BWW Recap: Families Shatter in GRACEPOINT Finale
Tonight's the night we've waited for all season: we're finally finding out who killed Danny Solano. Is it creepy Susan, or creepy Paul? Maybe it's creepy Vince. The only thing I know for sure is that whoever did it is probably creepy. We've been #SuspectingEveryone since the first episode, but now it's time to close the notebooks, put away the pencils, and wrap up this case. Let's do this.
Or maybe not. Not yet. As it turns out, Carver is pretty sick after all. I mean, we already knew that he was sick enough to be hospitalized, but now we know that he's too unhealthy to remain an active member of the police force, and that's a horse of a different color. Somehow, he manages to convince his chief for one more day on the job, and he's ready to get down and dirty. His first order of business: bringing Tom and Joe to the station for another interview. He's questioned them together before, but Carver has a gut feeling that Tom is hiding something. Too many things don't add up. Why did Tom go to such extremes to hide and destroy his computer? Why were Tom and Danny fighting? Why did Tom threaten - or, at least, attempt to threaten - Paul Coates into secrecy?
Tom, though, isn't quite ready to open up just yet. He does admit to smashing his computer, and claims he did so because he wanted to hide his emails with Danny. They had been fighting. Danny was making fun of Tom, calling him a conformist (twelve-year-old bullying has gotten much more sophisticated in today's world, guys). Other than that, though, Tom's lips are sealed. Carver recognizes this. He knows these Miller boys are hiding something. But alas, what inevitably always happens during investigations happens: they don't have enough evidence to hold either Miller, and Tom and Joe leave the station, free as birds.
Meanwhile, Ellie continues to question Vince. At this point, in her mind, he's still their most likely suspect. After all, Susan and Ellie's sister both claim to have seen Vince acting suspiciously the night of Danny's murder. Despite the fact that, at this moment, all signs point to Vince, Ellie doesn't seem convinced. Something doesn't fit, but she's too scared to admit it.
Just then, as if on cue, Carver gets a call from the station, saying that Danny's cell phone has been turned on again. Carver tells Ellie to go home, and he tracks it down by himself. The GPS signal leads to - all together, now - the Miller house, where we find Joe lurking in his shed, awkwardly clutching Danny's cell phone, promising, "I'll tell you everything."
And boy, does he! Remember a few paragraphs ago, when I said I was pretty sure that whoever killed Danny is probably really creepy? My (ridiculously safe) bet paid off! Joe Miller is one creepy guy. In the interrogation room, he tells Carver all about his relationship with Danny. They'd been meeting in the cabin for a few months, mostly to talk about the rocky relationship Danny had with his dad. That night, though, Joe was ready to take their relationship to a new level. Danny resisted and freaked out, and honestly, who can blame him? Joe followed as Danny ran to the edge of the cliffs and threatened to jump. Joe promised Danny that they could keep this relationship a secret, but Danny wanted to tell his parents. When he tried to run, Joe grabbed him by his sweatshirt, and Danny fell, slamming his head into a rock. Joe took Danny's body out to the water with Owen's family boat, goes back to the shed, sees Mark with Gemma, scrubs himself clean, and returns home to climb into bed with Ellie. And that money the CSI team found in Danny's bedroom? That was from Joe, to cover the cell phone bills. He lied to Ellie and told her that the money went toward home repairs.
Anna Gunn's performance in the next scene was pretty much perfect. She's confused; she knows the situation is dire when Carver moves across the room to sit next to her. When she finally learns the truth, she struggles to wrap her mind around it. You can tell that she knows it's true, but it's very clear she doesn't want it to be. When she finally sees Joe, she can't contain her anger and rage and betrayal. She lunges at him, punching and kicking all the way. I can't blame her one bit. Kudos, Anna Gunn.
Something still doesn't seem right, though. Tom's acting pretty shifty for an innocent kid. Ellie hones in on this pretty quickly, too, and as soon as she notices his shoes, she puts the pieces of the puzzle together. Tom followed his dad to the hut that night and spied as he fought with Danny. When Danny runs away, Tom makes his move. He grabs an oar and runs toward his dad, swinging all the way like a madman. Danny sees this and runs back to intervene, and that's when it happens: Tom hits Danny square in the head, hard, and Danny collapses.
What comes next? Tom knows the truth, so does Joe, and now Ellie, too. Should Ellie listen to her inner detective and bring Tom up on charges, or should she let her motherly instinct take over and protect her child at all costs? She makes her decision clear when she speaks to an incarcerated Joe: "this all stays between us." Motherly instinct: 1, detective's integrity: 0.
Despite all of the mayhem, the Solanos are finally able to put their son to rest. They hold the long-awaited memorial service, and bonfires all across the bay are lit in Danny's honor. Carver reconnects with his daughter, and he even lets Ellie call him Emmett. I'd call that progress. But something's not right. Carver re-watches the video of Tom's interview on his phone, and he notices something: when he asks Tom if he ever saw Paul hit Danny, he answers, "I never saw anyone else hit Danny." Anyone else. And just like that, secret's out. Carver calls Ellie to get to the bottom of this, but she just lets her phone ring and ring.
What a weird ending. I'm guessing - or rather, hoping - that the execs at FOX are pushing for a second season, otherwise that ending is nothing but frustrating. GRACEPOINT's mother series BROADCHURCH got a second season, but the latter show also had significantly better viewership ratings, so we'll just have to wait and see. For me, the entire season can be summed up in one word: meh. The pacing was a bit slow, and it felt too drawn out. Maybe I would feel differently had I not seen BROADCHURCH, though. Also, I don't love the fact that Danny's death was an accident. With the amount of meticulous detail that went into staging Danny's murder to look like a suicide, an ending that revealed a cold-blooded killer would've been much more satisfying - and made much more sense.
What did you think of GRACEPOINT's finale? Are you satisfied, or do you think it should've ended differently? Let us know in the comments below or come join the conversation with me on Twitter @CourtHenley.
And now, a little levity in light of all this tragedy:
Photo credit: FOX
Gif credit: rexalexander