Time has passed in this episode of BROADCHURCH and, ironically just as some are questioning the investigation dragging on, a sense of momentum suddenly began to build in the story’s second half. Clues have finally started to pay off, forensics results are coming in, and the killer may have been prompted to make a hasty, ill-advised move.
The spotlight of suspicion has shifted firmly toward Susan and Paul, but why is Tom acting so strangely — and is Ellie being paranoid, or is Joe acting more and more suspiciously? This week she uncovered a possibly significant lie about her husband’s relationship with Tom, Mark and Danny.
DI Alec Hardy (David Tennant), blasted in the tabloids as “The Worst Cop in Britain,” and DS Ellie (Olivia Colman) join the rest of the town at a funeral service for Jack Marshall, who killed himself after being unjustly persecuted for Danny’s death. At the service, Rev. Paul Coates (Arthur Darvill) delivers a scathing attack on the town “not being there” to support Jack or Danny. Later, a the wake, Alec spots Paul with his hand on Tom’s knee, but then becomes light-headed and stumbles. The locals put it down to too much drink. When Chloe (Charlotte Beaumont) calls Tom (Adam Wilson) Danny’s best friend, the boy lashes out, admitting, “I hated him and I’m glad he’s dead!”
Now some eight weeks after the death of Danny Latimer, the investigation is limping along and close to using up its budget. Alec tells Ellie that he’s learned Paul attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in another town. Ellie reports that forensics on the boat confirms Danny’s hair and paint chips from his skateboard. There was also the same household cleaner found on Danny’s body and at the hut. The presence of the skateboard, corpse and cleaner all together suggest the killer was improvising. The cops question Olly (Jonathan Bailey), who mentions that he, Nige, Joe (Matthew Gravelle), Tom, Mark and Danny all used the boat to go play paintball — but Ellie insists her son has never gone paintballing. She looks concerned by this news. Oh, and Paul borrowed the boat last year, too. Alec questions Paul, asking if he was drinking the night Danny died. An indignant Paul insists he’s been sober for over 450 days; still, Alec invites him to the station to give a DNA sample.
Chloe returns to school — to the stares of her classmates — and father Mark (Andrew Buchan) returns to work with Nige (Joe Sims). Beth (Jodie Whittaker) goes running but has to keep stopping to cry. Later, Beth meets with Cate (Amanda Drew) the mother of one of the murdered girls from Sandbrook, but she can provide little comfort, regaling Beth with tales of pity from strangers, sleepless nights and days spent drinking and taking sleeping pills. Chloe leaves school early and disappears, panicking Beth, who summons her husband. Mark reveals he knows about her boyfriend Dean (Jacob Anderson) and where to find him. Chloe is found hanging out at Dean’s farm, where she reveals she knows about the pregnancy. Elsewhere, Tom asks Paul — who’s a whiz at computers — if deleting a file means it’s gone forever. Paul says certain programs or an expert could recover the file. Paul goes to the station to give his DNA sample and gets into it with Alec over his actions since Danny’s death.
Broadchurch Echo editor Maggie (Carolyn Pickles) digs into Susan’s past and uncovers a dark secret. Meanwhile, Tom runs into Susan (Pauline Quirke) and her dog, Vince, on the beach, and she invites him to his trailer. When she learns he’s the son of one of the detectives investigating Danny’s death, she gives him Danny’s skateboard. He brings it home, where Ellie is shocked to recover it. She sends the police to Susan’s trailer, but she’s not there. She’s at the Echo office, where Maggie confronts her with old headlines and says she knows about Susan’s husband and children and what was said about her but never proved. Maggie has already called Alec and Ellie, who arrest Susan. But what upsets Susan is learning that Vince has disappeared. Unknown to everyone, Nige took the dog. At the station, Alec grills Susan, but she won’t talk until she sees Vince. But the cops don’t know where Vince is. In a secluded spot, Nige aims his crossbow at Vince. That night, in the woods, Tom is smashing a laptop with a rock when Paul spots him. Alec and Ellie get a tip that someone is in the hut, and when they check it out, a mysterious figure bursts out of the hut, and they chase the stranger to the boatyard. Reinforcements arrive and search for the figure — but while in hot pursuit Alec has an attack and collapses. Ellie tries to help and calls for an ambulance.
Now that is one cliff-hanger of an ending! What is up with Alec’s illness? It almost looked to me like Alec was having a heart attack, which might be unrelated to his mystery illness. Even though no guns were involved, the chase of the suspect was still exciting, thanks to being unexpected — and with such high stakes. If the mystery figure is the killer, what was so important at the hut that he/she had to literally revisit the scene of the crime? It had to have been some damning piece of evidence that the police overlooked.
Speaking of police overlooking things, we got another little tease about Sandbrook. Cate said of Alec: “The man is toxic. They lost evidence. My daughter’s killer is still out there because of that man.” Alec told us last week that mistakes were made, but we still don’t know who made ‘em. The show wants us to believe it was Alec, but was it? Cate certainly believes it was. The entire encounter with Cate was so very sad. I cannot imagine what it must be like to lose a child, but Cate saying, “The best part of me was killed that day and I can’t get it back” seems to give a pretty good idea. “I’m sorry. Maybe you’ll do better than me.” It doesn’t look like Beth will; and now she knows there’s not much to look forward to besides impending divorce.
Still, the Latimers are trying to make a go of moving on (if not getting over) after Danny’s murder, and the family day at the arcade felt like a nice start. It was amazing to see everyone embracing and smiling. And Beth’s matter-of-fact declaration that she should bring the baby to the arcade demonstrated that she is actually looking forward to the future. Perhaps she will fare better than Cate.
If she finds herself down in the dumps again, she can always turn to Paul, her would-be counselor since the first episode. Paul truly is a man for all seasons: vicar, financial adviser (to Becca, remember?) and computer teacher to the kids at Sea Brigade. I’m still not buying his “I’m just trying to be there for everyone” routine. And neither is Alec, who rightly called Paul out for going in TV after Danny’s death. “You have no concept of faith, do you?” he countered. “People turned to me. They needed me. You do not get to belittle my faith just because you have none.” Well, Paul, maybe you’re the one belittling faith; after all, your pews only filled up after Danny’s death and your TV PR stunt.
So, with just two episode to go, my Suspect List looks like this:
Paul has his fingers in too many pies — one of them just might have included Danny. We know all too well the stories about predatory clerics, so Paul may have killed Danny to keep him quiet about abuse or some kind of prostitution arrangement — recall that mysterious 500 pounds hidden in Danny’s room.
My current best theory, however, is that Tom killed Danny (perhaps accidentally), and Joe found out about it and is protecting his son. Alternatively, Joe may have killed Danny for reasons yet to surface. The very fact that he seems to be above the fray in the town makes me think he’s deliberately keeping a low profile, and it’s working suspiciously well. Certainly before this week, Joe was the last person Ellie would suspect. I like how she’s suddenly looking at him differently after the paintball revelation. What else is he lying about?
We won’t have much longer to wait — although the exciting end to this episode makes the wait for next week so much harder!