We finally find out Grace’s big bad secret on Saving Grace, and it’s ugly. We also find out that it takes approximately 11 years for anything to get through Grace’s thick skull — like, perhaps bringing strange men home and giving them access to handcuffs is not the best plan. Just a thought.

God save me from spoilers.

Look, Grace has made some dubious decisions in the past, but I didn’t think she was quite so reckless. She wants to bring strange men home, hey, that’s her business. She’s tough, she can take care of herself. But it’s significantly harder to take care of yourself when you let someone you don’t know handcuff you to the bed. You’d think she would have figured that part out. So I can only be but so sympathetic that Grace spent a large portion of the episode naked and handcuffed to the bed. That just reeks of poor planning, you know? 

This does not excuse Ham for throwing a hissy fit when he found her. Has she ever pretended that she was anything but a messed-up chick who has no clue what she’s doing? Has she ever said she was a one-man woman? Doesn’t all evidence lead to the contrary? If Ham believes anything differently, it’s due to a heroic level of self-deception on his part. And he had no right to keep her locked up and away from the crime scene. Ham, you need to get over yourself.

Earl’s reaction was a lot easier to stomach — I hope my last-chance angel would be so amused by my stupidity. There was something so utterly right about Earl hanging out, whittling a duck, talking about God and ignoring the fact that Grace was naked and handcuffed to a bed. And he was right — her idea of learning from her mistakes is making sure she holds the key next time.

The crime of the week that Grace misses at first involves a woman found tortured and murdered, the word "Evil" written on the wall in her blood. When Ham finally releases Grace, she goes to the crime scene and promptly freaks out, revealing the letter "D" hidden behind some lockers. The word is "Devil," not "Evil. And Grace — she’s seen it before. She’s got evidence from a similar crime that happened 11 years before — a crime in which she was the victim. That scar on her shoulder? A souvenir of that crime. 

But no one knows about this — no one but Earl. She’s kept it secret, let it fester, let it drive her crazy, for all these years. And that’s one of the things that Earl is working with her on, trying to get her to realize any number of things — that she doesn’t need to be alone, that it’s not her fault, that the people who love her will still love her, that and more. And finally, at the end, she takes a step — she interrogates the perp and tells the story to him, through him. Significantly, she can’t tell anyone face-to-face — she still has to do it through the prism of work — but it’s something.

On the home front, Grace’s nephew, Clay, is grounded for months because he’s been acting like an ass. His dad found a video of him walking up to a girl and smashing a pie in her face, for the amusement of the cool kids. Grace being Grace, she tries to scare him straight — takes him into an interrogation room, handcuffs him, and makes him watch the video over and over. Then she leaves him in a holding cell. At this point, I started feeling sorry for the poor kid. Yes, he’d been a jerk, but locking him in a holding cell? At least he had Earl to talk to. That angel gets around.

Rhetta has a pet project — she’s collecting everything Earl has given Grace and is trying to find messages. She even goes to visit Leon, asking if Earl had ever brought him anything. Nope — the only thing I got with Earl is this tattoo of a church. Leon also reveals that Earl got a tattoo as well, but doesn’t say what it is. A part of me really, really hopes it’s a heart that says "Mother." Or a merman riding a shark. One or the other.

Rhetta connects the whittled duck and the statue of Ganesha, an elephant-headed Hindu deity (lord of beginnings, bringer and remover of obstacles, and an all around fun guy) — Grace has been ducking (i.e., avoiding) memories (from the elephant). Get it? Eh, it’s a stretch, but I still love Rhetta, so I’ll let it go.   

In the end, Earl whisks Grace off to the Grand Canyon again, allowing her to be buffeted by the winds. He’s proud of her, he says — she’s making progress, and that’s good, because God’s got plans for her. What those plans are? I guess we’ll have to wait until the show returns.

Personally, I’m left feeling a bit undecided. Yes, Grace suffered through something awful, but was it enough to warrant a last chance angel? I kind of got the impression that last-chance angels were for, you know, people on death row, killers, rapists, war criminals. Grace is destructive, but she’s only directly harming herself (you can make that argument that she’s causing a hell of a lot of harm to the people around her, but she’s not doing it to them so much, if you know what I mean.)  Plus, I can’t believe that this is the end of the revelations about Grace’s troubled past. Personally, I’d bet money that she was abused by someone in the church at some point — there have been elliptical references to that in past episodes. And I’m sure that’s just a part of the dirt we’ll dig into later on. Um , yay?

So what do you think — is this just a rest stop on Grace’s downward spiral, or is she on the way up now? Does Grace make more sense to you now, or are you even more confused? Can you find a better message in the things Earl has left for her? What kind of plans does God have for her? Do you think the chief is the one messing with Butch’s Texas paraphernalia? And for the love of Earl, will someone please explain about Ham’s little bird phobia?

Posted by:Sarah Jersild