Broadchurch series 2 is nearing the halfway point and the third episode of the ITV drama continues to provide tension, shock and fantastic entertainment.
The episode starts off immediately where last week’s ended. Lee (James D’Arcy) has kidnapped Claire Ripley (Eve Myles) and is being pursued by Alec Hardy (David Tennant). While this is going on, Beth Latimer’s (Jodie Whittaker) waters have broken and it’s up to Ellie Miller (Olivia Coleman) to save the day and help her through the ordeal.
It’s great to finally see Ellie defend herself. First she scolds Hardy for saying it’s her fault Lee escaped, then even when Beth is telling Ellie to go away, she won’t stand for any more insults and insists she is going to help Beth whether she wants her to or not. While Beth is having her home birth, the episode awkwardly keeps cutting back to Hardy chasing down Lee and tracking him back to Claire’s safehouse. Unfortunately, these transitions are awkwardly filmed and edited quite poorly.
After the chase is concluded, Ellie and Chloe (Charlotte Beaumont) share a sweet scene together where she shows that not all the Latimers hate Ellie. Even Mark (Andrew Buchan) doesn’t seem to be holding a grudge against her. Sadly, Beth continues to be hostile towards Ellie, and it actually seems like she’s being a bit too harsh towards her; Ellie just helped Beth give birth to a beautiful baby girl and all Beth does is order her to leave and to never come near her again. It’s hard to sympathise with Beth when all she does most of the time she’s on screen is bully Ellie. Still, it is nice to see a new member in the Latimer family and to see the family share a happy scene together.
Back at Claire’s house, Lee leaves after scolding Hardy for recording him, making the entire chase feel slightly anti-climatic. However, the bluebells make a reappearance and it seems that their presence is getting more and more intense. It’s also intriguing to see a flashback of Lee looking at the murder victims of the Sandbrook case, before the tragedy occurred. It’s clever not to reveal the entire backstory of the case as it makes it all the more exciting for the audience and allows them the time to come up with their own theories on what really happened the night the two girls disappeared.
Speaking of Lee, he is getting more and more interesting as the series progresses. We never know what he’s thinking, all we do know is that he wants to prove to Hardy that he is not the killer everyone thinks he is. One of the best scenes of this episode is when he arrives at Hardy’s house to present all sorts of documents and evidence to the detective. Could he actually be innocent? Only time will tell. To make matter worse, he gets Hardy arrested on a false charge! Lee drops the charge when he gets Hardy to publicly apologise. It’s a very tense scene and it wouldn’t be surprising if this series ends with some sort of face off between the two characters.
It’s also nice to see the new characters develop. We now know that Sharon Bishop (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) has a son who’s in prison! And Jocelyn Knight (Charlotte Rampling) seems to be in debt while caring for her mother. Unfortunately, Sharon still acts like a cartoon villain, as does her assistant. Like Beth, it’s hard to sympathise with Sharon when all she does is act like an evil antagonist.
The acting is fantastic as usual and once again Ellie steals the show. There’s a great subplot in this episode when she goes out with Claire, to keep an eye on her and to question her about the Sandbrook murder case. Instead Ellie ends up making love to a stranger. We’ve never seen Ellie do anything like this before and it all leads to a very sad moment where she reveals to the man that all she wants is to hear someone say that they love her. This episode manages to show how lonely Ellie truly feels in this world, and it’s beautifully acted.
Claire seems to be getting more and more suspicious with each episode and this one is no exception. Even Hardy is beginning to think that Claire hasn’t told him everything. While this is interesting, it’s not as tense as it should be. In fact, every scene with Claire in this episode wasn’t that intriguing to watch, and they should have been. A lot of her scenes seem rushed and failed to deliver any interesting twists. Hopefully next week’s episode will provide Claire with more exciting material.
As stated before, the trial scenes in this series have always been the standout moments and once again this episode delivers on a very tense courtroom scene. What makes this one even better though is that Ellie is finally called to the witness box. This scene is extremely powerful as Ellie has to not only watch as all of her former friends watch from afar and judge her, but she has to also talk about her marriage to the killer of Danny Latimer, Joe (Matthew Gravelle) and try and prove that she didn’t know that he was the killer the whole time.
However, Sharon then asks Ellie about her and Joe’s sex life and it seems to come out of nowhere and feels really out of place. It’s hard to believe that a defense team would ask something like that and it wouldn’t be a surprise if some audiences find the moment a tad unrealistic.
The episode ends of a clever cliffhanger when the defense team announce that Ellie and Hardy were having an affair! Of course, the audience know that this is nonsense, but it’s going to be hard to prove that with no evidence or witnesses. As good as the cliffhanger is, it does also feel like an ending we’d see in a soap opera.
While not the best episode of the season, episode three still manages to hook and impress with its clever twists and intriguing characters.