With Mark Latimer (Andrew Buchan) in the clear, the investigation turns up a new suspect, but the man with the underage sex conviction isn’t nearly as suspicious as the woman with the dog.
Let’s bitch it out…Episode 4 of Broadchurch begins rebuilding the list of suspects as the first season hits the halfway point. With Mark Latimer cleared and no other plausible leads, in some ways this is a return to the starting blocks. Oh sure, there’s no lack of suspicious characters kicking around town, but instead of pointing fingers, 1×04 pulls back to refresh our memories of who these people are and how they’re connected.
This means we get a full church service, followed by what could be mistaken for a traditional Sunday lunch among friends and family. For me these scenes are really effective because they hint at life in town before the tragedy. Despite the heaviness of Paul’s (Arthur Darvill) sermon and the unsaid words at the lunch, there’s a tone to these two scenes that’s suggestive of people who have known each other taking comfort in one another. After all, these are people who support each other. Only now there’s the added burden of suspicion that hangs over everything.
Interestingly the sleepy small town angle is the same story that the papers are presenting. Despite the infidelity, the drug use, and the hidden rolls of money under beds in the Latimer family, the front page story is designed to be as sympathetic as possible. How many times have we seen these kind of narratives surrounding crime stories, a tortured mother like Beth (Jodie Whittaker) and “My Danny” taken too soon? It’s a huge fabrication, but it’s the only thing that the Latimer’s can think of when they feel like their son is already fading from the public’s eye.
The fact that it’s a ploy to keep the case front and center naturally ends up backfiring as press descend upon the town and the household. It’s clear as soon as Karen (Vicky McClure) reassures them that speaking with her is the best thing for the case that something like this will happen. The irresponsible antics of the press has been a pervasive element of the show since the beginning, and with the news that Jack Marshall (David Bradley) is a sex offender about to come out, something tells me it will only become more problematic.
- The lunch is like an inverted version of the awkward family dinner between Hardy (David Tennant), Miller (Olivia Colman) and husband Joe (Matthew Gravelle). At this point I’m almost inclined to believe that Hardy has some kind of personality disorder that makes him impossible in social situations, though the camaraderie shared between he and Joe about Miller’s dislike of her partner is pretty funny
- Other important news on the Hardy front: his illness gets the best of him – landing him in the hospital thanks to Becca’s (Simone McAullay) watchful eye (though did she really need to lie that he’s her husband? Weird). Hardy also scares off Steve Connelly (Will Mellor), who has a pretty epic breakdown as a result
- The more we get to know Tom (Adam Wilson) the more suspicious he becomes. It’s hard not to get the sense that he’s listening in on Hardy’s dinner with his parents out of more than simple curiousity. Remember that the boy still has Danny’s phone, which we now know is actually the murdered boy’s second phone (Jack turns in the other) and we also learn that Tom is good with computers. There’s a lot more to this kid than what meets the eye
- Of course the same can be said of Paul: the insomniac reverend has a clear view of the Latimer household and spent time working with the boys on their computer literacy. There’s nothing ominous about Paul’s relationship with the boys (I can’t imagine Broadchurch will go to the sex offender well twice in eight episodes), but clearly we’re meant to be wary of Paul
- I’ve been saying it since Broadchurch debuted: Susan Wright (Pauline Quirke) is creepy as hell. The woman lacks social skills, has a clear disregard for the police and seems to be tied up in some pretty strange goings-on. This week we learn that Susan may not even be her real name, as Maggie (Carolyn Pickles) spots Susan’s picture in the paper with the name Elaine Jones. And when Maggie asks her about it (none too subtly if you ask me), she gets a dodgy answer, followed by a late-night threat. The fact that Susan knows “men who would rape you” is hardly surprising, though I’ll confess that I gasped aloud nonetheless. Who is this woman?!
- And what’s her connection to Nige (Joe Sims)? Susan’s alleyway confrontation confirms that they have business together, but what could Mark’s plumbing partner have to do with the trailer-park recluse?
- Olly’s (Jonathan Bailey) mom and Miller’s sister, Lucy (Tanya Franks) is in serious financial debt. Is this important? Or simply another red-herring that just gives us insight on Olly and Miller?
- In a rare feat of investigative journalism, Olly is the one to turn up the dirt on the kindly newskeep. Although the end of episode burning of the photos suggests guilty, I can’t help but feel that Jack’s protests are true. His desperation in crashing the Latimer lunch is pretty gut-wrenching
- Beth (when Mark makes a dig about their investigation): “Don’t be a wanker, Mark”
- Jack (when Hardy inquires if anyone can vouch for his alibi): “Only the book”
- Hardy (when Miller asks if he’s religious): “I pray nightly you’ll stop asking me questions”
- Miller (when Hardy arrives in a suit): “We didn’t get poshed up.” Hardy: “Neither did I”
- Hardy (when Joe says Miller isn’t irritated by Hardy): “You bloody liar”
- Miller (to the press at the church): “Lens down or I promise I will kick you all in the balls”
- Beth (as they are about to go into the press conference): “I know about you and Becca Fisher” Meow! Great timing, Beth
What are your thoughts on this fourth episode? Do you think Jack is guilty? What are your feelings towards Tom, Paul or Susan? Did you like the two meal scenes? Sound off below
Broadchurch airs Wednesdays at 9pm EST on BBC America. *Please Note: Since this series has already aired in the UK, please refrain from posting spoilers or commenting on future episodes.