Broadchurch: 1.08 - Final Review

So, when did Broadchurch get trendy? For the first five or six weeks, I felt like I was alone in a void, watching David Tennant look moody between slow motion shots of village life, but in the last couple of weeks, it seems to have become properly "hot". Bookies taking bets on the killer, massive ratings, already renewed for an apparently "different" second series.

Well, I reviewed the first seven episodes, so it seems stupid to get out of the habit now it's cool. Here's the finale, then - the killer is revealed! Whodunnit and why? Spoilers, very obviously, so here's your ITV Player link.


Last Suspect Standing?

The newspapers informed me several times during the day of airing that Joe Miller (husband of policewoman Ellie) was the main suspect for killer, presumably using the mystery show formula that he was the only character who had been given a personality, yet never suspected. Broadchurch is hardly the first to work by that system, and sure enough, it was Joe Miller. Could we have guessed? Or was the series simply predicated on running through everyone until we reached the correct villager at the end?

To be fair, I only guessed him when it became obvious they'd run out of other suspects - his son's emails were a major hint, though. If you wanted explosive revelations, this episode might've been a bit of a disappointment. They announced the killer early on, then went on to do about half an hour of fallout scenes. Thankfully, much of said aftermath was heavily focused on Olivia Colman's Ellie Miller character, and Colman is an amazing actress. I can see the logic in having her husband be the killer simply so she could do the reaction shots. David Tennant's DI Hardy gets a few moments too, and Tennant does beaten-down and doing-the-right-thing-no-matter-the-cost pretty damn well.

Admittedly, making Joe the killer leaves everyone else out of the loop a bit - because we'd only ever seen him interact with Ellie, there wasn't much for other characters to say beyond "Oh no, he seemed such a nice man!", and we kinda have to take their word for it. The scene with bereaved Dad Mark Latimer facing down Joe wasn't as powerful as it could've been, simply because we had no sense of how big a betrayal it was.

A Broad Church Full Of Excitement

Looking at the episode aside from the revelation, it had a lot of good character moments, showcased all the village characters at least once, and provided a sense of real closure. I still feel some of the early episodes of Broadchurch were clunky in attempting to depict "real" village life, but these final few episodes, with their big bold dramatic moments, really played to writer Chris Chibnall's strengths. The second half of the series has been incredibly strong and I do feel they've justified me fighting through the few moments I felt a bit fidgety in early episodes. As mainstream murder mysteries go, Broadchurch has been a really good one.

So, yeah, I'll probably give series two a shot, although... does this mean another murder in the village of Broadchurch? Or following detectives Hardy and Miller elsewhere? I'm almost more excited to find out the premise of Broadchurch series two than I am to watch the actual material. Still, plenty of options avilable to them - after all, it's a broad church.

Broadchurch is, obviously, now over. There are five episodes still up on ITV Player, the DVD comes out on the 20th May. Sorry about that last "broad church" joke, I couldn't help myself.

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