BROADCHURCH: Series Two Wrap-Up

Justice comes in many forms.

It’s street fighting in wigs, that’s all.

There are wins that help you sleep at night; others that keep you awake. I’d stock up on the sleeping pills.


                                    – Bishop and Knight

The Verdict Is In

If I ever commit a crime in the UK, remind me to track down Sharon Bishop, as her defense of miscreant Joe Miller was nothing short of miraculous. Mired in her own hatred of the legal system, and armed with vengeance against those she blames for her son’s incarceration, Bishop helped free a murdering pedophile. So…winning? As the verdict was announced, Broadchurch citizens – many soaked in tears – exited in utter disbelief. Hardy, however, took that moment to arrest Claire on suspicion of murder for the Sandbrook case. He hands her off to Tess while an interview room is prepared. “You two should have a lot to talk about,” Hardy expresses to his ex-lover and ex-wife (cheeky) while he goes in search of Ellie to help him close Sandbrook once and for all.

Jocelyn and Sharon have a bit of a row in the ladies locker room as each prepares to leave. Sharon expresses concern for the family, but Knight does not buy her sympathy. It’s clear Bishop was all about winning, and her former mentor teachers her one more lesson: winning is not everything, especially when that win sets free the monsters under the bed. I will say again that this relationship was my favorite element of Series 2. Bishop and Knight were worthy adversaries, each with reasons for taking on the Danny Latimer case. Often in these procedurals or crime stories, the courtroom players are either ill-defined or caricatures of alcoholic, haunted, municipal pencil-pushers. Two strong female characters full of hatred, pride, and grief is a refreshing turn of pace.

At the close of the series, Knight suggests she and Bishop work together again, offering a hand of peace: records indicating Bishop’s son’s case could come up for an appeal. Knight wishes to prove to her old student that there is nobility in the law; it’s not just a dogfight. Spinoff? Please?

Closing Sandbrook

Hardy finds Ellie crushed by the verdict, stewing in the wings of the courtroom. He urges his partner to utilize that rage as fuel to aide him in closing Sandbrook: today. To put away another murderer whilst her husband is free. It’s a moment between David Tennant and Olivia Colman that pretty much sums up their characters’ whole relationship – so much can be conveyed in the way she looks at him, boiling hot with vengeance in search of someone to lay to waste. Hardy phones Lee Ashworth to inform him of Claire’s arrest and to make him sweat, insinuating that Claire is about to confess all she knows. It is Claire, however, that decides to start playing games once in the interview room with Ellie and Alec. She accuses Hardy of forcing her to have relations with him, while he held her against her will. Wow – she certainly revealed her true colors, didn’t she? Alec refuses to play, and gets the woman to admit she’s only there to make sure Lee stays close to her. Ellie tries to steer the interview back on course by bringing up the pendant Pippa was wearing when she was found – Clarie’s pendant – and asking why Ricky sent the fragile Mrs. Ashworth the bluebell. Shuts her right up.

Ellie thinks she’s on to something and sends Tess over to the Ashworth flat, just as Hardy catches Lee ransacking Claire’s hideaway. Alec arrests Jarvis on the spot – ‘bout time. Tess returns with the info – turns out Lee bought extra supplies for a job he was doing the Monday following the murder. Specifically, floor boards, ones he laid out in his own home. Ellie asks Lee why he would have to replace his floor? What happened there? We’re treated to a flashback of Lisa hiding from her stalker over at Lee’s. She brings Pippa to sleep in the Ashworths’ bed so that the stalker won’t be able to find them alone. Then, not being able to resist the flames coming off James D’Arcy (frankly, who could), Lisa sleeps with him. Ricky catches them and then beats Lisa to death. Claire comes home as Ricky is threatening Lee – and sees Pippa on the stairs. To help the young girl sleep, and hopefully forget all she knows, Ricky urges Claire to give his daughter Rohypnol-laced hooch. You know, for sleeping. Annnnnnnd Lee kills Pippa, smothering her with a pillow. Super reveal. We are “treated” to body disposals and Claire convincing Ricky that the Rohypnol killed his daughter. She hides his flask amongst the bluebells for insurance, and the Ashworths clean their house. Kind of monstrous, no?

Once in custody, Ricky is not as forthcoming. But Alec dresses him down and lets him know exactly how this affected him – how Hardy felt he let the father down these past two years. How it nearly killed him. After Tennant gives this speech, as only he can, Ricky confesses where Lisa’s body is hidden: on top of another, in what was a fresh grave. Perfect place to hide a body. In the interview room, Hardy returns the photograph of Pippa he kept in his wallet to the case file, paper clipped to Lisa’s, and breaks down. “Done my penance,” he reflects to Ellie. But she lets him know that “we’re not all alone.” Umph, I love these two.

Out, Out, Damned Spot

Joe goes to the church to beg Paul’s help in facilitating his return home, as if his family would take the decision of the court as a sign of his innocence. Deluded, that one. Becca urges Paul to kick Joe to the curb, but that whole pesky God-thing gets in the way, and the Reverend worries where the freed man will go. Priestly Paul warns Becca that he just needed to tell someone what he plans to do (shot all in shadow!). Meanwhile, Mark informs Beth that they must get justice for themselves. (DUN DUN DUNNNN!).

Joe becomes a sitting duck in the church as Mark and good ol’ Nige come for him. Guess the good Reverend owns a phone and believes in terrestrial judgment. The two best friends take the pedophile (I hate that sentence) in their van to the cottage where Danny died. Inside, Beth and Ellie wait for him. Beth tells him how many knives are in the cottage, how she hates him, how they could kill him, but Mark, Ellie, and herself will not. Because they still have their humanity, unlike Joe. He is to leave and never come back, never see his kids again. Ellie lets him know that he is “dead to them;” should he come back, or try to contact his children, she will kill him and take the consequences. Paul gets Joe into a halfway house, far away. And nearly the whole town turns out to make sure Joe leaves – banished, exiled.

Finally, the Millers and the Latimers reunite at the beach, place flowers on Danny’s final resting place, and reclaim their home. Hardy leaves to be closer to his daughter, with nothing more than a handshake from Ellie…but we all know it’s so much more than that. And Series 2 closes.

Envisioned as a trilogy, Broadchurch is supposedly back for one more go, but if Better Call Saul has proven anything, it is that shows like these can survive past the death clock. While it is not possible for anything to quite match the subtle beauty of Series 1, I am just not ready to let any of these characters or the showrunners go.

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