Tag Archives: Virginia Kull

Gracepoint: With Tom Missing, One Suspect Rises to the Forefront

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.

Gracepoint: Another Missing Boy Rocks The Village

Photo Credit: Ed Araquel/FOX
Photo Credit: Ed Araquel/FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

After setting their stovetop on simmer, through the first four episodes of the FOX mini-series “Gracepoint,” the show runner’s turned up the heat during the next three-episodes, resulting in the show coming to a boil in episode seven. While trying to come to grips with the suicide, of a friend and neighbor, they mercilessly hounded, the seaside village suffered another blow, with a second missing child, this week. Although Danny Solano’s death hit close to home for the Gracepoint Police Department, this time it involves one of their own, Detective Ellie Miller.

Our visit to the Northern California Community, begins in the office of Detective Emmett Carver, reading the Sacramento Post, with a headline asking “Is This The Worst Cop In California?” with Carver’s picture below the blurb. Miller walks into his office with a black tie, that she suggest he wear if he’s attending Jack Reinhold’s funeral. He tells her that he’s going, as Danny’s killer will attend, feeling guilty about another death on their hands. He asks Miller if she agrees with the headline and she replies, maybe top ten.

Every person from the town seems that they’re jammed into the church for the funeral and the Reverend Paul Coates, doesn’t waste the larger than normal  audience in attendance. He berates those in the pews for smearing Reinhold’s name and intimidating him to the point that he took his own life. He says they let Reinhold and Danny Solano down and infers they should do more to find the boy’s killer.

The wake’s at Gemma Fisher’s Inn and once again, it seems all are in attendance. Beth and Mark walk up to Gemma at the bar and Beth politely, but coldly, asks for a white wine for her and a beer for her husband. Ellie and Carver are scouting the wake for any guilty looking people at the wake, when Carver sees Coates put his hand on Tommy Miller’s knee. He starts heading that way, but his illness hits him and he almost hits the ground, but someone grabs him and asks if he’s had one too many. Trying to regroup he sits next to Tommy, while he’s catching his breath and looking quite pale. Carver asks Miller’s son how he’s doing, then asks if he gets along with Coates, the boy responds kind of. Then Carver starts asking about Danny and the Priest and Joe Miller comes to breakup the conversation.

He tells the detective if he wants to question his son, ask him first, then calls him a sick individual. He says he’d feel sorry for Carver if he wasn’t making the town miserable, especially his wife. Tommy comes over to Ellie and she asks him if he’s alright and her son asks why everybody keeps asking that question? She replies there are many in the room who love him, then she asks her son if he’s sad and does he miss Danny? Tommy gets quite upset and says of course he misses, him why wouldn’t he. He then says Ellie doesn’t even know him any longer. He’s feeling defensive and guilty since his best friend’s death and we realize, he knows more than he’s told.

The next scene opens with a whale breaching the ocean and the return of the backpacker, Lars Pierson, who Reinhold told Carver and Miller they saw him talking to Danny a few weeks before he got killed. Joe Miller and his toddler son in his stroller, are accompanying Tommy to school, who’s riding his bike. The little guy dropped his stuffed animal about 500-yards behind and Joe looks at his watch and says it’s 7:58 am, he tells Tommy to stay with his brother and he’ll get the toy. Tommy says it’s only three-blocks and he can make it without his father, even though Joe and Ellie have a pact not to allow their son to be unaccompanied while outside, Joe says okay. Not a great move.

Back at the station, Carver says he’s done some digging and that Paul Coates, Mark and Beth Solano all attended Gracepoint High School together, with Mark graduating in 1999 and Paul and Beth graduating in 2000. Ellie says that sounds about right and Carver asks why she didn’t tell him earlier? Ellie says she told him that Coates grew up in Gracepoint, where did Emmett imagine he went to school. A female uniform, interrupts their conversation and tells Miller she’s got a call and Ellie asks if they can transfer it to her desk.

