I think Broadchurch has gotten weird.
This might have something to do with the various mysteries we’ve seen brought up on the show. So many questions need to be answered, and I assume once we get the answers this entire show will make a lot more sense. It’s like Lost. Actually, that’s a bad example isn’t it? Because on that show, the answers were more confusing than the questions. For instance, the Black Smoke Monster, strange yet interesting in itself. But what is it? Nanotech? Some type of flying machine with built-in fog camo or hologram? No, turns out it was a thousand-year-old ghost! Okay, now you’re just fucking with us, you bastards!
Thankfully, Broadchurch isn’t Lost. So, I don’t think any answer we get on this show will be as weird as that.
Still, it is getting weird, and not just because of the mysteries. Some of the character’s actions have gotten frankly bizarre in recent episodes, and I have no idea why.
Let’s start by continuing from where we left off last episode. With Beth in labour, and Ashworth running off with Claire.
And of course, Hardy’s pissed.
And you don’t want to make him angry, otherwise he’ll drown your children in the centre of the Earth! Or have them all explode! Or another thing the Tenth Doctor did!
Anyway, he’s taking it out on Ellie, and she ain’t having it!
Everyone blaming her for shit that ain’t her fault, and she’s sick of it. First Fuck You Beth, and now this!
Regardless Hardy wants to go look for them! But he’s not allowed to drive, thanks to his heart condition, which Ellie helpfully points out. But he’s adamant, and she gives in.
“I hope you bloody-well crash, and have a heart attack while you’re crashing!” – Ellie Miller
So Hardy drives off, with Ellie still sick of everyone’s bullshit!
Speaking of bullshit, how’s Beth?
Oh, in labour, right.
So Ellie decides to help, since she’s the only one around. But, of course, Beth simply refuses.
“Look you stupid cow! I’m trying to help you!” – Ellie Miller
I am so so glad that Ellie’s refusing to take any more of Beth’s shit.
Beth: I don’t want you here.
Ellie: Well tough shit.
You see, boys and girls, that is true friendship, on a level I doubt you’ll ever see on My Little Pony. Because as Beth continues to yell at Ellie, she insists on helping despite that. It’s not because Beth wants her help, it’s because Beth needs her help. Ellie is the most loyal friend Beth could possibly have!
Too bad she doesn’t deserve it.
Meanwhile, Hardy’s on the search for Ashworth and Claire, and with no other leads decides to go straight to Claire’s safe house.
And it just so happens, he’s right!
… unfortunately. Because the moment he enters the home, Ashworth instantly assaults him.
I’m surprised Hardy didn’t have another heart attack.
Then Claire runs in, gets Ashworth to back off, and after a brief back and forth, Ashworth leaves, likely because he had nothing left to say.
And now, with Claire and Hardy all alone, they have a few things to deal with.
To start: Why the fuck did she go with him!?
Well, mainly because Ashworth found the cameras (of course he did, they were barely even hidden) and thought Claire was behind them, so she went with him because… um… I’m not sure. I think to prove she wasn’t complicit, but who knows.
The next issue: Why did Hardy bug the room to begin with? Did he not trust her to merely tell him what happened?
Well… no. Especially after he found the mysterious bluebell in her room.
Ooooo! That’s… um… incriminating?
Well, it is odd that she kept it hidden in the spare room. It’s odd that she kept it at all!
But they more or less leave it at that. And Hardy leaves.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the episode, Beth has given birth!
Meet little Liz Latimer. And you know, for a newborn infant, she’s pretty big. No wonder Beth was screaming so loud.
Anyway, of course Ellie offers her congratulations.
“Get that woman out of my house.” – Beth “Fuck You Beth” Latimer
Fuck you, Beth. And that’s a sentiment even Mark and Chloe can get behind! Because we see them about to object, and I’m only assuming they stopped because she’d just given birth. It’s really not the best time, and it can wait. So Ellie has to leave, for now.
Mark: Sorry, El.
Beth: Do not apologize.
Again, fuck you, Beth.
So, with that whole plotline partially resolved, we move back to Ashworth, who’s beginning to settle into the town. First, looking for work by placing a newspaper ad. And second, being a shit by filing a police complaint against Hardy.
So it’s up to PC Bob to deal with it. Which he does by getting the two of them to bury the hatchet.
You see Ashworth filed this ridiculous complaint against Hardy. Claiming that the man kept him captive within Ellie’s house, spied on him, and then when he escaped, Hardy tracked him down and attacked him.
See, so ridiculous, Ashworth attacked him!
Alright, the rest is kinda true, but Ashworth didn’t really object. Mainly because he wanted to see Claire.
Regardless, Hardy’s actions were not on, and not on regulation. So he apologizes “for any error of judgement.”
But why’d he even file the complaint to begin with? Was it a power move? Was he trying to get under Hardy’s skin or something? Not sure. But I guess the apology was enough to change Ashworth’s attitude, if nothing else. Because that night, he shows up at Hardy doorstep in a much less antagonistic mood, with a bag of goodies.
