Monday, 15 April 2013

Broadchurch - Episode 6

The people of Broadchurch try to return to normality following another death

After last week's magnificent episode that dealt with the harassment and death of Jack Marshall, it was expected that this episode would struggle to live up to what went before. Even with that consideration, this episode of Broadchurch really tested my patience.

With each passing episode that reveals next to nothing about the case, the likelihood of Broadchurch providing a satisfying conclusion diminishes. The main problem is that it's trying to juggle too many suspects. With all that juggling going on, none of the suspects really feel like they could legitimately be considered as suspects. Given that not a lot of people have been definitively ruled out, there's still the possibility that Chris Chibnall could pluck a murderer out of thin air and pull the rug from under all of the series' work so far. Look no further than Joe Miller, Olivia Colman's nice and cheery husband. He's currently one of the audience's favourite suspects despite there being not a single shred of evidence to back up the claims. However, we haven't seen any evidence that can rule him out of the running. People are suspicious of him because he hasn't done anything suspicious. When you think about it, that's kind of ridiculous, but this is what happens when a programme's audience picks apart every detail shown on screen.

This episode starts inside Alec Hardy's head (I imagine it must be quite quiet in there given how incompetent he appears to be) during a dream. Hardy is on the beach with 4 characters stood in the water staring at him. Are these meant to be our suspects or are these just his suspects? Of the four we see here (Plumber Nige, Vicar Paul, Psychic Steve and Dad Mark) Nige appears to be the clear candidate (Paul has no motive at the moment, Steve has been largely absent from the last two episodes and Mark has already been examined by the show). Except we have more knowledge about the case than Hardy does so maybe he doesn't consider Nige his main suspect. In fact, in the early part of the episode, Paul Coates is his main suspect.

DI Hardy and Paul Coates have a disagreement
What has Coates done to earn this accolade? He runs a computer club which both Danny and Tom Miller attended, he doesn't have an alibi for the night of the murder and he gave a scathing sermon at Jack Marshall's funeral. Though it appears the most significant piece of "evidence" that convinces Hardy is that Paul travels to Yeovil to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. According to Hardy's logic, not telling people that you're a recovering alcoholic is an indication that you're a murderer. He may turn out to be the murderer, but I can't believe he would be brought in based on the evidence on display. I'm trying not to be facetious, but when the police work on display is so shoddy, I can't take the investigation side of Broadchurch seriously any more.

Elsewhere, the focus on the Latimer family's attempts to move on were very well played. Mark went back to work and Chloe tried to go back to school, only to leave after feeling the judgemental eyes in her back. Beth asks Karen to set up a meeting with Cate (a brilliant Amanda Drew), the mother of the murdered Sandbrook girl. Jodie Whittaker has been the stand out performer of the whole series and her conversation with Cate is exactly the sort of moment that we don't see enough in British crime dramas. Chris Chibnall claims he wrote Broadchurch in response to working on another show where the focus was solely on the police. He wanted to explore the fallout of such a terrible event, focussing on how the family respond and cope. On this account, Broadchurch has to be commended. Beth sees her future in Cate and decides to ensure that her life does not take a similar path. She decides to keep the baby (which is definitely Mark's, it would be staggeringly stupid if it's revealed to be someone else's), hoping that it will unite her family.

Susan Wright being taken away for questioning
By the end of the episode, the police bring in Susan Wright after she handed over Danny's skateboard to Tom. If she is the murderer, then giving up the skateboard is not the way to maintain a low profile. My main problem with the scene was that it was devoid of any tension. We've known for weeks that she's been keeping the skateboard under lock and key. The scene would have been much more satisfying if we had no idea what was in the cupboard. I suspect that Susan has been covering for someone else, but has now decided to force the murderer to act. She can't be the murderer, it's too obvious; her character is too one dimensional to be considered a believable candidate.

The episode ends with a break-in and a chase down to the boatyard. Hopefully this is a sign that Chris Chibnall has realised that he's only got 2 episodes of Broadchurch left to convincingly divulge the identity of Danny Latimer's killer.

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