It’s Tommy’s school and the boy never arrived. She hangs up and calls Joe, who says he walked Tommy until they were three blocks from the school, then he rode his bike the rest of the way. She hangs up and starts to head to Tommy’s school, but Carver tells her he’s joining her. They arrive and talk to the principal, Mr. Conroy’s wife called in the morning and said he wouldn’t be in, but hung up without a reason. Carver asks to talk with Tommy’s friends and each one looks sullen and disaffected.

Susan Wright shows up in line at a local grocery, with a box of brownie-mix, the cashier says how good their new mix is and Wright asks if she said something.  The cashier says that Wright will enjoy the brownies, she responds they’re not for her. We quickly switch to Vince Novik washing his hands and arms, covered in blood. Wright’s told Novick she knows he’s in trouble, could the two incidents be related?

Emmett heads to the Solano’s to inform them about Tommy, then ask about Fred Conroy, Danny and Tommy’s teacher, who they listed as a suspect. Beth says he’s quiet and Danny got unnerved at first as he always had female teachers. Carver tells them he’s tried reaching Conroy and his wife Heather all morning, without any luck.

Chief Morgan and Carver hold a press conference to announce Tommy’s disappearance and stresses, they are handling this as a separate case than the Danny Solano murder. After a few questions from reporters, that Morgan dances around, he says that’s it for now, when they receive any updates or any more information, they’ll inform the media members. While the press conference takes place, a teenage girl arrives at the station and asks to speak with Emmett Carver and the officer asks her name and if the detective knows her. The young lady responds her name’s Julianne and she hopes he does as Detective Carver’s her father.

The next scene opens with Vince Novick locking the padlock to the gate of his workshop, scoping out to make sure nobody sees him. He enters his house and sees his mother standing in the kitchen with a plastic tray, filled with brownies. He asks his mother if she’s okay and where did she get the brownies and his mother asks him why he’s in trouble again. Novick dodges the question and once again asks where the brownies came from, and his mother replies they’re from his friend at the park. After getting stumped for a few seconds, he asks his mother if she was the women from the trailer park? She says yes, and that Wright told her that Vince’s in trouble. He throws the brownies in the garbage, tells his mother to stay away from them and says Wright’s the one in trouble. His mother asks if there’s blood on his face and he responds he went hunting earlier.

Morgan meets with Carver and tells the Detective he should step down from the case, he came to Gracepoint to put Rosewater behind him, instead it followed him to the village. Carver refuses, saying he’s the only one equipped to handle things, that Ellie certainly, can’t handle it, being her own son. There’s a persistent knock on the door, that Morgan ignores, Carver throws a pen at the door and says come in. Morgan reminds him it’s the Chief’s office and Emmett asks why didn’t he respond. The female uniform, says someone’s here to see him and in steps his daughter, who he looks less than enthused to see.

He tells her that another boy turned up missing that morning and he’s involved in hundreds of projects, when Miller walks in and tells Carver he’s needed elsewhere and asks if the girl’s his daughter. With his usual lack of social skills they wind up introducing themselves as Carver leaves. Julianne, said her father said another boy’s missing and Miller’s eyes well up.

Ellie heads home and Joe perhaps says the stupidest thing he could choose to say, don’t blame yourself for this. Miller truly must adore Joe, as she should have jumped all over him, but lets it slide. She then says Mark Solano’s organizing a search party and he’s joining them, Owen’s coming over to watch their younger son. Joe finally blurts out that Ellie blames him and she just says we had a pact, that we’d always be there with him.

When Miller gets back to the station, Carver informs her that they found the backpacker, Lars Pierson and he’s in a cruiser near his house. When Ellie shows up she sees the guy with the bandanna in the back of a cruiser, gulping down a burger. She asks if they can talk to him and the officer says that Pierson waived his rights, just asked for something to eat. They found him with a service revolver, a rifle, two shotguns and an anti-psychotic drug, that he appears not to have taken him in months.

