27 January 2015

TV: Broadchurch 2.4 (Newsom)

review by Tom Newsom (Twitter | Flickr | Blog)

Can you remember what happened back in 2013? Most TV takes the wise move of being relatively self-contained, not leaving things dangling at the end - or if so, reintroducing old plot strands that might be important. Broadchurch takes the brave move of assuming that most people can remember - even though the first series aired almost two years before this one. This episode in particular, where Alec goes back to Sandbrook and the residents in town give evidence at the murder trial, wastes little time in giving explanations. (It’s rare these days for series to be that interlinked - the only other that springs to mind is similar slow-paced investigation series The Fall on BBC Two.) In the age of boxsets, online catch-up and repeat runs on digital channels, perhaps the long breaks between series like this doesn’t mean as much.

It’s lucky then, that the first series was so memorable - you know that the surprise appearances and long held pay-offs are going to work well, as they do here. For starters there’s the long awaited appearance of Alec’s ex-wife, mentioned last time (and catching us off guard when she finally appears here - I didn’t imagine Lucy Cohu, though she’s an excellent choice). Then there are the residents of Broadchurch and their battles - themes that jump out for me this week are human behaviour in extraordinary circumstances, and the lies they tell in , both very much a part in last year’s crime investigation. In this episode all that’s kept to a minimum thanks to the other plot taking over this week: Sandbrook.

We’ve seen bits of it in the last three episodes (this week marks the halfway point in the series) but here we get a much better picture of the questions, even if there are still not many answers. The characters there - two houses, four ‘suspects’ so far, are becoming more shady as we get to know them, even the lovely Eve Myles. The situation and the case feel quite real but the plot remains contrived, not helped by its place in this episode: Alec and Ellie drive halfway up the country together (where was Sandbrook meant to be set again?), spend half the episode interviewing people, and then return. It was never going to be easy to connect the two investigations - and yes, they’ve smuggled in a new murder mystery right under our noses - but it doesn’t feel like the characters have got anywhere fast. By the end, they only increasing their suspicions that Alec might be wrong about the (unsolved) case, but then we could have guessed that already.

The cast is strong as ever, with the latest additions to this series standing out in - of course you wouldn’t cast Shaun Dooley as a grieving dad and keep him to just a flashback. And I was surprised to see (in the ‘previously’ at the start of the episode) that, of course, the mother in the Sandbrook case visited Beth in the first series, before we even saw anything about the murder. And they’ve kept the same actress playing her - quietly clever work, tying both series together and bridging that sometimes wobbly series gap. I hadn’t realised at all that she had appeared before.

Which shows how much of the first series I remember!

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

No comments:

Post a Comment