This week on the ever-eventful rollercoaster that is the second series of Broadchurch, Ellie and Alec get closer to solving the Sandbrook case and it's looking increasingly like Claire has something to hide (d'uh). Lee is still lurking around, doing his lurking thing and then sort-of-but-not-really violently threatening Claire, but she finds it sexy, so that's all right. Tom takes his turn in the witness box, seemingly pointing the finger at Mark, but then again, maybe not (honestly, this case has had more suspects in it than the average Miss Marple).
As the courses of the intertwining narratives progressed, it's been a constant shift between which one was the more compelling. This week, as the trial faced its biggest challenge of nearly being dismissed, that became the more interesting of the two, particularly given the emotional revelations at the heart of Mark and Tom's testimonies. The court scenes have veered wildly from one extreme to another and I'm still surprised that so many people are getting away with openly lying under oath, but hey, let's not let due process get in the way of a good drama. It's still very silly, but we are edging closer to finding the verdict.
In fact, there's been a recurring theme of people just taking complete liberties with their situation and using it to advance either case. This week found the defence's assistant barrister sleeping with the journalist who was covering the case. Um. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly sure there's a little thing called ethics which would prevent that sort of thing from happening, let alone using it to influence the course of the trial. I'm all for silliness in Broadchurch (I've stuck with it for this long), but it's the odd moment like this that complete remove you from the ongoing storyline. Suspension of disbelief is one thing, but when implausibility is practically hammering at the fourth wall, it's a little tough to ignore.
If we're talking outright daftness though, it's most definitely the Sandbrook case's turn to wear the silly hat for the week. That Claire was somehow involved in the Sandbrook deaths has been really apparent for a while now so the twists and turns didn't come with a shock so much as a shrug. Eve Myles' temper tantrum was creatively mad, letting us know that Claire isn't as calm and collected as she might make out and as Ellie so brilliantly pointed out, she isn't exactly one for self-control. I'm still not entirely sure what part Lee has to play in it all, other than unwitting scapegoat, but the scene of them looking at a house with an easily accessible family next door was suitably sinister.
Olivia Colman continues to be not only the best thing in the series, but quite possibly also since sliced bread. Whether it's putting down the idiots she has to deal with (usually Hardy) with a withering one liner or finally confronting her son, Colman's character feels the most dimensional out of the entire Broadchurch rogues' gallery. Her scene opposite Tom in which she took charge and, for want of a better term, gave him a bollocking was one of the best things the second series has done so far. It's Ellie's emotional journey that's keeping me going more than anything else in this show.
You can read Jen's review of the previous episode here.
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