“Broadchurch”: Season 2, Episode 4

By Nivea Serrao

via TVNZ

This season of “Broadchurch” has revolved around two dead kids (and one missing teenager). As expected, all of the parents involved are having a rough time. As this Wednesday’s episode proved, parent-child relationships – good or bad – can have a huge impact on a person.

Look at Mark and Beth. Now the parents to the insanely adorable newborn Lizzie, both husband and wife find themselves coping in different ways as the memory of Danny hangs over both of them. Mark opts for paternity leave, not wanting to miss a minute of his youngest daughter’s life, while Beth wants to honor her deceased son by setting up a charity.

It’s an understandable reaction for both of them. As we’ve seen recently, Mark has tried to make up for his perceived sins as a father by being a paternal figure for the currently parentless Tom while Beth has been focused on getting justice for Danny’s death. My only question here would be how Chloe feels about both her parents’ decisions. The episode – as well as Mark and Beth – seemingly forget about her when she’s not on screen.

The Latimers’ reactions are contrasted with those of the Gillespies. Since Pippa’s death (and Lisa Newberry’s disappearance), the couple has drifted apart, their growing disconnect only exacerbated by the tragedy. In any case, Cate has remained in their home, in the hopes that Lisa might return, while Ricky is adamant against seeking justice for their daughter and niece.

This last revelation, along with the fact that we have recently learned that the second mystery number in Claire’s phone belongs to Ricky (not to mention the picture of bluebells in his office), paints quite a guilty picture. (I think we found our mysterious third party.) However, what is curious is that the pair have kept in contact all this time – although maybe not that much, given that they were having an affair at the time of the crime. As Ellie points out, it is strange that Claire would constantly be googling for “Lee Ashworth” and “Murder” all the time. Perhaps she’s trying to singlehandedly skew Google’s AutoComplete feature against her (ex?) husband.

Not that Lee is making things any easier for himself. He turns down (and threatens) Olly when he offers him a chance to “tell his side of the story.” I’m with Lee on this one: Olly’s track record hasn’t always been the best and his ethics (and practices) are more than fifty shades of grey. However, the episode presents the young journalist with the interesting dilemma of possibly reporting on his own mother’s testimony – but the thread falls by the wayside quite quickly.

Olly’s relationship with his mother, Lucy, does provide an interesting contrast to that of Nigel and his mother. Now that Susan is back in town due to her cancer, we get to revisit their dynamic. Of course, Nigel is still angry at the revelation that his mother kept his father’s child killing ways secret (as we all would, I expect) but Susan is convinced her son has inherited a genetic predisposition towards her husband’s not-so-extracurricular activities. And she follows up on her belief by testifying as much in court.

While this ends the episode on a not-as-big note – their argument earlier in the episode, plus her reveal as a witness pretty much gives it away – it does pit Susan’s testimony against Lucy’s, with both women claiming to have identified the murderer. And of course it doesn’t help that both Joe and Nigel fit a lot of the same descriptors (shaved heads and similar fashion sense). I do suspect that the characters will be dealing with this twist quite hard – not unlike how viewers took Ellie’s accusation.

This episode went quite a long way towards evening out the defense’s advantage so far. Jocelyn’s main character witness (and Joe’s former co-worker) was really effective in convincing everyone (including me) that Joe had this hidden, violent side to him. It was also nice for Joe’s legal counsel to confirm that they believed him to be guilty as well. (Side note: Ellie and Hardy’s shared look of shock at this reveal was quite priceless.)

Stray Observations:
* Sandbrook literally gives Hardy nightmares. Especially considering he nearly drowned while on the job.
* Hardy could probably tell you what Lee ate on the night in question, but he can’t remember Fred’s name to save his life.
* Let’s hope that Olly’s Twitter feed doesn’t hurt Tom’s relationship with Ellie too much. Now that Mark can’t spend time with him, that boy has never needed his mother more.
* The little fact about Danny being a newspaper delivery boy is a great reminder of how big an impact this murder has had on the town.
* As Lee so expertly demonstrates, the key to a woman’s heart is to bring her her favorite take out.
* The lighting and cinematography for this show has never been as on point as when it placed both Lee and Claire in the shadows, perfectly symbolic of their shady characters.
* Considering Claire also slept with Hardy, is there anyone she hasn’t had sex with?
* “I’ll sleep in the car.” “Broadchurch” is just writing its own fan fiction.

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

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