Thursday, February 12, 2015

Broadchurch - Season 2, Episode 6 - Review

My review of last week's episode

This episode is about dysfunctional couples. There are four of them. We now have a new media romance, as evil Abby Thompson jumps in bed with Olly (he's still a jerk) in order, it turns out, to gain information.

Couple number three are Cate and Ricky Gillespie, who, reunited by Ellie, quickly slip into bickering again. Number two is Tess and Alec. The latter has finally decided to make some decisions on the Brink of Death front, by having a pacemaker installed. It's not quite as abrupt as it was in Gracepoint, but this sudden turn of events is a bit anticlimactic. My impending exit from terminal medical thingy makes the whole show gain a sense of vague urgency, until producers think money and Tennant-Colman chemistry and decide to cancel my death because season three.

And does no one take bed rest in Broadchurch? After an extensive 5-minutes-of-googling research, I find that getting a pacemaker is not that major a surgery, but still. Especially since Alec told us in season one that the surgery could kill him - implying that his condition is very, very bad. Or was he lying? Is he a tomophobiac? Is his heart not that bad?

Does he really have a heart problem at all?

Consider last season. Alec Hardy, obsessed with being the center of attention, collapses at dramatic moments, and..."reluctantly" gives the whole story to the tabloids. But even he cannot get away without dropping a huge hint. He tells Miller: "You can never really know what goes on in someone else's heart." !!!!!!!!!!!!!! His illness is all one huge bid for attention. It makes sense.

On a more serious note, the intercutting between Hardy's surgery and the trial, which threatens to crumble completely, provides some serious tension lacking in the last two episodes. Mark and Tom put in wonderful performances in the stand, giving us something compelling to worry about. The lawyers are dealing with other problems, as Sharon Bishop yells at people on the phone, and Jocelyn Knight confesses to her uninteresting aide that she has macular degeneration.

Another thing lacking - a strong protagonist - is supplied with the rehabilitation of Ellie Miller. We saw part of this last week. Now she's shed her sentimental illusions about small town life, she's become a bally good detective. This week, she also takes charge of her train wreck of a personal life - demanding the respect of her son and moving back into their old home. It's a little bit hard to swallow that the woman who was practically begging Tom for attention last week is now going all sergeant major on him, but Colman definitely sells it.

She even has a chance to be Beth Latimer's shoulder to cry on, when Beth discovers that her husband was not only cheating on her, but planning to leave her (really Mark - you might have mentioned that before going to court). The two women commiserate about their rotten husbands - and Beth finally doesn't push Ellie away. (Though I did appreciate that earlier, when she found Mark had - stupidly, but not maliciously - failed to tell her about visiting Joe, she was angry, but quick to forgive. She's learning.)

The award for Broadchurch's most dysfunctional couple goes to Claire and Lee. Alec, on the prompting of Master Detective Miller, has taken the fight to Claire by kicking her out of his cottage. After a temper tantrum, she flies to Lee and they have a suspicious conversation and more shades of shades of grey. We already knew that they were in an abusive relationship - did we really need a violent sex scene to spell it out for us? Far more intriguing is Claire's remaining status as a wild card. We find out that it was Claire that stole the pendant from Tess's car. But she burns the evidence - a picture - before Ellie can get her hands on it.

Since everything's pointing to Claire, now, I'm fairly sure that she didn't do it. Lee still has the Most Obvious Killer stigma, which means he's probably innocent. But Ricky Gillespie has also gotten to threaten people, so he's looking fairly innocent too. What about Cate? Even she is involved, by having an affair with Lee Ashworth (this explains his hair on one of the girls' pillow). We still haven't found out exactly how much personal involvement Alec Hardy had, as well, which I think may be the linchpin to the whole mystery.

Wait a minute, am I actually interested in the outcome of the whodunnit now? I think I am. Broadchurch is making a comeback.

My review of next week's episode

Hannah Long


  1. Since everything's pointing to Claire, now, I'm fairly sure that she didn't do it.

    "Do what" is the question we should be asking. They haven't given us the coroner's report from the young girl's body Hardy found. And we don't know what happened to the other--if anything. Claire is a criminal--we saw that--and we know she and Lee had a plan that involved living rent-free in the cottage that Hardy was paying for. Now if they had the CSI team look into the furnace, we'd know even more. I guess we have to wait for Alec's ex-wife to get interested by the murder board she is looking at in Hardy's seaside digs. We should ask Abby Thompson to interview Lee and Claire. She's from London, you know.

    1. It really is surprising that we've got this far without getting some serious details on the forensics. Surely Hardy would remember it fairly clearly? On the other hand, I don't trust him very much, these days. It's my cynical city-girl instincts.


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