So, I have been away from a few months (mostly being a lazy bitch) but now I’m back with a question. Is it just me, or was the final series of Broadchurch really disappointing?
Since the start of 2017, there have been two things that I have been really looking forward to on British TV. One was Sherlock which I have made myself very clear on and the other was the penultimate series of the superb mystery show, Broadchurch. The first series gained a lot of attention because the fact that it was a child that had been murdered but as the series continued, it began to deal with a lot of really
important issues such as grief, secrets, the media and pointing the finger. Once the killer was revealed to be the husband of DS Ellie Miller (Olivia Coleman), the stage was well and truly set for series 2 which still had a lot of unanswered questions which mostly centered around the complicated past of DI Alec Hardy (David Tennant).
His previous case, Sandbrook, involved two missing cousins, the youngest of which ended up dead and a cocked up inquiry which led to the suspected killer being freed. Alongside the trial of Joe Miller, it was up to Hardy and Miller to crack the case which almost killed Hardy and bring the guilty partys to justice once and for all, which they did. The final shot of series 2 was Hardy leaving Broadchurch in a cab so he could be closer to his teenage daughter. When I watched this scene and discovered that Broadchurch would come back for one more series, I thought to myself ‘Where can it go from here?’. The answer? Not very far.
So we return to Miller and Hardy (Who has come back for some reason) and the case this time is not a murder, rather a serious sexual assault. Trish Winterman (Julie Hesmondhalgh) was attacked at her friend’s (Cath Atwood, Sarah Parish)
birthday party when she went out for a cigarette. Suspects include but are not limited to Cath’s husband, Jim Atwood (Mark Bazeley), Trish’s friend and boss, Ed Burnett (Lenny Henry), Trish’s estranged husband, Ian Winterman (Charlie Higson), taxi driver Clive Lucas (Sebastian Armesto) and salesman Leo Humphries (Chris Mason). In pure Broadchurch fashion, each episode centres more or less on the sort of absolute guilt on each one of the suspects mostly due to their increasingly shady antics throughout the episodes and the all to familiar musical score by Icelandic composer, Ólafur Arnalds whose music, I must admit, has been faultless throughout the series. However, as more women come forward who have been attacked in a similar fashion, Miller and Hardy realise that they are dealing with a serial rapist. As the investigation draws to a close, the audience would then be surprised to find out who the perpetrator was… but not me.
Since the end of series 2, the has been significant changes in Broadchurch, the most significant being the break-up of the Latimer household. The main reason being that husband Mark (Andrew Buchan) is still obsessed with getting Joe Miller back behind bars whilst his wife, Beth (Jodie Whittaker) just wants to move on with her life and has taken the predictable move of becoming a councillor. Mark by far has the most interesting side story, his quest being to file a civil lawsuit against Joe Miller for the wrongful death of his son. However, the law states that for the case to be re-opened, there needs to be both new and compelling evidence plus they don’t know where Joe is having exiled him
at the end of the last series. Nevertheless, Mark tracks down Joe and attempts to record his confession which is not successful. But much to my surprise, Joe tells Mark everything in confidence. One thing that has always plagued Mark is the feeling that since he was yards away from where his son had died, he could have saved his life but Joe tells him that his son was already dead. This revelation tips him over the edge and he tries to kill himself. After giving a final message to his daughter, Chloe (Charlotte Beaumont) he drifts out to sea and tries to submerge himself in the water. To the relief of his family, Mark is found by some convenient fishermen and brought to the hospital. This I feel was a missed opportunity. If Mark had of killed himself, it would have given the story much more weight and maybe would have persuaded Beth to carry on the lawsuit against Joe and gotten some closure to the story-line. However as it
stands, no one has been charged with Danny’s murder and still no closure. Another possibility would be that Mark survives his attempt and Beth realises that she could have lost him forever so she takes him back. That doesn’t happen either. Instead, Mark buggers off somewhere in his van whilst his family has a lovely picnic. I’m really not getting the sense of the happy ending this family so desperately deserves.
