BROADCHURCH 1.4

Broad401After (apparently) clearing Mark last week, BROADCHURCH this week demonized a handful of other townsfolk so viewers would have new character to boo.

The script tried very hard to make viewers think that creepy old Jack Marshall is the killer. Or could it be prickly Susan Wright, the most off-putting and snide character on the show? And then there’s Paul, the insomniac minister who wanders in the night. What about Steve, the so-called psychic looking to cash in on Danny’s murder? And why were so many people having Sunday dinner together?

The burning dinghy gives up a secret: hair samples that Alec (David Tennant) is convinced are related to the crime. Steve (Will Mellor) now wants to be taken seriously, but he has a previous conviction for fraud, so Alec isn’t buying. Olly (Jonathan Bailey) uncovers the fact that Jack (David Bradley) was previously convicted of having sex with a minor, which leads everyone in town to turn against him. Convinced that Danny’s murder needs more publicity, Mark (Andrew Buchan) and Beth (Jodie Whittaker) agree that she should let Karen (Vicky McClure) interview her for the Herald, but that results in a plague of paparazzi descending on the family and disrupting Paul’s (Arthur Darvill) memorial service for Danny.

Broad402Maggie (Carolyn Pickles) uncovers an old photo of Jack and the Sea Brigade — including Susan (Pauline Quirke), who is identified by another name. When confronted, Susan threatens to have Maggie raped by some men she knows. Later, Susan seems to control Nige (Joe Sims). Alec agrees to have dinner with Ellie’s (Olivia Colman) family and loosens up a bit. But when he returns to his hotel room he blacks out and hit his head. Becca (Simone McAullay) finds him and takes him to the hospital, where Alec begs her to keep his collapse a secret or he’ll be pulled from the case. Later, Ellie tells Alec that DNA from the boat links to a killing from years ago — in a town where Jack used to live. Meanwhile, Jack burns all his photographs of the Sea Brigade.

Could things look worse for Jack? Not really — which is why I don’t believe he killed Danny; too obvious. Same for Susan. I think most viewers want her to be guilty so her smug mug can be punished, but while I don’t like her, I don’t think she’s the killer. In fact, I think — and this is totally bizarre — that she and Nige had sex, which is why she says they’re connected now. As with Mark and Becca, Susan just has a secret she’s protecting out of fear of becoming collateral damage. Bradley did have some nice scenes this week, including the visit to the Latimer home and especially his interrogation scene, during which Jack defended himself from ugly innuendo.

I was frustrated by how easily Susan was let off this week. First Maggie brings up the Elaine Jones identity then simply walks away when Susan suggests the paper got her name wrong. Then Ellie lets Susan stroll off after getting caught lying about not giving Mark the keys to the hut. Nothing suspicious there, folks, right, detective sergeant? And just when Alec was praising Ellie for developing some solid policing skills.

Broad403Reverend Coates still rubs me the wrong way. I do like the way Darvill is playing him — with a sort of deep and barely hidden anger. Or maybe guilt? I think Paul’s awkwardness around Beth and Mark, combined with his sermons about God not abandoning Broadchurch (which are filled with barely hidden resentment at heaven) are hiding something. And if Paul tends to go for walks when he can’t sleep, shouldn’t he have seen something the night Danny died? After all, his doorway offers a clear line of sight to the Latimer house, so he would know when Danny went out. So far, Paul is my No. 1 suspect.

Little Tom (Adam Wilson) is acting very suspiciously, too. I don’t think he killed his pal Danny, but he might know who did. He clearly knows more than he’s letting on, and his interest in the investigation seems to stem from a desire to learn how much the police know. But is that for his own sake, or is he working as a spy for someone else? The bit where Tom let Beth hug him was truly heartbreaking; she was on the verge of tears and he completely at a loss as to why she wanted to do it.

I’m a little worried about DI Hardy. His doctor warned last week that stress could kill him, and obviously the stress of the case and having dinner with his rival/partner brought on another attack of whatever he suffers from. That was an awful lot of blood pooling around his head when he hit the floor. So… what’s wrong with him?

I’m suddenly struck by an image of Alec solving the crime and then promptly dropping dead!

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