Broadchurch: 2.02

Trials and Errors. And, from hereon in, spoilers.
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So, in episode two the revelations and repercussions of last week’s episode continue to unfold, albeit in a less dramatic manner. The principle strand is the aftermath of season one, the trial of Joe Miller. Apart from the Millers and Latimers everyone is starting be a lot less sure of his guilt, especially when Ellie’s violent outburst against her husband from last season is re-contextualised. Beth in particular still continues to blame Ellie for everything under the sun, from negligence to conspiracy.

When Jocelyn is lured to a mass meeting of witnesses, Beth rather naively says that none of them have any reason to lie, as all secrets are now out in the open. The shifty looks everyone then suddenly gains plays nicely into the theme of this season: there are many secrets yet to be revealed in this tiny community. Even Jocelyn’s secrets are yet to be revealed. Though she is at the heart of a different mystery to me: I know it’s likely be for the convenience of plot, but do witnesses for the prosecution really get to influence who they want to try a case? Is that a thing?

In the courtroom, DI Harding is accused of being ‘Britain’s Worst Cop’; something I’m beginning to think may have a ring of truth to it. While Joe’s conviction and arrest are on increasingly shaky ground, his decision-making with regards to Claire Ashworth seem to compound this. Forget the fact that he’s been hiding an apparently key witness for a long time in Broadchurch, but then deciding to use her as bait, and doing so in Miller’s house, smacks of desperation. He gives the impression of a man out of ideas, desperately flailing around in an attempt to do something, anything.

It’s actually a character illumination I’m enjoying, this transition from DI Harding as disgraced supercop to a desperate man, clutching at straws to redeem himself in any way he can. It appears that as the layers are peeled away, Ellie is revealing the strength and rationality that shows she always should have had Harding’s job, while Harding is showing himself as a broken man, barely fit for duty.

And in the end, while Beth’s waters breaking was to be expected, sporting Chekhov’s bump as she was, Leigh Ashworth and Claire vanishing was an unexpected turn. Are we to believe that Claire was abducted? That seems unlikely, especially with the hints of Claire’s inability to resist the charismatic Leigh.

Overall a slower burn of an episode; while Jocelyn tries to build the bricks of evidence, Broadchurch continues to add bricks of plot, of community breakdown and failure. I, for one, am looking forward to what writing will be on the completed wall.

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