I felt last week that Broadchurch would really have to start answering some questions and giving something back to its audience. The previous episode was a step in the right direction, but this episode definitely helps all the stories gain steam as we move towards next week’s finale.
It’s an episode of wonderful revelations. Claire’s pregnancy reveal, Jocelyn’s declaration of love for Maggie (Carolyn Pickles) and the £1,000 cash that Ellie gave to Lucy that seemingly allowed her to implicate Joe. It’s nice to finally feel that the secrets are being exposed, although they could have drip fed them a lot better throughout the duller episodes of the season.
There’s a real sense of the pieces starting to fit together as well: the mysterious phone number in Claire’s phone belonging to Ricky Gillespie, the inclusion of Gary Thorp, both to the Thorp Agriservices furnace and to Lisa Newbury, as well as Lee’s interesting line about why he likes France so much. “No-one knows me there,” he explains…” Almost no-one.” Could Lisa Newbury be alive and well in France waiting for Lee?
Sandbrook also picks up as Hardy, Miller and Tess seem to connect the dots between Lisa and Lee, Thorp Agriservices, the mysterious pendant Claire stole and that furnace.
It also seems to have revived the vigour of D.I Hardy (and David Tennant) who declares, almost joyously: “I thought this case would kill me, I thought I would die not knowing, having failed.” Facing off against Lee, he concludes, “What I don’t get is whether you’re lying to protect yourself, or someone else, presumably Claire. I always thought she was lying to protect you. Now I’m not so sure.”
Lee (James D’Arcy) and Claire’s (Eve Myles) relationship is developed and thankfully seems to be coming to an end. Both have been wildly underutilised this season as the co-dependent lovers, both in relation to Sandbrook and as quality actors, worthy of better treatment. However, this episode does feel like a satisfactory end to their story. Their brutal, beach side confrontation is a great scene, as Lee threatens and attempts to drown Claire when hearing about her pregnancy. Their bitter truce as they go their separate ways is also a great moment.
Everyone feels developed adequately, even down to Jocelyn’s legal assistant / punching bag Ben who tells Abby what he really thinks of her. Charlotte Rampling as Jocelyn, in her closing speech is captivating and Baptiste is viciously compelling in hers, making Mark Latimer and Nige into the hate figures of the case, in an attempt to exonerate Joe Miller.
It is also incredibly gratifying to see the thaw in the fractured relationship between Beth and Ellie and signs of it healing. Beth seemed quietly sympathetic as Ellie is ripped apart in the dock and the later scene, as the two talk about events before Danny’s death, is a lovely moment. Colman is consistently good but kudos must go to Jodie Whitaker, as Beth Latimer, who is beautifully honest in her portrayal here.
It’s also a wonderfully crafted episode: Ellie and Claire’s phone conversation as the sunrise hits the beach, Jocelyn and Maggie’s cliff-top clinch and the soft focus camera work of Jocelyn quietly grieving as she goes through her mother’s belongings. Credit to director Mike Barker, who comes up with some imaginative touches including that beautiful set of sweeping camera angles at the courthouse, highlighting all those affected by the case.
As the ominous music swelled and the jury reached their verdict, Broadchurch’s community gather to hear the outcome. That we are left with a cliffhanger till next week is a naughty but effective moment that had me screaming at my TV.
It’s a shame that, after a very up and down season, Broadchurch is only pulling out all the stops now, with just one week to go. Not that it will stop us tuning in.
Aired at 9pm on Monday 16 February 2015 on ITV.
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