Having been impressed by guest star Charlie Higson’s appearance as errant husband Ronnie Maguire in last week’s episode of Grantchester, it was an unexpected delight to see him pop up again this week.
En route to leaving everything behind, Sidney wants to retrieve Mrs Maguire’s stolen savings and so tracks Ronnie down to a Romany Camp where it turns out he has been living for the past decade with another wife, a step-family, and two children of his own. Sadly, especially given how enjoyable Charlie Higson is in the role, it’s not long before he becomes the victim of the week, making for a more personal tragedy than usual.
It’s a different sort of episode all round, although there’s something just a little bit cynical about it in places. Mrs Maguire— the real one I mean… well, the first one… our one… insists on Geordie taking her to the camp, and although initially hostile and snooty towards her replacement she soon mellows, sharing her savings with her to help towards her cancer treatment, and being generally very nice. That’s not to say the sharp-tongued regular Mrs Maguire hasn’t already been established as a bit of an old softie underneath, but it does feels a bit ‘the viewers will find this heartwarming’ rather than seeming to flow naturally.
This is the point where I traditionally say that it’s Al Weaver’s Leonard who’s the secret star of the show, and it’s certainly true again this week. He endeavours to cover Sidney’s absence with a bizarre lie about his suddenly deciding to go to the seaside on holiday. It’s almost comical, and certainly convinces no-one.
On the other hand, after Geordie has been landed with telling Mrs Maguire all about Ronnie he only gets as far as the fact of his death before faltering, leaving Leonard to takes charge. “There’s no easy way of saying this so I’m going to be perfectly direct with you,” he says, and then does just that as tells her about Ronnie’s wife and family. Even Geordie is impressed, telling Leonard later, “The upside of being a terrible liar is you’re brilliant at telling the truth.” Of course, there’s an irony here. Leonard has that one big truth that he daren’t admit.
Sidney ends up coming back to Grantchester after all, which is no big surprise even if it does slightly undercut his dramatic flounce. Far from being pleased to see him, though, Amanda greets him with an ultimatum: “It’s me or the church.” To be honest I think we all knew that, it’s not as if everybody from the Archdeacon down hasn’t already pointed it out, but I guess this means we’ll get a resolution one way or another in next week’s last episode…
…although, with a wedding at the end of season one, a reconciliation at the end of season two, a baby in the vicarage at Christmas, and some Sunday morning adultery just a couple of weeks ago, we have thought that before!
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