Broadchurch s2 ep 2

Well, they went and did it: as guessed last week, season 2’s court case is going to be a lengthy criticism of season 1’s dramatic choices. I’d call this bravely and innovatively meta if there were the slightest clue of that being the intention. For example: prosecuting QC Jocelyn Knight interrogates Ellie about assaulting her husband at the end of the first season. “What the hell were you doing?” she demands. Since the honest answer is “What cops do in every TV cop drama ever!” Ellie can’t say that. Instead, though, it becomes the first crucial point in the trial, when the question of Joe’s confession arises. I appreciate that I may be looking at things too legalistically, but I’d be prepared to bet that the general viewership might well wonder why Judge Meera Syal took about three seconds to decide that violence after a confession was enough to exclude the confession itself. (With the jury sitting in the courtroom, listening.)

Still, you’d have to say it’s something of a result for the defence team, already under a bit of pressure because the only hotel that they can possibly stay in is the one owned by Becca, currently shagging one potential witness, and who had an affair with the married father of the deceased. Come the eff off it, folks. (And they don’t even know yet about Jocelyn being invited to some sort of symposium with the prosecution witnesses. At least she pulls the plug on it.) So we’re looking at the case against child killing Joe being short of evidence. There is, of course, another possibility: that Joe isn’t the killer; that he’s covering for someone; and (perhaps) that Ellie’s destabilisation of the investigation was deliberate. That, though, would mean trampling all over season 1’s plotting, and legacy, with giant hobnailed boots.

And, meantime, while season 2 pokes holes in season 1’s improprieties, Alec and Ellie just carry on doing what the hell they like, apparently without supervision or anyone caring too much about how they fill their days. As part of the reheating of Sandbrook, Claire agrees to meet her husband, possible child-killer Lee. As far as Alec is concerned, this represents an opportunity to extract yet another arguably inadmissible confession, this time from Lee. So having decided that the one place suitable for their confrontation is Joe and Ellie’s matrimonial home, which Ellie hasn’t been back in since Joe’s arrest, Alec rigs the house with a battery of recording devices, the better to catch Lee being entrapped into saying “Yes, I totally did it”. Claire is understandably apprehensive, but there’s so much talk about whether she is going to be protected from Lee – yes you’ll be safe, front and back doors guarded, we’ll be watching, etc. – it’s entirely obvious what’s going to happen.

In the middle of all of this, there’s quite a nice sequence when Claire and Ellie bond over their possibly murderous partners. The good feeling doesn’t last, though, and I even lost sympathy for Beth, generally the most appealing character in the whole show, when – after yet again turning up somewhere with the sole purpose of assaulting and berating Ellie – her waters break, and she wails, “Look at what you’ve done to me!” I suppose if you’d stayed at home, Beth, and not gone out of your way to shove Ellie around, it might not have happened.

So if there’s a third season, is it going to be all about the flaws in this season’s investigation? Or is this idiotic show going to come to its senses before then? Predictable and stupid. You can do better than this, Broadchurch.

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