Broadchurch s2 ep 5

The pile of nonsense written about Broadchurch – to which, I concede, I’m about to contribute further – continues to accumulate. This week the Radio Times was back for more, with a preview in which it tried to construct an almost entirely phoney ratings war between this show and Silent Witness, both popular, both showing at 9pm on Mondays. Now, the ratings are interesting to people who are interested in that sort of thing (like me – this week Witness edged ahead); and, at least in the case of Broadchurch, to advertisers. Beyond that the fact that the shows are on at the same time is irrelevant to viewers: anyone who likes both can watch one live and avail themselves of the catch-up options for the other. Or even, perhaps, use one of them there video recorders and tape one.

Anyway, the Radio Times is almost never knowingly out-cheerleadered when it comes to overrated British drama, but this week a note of peevish defensiveness was detectable: “Broadchurch… has taken flak for its courtroom scenes, which would in real life be drowned out by cries of ‘Contempt of court!’ (NB: no they wouldn’t. Can’t anyone spend a couple of minutes researching this stuff?) But then – forensic scientists who go on police raids and interview suspects? Surely not?”

One can almost see the folded arms, hear the “so what do you say to that, then?”. Yet again, though, the point is in all likelihood missed. At least I think it is. I don’t watch Silent Witness, but if you do you know what to expect, and I’m guessing that each episode doesn’t pick up on the procedural improprieties of the previous one.

That all having been said, it should in fairness be noted that the week’s Broadchurch wasn’t great, or even particularly good, but it was probably the best episode since the first of the season, the one which fooled us into thinking that the level of quality in the previous season was going to be maintained. The courtroom stuff is still barely tolerable, and the fall-out between Sharon and Jocelyn about the former’s son can be added to the already long list of Things I Really Don’t Care About. The most absurd exchange this week was probably between Rev Paul and Sharon, affecting bafflement – “If you’re so sure about his guilt, why have you been visiting him?” – that Paul had been acting like, well, a priest. (Although one might also wonder why it took everyone more than three seconds to work out that Googling ‘Thorp Agri’ might be the best way to find out something about Thorp Agri.)

Jodie Whittaker as Beth and Olivia Colman as Ellie continue to provide grace notes – Ellie’s conversation with her son was the only point this week at which Colman was required to do some proper acting, which of course she more than managed. And she now even has a Conspiracy Wall! Meantime Jodie is still getting dragged into the reformed sex offender cul-de-sac, this week with a church full of nonces. (That must have been a fun day in the casting department.) But Whittaker is convincing as someone trying, and failing, to hide her pain.

And in the hitherto redundant Sandbrook case, things are starting to move, even if I found it impossible to keep up with who is supposed to have shagged whom in Doggers’ Lane, where Lee and Ricky were living at the time of the murder(s). (Lee’s ability to silently materialise at a distance from crucial scenes is starting to annoy me.) Admittedly the plotting is along the same lines as season 1 – anyone could have done it – but at least we now have a list of suspects, a possible alternative scenario under which the missing girl might yet be alive, and in Ricky a grieving parent. Who might also be a guilty parent, but one doesn’t preclude the other. All in all, then, a bare pass.

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4 thoughts on “Broadchurch s2 ep 5

  1. Snoskred February 3, 2015 / 10:04 pm

    I don’t watch Silent Witness either, presently, but I have seen enough episodes to know what to expect and you are correct in your guess. 🙂

    Like any BBC Pride and Prejudice fan, I am prejudiced towards Emilia Fox, who played Georgiana Darcy with Colin Firth as Mr Darcy in the 6 part miniseries, and I have always intended to catch up on that show from the start at some point but truthfully I have a lot of shows I can say that about, so it might be a long while before I get to it. 🙂

    I must have missed all the Broadchurch hubbub but I can only say as someone who watched a couple of the US episodes (poor Anna Gunn!) that I suspect The Missing was light years better than it.

    We have a thread on the Australian broadband forums for The Missing, and every so often, someone pipes in that they’ve just seen it and wasn’t it amazing. And it was amazing, and I think I can easily state it was my favourite show of 2014.

    • Jed Bartlet February 3, 2015 / 10:47 pm

      I didn’t know if I could bring myself to watch The Missing, Snoskred. But it was generally well-received.

      The consensus on season 1 of Broadchurch (UK) was that it was fantastic – which overstates things in my view, but I was in a minority. Season 2, on the other hand, is proving more divisive.

  2. CJ Cregg February 3, 2015 / 10:37 pm

    I’ve seen exactly two episodes of Silent Witness in my life, but based on that limited exposure, I concur with Snoskred – you are right about it, Jed. Even if you were wrong, though, “Well, Silent Witness is ridiculous, so how dare you criticise Broadchurch for being ridiculous?!” (which seems to be the Radio Times’ argument) isn’t much of a defence. At least (based on my two eps), Silent Witness is internally consistent if you know what I mean. From your reviews, it sounds like Broadchurch isn’t at all.

  3. Jed Bartlet February 3, 2015 / 10:45 pm

    That’s my point: in fact, “internally consistent” was the phrase going through my head when I wrote this. As I keep saying, I don’t mind ridiculous shows at all; a quick scan through Unpopcult would show that I watch (and like) plenty of them. But using your second season to criticise your first is idiotic.

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