Review: Broadchurch ‘Episode Four’

Waking from a dream where he is in or under water, DI Hardy (David Tennant) is traumatized. The calm, almost slick no-nonsense detective is disappearing into despair. We soon see why he has such vivid dreams when he tells Ellie (Olivia Colman) that it was he who pulled the 12-year-old Pippa from the water. This back story and struggle of Hardy is crucial to Broadchurch Season Two. Even though his actions are haphazard and far from his more together detective from the first season, this is a change for the show that does not falter or dent the drama. Hardy has emotional investment too.


After Lee had made his appearance known at the local newspaper office, Ollie, the pesky young journalist, shows up at Hardy’s place to ask if Lee is dangerous. Is this a story? The hostility they have shared since the first season is not about to disappear now the media are about to put two and two together. We knew Ollie was ambitious, but when he publishes online a photo he has taken with the headline that suspected killer Lee is in Broadchurch, he seems more trouble than his naivety is worth. But we knew this, right?

Mark taking to fatherhood with ounces of sentimentality really brings a serene glow to the Latimer house (and that sunset helped), and even Beth is smiling. They need to keep their spirits up for they are back in court that day. And as compelling and mercifully short the court scenes are, there is only so much of this I can take. Some of the tension is getting a little bit washed up with casual over-the-top tug of war. Beth brings Jocelyn a lasagne at one point, though, they talk about Danny in a refreshingly affectionate little scene.

Later, when Mark tells Tom he can’t spend time with him because of the baby and that people might get the wrong idea, this just reminds us that there is a lot of strange behavior with these people that will likely result in pointing fingers. Also, the little narrative evidence that Ellie is devoting enough time to these kids. Dropping her baby off with sitters, and even though Tom is angry, as a mother you would expect to see some more fight. Are we seeing a woman so wrapped up in shock? Or again do we question the actual writing of the show?


Susan and her dog returns to her caravan (where Tom has been hanging out when not at his aunt’s). She is called to the stand, and rather than name Joe as the man she saw dumping Danny’s body on the beach, she tells the court it was her estranged son Nigel Carter who rejected her earlier after she told him of her cancer. What kind of vicious spite is this to bring to a courtroom? Beth asks for Jocelyn’s assurance that they will win, and she says of course we will. It is feeling like anything but.

Lee and Claire sleep together (it seems leaving her favorite take-out behind her door works a treat), and in their post-coital interaction he gets on top of her and threateningly asks her what he has told anyone. In response she asks that he tie her up for the next round of sex. Oh come on. Once again with these two we are left a bit at sea. A rocky, unsettled sea, sure, but also a rather bemusing one that feels rather far away.

And while this multi-layered plot plays out, and all head-shaking shenanigans is going on, the music score (which is great) is relentlessly pounding at any given moment. Perhaps a little too much at times – even in its closing sequence were characters react to the photo and headline Ollie published online about Lee being in the area. I mean, we, and many of these people already know about this. The saving grace of that closing moment might be the picture of bluebells on the office wall of Pippa’s father (whose office number was in Claire’s phone). And we ask ourselves, when all these pieces come together, is this going to be worth it?

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