While Carver and Miller are getting the backpacker, Julianne searches through her father’s desk drawers and find a vial of medicine and a syringe, she looks it up on the internet and finds out it’s medication for a heart condition. This is the condition, that Emmett’s hiding from Morgan and the rest of the village, if they realized his condition, they’d remove him from the case.

Carver and Miller interview Pierson, whose on another planet, lacks a filter from his brain to his mouth, but also a clarity in instances, that’s sharp as a diamond. Carver asks why he’s stopped taking his medication and he responds that he hates the way it makes him feel. The detective asks him if he’s aware the drugs are an anti-psychotic drug and Lars responds he’s heard that. Emmett asks him if he’s aware, it’s also used for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and Pierson asks if they want to borrow some? Carver asks why and Pierson responds, because he looks stressed and she looks traumatized.

Then he looks into Ellie’s eyes intensely and asks if she’s feeling traumatized, does she feel it throughout her body? It makes her feel bad and she doesn’t like it does she? He says he doesn’t either. Nobody likes that feeling. Carver tells him to look at the picture of Tommy and the backpacker says, he’s a good-looking boy and Carver asks if he knows him? He then says not that he can recall, followed by he’s a good-looking boy and a look of revelation as he looks at Miller and says he looks just like you, breaking Miller’s dam of restraint. She starts threatening Pierson, telling him that if he did something to her son, she’ll punish him so badly, he’ll never forget it. (Whether she didn’t want to blow the case by police harassment, or just got flustered, the threat was far from intimidating.) Carver restrains her and gets her out of the room.

Novik heads to Wright’s trailer and she says she thought he’d drop by, Novik tells her to stay away from his mother. She replies, he’s in trouble and they need to talk about it, he hands her an envelope filled with money and she asks what’s it for. He tells her to take it and move away, everything was fine until she arrived. She says she doesn’t want the money and Vince grabs her around the throat and slams her into her trailer. She says he’s hurting her and he says that’s nothing, then backs away, throws the envelope at her and drives off.

Mr. Telephone Man,” Raymond Connelly, the telephone repairman that hears voices, arrives at Beth Solano’s door as she’s leaving with a box of sandwiches for the volunteer search team and she’s startled. He says he realizes he’s not supposed to get near her but he’s got an important message about Tommy. He says the voices told him that Tommy’s hurt and bleeding.

Beth takes the sandwiches to Joe Miller, who says someone spotted Tommy on his bike that morning, so Mark and a group have gone on to explore. Beth then attempts to explain Raymond Connelly to Joe and that some of his information has proven accurate. She then tells Joe what Connelly said about Tommy.

Carver’s been interrogating Pierson and neglecting Julianne all day and she confronts him in the lunchroom. She asks why he’s taking heart medication and if that’s the reason her mother didn’t want him to take on this case? He says he’s fine, he just gets dizzy sometimes and the medication prevents that from happening, but she’s not buying it. He says he needs to finish interrogating the suspect and it should take 20-minutes, is that okay? She agrees if he gives her money for the snack machine.

Emmett goes back in to question Lars and this time pulls out the picture of Danny and Pierson says, that’s a different kid. Carver affirms that it’s a different boy and asks if he’s ever seen this boy. The backpacker intensely looks at the picture and then says that’s messed up, Budapest. Carver asks him what he means and Pierson tells the detective, that a couple of months back, he walked early in the morning and came across Danny whale watching. He enjoys watching them, so he sat down and joined him, then Danny asked what’s the capital of Hungary? Lars tells Carver he’s usually unaware of things like that, but he served in Hungary, so he told him Budapest. Then Danny wrote it in his crossword puzzle.

He says Danny told him he wanted to travel the world, see the sights and leave his small town, so Pierson wrote down his cell number on a piece of the crossword puzzle and told Danny to call him if he ever wanted to talk. Then he looked Carver in the eye and asked if it’s bad, is Danny dead and Carver asked why he asked that question? Lars responded, that he’s been around people who know others are dead and they look like the detective.

