The final Grantchester flashes back to the initial post-war encounter between Sidney and Amanda that began their current relationship; and it ends with Sidney and Geordie, two slightly battered heroes, walking through a sunny afternoon into the future.
Between those two extremes, the crime of the week recalls the horrors of the War and asks how an ordinary man can possibly return from that and be the same. The answer, of course, is that he can’t. Having seen glimpses of Sidney’s war in previous episodes we finally learn the full truth, as Sidney helps a dying comrade on his way.
Seeing it play out, we can fully understand why he does what he does but we can also fully understand why it haunts him still. It’s probably not too much of a leap of faith to suspect that this may be what led him to the Church after the war, looking for absolution or a means of repentance.
As with previous instalments the plot itself is fairly simple, with the criminal being tracked down by little more than cross-referencing a list of soldiers with the Cambridgeshire telephone directory. But that’s not particularly a problem – brutal murders aside, the culprit here is a figure of sympathy as much as anything else, Mr Miller, another ordinary man haunted by the war. Confronting him alone Sidney tells him, “We live in the shadow of it, all of us” just before the police arrive and Miller kills himself.
It’s a tragic little tale and the theme that we need to escape the horrors or the errors of the past filters through the entire episode, not just in Mr Miller’s tale, but also with Hildegard, who sees echoes of her husband in Sidney’s drinking and infidelity, and so decides to leave. And then of course there’s Sidney and Amanda.
After the gradual build-up over the past few weeks, I admit I was expecting a wedding-centric finale, confrontations galore between Sidney and Amanda/Amanda’s Dad/Amanda’s fiancé… As it is, I was wrong-footed – there is an awkward encounter where Sidney (perhaps feeling slightly drunk, and certainly feeling very guilty) bursts in on ‘drinks at Daddy’s house’ but beyond that there is almost a sense of the inevitable, of events moving relentlessly on.
We glimpse Amanda in her wedding dress near the end of the episode, but we don’t attend or see or hear anything of the wedding itself. Unexpected, yes, but ultimately right: and as Sidney walks off with Geordie into the future, it’s because he has let his past, in the shape of Amanda, go.
Aired at 9pm on Monday 10 November 2014 on ITV.
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