Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Broadchurch - Season 2, Episode 8 - Review

Face-off: Eve Myles, David Tennant and Lucy Cohu in the series two finale of the ITV thriller BroadchurchMy review of last week's episode.


Well, credit where credit's due. I didn't expect Joe to get off. Like last season's finale, they reveal this fairly quickly, which allows plenty of time to deal with the news. For me, this meant immediately checking out emotionally, because I was too angry to take it seriously anymore. That's kind of too bad, because the rest of the episode is some of the best stuff we've seen in a while.

Sandbrook was predictably complicated. And I didn't care. Terrific performances from all, but I didn't care.

Ladies and gentlemen, Darrell Sala:

"Pippa died in Lee and Claire's home, I'm pretty sure. The evidence is beneath the new flooring that Lee installed. [The] picture they showed this week showed them all together and the flooring materials stacked in the room. Who killed her? Claire I suspect, by accident. Pippa took her necklace and Claire hit her hard enough to make her fall. If we had the coroner's report--as we should by now--I could say for sure. Lee took the body to the river and that's why Lee had the pendant in his car.  
"I think that Lisa was killed by Papa Gilespie in an unrelated incident. She was blackmailing him because he Roofied and raped her, killing her before she got on the boat to France. Gilespie knew about Claire and Lee's murder and they knew about his, so they each keep quiet. The bluebells in the mail and the picture of a field of bluebells must be reminders to each not to talk to police. Lisa, buried or cremated must be in a field of bluebells. Gary Thorp collected the blackmail for Lisa, disguised as a business loan from Gilespie. That's the best I can do with what I've been given."

This is very nearly the solution. As it is, Ricky kills Lisa when he finds her having sex with Lee. Realizing what he's done, he immediately decides to place the blame on Lee - to whom all the evidence points. While he's off hiding Lisa's body, the Ashworths decide - instead of contacting the police - to kill Pippa, the only witness. Lee changes the bloody floorboards, dumps them in the furnace, and dumps Pippa in the river. Lastly, Claire hides evidence beneath the bluebells and threatens to expose Ricky if he ever exposes them.

So, I was kind of right. They all did it. I mean, except for Kate and Gary and Lisa. So not all. But sort of.

Well, it actually looked like the Broadchurch community was planning to do a bit of Murder on the Orient Express themselves. Once Joe was released from court, he takes refuge in Paul's church, rather than skipping town. Paul - who, like nihilistic Alec Hardy - has learned not to trust - betrays him to Mark and Nige, who drag him up to the clifftops. At this point, the entire series seemed set to plunge over the cliff, bleeding to its end in a tangle of jagged, dramatic cliffhangers (mixing my metaphors?).

As it is, they do an about turn and go back to the cliff-top house, where Paul (the executioner - I presume) is waiting. But no, he simply steps outside while they go in. Which is worse - Paul sentencing himself to a life in prison, or looking the other way while others do? Oh, dear, where did this series go wrong?

The tribunal awaits. It consists of Beth and Ellie, who have now become the best of friends. Beth (a very good Jodie Whittaker) gives Joe a proper tongue-lashing, destroying whatever humanity he has left in her eyes (remember that sex offender charity? whatever happened to that?), then allows Ellie to employ some more choice expletives, and lastly symbolically casts Joe from Broadchurch forever. Mark and Nige proceed to do this literally. Unfortunately, a train is not on hand, because that would have been a lovely ride-out-of-town-on-a-rail update. As it is, he's shoved past the cold eyes of the town and bundled into a taxi, whereupon he heads off to series 3 land.

It's during this bit that I wish I hadn't emotionally abandoned ship. My dad - who saw the first episode, and skipped all the intervening ones - found the whole thing very satisfying, but there was a part of me that, after all this time and drama, wanted something more. Blood? Maybe a bit. Forgiveness? Even better, but unlikely, given the characters.

At the least, I'd have liked some more God talk from Paul - but he has been oddly AWOL as the season goes on. Last season, he was essential to the plot, forming the glue that reconciled the town. This season, he's been mostly superfluous, aside from getting humbled after Becka informed Beth about his visits to Paul (this occurred in the deleted scenes). "I was arrogant. I thought I could save him." He says that last bit twice. What's that supposed to mean? Is Chibnall saying that it was Paul that was arrogant in this one instance? Or is it always arrogant to presume that the worst of humanity can be saved?

And the big question this series is the same one as last: can we trust anyone? No, says Alec Hardy, but rather happily, since he's not got any health problems anymore. No, says Paul glumly, because he's forgotten he's still got God (who?). Yes, says Ellie, cheerily, since Joe has been kicked out of town and this apparently should satisfy us. It satisfies the characters, who promptly have a blissful picnic on the beach - but this happiness does not feel earned.

Where to? Predictions.

Alec and Ellie move to Oxford (murder capital) and have a mystery-of-the-week format. I would watch this.

Sharon and Jocelyn team up and do law stuff. This I would not watch.

The Latimers should simply be left alone.

I know a third season is the logical conclusion, given the fact that the consolidated series average for season 2 is still a whopping 9 million viewers, but unless my Oxford prediction comes true, I'm not at all interested in watching season 3. Come two years from now, I will probably change my mind, but at the moment, I'm rewatching Broadchurch 1 for the fourth time.

Thank you. Goodbye.

Hannah Long

1 comment:

  1. If this was conceived as a trilogy--and there is no reason to doubt that--I fear we our going to be stuck with the same characters, town, and basic storyline. We know that Joe Miller is not the kind of guy to start putting anyone other than himself first. He will return, probably with the help of his lawyer and a big press conference, declaring that he is being unlawfully kept from his children and the right to live where he pleases, after being found not guilty British law. He will accuse the police of being complict (at worst) or negligent (at best), threaten a lawsuit, and the police commissioner will have no choice but to order the local police to keep watch on him and arrest those that violate his rights. The townies will be livid. Then Joe Miller is found dead, and the police are under pressure to solve it quickly and appease the national press. Ellie Miller and Alec Hardy will be brought in (I would guess in a staggered fashion) --at least as consultants--because they know the suspect pool so well. If series 1 was "justice delayed/betrayal of trust" and series 2 was "justice denied," maybe series 3 will be "justice served/redemption." Expect to see more of Sharon Bishop's son's appeal--"where is justice for my boy?--no matter how much we don't want to see any of that. Expect to see Arthur Darvill in the middle of the action. I'll go out on a limb and even say he will be Joe Miller's killer. Half the Guardian readers already think that the "Dodgy Vicar" committed the first crime, despite what the flashbacks said.


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