Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Broadchurch Series 3, Episode 2 by Chris Chibnall (2017)

The second episode of Broadchurch 3 wastes no time in launching us into Hardy and Miller’s investigation into the brutal rape of Trish Winterman we saw reported to the police in last week’s premiere.

Offering up a range of new characters and suspects to keep us – and the police – guessing, it’s an effective and tense bit of drama that isn’t afraid to pause for breath and quieter, more intimate moments – and ends on a disturbing text message being sent to Trish telling her to “shut up or else”, a moment that surely made every viewer’s skin crawl.

In terms of the ongoing plot, the most significant development here is establishing a few key suspects – from Ian (Charlie Higson), Trish’s estranged husband, to the taxi driver who took her to the party, to Cath Atwood’s husband Jim, none of whom necessarily leap out as the single most obvious candidate above all the others but all of whom clearly have something to hide – however unrelated to this case it might be. What are Ian’s feelings toward his wife, especially once he’s had one too many? Why did Lucas the taxi driver’s radio conk out during the night and what was he up to during that time? What does Jim know about his party guests that he might not be saying? The power of Broadchurch 1 was often the way the investigation into Danny Latimer’s death brought all sorts of other secrets, scandals, affairs and heartbreak to light, and it seems as though writer Chris Chibnall will take the same route this time round.

The main focus, rightly, is still on Trish, and Julie Hesmondhalgh remains excellent, particularly in the police interrogation towards the episode’s end, but Episode 2 also takes the opportunity to expand the scope of character drama outwards and allow us more time with characters we only glimpsed briefly last week. We see a lot more of Jodie Whittaker and Andrew Buchan as the now-separated Beth and Mark Latimer, for instance, and both come across as much more integrated into the story’s whole than they did in Episode 1. A touching scene between the two dealing with their recent falling out and a moving portrayal of Mark’s continued bitterness over Joe Miller being at large add to the sense of trauma as an ongoing part of one’s life that cannot be easily escaped or skimmed over. If Broadchurch ran to a fourth season (though we know it won’t; Chibnall’s new focus is some show called Doctor Who you’ve probably never heard of), you could easily imagine Trish appearing as a haunted, still suffering figure against the backdrop of some new case. Because as Whittaker and Buchan make clear, these things never just go away.

This article was originally written for CultBox.co.uk. You can read the rest of it here.

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