BROADCHURCH: What We Learned From Episode 1

The first episode of the new series of Broadchurch was packed to the gills with twists and turns and new information. With the second episode promising to be even more layered here’s a summary of what we’ve learnt so far about events in the small town of Broadchurch.

Please be aware that the article contains full spoilers for the first episode if you haven't watched yet.

Joe Miller changed his plea
The opening of the new series focused on the expected sentencing of Danny Latimer's killer. But despite making a full confession at the end of series 1, Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle) has decided that he’s not guilty as he doesn't want to serve time for a child murder. So, is he protecting someone? Or did he have an accomplice? His defence certainly think they have a good case. This could end up being another case that Hardy (David Tennant) has fumbled if the arrest procedures weren't followed to the letter. And, remember, we never saw what happened or what was said between Joe confessing to Hardy in the shed and the interrogation at the police station.

Hardy’s previous case
That previous fumbled case from Sandbrook has come back to haunt Alec Hardy. Not that it ever went far away – it overshadowed everything he did in the last series. The case concerned two girls, cousins, who were abducted from home. One girl was later found dead, the other is still missing. The main suspect was their neighbour, Lee Ashworth (James D'Arcy), but he escaped imprisonment when the trial collapsed due to the loss of evidence. It turns out that Hardy’s been hiding his main witness, Claire Ripley (Eve Myles), the ex-wife of the accused, in an unofficial protection arrangement near Broadchurch. Now probable child killer Ashworth has tracked Hardy to the town and even broken into his little waterside shed house and stolen his post. How soon before he locates Claire?

Ellie’s life is in tatters

The fallout from Joe's confession has hit Ellie (Olivia Colman) hard. Ellie started the first series as the embodiment of a Broadchurch citizen – a well loved person who was the centre of a close knit community in which she had lived all her life. Now she is the second most hated person in town. She has left Broadchurch for a traffic job with the Devon force and is struggling to raise Fred on her own. Her older son Tom (Adam Wilson) refuses to have anything to do with her and now lives with his aunt Lucy (Tanya Franks) and cousin Olly (Jonathan Bailey). Her former best friend Beth (Jodie Whittaker) hates her. Ellie is in counselling and, as Joe claims to be innocent, she says that she feels guilty for not knowing what was going on. One hope for this series is that it will deal with Ellie's recovery and redemption.

Ellie and Hardy still have a spiky relationship
He still treats her like his personal servant. She makes no secret of her frustration with him. She still can't get over the fact that he took her job. At the same time, when a new crisis rises, she's the first person he turns to and for all of her resentment, she goes along with it. Although it would kill either of them to admit it, they are the closest that each of them has to a friend right now.

Hardy's heart condition is treatable
Hardy was due to take medical retirement from the police due to his heart condition, but instead it appears that he is merely 'not on active duty'. He’s about to undergo an unspecified procedure to treat the condition.  

Paul's secret prison visits

Rev. Paul Coates (Arthur Darvill) has been visiting Joe Miller in jail in secret. Arguably you could see how Paul considers Joe to be one of his parishioners still and so is fulfilling his duty to him in providing spiritual guidance; you can also understand why he might not want the rest of Broadchurch to know about these visits. However, he went straight back to confront Joe over his decision to plead guilty and seemed unusually perturbed by Joe’s statement that everyone has secrets. Has Paul in particular got reason to worry about Joe's change of plea?

Mark and Tom's games club
Talking about secret meet-ups, Mark (Andrew Buchan) is secretly meeting up with Tom just as Joe used to secretly meet up with Danny. As Beth prepares to give birth to the couple's third child, Mark is sneaking off with his late son's former friend to, of all places, Susan Wright's abandoned caravan. At the moment they seem to be spending their time innocently playing computer games. Both of them suffered a loss: Mark his son and Tom, effectively, his father. It's likely that they're both trying to fill that vacuum; however, with what's gone on already in town such an arrangement is bound to have a creepy undertone.
It's not clear whether Mark's employee Nige (Joe Sims) knows about this. Never the best of liars, he did a very unconvincing job of covering for Mark to Beth – but is he just assuming that his boss has returned to his bedhopping ways?

The QCs have a history
What is it about Joe Miller's QC Sharon Bishop (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) that makes her retired former mentor Jocelyn Knight feel compelled to step back into the courtroom on the prosecution team? There seems to be an indication that in the past something went badly wrong for Sharon. Like Hardy in the last series she is potentially on a quest to redeem herself? 
Also: Knight and Bishop. See what they did there?

Paul and Becca are an item
After her ill-advised dalliance with Mark Latimer, Becca Fisher (Simone McAullay) is now in a relationship with Paul. Beth still isn't her number one fan. And the couple aren't so close that Paul feels he can confide in Becca over those secret visits he's been making to Joe.

Olly and Hardy still hate each other
Olly's tweet brought the national press to town, including Hardy's nemesis Karen White. He wrote the article that led to Jack Marshall's suicide. He practically blackmailed Hardy into giving the Broadchurch Echo the exclusive on Sandbrook.
"You can probably stop taking the arsehole pills now, Oliver."

Hardy is still the most awkward man on the planet

"Do you want a hug?"

And one thing we don't know...

What is the significance of the bluebells? Who sent one to Claire Ripley - and why has she kept it so carefully?

Broadchurch continues with episode 2 on Monday 12th January at 9pm on ITV in the UK and at 10pm on TV3 in Ireland.