Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Broadchurch Series 3, Episode 5 by Chris Chibnall (2017)

At the end of last week’s episode, viewers saw Laura Benson (Kelly Gough) coming forward to inform the police that she was assaulted two years ago in a similar manner to Trish. Gough does a good job over the course of her brief screen-time; her role in this story was never going to be as traumatic or as powerful as Trish’s, and Chibnall takes us through it perhaps a little too quickly, but the recount of her own attack is delivered well nonetheless, and, as we have all learned long ago by now, what Olivia Colman can’t convey with her understanding, sympathetic eyes isn’t worth conveying.

As ever, Broadchurch condemns the tabloid media but champions local coppers: “I read the papers,” says Laura. “I know how women like me get treated.” “Not by us,” Hardy tells her. Her role in the drama ends on a pleasingly unfinished note – asking the difficult question whether she tells her new husband about her experience or not, a question Hardy and Miller cannot answer. Beth’s superior, Dawn (Sunetra Sarker), then turns up with evidence of a third attack, eleven months ago, which also went unreported at the time. Though at first it seems as though these developments might help the investigation, for now they only seem to broaden the net – illustrating a wider, more systemic problem about the frequency of unreported rapes and the difficulties involved in being brave enough to come forward.

The Trish/Jim/Cath storyline reaches a high point this week in the brilliant scene between two old best friends, one of the best things about this episode, and Sarah Parish on particularly strong form (“Christ, his standards have slipped” is nasty, but asking a minute or two later why someone would rape Trish “of all the women at that party” is vicious).

Jim’s first thought on seeing Trish again is to save his own skin and reassure her of his innocence, she doesn’t want to see her ex-husband, she’s not comfortable meeting the local vicar, and her best friend hates her – she could hardly be more alone. Just as Season 1 focussed on both grieving over Danny and the sense of isolation which that grief brought with it, so this season continues to spotlight not just Trish’s trauma after the attack but quite how much it drives a wedge between her and the people closest to her.

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

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