Episode 3 of Gracepoint tests the audience’s commitment to caring about who killed Danny.
The pace barely1 picked up this week in Gracepoint. Unfortunately, this show is still firmly entrenched in “boring” territory. If I weren’t covering Gracepoint for this site, I’d delete it from my DVR.
The actors are the only redeeming aspect of this show. The main cast turns out solid performances each week, but this week, Anna Gunn seemed to shine brightest in certain moments. Anna Gunn is the type of actor who is obviously talented and could easily reach EGOT glory if she were only given the right parts (and good press). Gunn’s Detective Miller doesn’t have many good moments, but Gunn takes those mediocre moments and elevates them to impressive. Gunn delivers lines that a less-seasoned actor would have let fall flat, like when Miller comments on Carver’s lack of manners by quipping that his children’s manners must suck. It’s refreshing to see Gun finally get a few decent lines. “A few” being the key phrase here. Because, even though Anna Gunn was the best part of this episode, her character was the worst part.
What didn’t work
Detective Ellie Miller.
Miller is an annoying character that Anna Gunn did not deserve to have happen to her. In an attempt to test Miller’s mettle, Carver has Miller run the morning meeting that he would usually run. Miller, of course, becomes flustered and almost drops the ball. The dialogue sets it up as though Carver has thrown Miller in the deep end. However, in the first episode, Miller was complaining about Carver getting “her” job promotion. How could Miller have been qualified for the position Carver has if she can’t even handle a simple meeting? Was Miller under-qualified and just going to be promoted simply because she’s a woman so the department could fill a quota? Do the other detectives in this department suck so badly that Miller is really the best they’ve got? Regardless, Miller is portrayed as incompetent and unprofessional because of how she is compared to Carver. One has to question whether these traits would still be applied to the character of Miller if the genders of Miller and Carver were reversed. Considering how women are portrayed on television, more than likely, these characters would be painted differently even if their core aspects remained the same. If Carver were portrayed by a woman and was still the boss, it would most likely be commented upon that she was cold for a woman or was less feminine because she was assertive, standoffish, and overly confident. If Miller were portrayed by a man, the character would probably be portrayed as a hero for leaving work to go home to his family and for refusing to treat the victim’s father like any other perp rather than being portrayed as a less talented and incompetent detective because of these behaviors. It’s obviously impossible to be 100% successful at work and home. But there are plenty of women in the real world who strike a remarkably impressive balance between the two2. It’s a shame that television still can’t let women appear capable of juggling both a career and a life outside of work successfully.
If you haven’t started this show yet, don’t start. Save your valuable time for a good mystery cop show, like Luther or Matlock3.