20 January 2015

TV: Broadchurch 2.3 (Newsom)

review by Tom Newsom (Twitter | Flickr | Blog)

A second run of any drama series allows us a chance to see the characters in a new light, making new connections that didn’t get a showing last time around. One of the best things in this episode is Ellie and Beth Latimer clashing together - it feels like more scenes between them than last year, but then their relationship has changed. Local mums whose children are friends on its own is quite dull; when one of them loses their child then the imbalance becomes interesting; when one of them might have been complicit in that murder, it becomes really gripping. And all those layers are on show between Olivia Colman and Jodie Whittaker - not to mention the lovely moment between Colman and Charlotte Beaumont as the Latimer’s more open-minded daughter, saying out loud her mother’s hidden compassion. It’s very human and at the heart of this week’s episode, casting the characters in a new light this time, skewing our prejudices.

It’s not just characters but the show itself: the trial, especially the defence lawyers, allows the writer to almost be self referential when referring about past events - like Sherlock a few years ago, people’s speculation and comments is picked up here, whether deliberately or not. Here, the new characters comment on the murder investigation a bit like a casual viewer trying to catch up on an unrealistic TV series  - aren’t those two sleeping together? How well do you know what went on? Weren’t the police a bit over dramatic? Even with these questions about its plot-holes and unexplained back-story, the first series still seems solidly built, and yes, realistic - as it did when people reacted to it in 2013.

If the first series was the solid building then this series is the fancy extension - it’s similarly flashy, it’s important to the story, but it doesn’t quite feel necessary yet. The stakes are high (everything they worked for being overturned, our heroes’ lives falling apart, let alone the whole community, oh and another killer too) but they could be higher.

Olivia Colman is the star of the last scenes, her cross-examining is a real standout moment for her (though other characters have been joyous so far - David Tennant’s sarcasm earlier on, for instance). Keeping that performance but also in the acting category, Eve Myles is markedly different from what I’m used to seeing her as in the likes of Torchwood or Frankie - cheeky but with steel and bite behind it this time. For once, she might not be quite as loveable as normal - the show keeps one step ahead of us by pointing out what we’ve worked out in the days between the episodes. Maybe the Sandbrook case is a bit weirder than we imagined...

(And has anybody else noticed that out of the five or six new characters introduced, all but one of them are women - mostly professional women too? In a massive returning ITV drama - great stuff)

many thanks to
Tom Newsom (Twitter | Flickr | Blog)

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