17 February 2015

TV: Broadchurch 2.7

Despite all the events and action of this episode, it feels very much the calm before the storm that looks set to be the final episode of the second series of Broadchurch

Most fascinating this week was David Tennant as Hardy, and it's a testament to the strength of his acting capabilities that he is able to inject his slightly dour character with such energy. The contrast between this week's Hardy and that of two weeks ago is astounding, and completely validates the storyline concerning his deteriorating health that Chibnall has been building over the last few years. Hardy is now out for blood, justice for innocent victims at the forefront of his mind. 

Much of this episode seems to be separating characters ready for the finale. Of the main players, Lee and Claire are most notably now enemies once again, the former's choice of course. Jocelyn and Sharon have also fallen out now, after the latter's son is forced to remain at a prison where he was recently attacked. Beth and Mark are also drifting apart, meaning Hardy and Ellie are pretty much the only remaining pairing still on civil speaking terms. Chibnall's been very clever in moving all his pieces into place ready for the finale, and I can't wait to see just what damage he can do when he sets his mind to it.

And then of course there's that cliffhanger. Although it may have been predictable, that doesn't reduce its impact at all. The climax of the story that's been building across all eight episodes of Series 2 is just around the corner, and I don't doubt many will be upset whichever way it goes. In order to retain some sense of realism, Chibnall must decide whether Joe Miller will be declared innocent or guilty, but where he'll no doubt shine is in the fallout and consequences of that. He clearly loves muddying the waters too, so expect these threads to get mixed up with all the other havoc he's wreaking. From this point of view, I can't help thinking Joe will set free.

As good as this episode was though, I can't help feeling it was just a (or another) pause before the last episode. As I've noted before (and as Tom Newsom pinched in his review) this probably would've been a stellar six-part series. Instead, we've got several episodes that, as quality as they are, almost feel like they're treading water for too much of their running time. We've been promised a killer cliffhanger for the end of the series, and I can't help thinking Hardy's time may be up. Surely by now he's made enough enemies that the third series could revolve around his death. That may be over-egging the murder mystery setup somewhat, but I'm sure Chibnall would find a way to enthral us all once again. It would be a tragedy for David Tennant to bow out, but that only adds weight to the idea that he might.

For the most part, this episode does its job though, getting us excited (and ready) for the finale.

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