27/03/2013

Broadchurch Episodes 3 , Episode 4


With viewing figures of over nine and a half million, for episode 3 there is no doubt that Broadchurch is a major hit with the public as well as the critics and it’s easy to see why. Part 3 is primarily about the unravelling of Mark Latimer’s alibis revealing he definitely wasn’t where he said he was the night his son vanished while we also learn Danny had claimed his father hit him. There’s also a confrontation between (journalist) and Hardy over the Sandbrook case.  The episode is full of tension whether in the Latimer house or the police station as both David Tennant and Andrew Buchan give exemplary performances with Hardy barely able to cope with the case and Latimer refusing to reveal the truth. At the end after we’ve found out he was actually with hotel owner Becca Fisher and their secret liaison provides the end of episode reveal of his wife seeing them

Hardy and Miller's comedy double act did not work too well

Jodie Whitaker’s performance is a master class in shell shocked horror as one thing piles up on another.  Director Euros Lynn creates some unsettling scenes as this is portrayed both by his cameras and her face. Creepy Steve Connolly is back too, claiming that he knows who killed her son;- you have to line him up as a  suspect really even though it would be a bit obvious.

This episode is adept at pushing us in different directions, slowly unveiling suspicious behaviour all over the place;’ this week including the too cheery by half Nige, who is Mark’s plumbing assistant and snappy Pauline Quirke as Susan Wright who must be hiding something! Plus every so often someone asks an unanswered question about the newsagent – there must be more there as they have cast David Bradley who can look more suspicious then anyone!

Both characters come to the front amidst part 4’s increasingly tangled developments. Susan Wright - already discovered to have lied about her name and movements- threatens the local newspaper editor in a way that makes your jaw drop. Pauline Quirke is the biggest surprise of the show; how easily her persona can shift from chirpy Birds of a Feather type to psycho! She’s not even the main suspect this week; that mantle falls upon newsagent Jack Marshall whose past misdemeanours creep back to haunt him. David Bradley has already looked haunted; now he appears almost glacially petrified at a dinner for the Latimers and Millers.

One of two meals featured, this get together- with food cooked by the increasingly suspicious Nige -  is conveyed by director Euros Lynn as a mixture of banter and worry as his cameras focus on those individuals with secrets to hide. Jackson’s arrival as the unexpected guest at the feast unsettles everyone for different reasons but challenges the viewer to trust him even when minutes later, the episode ends with him burning a photo of the dead boy. It would, of course, be far too cliched if it really was him and one hopes Chibnall is commenting here on how one incident can scar a person’s life forever. 

The scariest person on telly






 

Hardy’s own inadequacies are highlighted in a lighter sequence where he joins the Millers for dinner, seeming awkward when asked anything personal, squirming and avoiding as much as any of the suspects do when he questions them. Amusingly he still calls Ellie “Miller” at the end. His rant about people using first names is a neat comment on a habit that does seem to have forced its way into all aspects of working life these days. Hardy is harbouring a medical condition too that later causes him to collapse in the hotel – unless the Millers have poisoned him of course!!

One interesting aspect of the episode is its depiction of the media, something that is very relevant to today’s headlines. Chris Chibnall is careful to show how dealing with them is not as clear cut as those for or against censorship might suggest. Far from being the vulture searching for carrion she initially seemed Karen White is acting out of concern having covered  Hardys’ previous, clearly botched case. Also Chibnall has the Latimers persuaded they need more press which backfires when the house is besieged during the aforementioned lunch. The cameras go off with old fashioned intensity, Lynn seemingly deliberately accentuating their effect to underscore how trapped the family feels.

Two characters are especially hard to pin down. Psychic Steve (a relentlessly creepy Will Mellor relishing the best role he’s played) is seemingly proved to be a charlatan but then again is he? He was right about the boat, as he keeps saying.  And priest Paul Coates benefits from Arthur Darvill’s perpetually haunted look which suggests vocational doubts if not some guilt about his past. When he gives his sermon to the assembled, nobody looks less convinced than him that it will help.

At the halfway stage then Broadchurch remains intriguing, engrossing and electrifying.







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