Broadchurch - Final episode reviewed
Review by Rob Carnevale
SO, the bookies favourite turned out to be the killer. The Broadchurch WAS Joe Miller, husband of lead detective Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman).
But while viewers may have guessed correctly when it came to fingering the culprit, could they have imagined the reason why?
As ever, writer Chris Chibnall’s script dealt with the situation impeccably. First, came the reveal. Then, the flashback to depict how it happened. There followed the confession. And then the ramifications. And while some may have questioned the decision to unmask the killer so early into the final hour, no one could argue that the ensuing episode didn’t hold you gripped throughout.
This is a show, after all, that has consistently combined gripping storytelling with strong characterisation and, true to form, Chibnall made sure that the emotional consequences of the revelations were addressed.
If last week’s penultimate episode was all about increasing the tension, then this finale was all about analysing the fallout.
For Colman’s Ellie this proved particularly heart-breaking. As several viewers had predicted at the end of last week’s episode, Ellie came to rue the question she had put to Pauline Quirk’s Susan Wright concerning her lack of awareness of the abuses taking place in her own home.
Once again, her scenes with partner Alec Hardy (David Tennant) were brilliant. The moment he informed her of Joe’s confession was incredibly powerful. Colman’s reaction was brilliant. Shock, horror, disbelief, anger… all rolled into one. If this series had represented a tour-de-force thus far for Colman, this was the icing on the cake. You may as well hand her the BAFTA now.
Tennant, too, remained on top form, although the bulk of his best work had now come and gone. His handling of the revelations (both to Ellie and to the Latimer family) was sensitively done. He displayed compassion all the way. There was no personal fist waving. He appeared a broken man. Relieved but spent. His career still over.
And still the emotion continued. The Latimers had their moment to digest the revelations. For husband Mark (Andrew Buchan) there was anger and confrontation. His moment with Joe in the police cell, though highly unlikely, was gripping.
Likewise, Beth (Jodie Whittaker), whose fleeting look of relief only briefly took away the hurt and sense of loss that so clearly remains. Again, her moment with Ellie was nicely handled, subtly reiterating the point concerning awareness of events within one’s own home.
As for the crime itself, there was no over-analysis. The events were allowed to speak for themselves, depicted in cold-blooded fashion via a hard-to-watch flashback. Yet again, the script and the direction excelled.
Broadchurch was, in the final analysis, as poignant as it was gripping throughout. It has been, hands down, one of the finest dramas on British TV for a long, long time.
Yet while the prospect of its return briefly excited, one question lingers: why risk ruining a good thing? Given the close-knit nature of the community, surely having another murder take place will be stretching credibility a little too much?
Let’s hope they don’t ruin a good thing. Broadchurch has been a class act from start to finish.