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Broadchurch: Series 1 Episodes 5 – 7 Review

broadchurch-series-1-episode-7

Reviewed by Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull.

Note: apologies for missing reviews for the past couple of weeks, I was on holiday due to the Easter break.

“If you’re gonna lie, you’ve gotta be consistent” – Detective Inspector Alec Hardy.

Broadchurch reaches a climax next week and it’s safe to say, it will be a bittersweet affair. We’ll discover the identity of Danny’s killer(s) and all the plot strands Chris Chibnall has laid down will be resolved. But then the show will stop, as will these reviews and I will be deeply saddened by that. Broadchurch has revolutionized the ‘sleepy English village’ theme – a plot basis commonly used by crime novelist Agatha Christie – in a unique way. The ‘odd couple’ cops: DI Hardy and DSI Miller have been a great duo and I’ll be sorry to say goodbye to Hardy’s rough-around-the-edges attitude and Miller’s delightfully cheery counter behaviour. I have found few blemishes in Broadchurch and if it resolves everything well, it may just be one of 2013’s hit shows.

We left off with the media cornering seemingly innocent newsagent Jack Marshall (a stellar performance from David Bradley), a man who was sent to prison for an underage sex conviction. After Marshall was interviewed, he admitted that the girl he was with was in fact his girlfriend and later, wife. Unfortunately the press found this out and set about publishing untrue stories. One particularly emotional scene involved Jack goes to his own shop to see the headline: ‘child bride’, he breaks down in tears and at that point you realise he is utterly guiltless. Jack then proceeds to take his own life, a tragic ending to episode six.  I shed a tear when Hardy and Miller discover his body; he was a man who fled to Broadchurch to escape his old life and start afresh. He lost an infant son and became Sea Brigade Master to compensate for his loss; he was rebuilding his life until the fist of redtop journalism crashed down upon him, destroying everything.

The role of Susan Wright, the intensely sinister caravan-owning loner, has developed a lot. She went from being a watcher to a participant when she gave Danny’s former friend Tom, the deceased boy’s skateboard. It appears she did this deliberately to be caught by the police, giving her a chance to name Mark Latimer’s workmate Nige as a conspirator in Danny’s murder. She then announces that he is her son(!). It was a shocking twist to the story and now I’m desperate to know if Nige is really the man who laid the dead child’s body on the beach. Nige, however threatens Susan and attempts to force her to leave Broadchurch and by the end of episode seven, we believe she has. She also gave a harrowing description of how her now deceased husband raped their eldest daughter. We have a more rounded view of her, and that what she has suffered has led to her introverted ways. It also explains her deep emotional attachment to her dog.  Ellie however doesn’t believe that she is entirely innocent and mentions her suspicions: questioning how could she did not suspect something as big as sustained sexual abuse of her daughter in her own home? I believe Susan was involved and a ropey theory I have is that she moved to Broadchurch as an escape, and changed her name to Elaine, another plot strand that wasn’t resolved. So is Susan really Nige’s mother, and is what she’s saying about her past, true?

The backstory of David Tennant’s DI Hardy has been developed in-depth  in recent weeks. We now know that he took the blame for his wife in the ‘Sandbrook’ murders. Although journalists, Olly and Maggie threatened to publish details of his heart condition, it is unclear to me why he has told his story now, given his daughter (who he was trying to protect) will surely now be exposed to the truth of her mother’s affair.

Viewers also saw Hardy dramatically collapse after pursuing the black-clad murderer. It was tense stuff and I was certainly on the edge of my seat. What bothers me slightly about this scene is that the numerous police officers stopped by the downed Hardy rather than chase the fleeing killer.

Alec Hardy’s health is deteriorating, the man can barely use a door handle, let alone solve a murder investigation. I have an uneasy feeling that he won’t make it through the full series.

One of the things I have learned over the past few weeks is that Broadchurch is not a simple crime drama, it’s about the backlash of a community in the aftermath of child murder. The townspeople turn against one another, suspecting everyone for all manners of reasons. Each of them are also heavily influenced by the media, making judgements on falsified stories. Jack Marshall’s death was significant for showing just how inhuman the tabloid press can be in dishing out stories without any regard to the consequences for the man they are hounding. Olly is the incredibly naïve journalist, a young man desperate to write, even if it is for paper that don’t much care for the truth of what they publish. Maggie is the veteran journalist, a woman who has seen firsthand how the media works and Karen is the city professional, who has been in her job so long she is utterly devoid of emotion towards her readers or the morality of what is published. She will do anything for a good story: she removed the monkey stuffed-toy from Danny’s memorial just to get in touch with Chloe, essentially using the girl to get to the rest of the Latimers.

