Broadchurch S2 rolls on. As the Sandbrook case takes some interesting twists, the Latimer case becomes increasingly less and less engaging.
Let’s bitch it out…I’m ready to declare the Latimer case officially DOA. S2 of Broadchurch has effectively killed my interest in seeing any more of the court case as even the witness stand revelations prove increasingly shrug-worthy. By dividing attention between two distinct story lines,Andrew Chibnall, series creator (and screenwriter for all of season two) has done what I would have thought impossible: he’s completely eliminated my investment in the majority of the characters and events from S1.
What’s so frustrating is that there are still a bevy of fantastic actors involved in this half of the series. I remember being so psyched when Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Charlotte Rampling popped up in the premiere. Now when they’re on screen I suddenly find my attention wavering (what’s happening on Facebook? Is it time for a snack?). I simply don’t care about Jocelyn Knight’s failing eyesight or the physical abuse suffered by Bishop’s incarcerated son. The only glimmer of interest occurs when the two women share a hallway blow-up in which we learn a few additional details about their relationship. I had always assumed that Bishop was eager to stretch her wings and get away from her mentor, but now we know that the reason the pair are at odds is because Knight refused to take on Bishop’s case (she knew that taking on her protégé’s case was a no-win situation since Bishop would have blamed her for any complications).
Still, it’s not enough to justify this protracted court case. Problematically, everyone else associated with it has been weighed down as a result: I don’t care about Beth’s (Jodie Whittaker) inability to move forward with her charity for convicted sex felons, or Mark’s (Andrew Buchan) suggestion that they focus on their new baby. I care least of all about Susan (Pauline Quirke) and Nigel’s (Joe Sims) relationship or whether she stays or goes. I’m stating it loud and proud: I don’t care about these people anymore!!!
In fact the only people that I care about are Hardy (David Tennant) and Ellie (Olivia Colman). Last week I lamented that it felt like the series was piling as much baggage on Ellie as possible in order to maximize the emotional fireworks and this week doesn’t do much to disprove my hypothesis. I’m specifically referring to her scenes with son, Tom (Adam Wilson) who continues to treat his mum with disdain, as though she is responsible for tearing the family apart. Most tellingly, he clearly shows signs of questioning Ellie’s judgment, wondering who is speaking for Joe (Matthew Gravelle) and ultimately moving to testify for his father’s defense. He’s basically a complete asshole. Thankfully Ellie’s got her mojo cooking on the Sandbrook side of the series; watching her go to work re-examining Hardy’s casefiles (up to and including staying up all night and eating all of his food) is wonderful to behold. It’s a welcome change of pace to see Ellie take-charge and move out of victimhood. It’s a nice reminder that despite her unfortunate home life, Ellie is a strong and capable individual.
As we move into the second half of the series, the Sandbrook clues are starting to emerge and while 2×05 doesn’t necessarily deliver anything that makes us stand up and take notice, the details are becoming less murky. We now know that Ricky Gillespie (Shaun Dooley) lied about sleeping with a bridesmaid (his alibi for the time of the murders) and that Lisa’s (Eliza Bennett) phone was last turned on near Portsmith – a port that connects to France, which is where Lee (James D’Arcy) was at the time. I thought Ellie’s suggestion that Lisa may have accidentally been responsible for Pippa’s (Hollie Burgess) death held promise, but there’s a fairly ominous suggestion in the final scene at the animal incinerator that the older girl may have met her own grisly fate. Where does that leave us, aside from “everyone is a suspect” as Ellie jokingly infers earlier? Hardy and Ellie know that Ricky is lying, and Lee continues to raise suspicions (we see in flashbacks that he’s lying about romancing Cate Gillespie). At this point we simply don’t have enough information on Sandbrook to make an informed guess, and that’s mostly because the Latimer court case keeps sucking up screen time! Grrr…
- Hardy’s illness feels more like a plot contrivance than a legitimate condition. It comes and goes as the narrative requires it, which is aggravating.
- There is something satisfying about seeing Susan get taken down a peg or two by Knight when she’s in the witness box. Making blanket statements that all cops and journalists are liars is probably not the best way to endear yourself to the court.
- Do we know what occurred during the missing hour in Mark’s timeline? I can’t for the life of me remember what that refers to. Haven’t we already explored all of Mark’s secrets?
- Finally, how does Paul (Arthur Darvill) fit into this puzzle? Does it really matter if he’s spoken to Joe?
- Knight (to Bishop after Susan’s testimony goes to shit): “Chin up”
- Ellie’s face after admitting Hardy is out of milk, tea and bread after she stays up all night working on Sandbrook.
Your turn: who do you figure for the killer in the Sandbrook case? Do you feel less interested in everyone involved in the Latimer case now? Would you prefer never to see Susan and Nige or hear about their drama again? Happy to see Ellie experiencing some success for a change? Sound off below.
Broadchurch airs Wednesdays at 10pm EST on BBC America. Please refrain from discussing spoilers about any of the episodes that have already aired in the UK.