We’re into the second week of Broadchurch and it’s clear that the town is hiding a lot more than anyone initially suspected. And while 1×02 suggestively closes on a moment that would have us believe that the killer has been identified, those of us who have watched a season-long crime show know that the first suspect is rarely the killer.
Let’s bitch it out…
Let’s get this out of the way: there’s no way that Mark Latimer (Andrew Buchan) killed Danny (Oskar McNamara). It’s clear from the moment that DI Hardy (David Tennant) goes to speak with him that Mark’s lying his ass off, but I can’t imagine that Mark will actually turn out to be a murderer. I’m sure there’s an excuse as to why his prints are at the hut.
After a methodical first episode in which we were introduced to the town and the characters who may have had a role to play in Danny’s death, episode two digs deeper beneath the surface. Almost immediately it becomes clear that the residents of Broadchurch like to pry into each other’s business and keep their secrets. There’s a deep sense of denial about what the world they live in – everyone is quick to reinforce that the traditional notions of crime don’t apply in this town. This is especially true of Miller (Olivia Colman) who can’t comprehend Hardy’s insinuation that her friends and neighbours are no longer trustworthy.
Obviously they’re both in the right: before Danny’s murder, these kinds of things didn’t happen in Broadchurch, but the simple fact is that someone has killed an eleven year old. Miller began this case as a idealist who believed in the good in people, but in week two her worldviews are already being challenged. Let’s hope she doesn’t lose all of that innocence before this is all said and done.
While Miller might be uncomfortable reconfiguring the way she looks at her town, there are certainly enough shady characters to justify it. Is it just me, or does everyone seem overly comfortable lying to the police? Susan Wright (Pauline Quirke), my choice last week for number one weirdo in town, is at the top of the list. I just love that she is a total bitch to boot! Her behaviour with Hardy when he comes asking for the keys to the Hut left my jaw on the floor – if the cops showed up at my door, I certainly wouldn’t give them attitude and act completely stand-offish. Something is not quite right with this woman – that much was clear even before we find out that she has Danny’s missing skateboard.
Susan isn’t the only one acting weird. Chloe Latimer (Charlotte Beaumont), Danny’s sister, isn’t just dating an older man, she’s dating a guy who can get cocaine? I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that this guy is bad news. Admittedly the fact that the coke is for local proprietor Becca Fisher (Simone McAullay) is just as weird; what kind of hotel owner secures a bag of coke for her guests?! From the brief conversations we’ve overheard regarding the tourism industry, things are rough, but these kinds of actions seem a bit above and beyond the call of duty, no? The real question is whether the coke and the $5000 discovered in Danny’s room are a) connected and b) important to the case. Thus far we’ve already had a few red herrings…
If the first episode was an introduction to the town, 1×02 is the first look beneath its rotten surface. In between gorgeous views of the bluffs, and sedate snapshots of the peaceful, sleepy town (including foregrounded images of windmills and clothesline pins), the town’s secrets are beginning to come out. For me, one of Broadchurch’s greatest assets is the visual signature of show. There’s a long history of shows set in small towns with a hidden underbelly of crime, but traditionally the accompanying images aren’t filled with warmth and sunshine. If Broadchurch has any impact on the future of long-form crime serials, hopefully it will be to change the perception that a constant deluge of rainfall is necessary to convey a sense of mystery and despair.
- The strangest storyline in episode two is the introduction of the “psychic” telephone installation guy. Although this echoes real circumstances that befall police when they investigate murders (crank calls and useless tips), Mr. Connolly’s (Will Mellor) confession doesn’t gel with the other aspects of the show, which have thus far been grounded in realism. And it’s not just a quick one-off thing – there’s a substantial amount of time dedicated to it. I sincerely hope we don’t see this guy again
- With that said, there are a lot of strong moments in episode two. I particularly like Beth’s (Jodie Whittaker) urgent need to leave the house for something as innocuous as crisps because she feels smothered. Unfortunately it doesn’t really pan out: her appearance at the supermarket is marred by gawking bystanders, she lapses in a fugue state when she encounters Danny’s favourite cereal and eventually she dents her car in a panic when she can’t handle the condolences of strangers. Whittaker continues to make Beth’s grief palpable and heartbreaking
- Oh…and Beth is pregnant. Wow. Imagine dealing with the murder of one child knowing that you’re about to bring another into the world? (Side Note: Anyone get a romantic tinge between her exchange with Arthur Darvill’s Rev. Paul Coates? Or is he just creepy?)
- That moment that Karen (Vicky McClure) shows up in the Broadchurch Echo offices looking for a desk and Maggie (Carolyn Pickles) shuts her down? Meow! I mean, I’m totally with Maggie on this one because Karen is obviously there to profit from the story, but that response is cold
- Also, Karen and Hardy have a history together relating to his mysterious past and a family that he “wronged”. The plot thickens. So is this a matter of a botched case or is Hardy a bad guy? And what’s up with the medical issues that drive him to the bathroom to consume pills? So. Many. Questions
- Everything with Pete Lawson (Marcus Garvey), the police liaison to the Latimer family, is soooo uncomfortable. The insertion of a random “awkwardly funny” character into a house full of grief may have seemed like a good idea on some level, but it just makes Pete seem like an idiot for being so insensitive. Fresh out of training or not, he would clearly be more respectful
- Acting on Jack Marshall’s (David Bradley) tip, Hardy and Miller track down the postman Danny argued with. Although he’s got a rock solid alibi, this guy still comes off like 10 degrees of shady. I think we’ll see him again
- Anyone else hoping that Miller would discover Danny’s missing cell phone when she curls up in son Tom’s (Adam Wilson) bed? Argh, so close!
- Finally, we now know where the two missing items the police are searching for are. Tom has Danny’s cell phone, while Susan has his skate board. How did these items end up in such radically different places? And what drew Danny out of the house to the hut in the middle of the night?
Your turn: Did you dislike the Steve Connelly psychic bits as much as me? Did you empathize with Beth when she went to the supermarket? And finally, do you think that Mark killed his own son? If not, are we any closer to finding the killer? And why is Mark lying about his whereabouts? Sound off below in the comments!
*Please Note: Since this series has already aired in the UK, please refrain from posting spoilers or commenting on future episodes.
Broadchurch airs Wednesdays at 10pm EST on BBC America