Well humpback whales, we are finally here: the finale episode of Gracepoint. And boy is it a uterus punch of emotions! Unlike previous episodes, this one keeps a tight focus on the murder investigation, with almost no peripheral town drama.
We begin at Gracepoint PD, where Carver is interrogating Tommy Miller about his broken laptop. Tommy is accompanied by noted enchilada enthusiast/father Joe. We find out that Mark hit Danny after he quit the soccer team, and that Tommy and Danny were fighting in the weeks leading up to the murder. Joe abruptly ends the interview when Carver intimates that Tommy might have hurt Danny. Meanwhile, Ellie continues to interview Vince, who is just worried about his sick mother.
Carver and Miller go to the beach, where Carver tells her that she has done good work on the case. It’s his last day on the job, and this uncharacteristic gesture of openness suggests what we soon know to be true. Danny’s cell phone is turned on and traced to the garage of the Millers.
Carver brings in Joe Miller, and we see a flashback to the night of the murder. Joe and Danny struck up a friendship after Danny’s dad hit him, meeting in secret to talk. Joe makes a sexual advance towards Danny, who promptly freaks out and runs from the cabin. Danny threatens to jump off the cliff if Joe comes any closer, and Joe begs Danny just to forget everything that happened. He says they can just go back to normal and forget about it, but Danny runs. Joe grabs his sweater to stop him, and Danny trips and hits his head on a rock. Joe panics and cleans the cabin, then dumps Danny’s body on the beach.
Carver tries to get Joe to confess to molesting Danny, but he never did. He just exists in the awful in between of attempts and accidents and darkest thoughts. Carver demands to understand Joe’s motivations, but Joe claims that even he doesn’t understand his sick desires. After the cover-up, he crept back into bed with Ellie, who was knocked out on sleeping pills.
Joe had tried to confess before, but Ellie kept showing up and he couldn’t tell her. He begs Carver to break the news, which leads us to the most gut-wrenching scene of the series.
Carver breaking the news to Ellie is an intensely painful scene to watch, and showcases what a powerful actress Anna Gunn really is. She shifts between sickness, anger, and total sadness throughout the rest of the episode, and it truly is a powerhouse performance.
Ellie rushes into the interrogation room and starts hitting and kicking Joe, before she is dragged off by the other officers. Carver sends her home to pack some clothes and checks her into a motel. It’s heartbreaking to see Ellie leave her home as the police turn it into a crime scene. Carver tells everyone in the department that Ellie was in no way culpable and in desperate need of support.