Commenting this week on Broadchurch, David Tennant himself: “I think we’re a victim of our success, to be honest”. Yes, David? Go on… “The first series was such an extraordinary thing. We never allow lightning to strike twice in this country… we just don’t let that happen. So, inevitably, there was going to be a certain amount of ‘it’s not as good as the first time’. I think it is. I think it’s a wonderful series that I’m very proud to be part of.”
Well, I’m always delighted when actors are fans of the shows they appear in, but it isn’t our fault if season 2 isn’t as good as season 1, dude, and viewing figures haven’t dropped because of our reluctance to let lightning strike twice.
Anyway, to the episode. No matter how stupid a courtroom drama is (see reviews passim), it would take a remarkably unskilled dramatist to render it completely boring. So although we didn’t actually get much further forward this week with the case against Joe, there was undoubtedly a certain amount of tension: the standard last-minute piece of evidence, prosecution and defence speeches, and the wait for the jury’s verdict. That having been said, the best line of the whole thing was delivered by the junior prosecution barrister to his defence opposite number when the courtroom was otherwise empty. (And the later-years love story, although telegraphed weeks ago, was touchingly understated.)
In the Sandbrook storyline, the increasingly distasteful relationship between Lee and Claire continues to be the most perplexing mystery: why? Putting that aside, which I’d love to do forcefully, perhaps holding it face-down in the water for a while, there was lots happening here this week. What did it add up to, though? As with season 1 at this stage we have lots of potential candidates for the killing of Pippa (I’m guessing, from Lee’s remark that almost nobody knows him in France, that Lisa, the missing girl, is there), all of whom would fit with the known facts: as well as everyone in Doggers’ Lane being a suspect, it turns out that Lisa was being stalked by Gary, Mr Thorpe Agri Services, Jr., possessor of a furnace. And I still don’t care. Part of the strength of season 1 was that the show was more about loss and pain than the murder mystery, and without a reason to get involved with the Sandbrook case I’m finding myself detached from it. Still, it all meant that Hardy and Miller could tend to their Conspiracy Wall.
Like last week, this wasn’t bad. But Broadchurch is now just an ordinary drama, and the cliffhanger ending was predictable and cheap.