Broadchurch Review- Episode 2
This review is guilty of spoilers.
Do not be fooled by the picturesque setting so wisely chosen for Broadchurch. Behind the vastness of the monumental cliffs, crashing waves and the hill-top houses are lies, tension and deception. The generous number of sins crafting their way through this drama is causing me to para-phrase the slippery character Lee Ashworth, “I want my life back…” because I’m struggling to cope with the week-breaks between each brutally tasteful episode. There are still a number of revelations to come before the puzzle completes itself; some are miniscule (but don’t be duped by the finer details) and others are so huge they have to warrant a third series… right?
Beth Latimer (Jodie Whittaker) is determined to slip back into an ordinary life, somehow finding it in her to bury the murder trial that is looming. Mark Latimer (Andrew Buchan) has secrets of his own, but his emotional outpouring to Tom Miller (Adam Wilson), blaming himself for his son’s death leaves some wanting to comfort him, and makes others want to interrogate him: why does he blame himself? And why is he casually meeting the young Miller boy – he hasn’t told anyone about these meetings, does he have something to hide?
Another glorious performance is given by Colman as Ellie Miller gingerly paces through her previous home, which is now a hell rather than a safe haven. My head fell into my hands when she was whisked into the gloomy residence owned by Jocelyn Knight (Charlotte Rampling) for a bona fide lecture about her abandoned sense of professionalism upon discovering it was her husband who confessed to the murder of Danny Latimer: and to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire, it was the well-deserved battering Miller gave to her husband that caused the exclusion of the paramount confession. The series is heading into deep water now and the inevitable (at least inevitable in my own eyes) ‘not guilty’ verdict is now sneaking away, illustrating the intensity and burdens that now lies over the heads’ of all the town’s people. The satanic looking Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle) gives an eerie performance with minimal lines as he promises the dual-sided vicar, Paul Coats (Arthur Darvill) he’ll be home to see his son as soon as possible. Doubt doesn’t even cross his mind, and why should it given how cunningly the plot is turning unquestionably in his favour?
The trial itself seems to relinquish a battle between the defence and prosecution: Sharon Bishop vs. Jocelyn Knight, if you will. Though they retain their professionalism, the scorn in Bishop’s voice (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) points to an undisclosed altercation between the two. They shine and their accomplished performances can only take credit for this: they are certainly ready and raring to lock horns. It is their past together and the experience they have of one another that could make this the most fierce murder trial. It is surely common practise to never disclose your game plan, but that initiative seems to be remote before they reach the courtroom doors.
Lee Ashworth (James D’Arcy) is a reserved character in some way and this is evident through Chibnall’s writing of the character as we are yet to understand his motives for the murder of two young girls: why has Hardy so obstinately placed him in the frame? Ashworth makes it clear from the off that Hardy has ruined his life – other than wanting to see his wife, what are his reasons for being in Broadchurch? How did he know how to find Hardy, or his wife for that matter? Perhaps there is more to Claire Ashworth (Eve Myles) than meets the eye – why is she harbouring a letter from an anonymous source containing flattened bluebells, that link to the notorious Sandbrook case?
Not only that, but it appears the devious witness protection scheme devised by ‘the worst cop in Britain’ seems to have fallen flat on its head as we now have a missing witness. This loss – apparent in the frenzy that concludes this episode – is a precarious mistake (has Claire been kidnapped by her husband?) and beyond any kind of redemption. Without Claire all hope in solving the Sandbrook case once and for all seems lost, yet it is at this point we assess the outstanding acting from David Tennant, but also the affirmation he really is portraying the worst DI in the history of fictional police officers.
The final moments of the episode are chaotic: the two plots are beginning to distance themselves rather than merge, but in the most alarming of ways they are so deeply connected: Hardy is losing shreds of evidence for Sandbrook, and the Broadchurch case begins to burst from the seams.
Broadchurch continues Monday nights on ITV at 9pm.