they asked for. Starting with the security tape of Danny stealing from a gas station. There is a reason why the family of murder victims don’t have rights pertaining to the case and definitely aren’t provided a figurative ride along.

And here’s where the fiber of the family truly begins to unravel. Beth can’t process any of this. Then she asks how Danny even knows the guy that took him to the gas station much less to buy cocaine. Mark knows. Mark was all too eager to mention that the guy in question is Chloe’s boyfriend. Then came the screaming. Chloe marches out. Let me just say as a point of reference, I couldn’t walk out on my parents if they were scolding me about my grades. Chloe marched out because she didn’t want to talk about it right then. I can’t even wrap my head around that. Moving on.

Mark follows Chloe and what follows is a 15-year-old girl talking to her father as if the roles were reversed. Is Mark a bit of a p.o.s.? Sure. You don’t get to keep secret details that could affect the death of your brother and hide behind your father’s infidelity. Or at least I can’t imagine that happening in real life. Another case of the lack of realism in this show so far. Beth has shown glimpses. But there is a realism, a believability issue that I keep coming back to.

Miller: I hope you’re happy.
Carver: Why does everyone keep saying that to me today? I’m never happy.
Miller: You deserve to be as miserable as you make everyone else.
Carver: I didn’t say I was miserable, I’m just…
Miller: Do you know what you just did? All that family had left was the memory of their son and you just shattered it.
Carver: Maybe it deserved to be shattered.
Miller: WHAT? Who says such a thing? How can you even justify…
Carver: Because they want to know everything. I have one goal. One goal. To find Danny’s killer. Maybe you don’t share that goal.

Renee shows up at Owen’s door. This is not good. Somehow it feels like they will have a nice night and Renee will come away with some sort of information she shouldn’t have.

Vince did not show for the forced dinner date with the crazy lady. I could use her character’s name, but until she proves to be anything else, I want to call her the crazy lady.

Mark walks into the dining room where Beth sits lost in the middle distance. He apologizes for not telling Beth about Chloe. Her body language suggests that is not the thing he should be apologizing for. She runs through a litany of things that would admittedly bother anyone in that situation. Danny, Chloe, and the sense that she doesn’t even know her own family. She looks at Mark and says, “promise me there is nothing else I don’t know about.” Alright Mark, don’t make that promise. We are headed into a point of no return territory.

The last scene of this memorable episode that began to string together details of the case and drama beyond it, reveals a boat on fire on the water. The presumption is that Danny indeed was on a boat. So far we’ve assumed maybe it was Mark’s boat. Now it looks like that may not be the case. Stay tuned for next week’s recap of Gracepoint as I imagine the snowball rolling down the hill should gain even more speed and momentum.

Photo Courtesy Of Fox

Photo Courtesy Of Fox

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The Fox Network introduced their new Limited-Run Series “Gracepoint,” with a rather foreboding image, a young dark-haired boy stands on a cliff high above the water at night with tears streaming down his face. Then the camera goes black.

Gracepoint, California’s a lovely seaside village, located halfway between San Francisco and the Oregon border, a town that attracts tourists, but the regulars are a small tight-knit community, who’ve known each other all their lives. Well aside from the new Gracepoint Police Department Lead Detective Emmett Carver, (David Tennant) who just joined the force the previous week, with a long resume and lots of experience. Carver expected quiet times in his new post, but funny how life works out sometimes.

Carver got the position promised to longtime Gracepoint Detective Ellie Miller (Anna Gunn) before going on vacation by the department’s Chief Morgan, (Tom Butler) but gets called into his office and told the disappointing news as she enters the station. Morgan, said the situation changed while she was away and Carver’s very experienced. Miller reminds the Chief, of their conversation in which he told her the department was looking to promote women.