And by ‘goodies,’ I mean ‘evidence.’ Ashworth explains that he was doing his own investigations into the Sandbrook case. Mainly because Hardy was focused entirely on him.
He presents file after file of possible suspects. Each of which Hardy dismisses. And it’s during this brief scene I’m convinced of something: Ashworth didn’t kill anybody. This was not a man who was looking to get away with murder. This was a man who merely wanted to get to the truth. That’s why he came to Hardy and presented the information, because he was sure that the truth would get Hardy off his back.
Regardless, Hardy’s sure of himself. After all, why was the pendant found in his car? And more importantly, why did he send Claire that bluebell?
“What? How would I do that from France? Do bluebells even grow in France?” – Ashworth
Okay, what’s with this bluebell!?
So yeah, Hardy suspected Ashworth sent it, and he didn’t. So who did? Something else is going on, and it’s becoming obvious that Claire’s hiding something, and she’s not going to tell Hardy. So it’s up to the only person Claire’s been willing to open up to: Ellie.
And she just wants to ‘get hammered.’
You know, on that note, I’ve never understood the appeal of getting ‘hammered.’ Don’t get me wrong, I’m no stranger to alcohol. Really like Grant’s Blended Scotch Whisky. But I remember one occasion when I got apocalyptically drunk at a Canada Day party, and I did not feel good. In fact, I felt like an asshole. So I don’t understand why people claim to have a good time when wasted.
Same with drugs. I was once given prescription painkillers when I was recovering from hand surgery, and holy fuck did those things knock me on my ass! I could do nothing except lie on a bed, in a daze, half-asleep! Why the fuck would anyone take that shit recreationally!?
But I digress. They go to a bar and… sigh… get hammered… and talk about both court, and their pasts. And in the middle of their girl talk, Claire runs off for a piss. Which gives her friend an opportunity to stoop in her phone.
Not cool. But probably necessary.
She covers her tracks just before Claire returns, who informs her that two guys halfway across the pub have been watching them the entire time.
Oh, crap. Likely spotted her snooping too.
So Claire wants to pick up, but Ellie objects. She obviously doesn’t want to do anything like that. And this is one of the weird points I was getting at. Claire keeps pressuring Ellie into getting laid.
Eventually, the four of them go back to Claire’s house, split off, and shag. And in Ellie’s case, the experience was quite awkward. She looked bored, and a bit depressed.
I mean either that or Olivia Colman is a terrible actor, and I know she isn’t.
I’m also a little surprised they showed that on-screen. Gotta love British television! They don’t give a fuck!
So after that… ahem… experience. Ellie’s left all alone because apparently her partner left once he made his deposit. Classy guy.
Anyway, Claire; likely noticing that someone left, and probably wanting to get away from her partner, who snores; joins her with two cups of tea, and decides to settle into bed with her.
So Ellie decides this is the perfect time to ask a very important question: What happened the night of the Sandbrook murders?
And turns out her answer is simple: She doesn’t know. Ashworth drugged her with Rohypnol.
Okay, maybe he is guilty.
And when Hardy hears this, he seems slightly nonplussed. Mainly because it’s the first time he’s hearing about it. Why wouldn’t she have told the police during the initial investigation?
Then it’s revealed that both Ellie and Hardy consider Claire a likely suspect. Which Ellie finds surprising since he said he was protecting her. Turns out he was actually trying to make sure she didn’t run off. Which I find odd. Seriously, why would he invest this much, since I doubt that house was cheap, on keeping an eye on a potential child murderer?
So, to summarize, Claire’s acting suspicious; and Ashworth, while being overly territorial, was ultimately searching for nothing more than the truth.
And because of all that, I consider Claire a more likely suspect than Ashworth at this stage.
It seems this plot thread is going somewhere, I just don’t know where yet. I just hope it’s somewhere interesting.
But sadly, the episode’s not over yet. We still have a trial to deal with, and Hardy’s back on the stand.
This time, going over the correspondence between Danny and Joe, explaining that they’ve been sending emails and texts back and forth for months.
So how does the defence respond? By suggesting that someone else sent the emails, and stole Joe Miller’s phone.
Yeah, it seems like a bit of a stretch. I’m assuming the two of them never referred to each other by name in these messages. Because if they did, the defence doesn’t really have a leg to stand on.
And while anyone in the home could’ve accessed the computer, why exactly would they be sending emails to Danny under a false name? I think Joe would be the only one who would have something to hide in this case.
Seems a bit odd, but it all comes together once Ellie’s brought on the stand.
First, she’s questioned by the prosecution, and she explains that she had no idea that Joe had anything to do with Danny’s death. She also gives the reason she kicked his ass.
Mainly, she felt angry, and betrayed.
Then it’s the defence’s turn.
Bishop: When did you and D.I. Hardy first start having an affair?
Everyone and their cat: What!?
This has to be the weirdest moment in the show, and proof that we’re supposed to hate Bishop.
