The Latimer case heads into the final stretch as Claire (Eve Myles) reaches her breaking point.
Let’s bitch it out…
The defense calls Ellie (Olivia Colman) back to the box as a hostile witness. Almost immediately we find out what Abby discovered at Olly’s house last episode: Ellie’s financial loan to her sister Lucy (Tanya Franks) in exchange for information. Naturally Bishop (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) calls the money a bribe and then rests their case. It’s then time for both parties to make their closing arguments; both of which strangely enough highlight distances (it’s almost as if the women are using similar strategies!):
- 13 steps – the distance from the box to the witness stand for Joe (Matthew Gravelle) to cross to proclaim his innocence, which is what he would do if he were in fact innocent, according to Jocelyn (Charlotte Rampling).
- 50 yards – the distance between Danny and Mark Latimer (Andrew Buchnan) that might have prompted Mark to murder his son to cover up his affair with Becca.
Both women make compelling arguments for their respective sides – or at least arguments that would be compelling if we hadn’t already spent fifteen hours going over all of these details. As it stands, this simply ends up being more of the same, which is the main reason that this second series has been bogged down. There is one highlight, however, a visual one as the judge reads the jury their instructions accompanied by a slow pan long-take across the courtroom. It’s an elegant, simple way to remind us how the jury’s decision will affect everyone in the community in just a few seconds.
Naturally – in keeping with the drawn-out nature of the entire series – not only does the jury ask for additional information, the episode cuts off before the verdict is read. If Broadchurch had earned its dramatic moments, then this might have been a case of delayed gratification. As it stands, however, all I did was laugh and groan at the sheer preposterousness of the whole enterprise. At this point, I legitimately do not care what the outcome of this case is at this point.
I just want it to be over.
Due to the domination of the Latimer case, the Sandbrook recedes into the background. 2×07 does, however, provide some great material for Eve Myles as Claire. Hardy (David Tennant) decides to put the pinch on his former informant by informing Lee (James D’Arcy) that Claire aborted their child. It’s a shrewd tactical move by Hardy to force a break between the lovers, but it still feels cruel.
The ensuing conversation between Claire and Lee at the beach begins with the beautiful, haunting image of Claire posted at the top of the review. Claire spends most of the episode in repose with her eyes closed (in the shed, on the beach, on the park bench), but the image of Claire with her eyes covered with rocks is incredibly symbolic. It’s as though she’s already dead even before Lee attacks her and nearly drowns her in the water. The terrible events allow Myles the opportunity to play a variety of reactions throughout the rest of the episode: Claire is dazed and confused when Paul (Arthur Darvill) wakes her on the park bench, vindictive as she tells Lee she’s glad he never became a father and flippant as she hands off the pendant to Hardy at the courthouse. It’s a great showpiece for Myles, who finally gets a meaty story development to showcase her versatility. Now that Claire is at her lowest point, it’s unclear what comes next for Broadchurch‘s most polarizing new character. Is her possession of the pendant even important to the investigation?
- Jocelyn and Maggie (Carolyn Pickles) finally profess their love for one another. It’s a bit out of the blue, albeit not unsurprising when we reflect on the way they treat each other. I still just can’t get interested in either Knight or Bishop’s personal stories, however.
- Good to see Tom (Adam Wilson) back with the program. He’s fully in support of his mom, even holding her hand during the tense parts of the trial.
- The introduction of Lisa’s (Eliza Bennett) stalker, Gary Thorp (Tom Rosenthal) throws an interesting kink into the proceedings. How does his relationship with Ricky Gillespie (Shaun Dooley) alter the Sandbrook outcome (if at all)?
- Finally, Ellie makes more errors in the witness box. I love emotional Ellie, but she needs to learn to remain calm when it counts!
Your turn: Are you invested in the outcome of the Latimer case? Were you empathizing with Claire? Is the Sandbrook case coming together? And with only a single episode left what will happen in the finale? Sound off below.
Broadchurch airs Wednesdays at 10pm EST on BBC America