Alright there at the back? Have we still got everyone?
Granted, we’re only at Episode 2 of ITV crime drama Broadchurch’s second series, but I must admit I’ve found myself behaving slightly like a fretful tour-guide this week whenever I’ve spoken to a Broadchurch viewer. Are we still all here? Are we still following?
The answer appears to be a resounding yes so far, although don’t worry, I’ll keep checking we haven’t accidentally left anybody in the loos.
There was certainly a lot to take in this week, even for Broadchurch. The trial of Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle) kicked off in earnest, now with a full quota of lawyers, DI Hardy (David Tennant) ramped up his mad mission to solve two crimes at once, orchestrating a meeting between Claire (Eve Myles) and Lee Ashworth (James D’Arcy), Mark Latimer (Andrew Buchan) continued to behave very oddly, as did Reverend Coates (Arthur Darvill), whilst poor old Ellie (Olivia Coleman) is still bearing the brunt of just about everyone’s anger. Oh and Beth (Jodie Whittaker) went into labour.
So a quiet episode, really.
Admittedly, there was some silliness, with several reviewers astutely pointing out the show’s ever-increasing resemblance to a soap opera. And it is, really. The meet up between Claire and Lee was doomed from the outset, made obvious by how many times we were told in the dialogue exactly where Alec and Ellie were both standing, and how safe it all was. This is Broadchurch - nobody should be taking ‘safe’ at face value anymore. The anger aimed at Ellie continues to defy all logic, at least as far as I’m concerned, mainly as I don’t see how anyone can bring themselves to shout at Olivia Colman in an orange anorak. Especially when she’s had nothing to eat but ‘a scotch egg and a Kit-Kat’. In its defence, though, it does neatly demonstrate the atmosphere of blame and paranoia in the town.
And I think that might be part of the reason why, despite its barmy-ness, the show is very much still working. We’re still feeling the aftermath of Danny’s murder, but if all the action was just inside the courtroom, it would get very boring very quickly. So we’re seeing other things. We’re seeing the continued extraordinary performances from Colman and Tennant in particular as their characters’ relationship strengthens further. So much so that it almost makes you wish you could see them detective-ing together in happier times.
We’re seeing the relationships between the legal teams, flashbacks to the Sandbrook case, a theme of misanthropy as just about everyone is guilty of something unpleasant, lots and lots of beautiful coastlines, a few bluebells, and then Meera Syal turned up! Meera Syal on a bike, slapping on a judge’s wig and then basically delivering the ‘let’s have a good, clean game’ speech a la Madam Hooch. Brilliant, just brilliant.
For this, arguably, is where the show’s genius really lies. Despite its primary storyline being over, there’s still plenty going on that’s new. Amazingly, it somehow still pushes you into having theories, still having suspicions, even though the culprit has allegedly been caught.
For example, I personally want to know what Mark Latimer was doing between 1 and 4am on the night in question, what on earth he’s up to hanging out with Tom Miller (Adam Wilson) quite as much as he is, and who Sharon the lawyer (Marianne Jean-Baptise) was talking to on the phone in the hotel.
Oh and I wouldn’t trust the vicar as far as I could throw him, Arthur Darvill or no.
And that’s just me. There are masses of theories and discussions going out there and everyone’s got their own.
If it carries on like this, it’ll have us all hooked until the very end.