“Broadchurch”: Season 2, Episode 5

By Nivea Serrao

via NYT Arts Blog

It’s all smoke and mirrors on Wednesday’s “Broadchurch” – and that’s not just because of the pretty camera angles (although it must be mentioned that this week is particularly impressive in terms of composition and lighting). Instead, the hour delves into the nature of marriage and how well the characters know their respective spouses. Of course, judging from the many lies floating around, it also becomes a matter of how much they can trust their significant others.

That’s what makes Susan and Ellie’s confrontation so intense. Not only did both of their husbands commit similar crimes, but Susan admits to knowing about her husband’s activities, something she then accuses Ellie of. As viewers, we have the benefit of knowing Ellie had no clue, but in terms of her character, she has no way of proving otherwise.

Susan’s not the only wife who was aware of her husband’s extracurricular activities. Claire has also hinted that Lee wasn’t the most faithful of spouses (something this episode confirms via flashback). At this point, it’s not an understatement to say that there is not a single healthy relationship on this show. (Unless Chloe hasn’t broken up with her boyfriend…but I think he may have moved to “Gracepoint.” Poor guy.) Even Claire and Tess (Hardy’s wife) have cheated on their husbands – multiple times in Claire’s case. Then again, I think the Ashworths may have an open marriage, if their joking about their love lives a few episodes ago is anything to go by.

The common denominator in all of these relationships is that none of them seem to have been in happy marriages. In any case, it seems the reason why Ellie didn’t suspect Joe of anything is because she genuinely loved him and thought they had a good marriage. She said as much a few episodes ago when she was talking to Claire. This only makes me want to hug her more.

What’s funny is that the many flawed marriages that litter this show only underlines how healthy Hardy’s relationship with his own ex is. If anything, it’s borderline jovial – which, given their history, takes a moment to sink in. I suppose having a kid does that to you. Even Beth and Mark have been able to put their differences aside in favor of Baby Lizzie.

This new layer to Ellie and Hardy’s friendship produces two of the best moments of the episode (and possibly the series). The first is Ellie’s sheer delight at discovering a carnival behind Hardy’s house (“Ooh, bumper cars Hardy!”), contrasted with Hardy’s extreme displeasure. The second is his sheer sleep-addled astonishment to return home and discover that Ellie has not only constructed an entire case wall, but eaten all of his food. If there is any definitive proof that Ellie is a morning person and Hardy is anything but, this episode is it. The cherry on this already amusing pie is that Olivia Colman finally gets to stretch her comedy muscles, and it’s nice to see Ellie take charge and doing something.

Stray Observations:
* “I love you more than I love chocolate.” Bless you Ellie, you magnificently kind-hearted saint of a woman.
* “Why would she lie?” “She’s a journalist.” Oh Susan.
* I swear Hardy’s Scottish accent gets thicker each time he says “Miller.”
* Of course Baby Lizzie’s little hoodie has little bear ears. Because she just can’t get any cuter.
* HARDY REMEMBERED FRED’S NAME.
* “Because I didn’t like you enough.” Jocelyn’s favorite “Frozen” character is undoubtedly Hans.
* Hardy’s right: Ricky doth protest too much. Clearly he’s hiding something – like the fact that he’s the murderer?
* There was absolutely no way there wasn’t going to be any blood in that warehouse. Also, Thorp Agriservices sounds like a company a villain from “Despicable Me” would own.

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

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