“Gracepoint” Season 1 Episode 1 premiered on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014, at 9:00 p.m. on FOX. A peaceful coastal town in California was rocked by news of a murder. Who was the victim? Which family was involved? What have the police been doing so far? Read on for the recap to the very first episode of “Gracepoint.”
The episode opened with a montage of images of an idyllic town. The roadside, a church sign that said “Love thy neighbor,” a boy’s empty room, an alarm clock reflecting the time, and finally, a boy standing on the edge of a cliff, crying, with blood dripping from his hands. This boy was Danny Solano, barely a teenager. In the morning, his body would be found on the shore.
His mother, Beth (Virginia Kull), woke up late that day as the rest of the family were going about their usual business in the kitchen. Beth saw that Danny forgot to take his lunch box with him, so she thought she would bring it later when he’s playing soccer on the field.
Meanwhile, Mark (Michael Pena) walked to work, seeing that his ride was late. There, viewers got a glimpse of Gracepoint, the place and the people, as Mark greeted every resident he came across his walk. His companion finally caught up to him with the pickup truck, and so they drove off. Mark was apparently a contractor and a plumber.
Beth arrived at the field, where many of the kids were already playing, with their parents or companions watching. When Beth realized that her son was not there, she called his cell phone but got no answer. She then called Mark and left a message on his voice mail. Beth headed back home, but she was stuck in traffic. Apparently, the police were at the beach, and so the road has been partially blocked. Beth got out of her car with that sinking feeling that something was definitely wrong. She ran towards the beach.
Detective Ellie Miller (Anna Gunn) was back at work after a brief vacation. She was raring to get started again, knowing she’s going to lead the police team. But to her surprise, the chief told her that the job promised to her was given to Detective Emmett Carver (David Tennant) while she was away. Pissed, Elli cried herself at a bathroom stall, but she had to get her bearings, as there was a call. She was needed on the field.
Arriving at the beach, Ellie realized whose body it was lying there, lifeless. She knew the boy and his family. Her son, Tom (Jack Irvine), was best friends with the victim, so she started rambling off. This was personal to her. Meeting Emmett for the first time, she was told to shut her emotions down. She told him off by saying he took her job from her. The two co-workers started off on the wrong footing.
Beth got past security and ran towards the beach. The body was already covered, but part of the boy’s shoes was peeking. She cried her heart out upon recognizing the shoes. The police had to shield her, Ellie could only cry at what she saw, while Emmett was carefully studying everything.
As a backgrounder, Emmett Carver is a trained investigator who got involved in a high-profile case in another city (Rosemont). We’ll learn more about him as the episodes will unfold, but for now, what the show has told viewers so far was that he was reassigned to Gracepoint because cases in this town are less stressful and won’t attract national interest. However, because the death of a 12-year-old boy doesn’t happen very often on Gracepoint, it became the very focus in town. Guess controversy followed him everywhere.
Meanwhile, the detectives were told by the coroner that Danny didn’t commit suicide. That was faked. He died due to a blunt trauma on the head. He was attacked, possibly by someone he was expecting to see. The incident happened between 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. The investigators also saw a video footage of Danny leaving his house at past 10:00 p.m. on a skateboard. He wasn’t abducted; he snuck out. But where was his skateboard? It wasn’t with him at the beach.
It was time to tell the family, and as expected, the Solanos were devastated by the news. Emmett and Ellie asked the family if they were aware their son left that night. But Beth said she was already asleep by 9:00 p.m., the last hour she checked on Danny, while her husband, Mark, was still out working. Mark said that when he came home at 2:00 a.m., he didn’t bother to check on Danny.
Emmett was closely observing the family. Perhaps thinking — what was the father doing working so late that night? Do plumbers have pressing emergencies? Why was Mark devoid of any emotion? Later, when the father asked to see his son’s body at the coroners, it was only there where he cried his heart out.
After the police left, Danny’s sister Chloe met up with her older boyfriend. She brought Danny’s teddy bear to the beach and set it along the flowers that some of the townsfolk already offered to the dead. A reporter, Owen Burke (Kevin Zegers), saw Chloe and concluded that the boy the police found was Danny. This being a small town, they knew everybody. Owen, by the way, is Ellie’s nephew, and he called her up to confirm if the boy was indeed Danny Solano.
Because of the sensitivity of the case, the police force was under strict instructions from Emmett to not talk to anyone about it, especially the press, until they have the details straightened out. So when Ellie received the call from Owen, she did not confirm nor deny it, but she told her nephew not to put out anything first. Too late, Owen already tweeted and gave the name. This news bit was then picked up by other agencies.
The story was out there, and so Emmett was forced to address the press about what they know so far, but not after telling Ellie off, when she confessed that it may have been her nephew who leaked the boy’s identity. The working relationship between Ellie and Emmett got tenser because of this.
Ellie and Emmett visited Jack Reinhold (Nick Nolte) at his place. He would be the last person Danny saw, because that morning, Danny was supposed to be at Jack’s wildlife club, as he usually did every day. Jack said that Danny actually did not show up that day and assumed the boy was sick. He also didn’t call up Danny’s parents because he’s not the first kid to miss showing up in the morning. Emmett asked Jack if he was married, a question which had little to do with the case, but that’s the way Emmett worked. He would come off as offensive and brash.
Later that day, Ellie came home to check on her family, especially her son, who just lost a best friend. She talked to Tom in his bedroom, but surprisingly, Tom did not seem too upset about it. When his mother left, Tom deleted all the text messages Danny sent to him the night before. He also deleted something on his computer. What was Tom hiding?
The police, by the way, did not find Danny’s cell phone with him. It had been missing. The police also took Danny’s home computer as part of the investigation. Will they find anything there that would link to Tom?
While the police were doing their investigation, a curious bystander, Susan Wright (Jackie Weaver), was seen observing things. She was always in the background. What did Susan know? She lived by the beach. Did she see something the night Danny died?
And that’s what happened on “Gracepoint” Season 1 Episode 1, which premiered on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014, at 9:00 p.m. on FOX. How do you like the opening so far? Did it hook you in?
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Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/David Tennant/Rach