Miller’s in the woods talking with the officer that captured Pierson, when a crowd led by Mark and including Joe head towards them and they’ve come up empty. Joe goes over to Ellie and this time does the right thing, takes responsibility for what he did and apologizes. Miller hugs him and says it’s not his fault, but she’s terrified.

Carver heads back to his office and can’t find Julianne, he asks another detective if he’s seen her and he tells her she took off 20-minutes ago. Carver asks if she left alone, but the detective tells him she told them she needed to catch a bus, so one of the other officers drove her to the bus station.

The search continues and somehow Paul Coates and Mark Solano wind up together in the woods. Solano made it abundantly clear he doesn’t like the Priest earlier in the series, when he told him to stay away from his family. But Coates’ tries to compliment Mark on his leadership of this search party and goes on how different people handle adversity. Solano asks him what he’s trying to say and Coates tells him he’s a good man. Solano nods and says he needs to check in with someone, but as soon as he turns away Paul yells for him to come back, Tommy’s bike’s on its side 20-yards away, with the boy nowhere around.

The Story Continues Next Thursday at 10:00 pm on FOX.

Gracepoint: Collateral Damage

Photo Credit:  Ed Araquel/FOX
Photo Credit: Ed Araquel/FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

A very interesting beginning scene with Carver leading a caravan of people retracing Danny’s steps the night he died. An impressive visual, but it did nothing but raise more suspicion on suspects that probably didn’t do it. Television math.

Owen cannot stop himself from consorting with Renee. Maybe her intentions are good, maybe they’re not. She’s a reporter for a significant paper and she probably has to adhere to a certain tenacity for the story to have that job. Right, wrong or otherwise, it’s a bad idea on Owen’s part.

Watching Mark Solano trying to rationalize the motivation of his infidelity and that it was not a reflection on Beth but still somehow her fault might just be the most painfully awkward thing I’ve ever seen. It’s not you it’s me. We don’t have the time tonight for me to articulate how messed up I think that is, but come on. If he had said, “life got stale, I’m an idiot” maybe that would’ve gone over better.

Man Rule #73: Never dictate to a woman what she must or can’t do with her body.

I understand why Mark thinks they should keep the baby, but telling your wife you have to keep it not 30 seconds removed from a conversation about why you chose to cheat on her with another woman, probably not the best idea. Each week I keep repeating the same thing routinely. “This Mark is a real piece of work”.

Even Owen should not be surprised in the least that the big paper took some creative liberties with his article. That is day one stuff. The second he handed over the paper to Renee, this small story line was destined to end badly. “Admitted Pedophile” was all but a guarantee.

Owen’s mother and Miller’s sister is amazing, in a bad way. I don’t believe for a moment that she saw anything. And using the idea that she saw something as leverage to weasel a grand from her own sister is horrible. Hopefully I’m right. I wouldn’t put it past them to write in a delinquent of a character that actually ends up holding a large piece of the puzzle.

Well, that took longer than I expected. Beth finally decides to pay a visit to Gemma. The entirety of the scene is Beth throwing high ball glasses at Gemma’s feet while Gemma apologizes repeatedly. Then Beth threatens Gemma and leaves. The threats don’t end there. Jack Reinhold shows up at the station to defend himself against the allegations from the San Francisco paper article. And in his attempted defense suggests that Carver tell Miller to tell her nephew to watch his back. Yeah, that will endear you to the detectives on the case.

Dean finds Chloe walking alone and suggests she should listen to him because he has something about Jack. As it turns out Dean claims that Jack used to touch them. Nothing overtly sexual, but definitely (slightly) inappropriate. Naturally, Chloe calls Renee. Dean supplies them with a list of other former Wildlife kids to would attest to similar experiences. Owen wants no part of it. Finally. Renee it seems must be after the story that makes her career. Owen needs to stop caving. This may have been step one.

Side note. Again trying not to give you too much about my personal life (since I’m sure that’s not why you’re reading this now), I still have an issue with the realism of the situation. Virginia Kull (plays Beth) is the only actor on this entire show that is acting the way the respective people effected by this tragedy would act. Her performance carries the show. Everyone is playing their character admirably well. However, when it comes to how people act regarding the death of a child, the realism goes out the window. Except for Beth.

