Monday, 20 March 2017

Broadchurch Series 3, Episode 4 by Chris Chibnall (2017)

This isn’t a particularly Trish-centric episode of Broadchurch, but she is still far and away the best thing about it; if Julie Hesmondhalgh isn’t showered with gongs come award season, it’ll be criminal.

The opening quarter of this fourth instalment sees Trish returning to the scene of her assault at the Axehampton party. This detail is powerfully conveyed, and despite my general reticence towards flashbacks as expressed last week, they work well here, as the superb Daniel Nettheim – a veteran Doctor Who director – wrings every ounce of contrast out of the transition: upbeat, boozy Trish at the party and the broken woman who stands now in the empty house, as though on two different sides of a huge divide. The moment where she lies down in the exact spot where the terrible crime occurred, feeling the earth beneath her and hearing the same sounds she could hear then, is a brilliant piece of uncomfortable, awkward physical acting, complete with the immediate and visceral vomiting that follows.

Elsewhere, the episode progresses the investigation forward in some interesting ways, while still allowing time for some texture and character beats that ensures it isn’t solely about the procedural side of things. The big, well-shot set piece – a community spirit football game down on the beach – sees Trish making the first tentative steps of rehabilitation into society, the first time she appears in public after the attack; the moment Cath runs to her side and tells everyone “Carry on, it’s only Trish!” is a quietly cathartic one.

By this point the Hardy and Miller rapport is so well-honed that Tennant and Colman could do it in their sleep, but it’s as watchable as ever, and Chris Chibnall comes up with new avenues to explore in the form of Hardy’s date, all teenage nervousness and dating app uncertainty. We also get a brief moment between Daisy Hardy and Chloe Latimer that implies something has happened to the former at school – paralleling Tom Miller, what is going on underneath Hardy’s roof that he’s unaware of?

We learn quite a bit more about Lenny Henry’s Ed Burnett this week: the obvious ways in which he cares for Trish, keeps asking after her, makes meaningful eye contact with her a couple of times… I’m going to stick my neck out and suggest he is interested in her but never told her, and that he sent the flowers and card we saw at the end of Episode 3.

This review was originally written for You can read the rest of it here.

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