Broadchurch - Penultimate episode review
Review by Rob Carnevale
WITH just one week to go, the identity of Broadchurch‘s killer still remains a well-kept secret.
But the penultimate episode of this outstanding ITV drama was an absolute cracker. Well-written, superbly acted and packed with surprise revelations, red herrings and twists, this is UK TV on a par with the best that the Americans have to offer.
Broadchurch‘s strength has been its ability to marry intelligent plotting with thoughtful characterisation – and last night’s episode was no exception.
On this occasion, David Tennant stood out. His enigmatic Alec Hardy finally began to peel away the layers, revealing the traumatic truth behind the collapse of his previous murder investigation and the selfless cover-up that ensued. Watching Tennant reveal the truth was heartbreaking.
And while some viewers may well have agreed with his previous tagging of “Worst Cop In Britain” by the press, few could now doubt his dedication to the case, especially as his own health is now firmly at risk.
Another great performance came from Pauline Quirk, superbly creepy to this point as one of the show’s chief suspects, Susan Wright… yet strangely sympathetic in small doses when being interrogated by Olivia Colman’s increasingly dogged Ellie Miller.
Her own revelations concerning her shady past (or rather her husband’s sickly abuse of her daughters) were shocking. As was the one concerning her son, Nige (Joe Sims), another of the show’s chief suspects, especially now that Susan has placed him on the beach, after apparently ‘witnessing’ him get out of the rowbat holding a child in his hand and placing him on the shore.
But what are her motivations? Why finger her own son? For fear he has become his father’s son? Out of spite for being rejected? Or remorse for failing to know what had been going on in her own home?
Quirk was superb. Still creepy, of course. But her performance was riveting.
Similarly, Colman’s Ellie has really come out of her shell in recent weeks, going at suspects with a great deal less sympathy, and becoming as sceptical (at times) as Hardy. Will she come to rue the question she put to Susan towards the end of the episode, concerning her lack of awareness of the abuses taking place in her own home.
Could it be that the supposedly “shocking” revelation of the killer’s identity next week will implicate her own family? Is her son involved? Indeed, could he have done it? And has her husband been covering things up?
The episode ended with Hardy piecing things together and exclaiming: “Of course!” But what does that exactly mean? Would that fit the revelation of his own partner’s involvement? Would he not have been more aghast at having another colleague involved in an investigation, potentially catastrophically?
Or does the “of course” confirm one of his own long-held suspicions? He has long held psychic Steve with contempt – yet crucially went to visit him during last night’s episode to gain further insight into what he may have to offer. Is Steve really psychic? Or does he have a hidden connection to the case and is his involvement in the case a cry for help? It seems unlikely – but who knows.
Or there’s Reverend Coates, another of Hardy’s chief suspects. Again, this one seems obvious. But Coates is now very close to the Latimer family (one of the psychic’s ‘clues’) and may just have been absolving himself from suspicion by suddenly handing over Tom’s damaged laptop.
It is the contents of Tom’s emails, of course, that would seem to hold the key to the killer’s identity. So, maybe not. Or could that be another red herring?
As ever, we’re utterly gripped. And the finale should make for unmissable, and hopefully unforgettable, viewing.