by Nivea Serrao
What does it take to destroy peoples’ lives forever?
Ask anyone in the “Broadchurch” season finale, and the answer you’d get would either be, “Justice” or “Murder.” Of course with Joe’s trial wrapping up and Sandbrook finally closed, it’s no wonder that both were on everyone’s minds.
In the case of the Ashworths, the answer is quite clearly and unequivocally murder. Ricky’s act of (very,very misguided) passion puts an end to Lisa’s and their lives as they know it as they are forced to lie, murder and blackmail to avoid being blamed for murder. It’s both tragic and ironic that all their actions to cover up what is essentially Ricky’s mess only made them seem guiltier over the years. Kudos to Hardy for sticking with this case as long as he did though. In a way, he was right. Lee was guilty of killing Pippa – even if it was because of his twisted sense of justice. And it seems that Claire also claims the “Eye for an Eye,” even going as far as burying Ricky’s Rohypnol-laced flask as future leverage.
Back in Broadchurch, the answer is less clear. For everyone but Joe, the answer is both murder and a lack of justice. With Danny’s killer set free, not only are everyone’s emotions running high – the trial being one hell of an emotional ringer – but they’re ready to go full-on Daredevil and mete out punishment on their terms. This gives us a somewhat powerful moment for most of the characters involved with this case. Mark gets to work out his aggression and guilt by tackling Joe, while Beth is able to look her son’s killer in the eye and threaten him out of town. Even Ellie throws in an uncharacteristically vicious threat. (Side note: It’s impressive that Olivia Colman is able to turn Ellie’s usually pain-filled teary eyes into fury-filled teary ones.)
Given his hostile interaction with his former friends and family, Joe’s response would undoubtedly be “Justice.” Though this might also be because it seems like he really believes himself to be innocent of Danny’s murder. However, this doesn’t make it any less ridiculous that he thinks he can return to his former life as if nothing’s changed. It’s like he didn’t sit through the World’s Most Emotional Trial. I was more surprised that the entire town didn’t show up to lynch him immediately, the way they did Argus Filch David Bradley’s old man last season.
In any case, Joe is well and clear of the show come Season 3. (Unless of course, he attempts to come back for custody of Tom, in which case I totally welcome the chance to watch another beat down courtesy of Ellie.) So this means that both the Latimers and the Millers finally have a chance to move on and rebuild their lives. This is great as it gives everyone involved a stronger support system than the ones they’d had when there was a huge Joe-sized rift dividing the families. Ellie can be there for Beth, while Mark gets a chance to continue being a father figure to Tom. Even Fred gets a playmate in Baby Lizzie!
Sadly, the closure of both cases leads to Hardy returning to Sandbrook to be closer to his daughter, which of course means splitting him up from his BFF and partner-in-crime-solving, Ellie. This realization is particularly painful especially after seeing how much their relationship has grown over the course of not just the whole season, but this episode itself. All season long Tennant and Colman have colored between the lines of their characters’ friendship, presenting us with two people who, despite having very different personalities, are the only ones who understand what the other’s been through. It’s no wonder that their interactions have been some of the strongest scenes so far, but it makes it painful watching them say goodbye to each other. Hardy being the one to offer a hug and Ellie turning it down only makes the whole exchange positively tear inducing. Lucky for us, the pair will be reuniting next season.
* “You are excused from any future jury duty.” is code for “You messed up.”
* I would totally watch a show about street fighting in wigs.
* I was right, Sharon’s son’s case will probably be the case powering next season. I for one am excited to finally see Bishop and Knight on the same team for once. Though once that case is wrapped up, I’d really like to see Maggie and Jocelyn get a spin-off where they go around righting wrongs in the name of justice.
* “Listen yourself you’re too emotionally wound up.” “Me? Have you ever met yourself?” I’m going to miss these two something fierce. Can Season 3 just be Hardy and Ellie on an eight-episode road trip?
Nivea Serrao is a staff writer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org