In terms of Ellie Miller and Alec Hardy, there does seem to be a problem with plot points that have either been brushed under the rug or just go nowhere at all. Plot points such as, how did Ellie get re-instated as a DS? Why is she still using her married name? Why is Hardy back in Broadchurch? That last question actually has an answer but it is never said out loud. The answer is his teenage daughter, Daisy (Hannah Rae) who is now living with him and has had some problems of her own. Turns out, she is being harassed because of a sexy picture that she took of herself and his now floating around her school. She didn’t tell her dad because he’s never around because he’s solving crimes and
setting an example and bla bla, teen drama. The argument towards the end is that she wants to go back and live with her mother because of the reasons above and my stance is that if she hates it as much as she does, then she should. But no, Hardy ends up ripping up her train ticket and convincing her to stay with him or as she sees it, stay in her own humiliation.
Fans of the show will recall that in the last series, Hardy had a pace maker put in because if he didn’t then he would die which is a pretty good reason. I’m assuming that it is because of this surgery that he was allowed to become a detective again as he was placed on medical leave because he kept passing out and having heart attacks. The point is that numerous times during the first few episodes, there are frequent references as to how he looks and at one point he mentions that he’s having trouble sleeping. This led me to think that maybe his health was on the turn and there could be some serious complications. Nope. The whole thing is forgotten about and Hardy remains just fine. Once again, a
bit of a missed oppurtunity.
In the time that Miller and Hardy have re-united, it seems that their own relationship has evolved. Instead of just being really mean and resentful of one another, their jibes seem more playful than out right mean such as Miller making Hardy hold a peeled scotch egg and stealing a slice of his toast. It’s all very playful without giving me the sickening impression that this is the ‘will they, won’t they’ type bullshit that is shoe-horned into every detective show when the writers feel like it’s not going anywhere.
I think I’ve banged on long enough about this now so lets talk about the ending. Once all the evidence has been collected, there is one prime suspect which is Clive Lucas because his DNA was found on the sock that was used to gag Trish Winterman. After enough poking and prodding, the grand revelation is foretold. It was not him, but his son, Michael (Deon Lee-Williams) which I called from the start. If you look really closely, Michael is everywhere behind the scenes. He goes to school with Hardy’s daughter and gets in trouble when he gives Miller’s son some porn on his phone. It seemed to me that the show was trying so hard to make all the other guys look guilty and if it was one of them, then it wouldn’t be that surprising, so it had to be Michael, and I was right… kind of. Whilst Michael was the one who raped Trish, he was not entirely willing to do it. He was forced into it by Leo Humphries who was responsible for the other attacks and seemed to be both grooming Michael and manipulating him because Michael’s dad is constantly a dick to him.
I suppose my biggest problem with Leo Humphries as a character is that the writers could have made more of an effort to not make him so cartoonishly evil. All of the other criminals in the past have been both complicated and conflicted about what they did which made it a more compelling show to watch. Granted this is the case with Michael but with Leo, he just did what he did because he is evil. For a high level of writing to have come this far down is just unacceptable.
My last gripe with this series is that it just doesn’t feel over. The only two things that give the impression the series is coming to an end is Mark, Maggie Radcliffe (Carolyn Pickles) and Reverand Paul Coates (Arthur Darvill) leaving Broadchurch. But as for Miller and Hardy, they are ready for work in the morning. I do not get satisfied feeling that this series has come to a natural conclusion and more could have been done to do so.
In conclusion, a message to ITV, do yourselves a favour. Commission another series and end this thing properly in the way this remarkable program deserves. You never know, it could become a regular series with a waiting time that is shorter than two years. Stranger things have happened. I mean, we do live in a world where ‘Star Wars Day’ is an actual thing… Incidentally, Happy Star Wars Day.