On the topic of Reverend Paul Coates and Tom Miller, Ellie’s son, something has been hinted between them, a subtle feud or hatred, something I can’t put my finger on. Paul is Tom’s I.C.T. teacher but they have an out-of-school relationship and converse regularly. Tom also threatened to tell the police that Paul sexually abused Danny, and although this could be a lie from out-of-the-blue, something within me suggests it had an origin. We also got another look into the case of Tom’s computer and the deleted files on it. The reverend was asked once if you can recover removed data and then caught the youngster attempting to wreck the laptop. We saw a couple of flashbacks to earlier episodes and I noticed that Tom deleted text messages from Danny and his mother, Ellie. At the end of episode six, Alec remarks out loud “of course” when he receives an email transcript from Tom Miller’s laptop. I am not sure if anyone else got this, but I have the impression that Ellie is somehow involved in the computer affairs.

I have little criticism with Broadchurch as so far, it seems to be a near flawless series but there is one character I really dislike – and I can’t see (yet) where he fits – Steve Connolly, the psychic telephone engineer. He sits to the sidelines for episodes on-end and then pops up with another ‘vision’. If we discover that all his prophesies (it was someone close to Danny that killed him, and that Beth shouldn’t find out the identity of the murderer as it’ll deeply upset her) are in fact true, I will be irked.  Chibnall seems to have thrown him in as a player to further muddy the waters. Broadchurch is confusing and intricate enough without having ridiculous psychics involved – but next week’s episode may see him playing a key role –who knows.

With hours of clues behind us, we look to episode eight, the final segment in the Broadchurch puzzle. We will discover the name(s) of the murderer(s) and finally have ourselves a resolution after two months of guessing. If Chris Chibnall is able to pull all the strings and story lines into one viable solution we will be able to look back on Broadchurch as one of Britain’s finest crime series of the twenty-first century.

I’m loving it, aren’t you?

“Episode Five” Verdict: 8.5/10
“Episode Six” Verdict: 8/10
“Episode Seven” Verdict: 9/10

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  • http://twitter.com/theWhoOfWhat Ben Roberts

    I myself have not been watching Broadchurch as I keep missing it when it’s on – but I am keeping track with these reviews! :D

    • You’d Better Hide, PK-S.

      Thank you @twitter-615437756:disqus – its a great series. Mark the 20th of May in your diary, that’s the day the boxset comes out.

  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p016dy23 TheGhostlyDevil

    Ah, I’ve missed your reviews!

    I have a feeling that the ending of this series will be incredibly bitter sweet. I can picture the last scene not having a shot of the murderer in prison (This would be the scene before it), but Alec Hardy in a hospital bed, dying

    On the subject of this ‘psychic’. I had a wild theory that he is not only the killer of Broadchurch, but the killer of Sandbrook as well, which is how he knows about the pendant. He’s the only person who doesn’t really seem like a ‘part’ of the community. But I doubt this theory. However, I don’t think he’s been thrown into the mix for no reason. I imagine he has some ‘purpose’

    As for Nigel, I have a feeling that he has been somehow ‘blackmailed’ by somebody to help them. It doesn’t seem like he’d be the killer, but someone could be using him to do the dirty work for them

    • You’d Better Hide, PK-S.

      Thanks. Great theory, he could be the killer of Sandbrook. He probably is. He could be the Broadchurch murder.. darn this is confusing.

      • http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p016dy23 TheGhostlyDevil

        I want the Broadchurch murderer to have links to Sandbrook. That would be satisfying

        However, one thing I’ve been pondering on is how Nige and the killer would be connected. We know that Danny was probably sneaking out to catch animals with Nige and Dean. Maybe the ‘killer’ met Danny instead, killed him, and forced Nige to transport the body onto the beach. So, if anything, Nigel is an ‘accomplice’, but didn’t actually commit the murder. So, where was Dean in this? Maybe he was actually the killer?

    • Pdurston

      I also thought whether the killer was involved in Sandbrook. If DI Hardy finally caught the killer, then maybe that’ll be his ultimate forgiveness.

      And great theory, btw.

      • You’d Better Hide, PK-S.

        I have that feeling too. He would get full closure…

        …. before he dies

        • http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p016dy23 TheGhostlyDevil

          Read my ‘theorized ending scene’ above? See what you think? :-D

      • http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p016dy23 TheGhostlyDevil

        Thanks

        Now I’ve got a good image in my head of what the final scene should be like.

