When Fox embarked on remaking Broadchurch we were promised a different ending, and that promise was kept. In doing so, however, the show lost what made the U.K. version so special. I’d highly recommend that you watch Broadchurch if you haven’t yet… even if you have seen Gracepoint. However, here—and a spoiler alert goes without saying—I will look at some of the main differences. So let’s get right down to it, shall we?
At the beginning of this episode it seems that Gracepoint has led us to the exact same place as Broadchurch, with Ellie’s husband, Joe Miller, the killer. Emmett brings Joe and Tom in to confront Tom about his computer, which Emmett has mined for information and found emails that reveal how Danny and Tom had been feuding. As they leave, Emmett asks them for their shoe sizes. Tom’s a size 10—the size found in the hut. Later on, Emmett tells Ellie that he realized Joe was the killer because of the way he behaved during this interview and the fact that the email account on Danny’s smartphone had two contacts: Ellie’s husband and son. But Emmett doesn’t need to go looking for Joe or find more proof. Joe turns on that phone and provokes the detective to come look for him.
Joe then confesses to Emmett. Danny and Joe had been meeting for about three months, just talking—Joe insists. Danny had come to the Millers after Mark hit him over quitting the soccer team. The night of his death, Danny and Joe met in the Harvey Ridge hut for the first time; Joe brought him a gift from his vacation. Joe stroked Danny’s face, touching his lips, and Danny rebuked him. Danny ran out of the hut, to the edge of the cliff, threatening to jump. “You’re sick,” Danny told him. Joe tried to convince Danny to just go home, pretend like it never happened, keep it quiet, but Danny said he had to tell his parents. “You can’t,” Joe said, but Danny attempted to flee. Joe grabbed him, and Danny hit his head on a rock. Joe placed his body on the beach and cleaned the hut. He had tried to confess that night at the hut, but bolted when he saw that Ellie came with Emmett.
Though the circumstances are slightly varied, the revelation that Joe is the killer, would have made Gracepoint end in exactly the same way Broadchurch did. But Joe is not telling the whole truth. Tom is also culpable.
After Emmett tells Ellie of Joe’s confession and Ellie and her sons move to a motel, she confronts Tom, huddled in the bathroom, with the news. “Tom, I’m here with you, and I will never leave you. I will always love you, and I will always protect you,” she tells him. She asks Tom if his father ever tried to touch him or his brother. Tom is still defensive and angry. “I don’t understand what’s going on,” Tom says. She says she doesn’t understand either. “No. You don’t,” he snaps back. Ellie notices his muddy sneakers, remembering that there were children’s size 6 prints around the Harvey Ridge hut. We flash back. Tom had followed Joe, and as Joe chased after Danny, Tom tried to intercept his father by grabbing something heavy. He swings at his father, but hits Danny in the head. Tom indeed killed his friend. Joe, still to blame for harm toward Danny, covered for his son. But more importantly: Tom’s mother covers for him, too.
NEXT: A wife’s agony, a mother’s protectiveness