What kind of bullshit is this? Who’s ass, exactly, is she pulling this out of!?
Well turns out, she does have ‘evidence,’ and it is CCTV footage of Ellie visiting Hardy’s hotel room, shortly after Joe was arrested, and leaving two hours later. Oh, Ellie claimed they just talked. But a man and a woman alone in a hotel room for two hours? They must’ve fucked! Also, it’s a hotel, which is the kind of place that’s designed for sex! You can’t not have sex in a hotel room, it’s physically impossible!
Yes, that was all sarcasm. Bishop is full of shit. And I’m assuming everyone knows it… don’t they?
Well, we can’t tell, because that’s when the episode ends.
I really don’t know what to make of this shit.
The entire episode doesn’t seem too bizarre in general. But specific moments make me wonder what the characters, and indeed the writers, were thinking.
We have the constant thread of Beth being stupid, primarily by being the only one still holding a grudge against Ellie.
But beyond that, there’s also Claire running off with Ashworth after she asked Hardy and Ellie to protect her. Which makes me think she’s hiding something, something big, something crucial to the Sandbrook case, and it’s something she still hasn’t revealed to our main characters.
Some may think Hardy’s acting weird, since he was protecting Claire while also suspecting her of murder, and still accusing Ashworth even though he thinks Claire’s just as likely a suspect. But I think he’s just holding his cards close to his chest. He wants Ashworth to think he still suspects him exclusively, even though he doesn’t. I don’t think he’s even revealed the full truth to Ellie even. Mainly because we still don’t know what’s up with those damn bluebells!
Then we have the lawyers, Knight and Bishop. Whom I didn’t really cover in any great detail yet. But they are still around.
First, there’s Knight. Whose mother is bedridden in an old-age home. And the bills at the home are well overdue.
And this makes me wonder. If she was having financial troubles, why was she so hesitant to prosecute the Miller case? You’d think she’d want money, dammit!
And if you’ll remember in my last critique, I suggested that her big secret is that she was technically blind, which is supported by the scene where she demands audio summaries of a huge stash of documents, and her subordinate, Ben, laments the fact that he simply doesn’t have enough time to finish all of it.
However it’s not supported by the fact that she’s doing this while driving.
So I don’t know. She might be illiterate, her blindness might come and go, she just has shit eyesight, or something I haven’t considered. I’m sure there’s some weird secret, especially since she ends up crashing her car shortly after, and she refuses to see a doctor about it.
She’s a criminal prosecutor. She should know keeping secrets like this will only screw her over in the long run, no matter what it really is.
Then there’s Bishop. And turns out I might’ve been right. Her son’s in prison, and I’m guessing he killed someone.
Who knows? Because they don’t tell us.
During this episode, we also get a sense of their differing management styles, as Bishop insists on doing all her own prep-work solo, even though her subordinate, Abby, already did all the work.
Haha! You wasted your time!
And in contrast, as I mentioned, Knight was overloading Ben with a shit-ton of work.
And I think this is to Bishop’s cost, since if she listened to Abby, she probably would’ve come up with something slightly less bat-shit than: The cops were in a hotel room together, therefore they were having an affair.
I hope someone tells her off for that. Hopefully Joe. He has to know that the affair is bullshit, given he saw how much Hardy annoyed Ellie. And I’m hoping he thinks his lawyer went a bit too far this time.
And I’m also hoping the jury notices as well. They can’t honestly think that them spending a few hours in a hotel room is enough evidence for them having an affair! Especially since that wasn’t just a hotel room, that was essentially Hardy’s house at the time.
But who knows? I just hope this is the limit, and we won’t see things delve into further bat-shit. But we are just getting started. With five more episodes to go, we have plenty of opportunity to see even more crazy.
I hope I’m wrong.
But the crazy aside, this episode was really good, and really showed the characters at their best. There was Mark and Chloe, coming to Ellie’s defence (kinda). Then we saw Hardy, still as passionate as ever, ranting about the bullshit that’s going on in the courtroom.
We also got Mark, refusing to let Paul baptize his new baby, because “God’s not in this house.” And I think, while he may not openly state it yet, Mark’s actually an atheist. He doesn’t believe in any god anymore. Which is actually a plot-thread that started in series one. And funnily enough, I think this was retooled in Gracepoint (the American remake) to be just an irrational hatred of the local vicar. Because in America, you can’t have an atheist on TV, they must be ostracised by society! It’s the American way!
Sorry, I got a bit distracted there.
And then there’s Ellie! Who had a very interesting moment that I’d be remiss not to mention. During the scene when she’s being railed by some random bar dude, she whispers, “say you love me.” Of course he doesn’t, he’s too busy coming. And that is a scene I found quite sad, almost heartbreaking. She’s so desperate for love, she’ll look for it from some random she doesn’t even know.
And that’s one thing I hope continues: More interesting characterization. The joy, and the despair, and the passion, and the heartbreak. And I’ll take the bat shit crazy, as long as the good stuff keeps up.