BROADCHURCH: Episode 5 Review - Fighting Talk

Our review of the fifth episode of series 2 of Broadchurch is below. Please be warned that it contains spoilers for the series.

Episode 5 of Broadchurch, which marks where the series turns into the home straight, is also a turning point for some of the characters. It’s a typically convoluted episode and one that’s successful on many levels, opening up characters, introducing new theories and ending on a note of chilling horror. In particular there’s a much welcomed revival in the fortunes of Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) who seems to be able now to face up to some of her demons. Ellie has come back fighting.

It would be too much to expect Ellie to put all of her problems behind her and bounce back smiling. It would even be too much to see Ellie recovering a fraction of what she had before. What this episode does show is a shattered woman who has been at the lowest ebb making the first tiny steps to rebuilding her confidence, her self-esteem and her career and even daring to make plans to reclaim her family home. Ellie won’t put up with lame platitudes any more – she makes that very clear to Hardy (David Tennant) – and she’s trying to take back some control. She manages a meeting with her estranged son Tom (Adam Wilson) but more significantly she takes control of the Sandbrook case. “Don’t get pulled into it. This case has done enough damage to people,” warns Hardy. “Not me,” Ellie retorts, “I’m going to solve it.”

Her new-found enthusiasm is possibly something of a relief for Hardy whose health has taken something of a downturn. With all and sundry turning up at his little shed house, from Broadchurch trial witnesses to Sandbrook suspects, he’s no doubt expecting the next knock at the door to be the Grim Reaper himself. In fact his latest dramatic collapse compels him to go straight around to Jocelyn Knight (Charlotte Rampling) to put his affairs in order. The stresses are huge for Hardy. As well as the day-to-day drama of Joe Miller’s (Matthew Gravelle) trial, he’s been concerned for Claire’s (Eve Myles) safety so he’s boggle-eyed with horror to find that she has welcomed Lee (James D'Arcy) into the safe house in his absence. Then he has to contend with his main suspect and his new suspect, Ricky Gillespie (Shaun Dooley), knocking hell out of each other in the middle of one of the picturesque sweeping meadows where Lee is still building that fence. It’s little wonder that his symptoms are worsening, and he shows no sign of taking a step back now that the case is in good hands. Hardy will stay with the investigation even it kills him. And that’s no metaphor.

The Sandbrook narrative is becoming more and more entangled. Through flashbacks it’s shown that murdered Pippa (Hollie Burgess) was inspired by Claire to learn about hairdressing, implying time spent together, and also that Lee Ashworth and Cate Gillespie (Amanda Drew) had something going on. Ricky and Lee were former friends who enjoyed games of hide and seek in the woods with the two girls. They also enjoyed a bit of Rohypnol-fuelled recreation with their sexual partners. Hardy and Ellie discover that Ricky didn’t have sex with the bridesmaid at the wedding, although he did try. There’s also the question of Lisa’s phone being traced to Portsmouth. A ferry to France, Ellie surmises. However, a company name in the case notes leads them to an agricultural services warehouse. There the discovery of a large furnace for dealing with animal carcasses suggests a less happy ending to the life of Lisa Newbery (Eliza Bennett).

In the Joe Miller trial the evidence given by Susan Wright (Pauline Quirke) is quickly refuted by the prosecution, but not before there’s a reminder of how darkly menacing she can be. The vile threat that she made to Maggie Radcliffe (Carolyn Pickles) back in the first series comes back to bite her too. Could there be unfinished business between the two? However, Susan’s main purpose in the remainder of her life is to establish links with Nigel (Joe Sims). Has the baby photo she pushes through his door finally broken down his resistance to her? And has he left it too late?

Reverend Paul Coates (Arthur Darvill) is having a crisis as the exposure of his secret prison visits becomes likely as the defence try to bully him into taking the stand on behalf of Joe. He’s also probably misjudged Beth’s (Jodie Whittaker) readiness to take on the charity too. He rather pressured her into taking on his pet project to support sex offenders with the result that she bolts from the church when faced with those pews full of troubled men. The Latimers perhaps aren’t making as much progress as they thought; there’s a huge chasm between the way that Mark (Andrew Buchan) has found some purpose and how Beth has not. The new baby hasn’t been the sticking plaster for their relationship that they hoped.

It’s during the trial that the extent of the animosity between Jocelyn and Sharon (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) is revealed. A fragile Sharon, returning from a visit to her son, imprisoned for killing someone, is not in the mood for pleasantries from Jocelyn, and in the ensuing row it all spills out. Sharon expected her mentor’s support in her family’s time of crisis. But to Jocelyn, Sharon is like an ungrateful, disappointing child and an eternal victim, always looking for someone to take the blame. As a consequence, both sides are more determined than ever to come out on top. And with Tom Miller and Mark Latimer about to take the witness stand for Joe and Danny respectively, things are only going to get more emotional and the fight will only become tougher and dirtier.