Episode five of Broadchurch has arrived and there is only one word to describe the episode this week: Strong.
This week, Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and Ellie Miller (Olivia Coleman) are back in the small town and Ellie finally gets her son Tom (Adam Wilson) to meet with her, trying to patch things up with him. It’s an emotionally powerful scene and Olivia Coleman once again delivers an outstanding performance. The series may have had its weak spots, but Coleman has always remained on top form throughout. A Bafta nomination can’t be far away.
In fact, the ITV drama seems to be getting better and better since episode four, and that is largely thanks to the episode focusing on strengths like the tense mystery of the Sandbrook case and the relationship between Hardy and Miller.
The Sandbrook case is getting more thrilling as it develops further and further, with new suspect Ricky (Shaun Dooley) finally getting a decent amount of screentime to make an impression on us. He is now growing more interesting and creepy the longer he’s on screen. Ricky has now appeared in Broadchurch to find Lee Ashworth (James D’Arcy) who provides another creepy flashback to the murder event which will have the audience questioning what really happened that night.
Meanwhile, Beth Latimer (Jodie Whittaker) wants to organise a charity in her son Danny’s name, but while she is doing this, her husband Mark (Andrew Buchan) is bonding with their newborn baby daughter. Any scene with those two together is beautiful to watch. Sadly for Beth, she is having trouble bonding with her new child and can’t seem to let Danny go.
Unfortunately, this sub-plot isn’t that engaging or interesting, nor is the charity storyline. It would be more interesting to focus on teenager Chloe Latimer (Charlotte Beaumont) who hasn’t appeared for quite a while. Where is she during all of this? She should be bonding with her new sister, but she is rarely seen.
Thankfully, the character of Reverend Paul Coates (Arthur Darvill) appears again and is shockingly asked to be a character witness for Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle) for his trial. This leads to a well done scene between Paul and his girlfriend Becca Fisher (Simone Mcaullay) who hasn’t appeared on screen since the show’s second episode. It’s nice to see Becca and Paul share some screentime together, although it’s short, it’s romantic at the same time.
Speaking of romance, Hardy and Ellie do seem to be developing their relationship. The drama of Broadchurch is always great when these two characters are together on screen, but hopefully the show won’t go down the romance road as it wouldn’t work. Although it is quite nice to see see the two strolling along the beach with Hardy pushing toddler Fred in a pram.
It’s also interesting to see Ellie dive more and more into the Sandbrook case: She says that she “can no longer sleep” and that she has nothing left in her life, except getting her son back and solving the Sandbrook case.
It also seems like Hardy’s illness is catching up with him as he pays a surprise visit to Jocelyn Knight (Charlotte Rampling), where he asks her to do his will. The biggest strength of this episode is that it finally felt more like the ‘classic’ Broadchurch. The investigation of Sandbrook is growing more interesting as all the suspects are introduced to motives (Don’t trust anyone). Hardy and Ellie are a joy to watch whenever they’re on screen and this week’s instalment manages to be tantalising, thrilling and emotional all at the same time.
The trial scene this week wasn’t that strong as it only involved watching Susan Wright (Pauline Quirke) telling lies that we already knew about. But it leads to a very good showdown between Ellie and Susan, where Ellie finally accepts that no one will ever believe her when she says she never knew about Joe.
The ending, while predictable, is very well done and makes for a great cliffhanger. It’s nice to see Broadchurch return to its former glory. Here’s hoping that episode six continues to stay strong.