Jack finally opens up to the detectives but not until after he has a paparazzi problem. Real quick, tell me if you’ve heard this one before. A man of legal age gets involved with a girl of a slightly lesser age (let’s say a few weeks short of legal age). Their relationship is exposed and the guy does time for statutory rape despite his assertion that it was consensual. Then when he is asked if he ever made contact with that girl again, his reply is predictably, “seen her again, I married her”. Sound familiar? Its been done at least three other times that I can think just off the top of my head.

The creepy lady makes a return. In the post office, Tom is sent in by his father to avoid hearing the pitch on why Jack should be removed from the Wildlife program. Tom notices the crazy lady’s dog and she engages him in conversation. Until this point, I just assumed she was there to throw us off the scent. If Gracepoint had a weekly power rankings, I’d put everything on her. She’s creepy, she has a skateboard that looks very similar to Danny’s in her closet. She’s creepy. And now she is soliciting the Detective’s son. Oh, did I mention, she’s creepy.

And she appears to be a chain smoker. The CSI has only uncovered one piece of relevant evidence thus far. Three cigarette butts. Then we find Owen trying to pawn his father’s boat. Which is miraculously stolen. Which might answer the question of whose boat was burning at the close two episodes ago. Then looking over (looking like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas after creating his plan) at where Owen stands wondering who stole the boat, is the creepy lady smoking. Either they are laying this out nicely, or there are at least one or two red herrings along the way.

The petition to have Jack Reinhold removed from his duties in the Wildlife program have escalated to a lynch mob, lead by Vince (Mark’s apprentice). Mark does intervene the moment before Vince makes this meeting physical. Mark then lays out what information is out there about Jack and demands to know what they are supposed to think. Jack then tells an interesting story, the details not being literally important, but the conclusion is that for a number of reasons, Jack and Mark are very similar with their wives and children. Then, regardless of guilt or innocence, Mark suggests that Jack move far away from Gracepoint.

It’s looking like a very real possibility that Owen’s father’s boat was stolen by the real killer. Problem now is that Owen is destined to become a suspect. At least for a little while. That and Hugo (CSI tech) is a sleazy guy. Asking Ellie Miller out for drinks knowing full well that she’s married and then responding with, “so that’s a deal breaker for you?”

Miller gets Carver up to date on the missing identity of the boar owner. Which he is moderately blown away over. Then after he collects himself, asks Miller to makes sure her brother-in-law hasn’t been back in town and to ask Hugo if he can pull any additional prints of the pieces of burned boat.

Miller: Sir? Uh…would you mind asking Hugo for me?
Carver: Huh?
Miller: Yeah, he actually uh, just made a pass at me…
Carver: Why would he do that?
Miller: Thank you. Very much.
Carver: You’re married.
Miller: I know. He-he knows that.
Carver: A fling with a crime scene investigator could be interesting.
Miller: What? What does that mean?
Carver: Attention to detail. Used to having their hands everywhere.
Miller: Gross. That’s…
Carver: Dirty Hugo.
Miller: That is so gross. That is nasty. But thank you for that visual by the way.
Carver: You’re welcome.

Next we find Jack Reinhold playing the piano (a reference to how he and his wife met, teaching her piano). While that plays we see a short montage of varying characters. Including Mark and Beth Solano sitting down together going through baby pictures of Danny. And it concludes with someone throwing a brick through Jack’s shop. Jack walks out to see who it was and the camera pulls back to reveal they have spray painted the word “pedophile: on his deck.

Wow, this episode is not without a significant amount of awkwardness. Seriously, I feel like I need to rewind that whole scene just to figure out if I’m going crazy or was that actually what I thought I heard. Yep, exactly what I thought it was the first time. Ultimately both Carver and Gemma mislead each other over the intentions of their small talk. Eventually leading to Carver asking Gemma if she’d “like to relax in his bed tonight”. After a little reaction to that, her first thought is ‘what if you pass out on me’? Then the silly miscommunication becomes real concern for the likelihood that Carver could pass out or die before the investigation is concluded.

