This week's episode continued the show's trend of establishing community within Grace's life. Often I'd watch a show like this and seriously question how truthful a portrayal it is to suggest that everyone should know Grace and be willing to extend themselves for her, but I think this show has that cop dynamic nailed. And Grace is
loved, which probably goes a long way to explaining why she can stick at her job but not her life.
Three things happen this week. (1) The son of a man whose body Grace found after the OK City bombings goes missing and is involved in a girl's disappearance. Grace, naturally, is connected to the boy through his father's death. The episode title, as always, comes from a line of dialogue: a survivor lives here
. Grace says this whilst appraising the boy's apartment. Long plot shot, the boy used his father's money to score some coke, which his girlfriend, an athlete (rowing) destined for great things (the Olympics, apparently) strongly objected. She followed him out to his deal, and crashed her car on the way back. The boy ends up doing prison time, but Grace assures his mother (with whom Grace is now friends) that he can get his life back. The girl, presumably, lives.
The relationship between Grace and the boy's mother touches on the scope of Grace's heart: that she can be so, so kind and steady to strangers, but she doesn't afford herself that same kindness. The case also put forward the fact that Grace is such a great cop, and she's so dedicated to her work. In the course of working the case, she gets the boy to quote what I feel is almost a directive for her (see below).
(2) Ham Dewey has left his wife. We find this out at the beginning of the episode in a typically carnal scene, involving a lot of food. Later in the episode Grace opens her drawer to find it stuffed with bottles of mustard and ketchup. Even later in the episode, Grace opens Ham's glovebox to have party coils spring out at her. Such is the relationship. Ham is very aware that Grace is unable to commit to him, but now, at least, the relationship is cleaner. He has his own place; he quietly takes the numbers of divorce lawyers from the lt. (in a great scene which reveals that she's twice divorced, heh). Ham has Grace's back throughout the episode, and Butch lingers there, too, peripherally. This is not Butch's episode, naturally. There's one excellent, excellent scene where Grace goes out to have a cigarette and takes a bag of ashes out with her - they're the ashes of the first female detective in major case! ("Verna liked to smoke, so sometimes Grace takes her.")
In their partnered pairs, the team recounts who they lost at the bombing. Ham reveals he lost about 16 friends; Grace, of course, lost her sister, Mary Francis (more on this shortly). Rhetta feels out of the loop because she doesn't know the family that Grace is trying to help this week; she was pregnant with her eldest child at the time and unable to help anyone. Butch lost a couple of friends; he arrived on the scene 6 minutes after the bombing. Bobby was at home, arguing with his wife, late for a meeting at the very building that got blown up. This is what I mean by a sense of community. The bombings shook OK City, but these people, so close to it in this cop community, for them the bombing hit every single one of them in one way or another. And the show gets that right.
And finally, (3) Clay takes Gus(man) out for a walk, and he goes missing. This seems like a gimmick plot sometimes but is just. Really it's not about Gusman. It's about Grace and Clay, her nephew, and the continuation of the impact of Mary Francis' death on Grace. I think this is the big plot this year. If last year was leading up to the abuse reveal, then this year is taking care of Grace's guilt and pain over the second biggest pain in her life: the death of her sister, and the part she feels she played in it.
Clay finds out that Grace was absent the day before the bombings (which is why Mary Francis ended up being at the building, trying to get social security sorted for her son) and in his grief over losing the dog, he gets annoyed at Grace, which Rhetta has to bear witness to. Rhetta defends Grace because she knows, as do we (I hope), that no-one blames themselves more than Grace does. Clay, thankfully, calms down and forgives Grace: the bombing wasn't her fault, and he lets her know that he knows this.
Whilst looking for Gusman, Rhetta meets Earl again, but she finds that the more she tries to recall him, the less she is able to, which explains why she doesn't realise that he's the man who bought Holy Cow from her last year.
Looking for Gusman is a beautiful story. Grace's sense of loss over the dog is enormous, and she immediately goes out to look for him and put up missing flyers. The lt. puts out a bolo on the dog, and a local patrol cop helps out (wonderfully Grace psychs the guy by pretending he's run over her foot; he answers by using the car's phone system: "Grace Hanadarko, yo' mom's looking for you!") Even when Grace is at her wit's end with the case, her team is asking her if she's heard anything about Gus, if she's okay, if she needs some help looking for him.
Very little Earl about this week, though he feels strongly for Grace. He tells her that Grace has to ask God for the god, and he watches over her, but he can't help her grief. The dog only comes back once Grace is brave enough to stop feeling sorry for herself, stop being angry at Clay (which she is only temporarily), and admits to Clay why she wasn't there the day before the bombing to babysit him.
* The Lt. is still all over Texans because of football, lols. "No surprise in Austin they know all about cheating." Butch gives her this great
look over that one.
* Rhetta is so amazing. She drives up onto the sidewalk in front of Grace, and even Grace has to smile.
* Both Ham and Butch are playing with half-sized footballs in the conference room (wtf?)
* Grace just wants to save that girl. This is the great thing about Gracie: her priority is the victim, then the perp. Victims first, always. And the fact that she kept in touch with this boy at all is just... it shows that there's so much to her that the people around her don't always get to see. (Her family, for instance.)
* The emblem on the wall - the graffiti - is almost like a charge against Grace. We know that the bombing is a huge motivating factor in her life, both as a cop and as a survivor (she, unlike her mother and sister, didn't retrieve anything from the bomb site. Her grief and her guilt are enormous). I don't know. Maybe that's what makes her so good at her job?
We search for the truth.
We seek Justice.
The Courts Require it.
The Victims Cry for it.
And GOD Demands it!
* The trick glovebox is a lovely moment between Ham and Grace: "I know what we are and what we ain't." I like that even though Ham obviously loves Grace so, so much, this is autonomy for him. He's finally breaking out of that miserable marriage to Darlene.
* Grace smacks Earl sharp on the jowls. The violence of her grief, and the brutality of it - that she continues to beat on Earl... sometimes Grace makes me speechless. I want my dog. I WANT MY DOG
. She's so childlike sometimes. It's like some part of her is still that child that was violated. Not just the tricks she plays, but her anger at the world, and the way she messes with responsibility. There is something of innocence to this woman - that she can't ever grow up because something of her was stolen. It's remarkable. And the way she acts, sometimes, that too can take your breath away.
* You know, if you were missing, I'd keep looking till I found you
. Grace's love for Clay, and finally sympathy, and the kindness he needed to hear before, when she tells him that he's not to blame. And then is so, so brave, to let him ask about the things she fears. "I hear the kids at school have been talking about me?" Oh, Grace.
These episodes go so quickly, aie. Suffice it to say: another great episode, and I can't wait for the next one!