Following the revelations of last weeks episode with Claire now being a suspect, episode four brings us a lot more of the Sandbrook investigation. Armed with the return of Lee Ashworth and Claire’s conflicting accounts about what happened that night Hardy and Ellie seem to believe they have enough evidence to reopen the investigation so they head down to Sandbrook to do so. I’m not a police officer or work in prosecution/justice of any kind but to me that seems flimsy at best, not enough to warrant reopening an investigation. Hardy and Ellie are experienced police officers and it just doesn’t sit right with me that they would venture all this way on such little evidence, this felt like a convenient excuse to breakaway from the Broadchurch drama and explore more of Sandbrook and it was clumsily done.
The convenience in the episode doesn’t stop there, Hardy and Ellie pinned Claire down as a suspect rather than a witness last week due to her shifting testimony. When questioning Kate Gillespie, the mother of one of the murdered girls, they were informed that her husband, Ricky Gillespie, was having an affair with Claire as well as numerous others. This was the first time it had been mentioned that all was not well in the Gillespie household since the original investigation started, but how on earth does a secret like that get kept for so long? The father of a murdered child was having an affair with the suspects wife! Surely Kate Gillespie or someone else would have said something to the police or press by now, but no, she decides to wait until now so the duo have more ammunition against Claire.
Ricky wasn’t painted in the kindest light before his introduction and when we finally met him he didn’t exactly do himself any favours. When he discovered that Hardy was back investigating the abduction and murder he confronted him during a family meal with Hardy’s ex-wife and daughter, insisting that he leave and never come back and informing Hardy’s daughter that her father was the reason a murderer was free. Bereaved parents can understandably act irrational but would you really expect to see one that doesn’t want justice? Hardy is the only one still working it and he’s urged him to stay away which shows signs of guilt, something that Hardy points out in the episode. Maybe Ricky isn’t just the bereaved father, perhaps he was involved? Suspicion surrounding him is peaked by the end of the episode when it is revealed that he is still in contact with Claire and sent her the bluebell in the envelope, one that she has kept. A token of love? Hardy and Ellie begin to ponder over whether or not Lee is actually the guilty party they first believed.With Hardy and Ellie away there is no one to look over Claire so clearly she is going to do something stupid. Lee attempts to gain her trust by leaving her take away on her doorstep, and any sane person would probably call the police if their suspected murderer ex was hanging around their house but not Claire. Somehow him giving her a food was a turn on and they wind up in bed together, so clearly she is easily persuaded. Very easily. While in bed their pillow talk was quite disturbing, one of the major aspects of it being their fidelity to one another. They both insist that they have been faithful to one another, but the audience knows that Claire is lying, it was confirmed this episode that she has been with Hardy (which Lee knows about), Gillespie and the stranger from the club last episode which again gives us more evidence that Claire is a complete liar. All of Claire and Lee’s scenes, from the take away to the “can you please tie me up”, were bizarre and I suspect it will get even more so if they attempt to salvage their relationship now that Lee’s return has made headlines.
On the Broadchurch side of Broadchurch Joe Millers murder trial is still ongoing with his lawyers wondering whether or not to put him on the stand to testify. They decide to have a dummy run which goes terribly with Abby exclaiming “he totally did it” immediately afterwards. I saw Sharon Bishop as Rottweiler type character earlier on in season 2 but this episode shows another side to her. Her response to Abby was that they can’t say that, their job was to give him a good defense and a fair trial and even though she is representing someone who I know is a murderer I can’t really fault her on that. Later on in the episode when Abby suggests they attempt to pin it on someone else Sharon has to remind her that the townspeople have been through enough, they don’t need to be put on trial by proxy because of them. She’s becoming more of a multi-faceted character which would be great but I take issue with it because it’s conflicting what we’ve already seen of her. She has thrown suspicion on Mark Latimer and questioned Hardy and Ellie’s handling of the investigation which pretty much goes against what shedoes andsays in this episode.
The defense lawyers seem to be backed in a corner because of the evidence pointing towards Joe’s guilt but I think they’ll end up having an easier time in episodes to come, one of the reasons being Jocelyn Knight. We’ve witnessed before that Jocelyn has issues with her eye sight but we haven’t seen it affect the trial until now, she was unable to read a document during court proceedings so it doesn’t bode well for her. Jocelyn isn’t the only one seemingly ruining the trial, Lucy Stevens decided to perjure herself while in the witness box and telling the jury that she saw Joe out the night that Danny was killed, not in bed with Ellie as he said. At the last moment of the episode the magically appearing Susan Knight took to the stand for Joe and testifies that she saw Nige (he estranged son) on a boat carrying Danny’s body that night. Either she truly believes it was him or she is making some sick attempt to punish him, either way it puts a gigantic spanner in the works.
Elsewhere in Broadchurch Mark Latimer has informed Tom Miller that he won’t be able to meet him anymore as he now has Lizzie to care for, and Tom is clearly left upset. It’s become pretty clear that Mark was looking for a replacement for Danny, someone that he can forge a parental bond with but he now has with Lizzie. I’m almost certain that this will come back to haunt Mark, his relationship with Tom will be discovered and the defense will use it to make the jury believe again that perhaps Mark had something to do with it. They already cast some suspicion upon him when they were able to get Beth to admit that Mark had hit Danny once, that can’t have been for no reason so I’m assuming this is where it leads.
All in all it was a bit of a choppy episode filled with contrivances and there are still four episodes left. Is this what the remainder of the season will be like? The first season of Broadchurch was brilliant and I don’t ever remember being as disappointed as I am now, I sincerely hope it manages to get back to the compelling and fairly realistic drama it once was. Very soon.