TV REVIEW: Broadchurch - Episode Six

Compared with last week’s episode of ITV’s Broadchurch, episode 6 was one of relative calm.

The small town is rocked by the suicide of Jack Marshall (David Bradley), with David Tennant’s DI Hardy labelled ‘worst copper in Britain’ by the Press. Naturally, Hardy and DI Miller (Olivia Colman) take his funeral, attended by most of the town, to be a grand old opportunity to play a spot of who's looking shifty today then guvnor? Hardy, for his part, settles his suspicions on Reverend Coates (Arthur Darvill), after witnessing a particularly impassioned sermon, presumably believing him to have done the deed in the billiard room with a candlestick. After a bit of digging, he discovers him to be a reformed alcoholic, an omitted detail which doesn’t appear to be doing him any favours. Meanwhile, Maggie (Caroyln Pickles) does a bit of digging of her own, this time into the background of shifty Susan (Pauline Quirke). She certainly doesn’t seem to be squeaky clean herself – not that any of us ever suspected her of being, and her newfound friendship with young Tom Miller, himself a rather shady character, now claiming to have hated Danny Lattimer, lands her in the firing line of suspicion herself.

Back at the Lattimer house, Chloe (Charlotte Beamont) struggles to know quite what to do with her grief, growing tired of being “the dead boy’s sister”. Beth (Jodie Whittaker) and Mark (Andrew Buchan) seem to be working on their marriage, with it seeming more likely that Beth will keep her unborn child after all. Her territorial behaviour towards Becca Fisher (Simone McAullay), the local hotelier with whom Mark had an affair, whilst being quite amusing to watch given Beth’s lack of anything to lose by making enemies, also betrays a willingness to fight for what she still has. Which is nice, really, in a town where pretty much everyone bar Susan’s dog is a murder suspect. Although how long her newfound marital stability will last I’ve no idea.

As we’re come to expect by now with Broadchurch, some excellent performances all around. Arthur Darvill in particular stood out in this episode, particularly as now that he’s suddenly prime suspect number 2.5, he’s actually getting some decent airtime. David Tennant did well too. His constant lurching about being ill, fainting and muttering indecipherable things could so easily becoming irritating in the hands of another actor. He, however, manages to keep on the good side of the sublime and the ridiculous. Just. Particularly moving moments this week were to be found in the conversation between Beth and another mother whose child was murdered, on Hardy’s previous case. The dialogue gave a disarmingly emotionally resonant sense of exactly how awful it must be to lose a child to murder, and the bleakness of everyday life from that point on. As well as being another opportunity for a bit of isn’t Hardy rubbish bashing.

With only two more episodes to go, presumably the detectives can’t be far enough a few real life actual suspects now, especially as the case is in serious danger of being downgraded beyond all sense of urgency by the powers that be.

I for one am looking forward to seeing who the main contenders turn out to be. I think we’ve waited long enough, after all.

- Jen

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