Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Broadchurch Series 3, Episode 7 by Chris Chibnall (2017)

The fact that Mark Latimer turns out to be alive after all, after the high drama ending of last week... isn't actually a disappointment, somewhat to my surprise. 

Plenty of suicide plans don't come off, for one thing, so there is a certain bathetic realism to it in that respect, but perhaps more importantly the Latimer storyline is much more interesting with a bitter, disappointed, broken Mark who thinks he is so terrible at life that he can't even kill himself properly than if we go back through the familiar motions of grief we've already seen them go through. The latter would be both too well-trodden ground in this particular series, but also a potentially too sizeable development this late in the game, as it could threaten to overshadow the ongoing investigation into the question of who attacked Trish.

Instead, the scenes between Mark and Beth work fairly well. Chloe's piercing question "Why aren't we enough?" - four simple yet devastating words - might be the best line of dialogue this week, whilst keeping Mark around to be able to explain his actions last week to his estranged wife allows us to see more of just how unable to find closure he truly was; Beth condemns Mark's suicide attempt as "selfish and weak", which seems both fair yet harsh at the same time, and the complexity this adds to proceedings is welcome. It really casts a pall over any hopes for Trish, in that by presenting the relentlessly ongoing consequences of a brutal act that took place several years ago (both in reality and in the show's time-frame), Chibnall illustrates that - as I said way back in my review of episode 2 - these things never just go away.

As for Trish, her first appearance in this episode sees her gardening angrily just after Beth has begged her husband "live in the present, please!" It's doubtless unintentional that this reflects the sentence with which Voltaire ends Candide - "il faut cultiver le jardin" - and the idea that, come what may, you simply have to cultivate the garden out back in the end, a metaphor for just getting on with life. But nonetheless it's an oddly good fit: Trish quietly spends her time trying to just get on with it. And the solidarity vigil towards the episode's end is an excellent statement about not letting the attacker win - probably the episode's finest moment.

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

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