by Nivea Serrao
We’re one episode away from a verdict, but “Broadchurch” isn’t done tugging at heartstrings just yet. Wednesday’s episode took a moment to step outside the courtroom, which focused the spotlight on the many ladies within the show.
As I mentioned in an earlier review, one of the best things this season has been how casually this series has filled its cast with interesting and dynamic female characters, all of whom were given a chance to shine this episode. Thus the show not only celebrated a very pro-women episode, but it offered us another definition of what a “strong female character” might be.
All season we’ve watched the women of “Broadchurch” grapple with problems both personal and professional, but it’s always been rooted in who they are as people (and their ensuing circumstances) than their respective genders. Ellie has been trying to get her son back, while also regaining her footing as a detective. Sharon and Beth are using what happened to their sons to fuel them professionally – be it serving as someone’s defense in court, or trying to rehabilitate pedophiles. In all three cases, their motherhood is seen as a source of strength, rather than a weakness.
The same is true for the women who chose not to become mothers – a significant act in itself. Considering the shady circumstances she found herself in during the Sandbrook case, Claire chose abortion over raising a child alone. Meanwhile, Jocelyn seems to have chosen her career (and pride) over a relationship or family with Maggie. However, these choices do not paint either woman as incomplete. Instead it seems to offer them a layer of toughness.
The show’s non-judgmental tone extends to the ladies’ sex lives as well. Claire’s sexual proclivities are not frowned upon, rather it is her constant lies. Becca didn’t “steal” Mark away, rather the blame lies on him as the cheater. Even Tess’ worst deed is letting evidence get stolen rather than cheating on her husband.
But while marriage has been taking a beating throughout the season, turns out that Joe’s trial has resulted in one very good thing: Jocelyn finally confessed her feelings for Maggie – even sealing it with a kiss! While there have been undertones of a previous relationship between the two, it’s great to see it actually acknowledged on screen. What’s even more significant is that both women are significantly older, making this a rare display of queer romance than is usually seen on television.
Elsewhere in the episode, everyone’s favorite duo finally caught a break in the Sandbrook case when Hardy noticed the photograph of bluebells in Ricky’s office. This whole deduction (and the ensuing exchange) was particularly effective, as it not only drove home the kind of detectives Hardy and Ellie were before these cases ruined their lives, but it highlighted just what a big difference that possibility of solving this case (and having surgery) has had on Hardy. As a result, the show is better for it. Though I must say, I totally appreciate that his mood hasn’t brightened too much. Grumpy Hardy is my favorite shade of Hardy.
* Given that it took the show eight episodes to reveal who Danny’s killer is, I expected it would take that long to tell us the verdict.
* Hardy either whispers or shouts. There is no in between.
* These lawyers have done more testifying than ALL their witnesses combined.
* At this point David Tennant is playing Hardy as full on Scottish and it’s GREAT.
* I don’t know what I loved more, Abby’s expectation that Ben was going to compliment her or Ben’s little pause before he said, “I think you’re truly a horrible person.” Either way, it was easily this season’s biggest laugh. And by the looks of the jury faces, we’re going to need it.
Nivea Serrao is a staff writer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.