‘Equity’ excels as a gripping financial thriller, even if it lacks the groundbreaking impact it intended.
While Gracepoint hasn’t packed the same emotional wallop of Broadchurch, its source material, it has maintained a consistent level of intrigue, melancholy, and family drama, all aided by strong performances from a number of its central actors. For the majority of its ten episode run, the show has been exciting but it has struggled towards the end of the season.
While the jumping off point for Gracepoint has been the central mystery of who killed Danny Solano, much like its British predecessor Broadchurch has developed into a compelling, devastating look at the effects of loss on a family and an entire town. While most viewers would argue that Broadchurch did it better, the sharp plot turn in “Episode Seven” highlighted the fact that Gracepoint has developed a great mystery and compelling characters on its own.
The episode begins with the townspeople and police quietly reassessing their hasty judgment of Jack but terrifyingly a good number of the townspeople don’t seem to upset Jack is dead. Rather than looking at themselves, Paul (Kevin Rankin) and the rest of the town turn their attention to Carver. With a newspaper headline proclaiming he is the worst cop in California it is easier for them to blame Carver for Jack’s death than themselves.
While the central mystery of Gracepoint remains who killed Danny Solano, the show has evolved into much more. The town that looked perfect is full of countless devastating secrets and its characters are increasingly, deeply complex. Who Detective Carver (David Tennant) is and why he behaves the way he does has become just as fascinating as the search for Danny’s killer, and how the writers have woven these together has become the most exciting aspect of the show.
Breaking Bad is not a series generally noted for its lightness of tone, but Vince Gilligan and his collaborators have always managed to wring humor and quirk out of what would seem to be a hopelessly grim set of story beats. That’s what makes “Granite State,” the series’ super-sized penultimate episode, so hard to watch. Save for a few passing moments of sewer-downhill-from-the-gallows “humour,” “Granite State” is a relentlessly bleak hour of TV, wherein even the glimpses of “hope” are really just (in all likelihood) presaging more carnage.
Some series offer neat, tidy payoffs week-to-week, making sure to leave viewers satisfied while leaving them with enough plot and/or character movement to satisfy while leaving them eager for the next piece of the bigger picture. Not so with Breaking Bad; it’s impossible to imagine anyone getting to the final moments of “Confessions” and not cursing the television gods for not granting them immediate access to next week’s “Rabid Dog.” This right here is some next-level viewer-directed cruelty of the most effective sort.
Since the very beginning of Breaking Bad, these actresses have been tasked with the most thankless roles on one of the most celebrated dramas in TV history. In the case of Gunn, it’s a repeat performance in a sense: she had a similarly unglamorous gig as Sheriff Bullock’s beleagured-but-upstanding wife Martha. TV historians and prognosticators will be quick to extol the virtues of Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, along with Dean Norris and Bob Odenkirk (and rightfully so) but in a very real sense, Brandt and Gunn have long provided Breaking Bad with a moral dimension that would otherwise be absent.