Jack ventures out to find tomorrow’s newspaper reads “Jack Reinhold’s Child Bride and Deceased Son: Photos Reveal a Dark Past”. Jack then walks slowly towards the ocean tightly gripping a family photo of him, his wife and his son. The next scene confirms the assumed. Jack killed himself.

Gracepoint: Serving Penance

Photo Courtesy Of Fox
Photo Courtesy Of Fox

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.

Gracepoint: Eliminating Suspects, Or Not

 

Courtesy of FOX
Courtesy of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Last week we were introduced to the very surface of what this limited engagement mystery will eventually reveal. One thing that did stand out was Tom (Ellie’s son and best friend to the deceased) acting very odd. Not only acting odd but deleting text messages, erasing his hard drive, etc. It is entirely too early to start floating theories, but I’d keep Tom Miller tuck away in the back of your mind. At least for now. Not saying he’s directly involved, just that it seems fishy.

I know that it’s done intentionally, but I dislike the attempt to make each and every person look guilty. From Tom Miller to the priest and everyone in between. I also love the Carver character. I am biased by the fact that he was the tenth Doctor. There’s something delicious about a man trying to put his life back together following some career threatening mishap. On that note, the Ellie character deserves some credit too. Or more accurately, Anna Gunn’s portrayal of her. Anna Gunn gets entirely too much flack for playing disliked characters (namely Skylar White). And while this is decidedly different from Skylar White, she is playing it well. Down to the inexperience of handling these types of situations.

In the Solano’s home, Ellie attempts to lighten the mood and at the same time express some information that is important. Her inexperience is apparent when she explains that their liaison is a guy who just finished his training. You don’t tell the victim’s family that they get the wet behind the ears rookie. There is an awkwardness to trying to deal with this family that Ellie knows personally, which I’m sure is intentional.

The Solano’s made a list. A list of people they believe may have some motive, reason, or angle to be a suspect. The list is comprised entirely of friends of the family. This moment is interrupted by a man collecting evidence upstairs. One piece is 500 dollars in cash under Danny’s bed. The other is something they found in the floorboard of the sister’s room. A flat piece of paper? About an inch squared? About the size of a condom wrapper.

Carver heads out to meet with Jack Reinhold (Nick Nolte). Jack seems to have remembered something. 10 days to two weeks ago he remembers seeing Danny sitting on a bench on one of the cliffs observing nature with his notebook out when a young stranger showed up. In his twenties with the hiking backpack and all. The exchange seemed pretty harmless from that vantage point. All the same, noteworthy.

OK. The package found in the sister’s room was Cocaine. I love how we are in the middle of a murder investigation and the sister of the deceased’s first thought is, “you’re not going to tell my mom are you?”

The nosy reporter from the Globe (Renee) shows up in the hopes of grabbing a desk in the bullpen of the local paper. She is not welcomed warmly as she might have hoped. She was there long enough to employee the services of Owen to show her around.

I don’t like the kid installing the phones in the precinct. Just throwing that out there.

Carver while listening to Ellie and stirring his coffee falls into some sort of trans. Ellie thinks he’s just being rude but when she leaves, we see what he sees. Shaky hands and blurred vision. He then drops the coffee and sneaks into a bathroom stall. Where he injects himself with something. My first thought was diabetes or heroin. I hope it’s neither for a number of reasons.

Chloe Solano explains to Ellie that she got the cocaine from Gemma Fisher (who runs the B&B or hotel or whatever it is). So naturally this is the next step. They need to find the source of the cocaine and rule it out as a factor.

Ellie’s loyalty to the townspeople is borderline reckless. I was concerned when Carver promised to find the person responsible (a HUGE no-no for detectives), but ever since then, Ellie has owned all of the detective faux pas since.

