Four episodes in, FOX’s Gracepoint continues to reel me in with outstanding visuals, excellent pacing and perhaps the best all-around cast on television. While the series doesn’t initially appear to be as dark as HBO’s True Detective, literally or figuratively, the radiant sunshine of northern California seems to be masking something horrible in the seaside community.
With such a talented group of performers, the highlighting of town creepies may not be a simple plot device meant to confuse viewers. For example, Susan Wright (Jacki Weaver) could be just as nasty as she seems. The snarling demeanor would typically make her an early suspect in any television drama, but perhaps she’s only a key to the puzzle. While Jack Reinhold (Nick Nolte) appears innocent, it seems evident that he’s been around long enough to pinpoint the underlying secrets of Gracepoint. Then again, Jack may simply be a heroic figure; the Santiago of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. I’d like to believe that Jack will take the proverbial bull by the horns and ultimately save the day with grizzled tenacity.
Another brilliant component of Gracepoint is the casting of Kevin Rankin. The character actor was unrecognizable upon first glance as Paul Coates, the clean-shaven priest, but I soon realized he played Devil in FX’s Justified, Kenny in AMC’s Breaking Bad and TJ in Jean-Marc Vallée’s Oscar-nominated film, Dallas Buyers Club. He’s another mysterious character that may be guilty of corrupting the locals, but not necessarily guilty of murdering Danny Solano. Incidentally, his past with Ellie Miller (Anna Gunn) leads me to believe that the detective’s friendly demeanor may be just another mask.
While Mark Solano (Michael Peña) is the obvious suspect, and most definitely isn’t the perfect husband given his affair, one has to question the innocence of his wife Beth (Virginia Kull). I didn’t envision her as anything other than a grieving mother until “Episode Four” when Gracepoint featured her in a towel – again. Perhaps I’m looking to deeply into this, but it could be a tell — and it makes sense. No one is safe!
Don’t forget about Owen Burke (Kevin Zegers)! He’s an aspiring young gun of journalism, but it’s been pointed out that he’s also the nephew of Detective Miller. It wouldn’t surprise me if cozies up to the new gal in town from the San Francisco Globe, Renee Clemons (Jessica Lucas). In fact, the alluring Renee showed up at his apartment with a bottle of wine, but maybe…just maybe…Owen will end up controlling their relationship. His iPhone wizardry has already been documented and he could be much smarter than he seems.
Adding even more legitimacy to Gracepoint are the characters of Chloe Solano (Madalyn Horcher) and Dean Iverson (Kendrick Sampson). Both actors carry their weight amongst the likes of Anna Gunn and Michael Peña, which is crucial for the FOX drama.
Finally, how about that shot of Emmett Carver (David Tennant) at the pier? Furthermore, how about Tennant’s outstanding portrayal of the increasingly sympathetic detective? Carver suffers physically and emotionally, but maintains an aura of domineering authority. I’m not sure which way the wind will blow, but when the storm begins, Detecter Carver will surely be swept up in the madness of Gracepoint.
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