TV Catch Up // Broadchurch: Series 2_Episode 4

Cast: David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Arthur Darvill, Matthew Gravelle, Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan, Phoebe Walker-Bridge, Eve Myles, Charlotte Rampling, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, James D’Arcy, Meera Syal, Jonathan Bailey, Adam Wilson, Lucy Cohu, Joe Sims, Pauline Quirk, Amanda Drew, Shaun Dooley

Written by: Chris Chibnall

The story: The one where Broadchurch goes all...well...Broadchurch. DI Hardy (David Tennant) drags poor old Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) back to Sandbrook, the setting of his last, failed, murder investigation. The Crown rests its case in the trial of Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle) and his defence team must see if he can be put on the stand. Local pesky reporter Olly (Jonanthan Bailey) does some digging around Sandbrook suspect Lee Ashworth (James D’Arcy) as Lee makes contact with wife-in-hiding Claire (Eve Myles). Things get really strange as we meet father of one of the murdered Sandbrook girls, Ricky Gillespie (Shaun Dooley) and then everything goes completely mad with the return of Susan Wright (Pauline Quirk).

After week 2’s soap opera shenanigans and last week’s depiction of a completely alone Ellie Miller, Chris Chibnall finally gives us an episode of Broadchurch that brings everything back the way we like to see them. With enough plot twists to make the viewer positively dizzy, episode 4 packs in blows, revelations and even more questions for the cast (and viewers) to deal with.

The episode starts with Hardy dreaming of drowning in a bleak mirroring of his discovery of the body of Pepper Gillespie in a river. He convinces Ellie Miller to accompany him back to Sandbrook in an attempt at having the double murder case re-opened. Turns out his contact in the Sandbrook police is ex-wife Tess (Lucy Cohu), who’s about as impressed with his pleas as she is with his fatherly duties to their teenage daughter.

While Hardy and Ellie are away, Claire Ripley (who may or may not be having an affair with Hardy) does the exact opposite of keeping away from suspected murderer and ex-husband Lee and quicker than you can say “Chicken foo yung, home delivery” she’s having a naked romp and asking Lee to tie her up for the next one. Claire is intriguing and frustrating in equal measure and we can only wait to see what on Earth is or has been going on with these two and the Sandbrook murders.

There’s enough doubt cast over Lee’s guilt as Pepper Gillespie’s grieving mother Cate (Amanda Drew) tells Hardy that her ex-husband Ricky was an awful womaniser (who may or may not be having an affair with Claire Ripley) and we see Ricky himself with a picture of bluebells on his office wall. Did Ricky murder the girls and hide one of the bodies in a field of bluebells? Is that the secret of the mysterious bluebell in Claire’s card? One thing we do know, Shaun Dooley  (who played the last probation officer in Channel 4’s cult hit  Misfits) does a good weirdo. Another thing we know is that Ricky has made a formal complaint against Hardy, which is really odd for the father of a murdered girl. Does he even want the murderer found?

Back in Broadchurch, the only person we know to be an actual murderer (on account of him having confessed to it) Joe Miller’s trial continues as Jocelyn (Charlotte Rampling) brings in the world’s most credible and unflappable witness to demonstrate Joe’s ability to completely lose his rag and rests the case for the Crown. Miller’s defence team Sharon (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) and Abbey (Phoebe Walker-Bridge) have to decide whether to put him on the stand to give evidence. As Joe completely fluffs a trial examination, Abbey has the horrible realisation that he is a murderer as Sharon looks for an alternative suspect to present to the jury.

Cue poor old Mark Latimer (Andrew Buchan), Joe’s old mate and father of murdered Danny. Mark is trying desperately to be a good dad to new baby Lizzie, even as he rejects Joe’s son, Tom who he’s been busy playing surreptitious games of FIFA with in a caravan. Tom is already angry and lonely so what impact will Mark’s rejection will have on him? Not good, we suspect.

Speaking of angry sons, Mark’s workmate Nige’s secret mum (and caravan owner) the misanthropic Susan Wright (Pauline Quirk being totally brilliant) comes back with a couple of shocks of her own. Susan tells Nige that she’s dying of cancer and tries to build bridges, but Nige is having none of it. Susan exacts her revenge when she takes to the stand in Joe Miller’s trial and tells the court that she saw Nige drag Danny Latimer’s dead body from a boat. WHAT? I need a lie down.

So now we’re at the halfway point in series 2 and the web of lies, deceit and mystery is being woven thick and fast. After a shaky start and much mumbling in the press, it feels like this is now a ride to strap yourself into for the rest of the duration. Cracking, cracking stuff.

Doctor Who?: This week’s DW link is Lucy Cohu (Hardy’s ex-wife Tess) who played Alice Carter, the tragic daughter of Captain Jack Harkness in the brilliant DW spin-off Torchwood: Children of Earth

Awkward Moment of the Week: Ellie and Hardy booking into a Travelodge with only one bed.

Questions, questions, questions: Surely Susan Wright gave a statement somewhere saying that it was Joe Miller who dragged Danny’s body from the boat?

Is there anyone who Claire Ripley hasn’t had some naked romp action with?

Is it worth looking up boxer Willie Pep on Wikipedia? (Not really)

Why does everyone keep telling Claire that Lee’s no good for her? Is he really such a wrong ‘un or is this a big, fat red herring?

Possible new Olympic sport: Lurking menacingly in a vest. Lee Ashworth would lead the world.

Creepiest moment: Ricky Gillespie’s field of bluebells

Best line: Ellie Miller to Hardy as they drive to Sandbrook, “Look at us - Thelma and Louise!”

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