“Broadchurch”: Season 2, Episode 3

By Nivea Serrao

from Metro.co.uk

The theme of this Wednesday’s “Broadchurch” is Context with a capital C. While the court case against Joe has been presenting information from last season, this episode frames it in a new light, showing us just how easy it is to distort the truth.

One of the most effective aspects of the show’s first season is that it managed to make us question everything we thought we knew (or suspected) about Daniel’s possible killer, each episode’s ending leaving us with more questions than answers. It served as a great reminder that we never know when we’ll have to account for our actions.

And that is where most of our characters seem to be running into problems.

For Ellie – and Lee, for that matter – it’s about establishing what is true and what is conjecture on the part of the lawyer (or detective) involved in the case. For Claire and Mark, it’s about their whereabouts – whether it is the night of a murder or the birth of their third child.

Of course, for the latter pair, we know what Mark’s been up to. But it’s Claire’s story that has begun shifting and changing. As she reveals to Ellie during their late night gab session, she (much like her confidante) was drugged and asleep the night in question. This only confirms Hardy’s admission that he too believes Claire is an unreliable witness.

This also opens up the question of Lee’s innocence. As he argues this week, there were other possible suspects Hardy could have investigated. Like I said last week, we haven’t seen too much definitive evidence that says he did it. (Side note: Is it just me or is the Broadchurch court system not as hung up on forensic evidence?)

This mirrors Ellie’s situation this week. Much like Mr. Ashworth, she is fighting against the alternative theory that Sharon is presenting in Joe’s defense. Unlike with Lee, we know that Ellie is innocent. In fact, she is one of the few people we know who could not have been responsible for the murder. This makes her accusation one of the most affective moments in the series so far.

Olivia Colman has been killing it this season as she works through the betrayal and pain Ellie is feeling, as well as the outrage and rejection she is facing from the town. But she has never made her character seem as alone as when Sharon is leveraging a case against her. It’s even more jarring after finally having seen Ellie stand up for herself – first against Alec (“What is the point of you Miller?!”), then against her former BFF Beth (“Shut up you stupid cow, I’m trying to help you.”). Sure she stands up for herself on the stand, but as Colman perfectly conveys, Ellie knows it’s her word against Sharon’s.

It’s interesting, because this episode presents a parallel between both Ellie and Lee AND Ellie and Claire. This makes sense because she is our point of access for the case, with Hardy filling her (and us) in on the details we don’t know. What’s more, we get to see how close to the case Hardy has gotten – it does consume all his spare time after all.

My only complaint so far this season is how fast the case against Joe seems to be disintegrating. While I don’t like that the judge seems to be siding with the defense a lot, I understand that this needs to happen in order to keep the court storyline in play over the rest of the season. In fact, I kind of enjoy the drama it is causing (as unnecessary as some of it is). Yes, it was hard watching Ellie be accused, but it was also an unexpected turn. Now I only hope we dispense with this theory as soon as possible.

Instead, my problem lies with Sharon, who seems to anticipate Jocelyn’s every move – which I suppose should be expected when a pupil faces off against the master. But I would hope the master would have saved a few tricks up her sleeve.

Stray Observations:
* I am genuinely convinced that Alec Hardy’s kryptonite is babies and small children as evidenced by his awkward interactions with any human below the age of five.
* Given how the Sandbrook storyline has been woven in, as well as the introduction of both Jocelyn and Sharon’s family members, I think it’s safe to assume that Sharon’s son might be the case we follow next season. Two seasons set in this little town should be good enough reason to justify the show’s name.
* The Latimers seemed quite laissez-faire about bringing their newborn out and about considering she’d only entered the world a few hours earlier…
* Speaking of which, Beth deserves all the points for going to court after giving birth that morning.
* I wonder if Lee posing as Hardy will cause any problems for the grumpy detective later on, but I guess we’ll see… Also, while I know it doesn’t make sense, I’d like to think that Lee picked up his investigative skills from Peggy Carter. #RenewAgentCarter
* A quick Google search confirms that bluebells do indeed grow in France… Could Lee be lying? Or might a third party suddenly be involved?
* British judges sure do give juries more credit than their American counterparts.
* Am I the only one who thinks that one of the guys interested in Ellie and Claire looked a lot like a certain Detective Inspector?

And what about you? How did you feel about Ellie’s accusation? Is Lee innocent? 

Nivea Serrao is a staff writer. Email her at entertainment@nyunews.com.

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