Review: Broadchurch ‘Episode Three’

With Claire and Lee fleeing the meeting arranged by Miller and Hardy, it is tricky to fathom all the fuss. More so, why Hardy is on the brink of a heart-attack – wished upon him by a furious Miller – when he blames her for his state and continues to trample all over her, punishing her. When Hardy goes in frantic pursuit of Claire, and finds her with Lee (only minutes later) they are in some kind of awkward reconciliation. It is clear to Hardy that she has not told him everything. In fact, as couples go, Lee and Claire are outright weird.


Miller is taking no shit from anyone now, including Beth as she screams into labor bur still insists the helpful Miller stay away from her. “Oh shut up,” she flippantly tells the pregnant woman. So horrid is Beth to Miller (Ellie) now, though you painfully feel both sides. One of the biggest longings you have as you watch is that they make up soon. A poignant moment between Miller and Beth’s daughter Chloe on the stairs suggests we may get there soon. There is also a sweet touch later when father Mark and his new baby girl are framed in the background with the photo of their lost son Danny on the foreground.

It seems Sharon has a son locked up, and although we want her desperately to lose the trial, she is now a human being to us because of this. A suffering mother. Then we cut straight to a scene (Ólafur Arnalds’ lingering score really takes us there) where Jocelyn visits her elderly mother in a home for which there is quite a large amount still to pay. Jocelyn later has a minor car accident and insists she is not hurt. Stubbornness rings true also when we head for the trial – it is a little questionable to attend court so soon after giving birth for Beth (even if Mark has brought her a cushion to sit on) while daughter Chloe holds the baby outside. Showing us this does not make it any more plausible.

When Hardy takes to the stand then, he is questioned (with manipulation again by Sharon) about the accused Joe Miller exchanging emails with Danny Latimer. When asked about who else could have used the home computer, Hardy quips, “I doubt the baby used it.” The judge isn’t amused, “I am not keen on sarcasm DI Hardy, just the facts.” Yes, and we, the audience, are not keen on the defense clutching at straws with some of the questions. Sarcasm might have been the most honest response to that because some of the attempts at pulling wool over the eyes of the jury are a little bit laughable.

Later, fooling each other than they are friends, Claire confesses to Ellie after a rather awkward girls night out that Lee drugged her on the night of the 12-year-old girl Pippa’s murder. She also revealed that, when she woke at 5am, he was cleaning the house. Lee, meanwhile, seeks out Hardy to offer his own Sandbrook investigational material in an attempt to clear his own name… or at least shift the blame. This is not long after Lee has put in a complaint to the police about Hardy. One of many fickle relationships.


The final scene in the courtroom, where Ellie is brought to the stand, is immaculately filmed and edits together the reactions of the courtroom between Jocelyn, then Sharon, laying their questions upon her. A note on the acting here: Rampling and Baptiste are both commandingly good and equally persuasive in their own ways. The drama, too, is taut and wastes little time. Even the facts and events we know about already that are dragged up in court are delivered with perspective.

The courtroom finale becomes slightly more ludicrous when, from seemingly nowhere, the defense brings into contention the notion (spoken as facts) that Miller and Hardy were having an affair. It seems to glide outside the realms of reality the show has been so reliable and proficient at maintaining. Although I know drama, I confess I know little about the process of law (apart from what I have seen in films and on television of course) so I will let this one slide. Broadchurch’s frustrating dramatic grip is tightened, though, by the fact the jury seem to be buying this, leaving the audience to wonder where this will continue next episode.

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