Review: Broadchurch ‘Episode Seven’

Ooh, flashback again. Recovering from his operation, Hardy (David Tennant) thinks back to an uncertain Claire pondering the wholeness you feel with love. Or at least companionship. Words she speaks while laying in bed, and we think with Hardy himself at first but turns out he is there, in hospital, as support. Why? Well, Hardy soon tells Lee that Claire was pregnant, and we can only assume the detective accompanied Claire when she went for the abortion. They are really laying it on thick with the backstory. Lee goes off to confront Claire, and they fight amongst the rocks and the tide. A comically out of place sequence that brought me no closer to empathising with these misfits.

In what seems to be a much more sober reality, the pendant is the topic of conversation, that it was Claire’s and not Pippa’s after all. Hardy and Ellie (Olivia Colman) pay a visit to the young Gary Thorpe, who once owned the prior-mentioned agricultural business. It appears Ricky (Pippa’s dad) had lent him some money, and the young lad was kind of stalking Lisa (the babysitter). The detectives then ask Ricky a few questions, Hardy brings the hanging bluebells picture into the conversation. Ellie and Hardy are making so much progress now they can both smell the finish line. So what exactly was achieved in the original Sandbrook case?


Gratefully, the courts scenes are kept to a minimum regarding screen time now, I can’t help but admit these might be the most accomplished and grounded moments of the season. Without those this would have been much more schizophrenic in dramatic shift than it already is. It is that see-saw narrative tempo though that has helped keep our attention so far.

Giving their closing statements, if the jury are suckers for Sharon’s own fabrication of events that Mark killed his own son, then there is something very wrong with the justice system – more than we thought already. Jocelyn’s closing remarks in court follow a scene of her privately suffering the very recent loss of her mother. A scene so very moving, but no reflection on her court appearance – that is just for us emotional types watching.

Maggie (Ollie’s journalist boss) has been loitering for some time this season, but Jocelyn shines a light on her and thanks her for “pulling me back into the world.” Such a distant subplot, you hardly noticed, but when Jocelyn confesses her love for Maggie, you kind of realize you half saw it coming (you know, the way they look at each other). They share a kiss at sundown, and although does little for the plot development at this late stage, it is another moment to savor.

Want another? Now seriously considering the state of her marriage, Beth reminisces with Ellie over a gathering they all had, both families with the kids, a couple of weeks prior to Danny’s death. It’s a thoughtful, teary scene, the kind of human interactions that made us feel warm during the cold brilliance of the first season. While Olivia Colman has a habit of chewing scenes up, Jodie Whitaker has consistently been a more subtle form of excellent in the acting ranks.

When the verdict comes in I have to admit I was a little nervous. It has been a tense, back and forth of a court room drama. And with the verdict you long for seeming a little out of reach, you can’t help be on the edge of your seat. But the jury answers “No” to the question of having reached a verdict, and I echo Mark’s sentiments “I am not sure I can do this.” When they reconvene, the music, the cutting between characters, the head turns, all of it, make us wait even longer. Cliffhanging drama by the book, but frustrating as hell. We knew there was one last episode though, what did we expect?


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