TV REVIEW: Broadchurch - Episode Eight

Did you figure out who the murderer was, then?  Before Episode 8? At what point exactly?  I knew all along, didn’t you? Nope, didn’t have a clue. How could you not? Etc etc…

You couldn’t go anywhere on Tuesday morning without overhearing conversations like these about the series finale of ITV’s Broadchurch. In fact, I myself made completely sure I was able to watch the final episode on the day of broadcast, a seriously rare occurrence, as I knew I wouldn’t have a cat in hell’s chance of making it to the end of the day without finding out who the murderer was otherwise. Certainly not once I’d been in the office longer than 30 seconds, anyway.

For a show always very much a whodunit, but one that built up momentum so slowly in parts that you almost forgot that it was, the final episodes of Broadchurch were wholly focused on exactly who killed Danny Lattimer.  Normally at this point I would yell ‘spolier alert!” in big capital letters lest anyone should unwittingly ruin the ending for themselves, but I reckon if you haven’t found time to watch it and see by this point in time, then you probably don’t care.  So, as it turns out, the killer was none other than copper’s husband Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle), in an act of desperate guilt.  A revelation which came totally out of the blue. Or did it?

Looking back, there were quite a few warning signs flashing dangerously in his direction from the start. For one thing, and this is nothing more than traditional murder mystery fare, up until the final episode he was pretty well the only character in the ill-fated town who hadn’t been hauled in for questioning. And that’s including the vicar. He did, however, begin to act distinctly strangely towards the latter half of the series. Clues were definitely in the air. Particular stand out moments for me included his jokingly volunteering to be questioned by his wife if they were running out of suspects, the parallel thread with shifty Susan (Pauline Quirke), namely Ellie’s amazement that the former didn’t know what was going on under her own roof, and finally her nagging at him about all the household jobs he hadn’t finished lately. He was also just a little wholesome to be true, let’s face it. He even got along with Hardy which can hardly be taken as a good thing.

 Despite the fact that we found out pretty early on in the final episode that Joe was the murderer, the hour still had plenty to offer.  David Tennant performed admirably as hard as nails DI Hardy caught between his ingrained attitudes and the need to comfort the colleague he’s rubbed up the wrong way since day one, and Jodie Whittaker was fantastic as the grieving mother finally being given some semblance of closure. Andrew Buchan was pretty great as Mark Lattimer, too, particularly when visiting his son’s killer in his cell, who in turn was suitably guilt stricken and desperate. The absolute front runner in terms of outstanding performances, however, was without a flicker of doubt Olivia ‘give the woman a Bafta’ Colman, who’s desperation, grief and anger unleashed upon her husband was not only perfectly judged but genuinely distressing to watch.  The timing of the big reveal also meant we had plenty of time to watch her deal with the news, including the agonising moment when she had to tell her children.

In fact the only real issue to worry about is what on earth they’re going to do with Series 2 next year. Surely not another whodunit, in the same place? And surely not with the same detectives given that one wasn’t expected to live much longer than the murder victim and another was leaving town? The jury is still out on that one, but one thing we can be sure of- with 8.9 million people tuning in to the show’s final episode, Broadchurch, Series 1 at least, has been a reasonably massive victory for the ITV Drama department.  
And a very well done to them, too.

-          Jen

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