We leave the station and enter the home of one of the village’s family’s, plumber Mark Solano, (Michael Pena) his wife Beth (Victoria Kull) and their daughter Chloe (Madalyn Horcher) are eating blueberry pancakes made by Beth’s mother, who came over from her home nearby to cook breakfast. Beth asks if anyone’s seen their son Danny (Nikolas Filipovic) because he forgot his lunch, but Mark says he’s probably on his regular morning nature watch, then kisses his wife and leaves for work.

The next scene illustrates just how small and close a community Gracepoint is, as we watch Solano walk through the village interacting with everyone in his path, a routine he’s clearly used to. He stops by the town’s newspaper and pays the editor Kathy Eaton (Alisen Down)  for the ad he runs in it for his company, then haves a brief conversation with the paper’s reporter Owen Burke (Kevin Zegers) whose heading to cover the local track meet at the village’s school. He asks Gemma Fisher (Sarah-Jane Potts) who runs the local inn and restaurant when he’s getting his free meal for fixing her boiler, then finally meets his assistant Vince Novik (Stephen Louis Grush) driving Mark’s van and showing up late for work.

Beth meanwhile heads to her son’s school and finds out he didn’t join the nature group and has yet to show up at school. She starts to panic, finds Danny’s best friend and Ellie Miller’s son Tom, (Jack Irvine) who tells her he hadn’t seen or heard from her son all day. She thanks the boy and asks him if he sees him to call her. She then calls her son’s and husband’s phones reaching voice mail on both.

Miller’s really steamed at getting passed over for the promotion, so she heads into the rest-room locks the door and presumably calls her husband Joe, (Josh Hamilton) to vent. In the midst of her conversation there’s pounding on the door and another female officer informs Ellie that a case just came in and she needs to head to the beach.

Carver’s just arriving at the beach when we join him and when he sees the body’s a young boy’s, he whispers please not again.  A uniformed officer’s already on the scene and then Miller pulls up in her car. She realizes the body’s Danny’s and starts screaming and running toward the corpse. Carver attempts to restrain her and she tells him that he’s got her job and she’s Detective Ellie Miller. He asks her if she knows the boy and tells him he’s her son’s best friend.

Beth’s driving around town trying to find her son when she runs into a traffic jam, an unusual occurrence in their town. The line of cars stretch near a quarter-mile and she gets out of her car and starts walking forward. A couple of minutes into her journey, she asks a woman in a car if she has any idea what’s going on and the woman replies, the police shut down the beach after finding a body. Beth’s positive the body’s Danny’s and starts running as fast as she can towards the beach. She gets to the area cordoned off by Police Tape, lifts it up, walks past an officer talking to someone else and heads to the crime scene. Another officer tries to stop her, but she gets close enough to recognize her son’s sneakers and breaks down, trying to reach her son while several officers restrain her.

Shortly later a forensics expert shows up and says Danny did not fall, jump or get pushed off the cliff, who ever murdered the boy planted the rocks to make it appear that was the cause of death. He believes the killer transported Danny to the beach and dumped his already dead body. They meet with the town’s medical examiner and he’s positive it’s a homicide caused by blunt trauma to the front of the boy’s head. When asked if he was the victim of a sexual assault, the medical examiner responds, no thank heavens. He then tells Carver that though the detective’s a veteran of these investigations, this doesn’t happen in Gracepoint and tells Carver to catch the killer and put him a way for a long time.

Carver and Miller head to the Solanos and Miller tells the other detective she wants to break the news to the family. He says no immediately, she replies that he doesn’t know them and he asks her how many murder investigations she’s worked. When she admits this is her first he tells her she can’t help them or make things any better.

They enter the home, and everyone sits down. Carver says they found a body on the beach and believe it’s their son’s, Beth asks Ellie if it’s Danny and she nods her head as Chloe and Beth dissolve into tears. Carver tries dispassionately asking questions and Mark finally says he wants to see the body, they might be mistaken.

Miller takes him to the morgue and now Mark dissolves into tears, he asks Ellie if he can touch  him and the detective says no. He apologizes to Danny for not being there to protect him and says he’ll blame himself for the rest of his life. Then he tells his son that he’ll find whose ever responsible and they’ll get punished.

