Everything is unravelling nicely in the third episode of Broadchurch – exactly as it should be.
Olivia Colman truly is a tour de force in this episode, and the series as a whole, as it goes. Here she presents several facets of her fascinating character: from being pissed off at Hardy’s resentment, to utterly loathing herself as she barely engages in a hard-to-watch sex scene. She hates herself for doing it, and yet she continues to do it. All she wants is love and comfort, something which was robbed from her when her husband’s deceit came out last series.
But it’s the final moment in which Colman excels. As I said last week, Colman is utterly stunning when she takes the stand, and question upon question is hurled at her. Sharon is playing nasty when she asks Ellie when her affair with Alec began, in an obvious attempt to undermine both Ellie and the case itself. Colman steadfastly declares that she isn’t the guilty party. No sir, indeed! I was on the edge of my seat there – Colman needs every award going. I’ve said it before, but it’s never been exemplified better than at the close of episode 3.
Elsewhere, it was rather strange to see a night-club scene in Broadchurch, and even stranger to see Ellie actually going out and drinking. I knew that there was more to Claire than first met the eye, but I am positively enjoying Ellie’s blossoming friendship with her. It’s nice that Ellie has a female confidante, even if that person is a suspect in the Sansbrook case. Because Alec and Ellie both come to suspect she knows more than she’s letting on as her story begins to unravel. Turns out she had been drugged by Lee, and had no idea where Lee was at the time of the girls’ abduction and murder.
But Lee provides a wealth of evidence which Alec seemingly overlooked in his quest to see Lee sent down – evidence which may mean someone else is the killer. I have a feeling Lee genuinely loves Claire, and is trying to lead Alec down a new route in order to keep the true killer out of prison. The true killer being Claire, that is. She’s got to be involved, right? Her or Alec – I still don’t trust the former DI.
Beth’s labour went smoother than I thought it would and she gives birth to Elizabeth. Even Ellie’s help can’t soften Beth, and she tells Mark to get her out of the house. This family is still very fractured, and the only thing that’ll help mend them is seeing Joe go down. Not that that’s looking likely at the moment. Despite both Sharon and Jocelyn nursing secrets (Sharon is travelling to London and back to see her incarcerated son – his crime has to be connected to Sandbrook or Broadchurch, right? Or am I just reading too much into it? – and Jocelyn is trying to fund her ailing mother’s care) it seems that Sharon is doing more to free Joe than Jocelyn is to keep him behind bars. Sharon is playing dirty, and I am loving it.
The story stalled somewhat this episode, but character was at the forefront, and for that reason Broadchurch is still on top. It’s nice that we still receive poignant shots of the cliff face to remind us where everything began. It’s all about Danny. And speaking of Danny, it was genuinely upsetting to hear Alec reading out the emails between Joe and Danny, and Ellie being questioned about her sex-life and whether Joe had owned pictures of child pornography. But then, I guess that Chris Chibnall intends to make the viewers uncomfortable. You couldn’t really watch Broadchurch and NOT feel uncomfortable.