Gemma Fisher: I understand this was really stupid. But is there any way we can do this quietly? I could lose my license over this.

Ellie: Make a time and come down to the station and make a formal statement. You’ll be charged, fingerprinted, and released. And we’ll try to keep it quiet.

Carver: Really…?

Outside, Carver ‘gives her the business’ after that little charade. And while Ellie is personally offended at the idea that someone should be telling her how to do her job, Carver’s right. Ellie is a great hall monitor. She’s ill-equipped to handle the pressures, peaks and valleys of a murder investigation.

The mother venturing out to the supermarket considerably accurate. During a process of this severity (referring to mourning) a person is most likely going to be moved to do something familiar. Something that brings routine and order back into their lives. For sometimes no other reason than to feel something normal. There’s also a reason why victims of significant loss are not advised to attempt to resume routine duties quickly. Too many things become reminders. I knew she was going to lose it the second she walked in. I was actually surprised to see that she made it all the way back out to the car before she did, lose it. The admission that she’s pregnant was an odd turn. I see how it will complicate her psyche, but it’s importance to this story line is as of yet undetermined.

Gemma Fisher redeems herself in a lovely scene with her tending the bar. Gemma, Rev. Paul Coates and a local business man. The business man is just spouting off. Diarrhea of the mouth about the recession, whale fest and now being a ‘murder town’. Gemma rips this guy a new one in a quiet, polite, and very British manner that for the moment has endeared her to me. For the moment.

There is one really nice feature that this show keeps dropping in. Whether an accurate detail or a distracting one, they like to throw something at you visually but only for a second. The teddy bear that Chloe left on the beach sitting on a dresser after the fact. And now, Carver dropping his wallet to reveal a picture of a young girl followed by him popping pills.

Susan Wright is without a doubt the shadiest character we’ve encountered yet. And my experience in TV watching tells me we should cross her off the list then. Too easy and too soon. That said, she’s either hiding something or she’s just really sketchy. Then the moment I type that, sketchy Ms. Wright opens a closet door to reveal a skateboard. Danny was riding his skateboard which as of yet has not been found. Let not scratch her off the list just yet.

I should mention at this point that I have uttered a great many words of the profane variety. Not out of anger or even frustration. More of the ‘aww geez’ variety. Now the phone and internet guy is passing along a message he ‘received’ about water. Danny was put in water or in a boat, but something to do with water. And when asked who gave him this message, his response was “Danny”. So we’re talking to the dead now? I am the last person to make light of the subject matter, but comeon. We’re introducing a Medium into the story?

Not all is lost with the medium/psychic angle. If we suspend reality for a moment and accept that this is a legitimate angle something interesting does emerge. After an on the record interview (or interrogation depending on who is talking) the phone guy turns to Carver and says, “She says she forgives you. For the pendant.” Initially it didn’t garner any response from Carver. Then he lashes out to Ellie.

Things are turning to the worst for Mark Solano. First security video shows him waiting for someone the night of the incident which contradicts what he claimed he was doing then. Second on Danny’s hard drive was a journal. Mostly innocuous stuff but periodically cryptic language that paints Mark into a corner. What that corner is, is still up in the air. And now after watching Rev. Paul giving support to the family and the community, Mark charges out of the house as if he plans on assaulting Rev. Paul. Nothing too damaging. Some shaking and yelling. Stay away from my family, basic stuff like that.

Carver shows up at the Solano residence to follow up with Mark. Getting him to retell the story of his alibi. Which shouldn’t add up at this point. Just tell me he’s cheating on his wife. As horrible as that is to say, it’s better than being a suspect in the death of his own son.

At the ‘hut’ a house like structure towards the edge of a cliff, Ellie goes over the findings with CSI. She calls Carver in the middle of him ‘giving Mark another chance to tell him who he met that night’. The hut was wiped clean as one executing a premeditated crime would do. They have ‘elimination prints’ the finger prints taken before the investigation starts. This way when they find prints, they can cross reference them against the prints in the field.

Ellie: The prints belong to Mark Solano.