When Mark and Ellie return from the morgue, Carver promises the family that he’ll find the killer. Right after he says that Chloe grabs her coat and handbag and leaves the house. A short while later she and her boyfriend arrive at the beach and put down one of Danny’s toys, a stuffed monkey on the beach, then falls into her boyfriend’s arms and starts to weep. They fail to notice reporter Owen Burke sitting nearby, there to investigate the case for his paper. He calls Miller and asks if it’s Danny Solano and she freezes up and gets tongue-tied, telling him his call’s inappropriate and she won’t confirm anything. He realizes that she did confirm by not denying it and hangs up, she calls him right back but gets his voice mail. He sends out a press release from his cell-phone, starting a huge storm in the village.

Carver and the rest of the department are unaware that Burke filed the story and tells all the officers, that until he gives the official press conference later that afternoon, they’re not to discuss the case with anybody. Chief Morgan nods to Carver to take a walk with him outside, then suggests he hand the case over to Ellie because of what happened in Rosemont. Carver gets agitated, says he got completely exonerated and because of Rosemont, he’s the perfect man to lead the investigation. Morgan says that Carver came to Gracepoint to “lay low,” but Carver counters that he came to do a job.

Chloe finds out first getting an alert on her cellphone and the Solanos go ballistic screaming at the forensics expert whose now at their home. He’s truly clueless about the leak and suggests they contact Carver or Miller, but Beth says that they’d rather speak to him. She then berates him and asks what gives the department the right to release her son’s name without informing them first.

Renee Clemons, (Jessica Lucas) a reporter for the San Francisco Globe, watches Carver’s press conference from Gracepoint announcing the slaying of Danny Solano. She knows Carver, she tells a colleague from her days working in Rosemont and says she’s surprised he got hired by another department. She pitches the story to her editor, but he declines her request, however she defies him and travels up the coast on her own.

Nearly forty-years-ago, one of the first Mini-Series to capture the public’s attention and become a hit, was “Rich Man, Poor Man” and one of the stars, Nick Nolte’s career got launched by his performance. I’m happy to announce that Nolte’s a character in Gracepoint, but he’s far from the handsome leading man of his salad days. Nolte plays Jack Reinhold, an old codger who resembles a cross between a mean Santa Claus and a sailor. He rents kayaks and canoes to tourists but his main passion’s keeping track of the local sea life which he reports to the observatory down the coast.

For years he’s taken local children out with him in the early mornings to help him record dolphin and whale sightings. Danny was there every morning the week he got killed except for the morning he died. Carver asked if Reinhold had called Danny’s house when he didn’t show up and Jack looked at the detective as if he were insane, asking if he thought Danny was the first kid not to show for a morning session?

Beth and Mark start talking and she asks why he didn’t check on Danny when he got home from a plumbing emergency at 3:00am and he asked her why didn’t she check on him after she saw him at 9:00pm? She asks her husband where he was and he says I told you I was working.

Ellie still has yet to let her son know that his best friend got killed the night before, so she stops home to tell him in person. Tom seems oddly calm about the information, asking very few questions other than if his parents knew and his mom tells him they do. She then tells her son that losing one’s best friend in such an awful way can make people react differently. He may get very sad, or angry or just want to cry, but what ever way he reacts is fine.  He then asks his mother if he could have some time alone and she says sure, gives him a kiss and leaves the room. Tom grabs his cellphone and deletes all the messages on it from Danny. He then goes to his laptop and erases the hard drive.

That night at the station, Miller calls Carver into her office to show him her latest find, surveillance footage from the village square from the night before and lo and behold Danny Solano’s riding his skate board down the white line in the middle of the street at midnight. That proves he wasn’t abducted from his home, but now gives them two more questions, where’s his skateboard as well as his cellphone, which he never left his house without?

The Story Continues Next Thursday Night at 9:00pm on Fox.