        Imagine it. It says “4 weeks later” on the screen, and there is a scene similar to the scene in the first episode (With Mark walking up the road talking to all those people), but instead of having someone walking, we just have a slow moving shot going up the road, showing people carrying on with their lives, with all the characters we’ve come to know (Excluding the killer(s), obviously) laughing and getting on with each other again. Life continuing again. Then a second shot shows Jacks old newsagents (With a new owner, maybe someone we know. Perhaps Paul?), and the camera zooms into a newspaper with the headline “Brave until the end: A tribute to DI Alec Hardy, 19*whatever* – 2013

        That would be so emotional, for me….

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wsm1kIbKIfo EternalDoctor

      That’s a really good theory. It would truly bring closure for DI Hardy if the killer was responsible for the Sandbrook’s murder. It also seems inevitable that he’ll die… Which is sad because I became very fond of him over the course of this series.

  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p016dy23 TheGhostlyDevil

    Oh my word

    Has anyone else seen the “Finale: Closure” trailers?? I just watched them, and it’s just hit home that Broadchurch is nearly finished, and I don’t want it to end! D-:

    • Harry Jewell

      Maybe the killer will not be found and I will have a cliff hanger leading into a possible Series 2?

      • http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p016dy23 TheGhostlyDevil

        That would drive me crazy >.<

        • Harry Jewell

          I dont think you’d be alone. YANA.

  • That Awkward Silent

    Really loving this show. I can’t wait for next week.

    • http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p016dy23 TheGhostlyDevil

      The last week..

      :’-(

  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p016dy23 TheGhostlyDevil

    Sorry for posting so many comments, but I think you should all see this. I found this on Tennant News

    In the opening scene of Broadchurch, Danny is seen standing on the cliff edge with red liquid dripping from his hand. The liquid was presumed to be blood; however, Danny was not cut.

    In the UK, agricultural diesel is dyed red.

    What did Nigel say he was doing on the night Danny was killed? Siphoning diesel from a tractor… Hmmmm….

    • http://twitter.com/ladytian Lady Tian

      I just finished watching the past episodes today and so a lot of this is fresh in my mind. Don’t we meet DI Hardy as he is at the scene of a crime that had some sort of farm equipment involved? Wow, that just makes me want to re-watch the episodes because every little thing now seems like a clue!

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wsm1kIbKIfo EternalDoctor

    Stupendous review, Patrick! I’m really impressed by your high standard reviews and I do hope you decide to continue reviewing in the future.

    I’ve just watched Episode Seven and it was absolutely great. Definitely the best of the series with quite a few interesting revelations as well as exciting stuff leading up to the finale. I still can’t figure out who the conspirator is, but I do hope it’s somebody completely unexpected. It’ll be sad when this ends, but at least it’ll end my curiousity as to who the murderer is…

    • You’d Better Hide, PK-S.

      Thank you so much @EternalDoctor:disqus – I appreciate it greatly.

      I too have no real idea who it is, I just hope I’m surprised next week. There will surely be audible gasps in my living-room next Monday.

      On more reviews. I won’t be reviewing any more series for a while but I am reviewing something next week… something new..

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wsm1kIbKIfo EternalDoctor

        Exciting stuff! I look forward to seeing what that review will be about.

        You will also be seeing a review from me in the next couple of days. I won’t say much yet, but expect to see a review from me on the weekend ;)

        • You’d Better Hide, PK-S.

          Oh. Are you reviewing a series or a one-off?

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wsm1kIbKIfo EternalDoctor

            I might as well just tell you straight away because there’s no point in being foolishly secretive – I’m reviewing the new eight-part drama series on FOX called ‘Da Vinci’s Demons’. You may not have heard of it, but it looks like a pretty good series.

            Two weeks back I just sent an e-mail to CultFix asking to review the show and the generous Jamie said it was fine. I’m properly looking forward to it, but obviously I feel a certain amount of pressure due to the all the other reviews on this site being incredibly great. All I hope for though is that the show is good! That would ease some of my tension.

          • You’d Better Hide, PK-S.

            I don’t have FOX so I am unable to follow the series, which is annoying because it looks very good.

            You shall join the club of good reviewers – Adam’s Doctor Who reviews are superlative, Phil’s Game of Thrones reviews are always sublime whilst Rich’s The Walking Dead I really miss for their great quality. I laugh at James’ reviews of The Following because it looks so bad and James is doing such a great job bearing with it. I can’t wait for you to join us and to read your first review.

            I’d love to tell you what I’m doing but I actually do have to be secretive. Its something different, and I think you will like it – you’ll probably be involved to some degree. Sorry for being uncommunicative.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wsm1kIbKIfo EternalDoctor

            Thank you for welcoming me so graciously into the ‘club’. I do look forward to seeing how my first review turns out and everyone’s reaction to it. Oh, and you forgot to mention David and his superb reviews for Primeval.

            I am puzzled as to what this mystified project is, but I’m certainly intrigued. I can’t wait for it to be unveiled.

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