Broadchurch: Series 1 Episode 2 Review
Reviewed by Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull.
Broadchurch continued this week and we were once more left with lots of red herrings, cliffhangers and possible suspects. Chris Chibnall has formulated an intricate, complex plot, leading his audience down a twisting road in which nothing is quite what it seems. Hopefully with six more weeks to go we will continue to receive more high-quality episodes, each with their own convolutions and adding new layers to the plot.
Undoubtedly the big shocks in this week’s instalment were that Mark Latimer – the murdered boy’s father – (played by Andrew Buchan with a sinister relish) might be implicated and the surprise revelation that Beth (the boy’s mother) is pregnant. The former left the audience horrified, metaphorical jaws hanging open, as the credits rolled. If Chibnall continues his series with more cliffhangers like that, his show will define Monday night television viewing. Beth’s (Jodie Whittaker, giving another wonderful performance) disclosure of the pregnancy to local vicar Paul (Doctor Who’s Arthur Darvill, finally showing up after a very meagre cameo appearance in episode one) was surprising and how she will cope with it we will hopefully see in the coming weeks. Meanwhile in the police station, the constabulary are still chasing a series of half-leads in the murder investigation. David Tennant is once more brilliant as the stiff Scotsman DI Hardy with hints emerging about some dark secret in his past, and the character of the scene-stealing Olivia Colman is developed, with the actress on top form as usual.
On to the topic of suspects, this episode has us point our fingers at Mark Latimer and the mysterious Pauline Quirke. Quirke’s character, Susan Wright is one of those people in a whodunit drama that always seems to be a bit too obviously involved, placed there to throw us off the scent? However Broadchurch is smart, and although Wright may be involved somehow in the slaying, it’s my guess that she isn’t going to be the killer. This suspicion was confirmed when we saw Danny’s missing skateboard hidden in a cupboard in Wright’s caravan; Broadchurch wouldn’t reveal something as vital as this so prematurely. David Bradley returns as newsagent Jack who spotted the deceased youngster interact with the local postman. When the mailman was interviewed he denied everything and had multiple alibis to cover him; which one is the liar? And is the questioned postie the same one we saw in the flashback?
The usual boundaries of serious drama were stretched a bit as our two leads met Steve Connolly, (Will Mellor) a local phone electrician that claimed he received ‘psychic messages’. Given the quality of the show hope that this has been introduced simply to take this plot strand somewhere that isn’t too absurd.
Classic ‘Red Top’ newspaper reporter Karen Smith (played by Vicky McClure) is doing more public snooping, involving herself with local wannabe (Jonathan Bailey) and the Latimer’s daughter, Chloe (Charlotte Beaumont). After pinching a soft-toy from Danny’s memorial last week she returns it to Chloe and hands her, her mobile number. She clearly has ulterior motives but what are they?
Much like Carrie Mathison from Homeland, Alec Hardy harbours a medical condition. At one unexplained moment he gets severely dizzy and this is only resolved when he takes some medicine. There is no love lost between Karen Smith and DC Hardy, will she uncover his illness? Or, possibly, will Ellie?
Broadchurch is heading in many directions, and, as it should be in any good murder mystery, nobody is quite sure which, but I’m sure when we reach a conclusion we will be satisfied. Until then we must survive six more weeks of twists, turns, shocks and revelations; what will happen in that time… who knows!