Published on February 24th, 2015 | by SgtKaiju


Broadchurch Series 2 – Review (Spoilers)

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So, the much lauded ITV drama Broadchurch came to it’s season 2 conclusion last night, and it was a hell of a show. We had the final reveal of the Joe Miller’s trial and the eventual conclusion of the Sandbrook murder case. So lets look at these one at at a time.

Broadchurch-season-2-550402Joe Miller, more MacGuffin than villain this season, is acquitted by the courts of the murder of Danny Latimer. I honestly did not see this coming, but I really should have. Cue shocked and awed faces all round, including Joe himself, almost more shell-shocked than anyone else.

Released back into the community, he soon ends up back in Broadchurch, back with Rev Coates, that is until he’s abducted by Mark and Nige. This was all played as a straight revenge, with moody shots of Paul talking to Becca, an air of unease. But this was all to be one of Broadchurch’s infamous sleight-of-hands. In a wonderful mimicry of the a ‘jury of his peers’, Joe is brought face to face for the first time with the community he tore apart. And rather than extract bloody revenge, they banish him from their lives, from Broadchurch, forever. All credit to Olivia Coleman and Jodie Whittaker for this scene, the barely controlled rage and anguish in their acting is a master-class.

Broadchurch__Everything_we_know_about_the_Sandbrook_caseElsewhere, we get the confusing conclusion to the confusing murders in Sandbrook, the murders that almost killed Hardy and sent him to Broadchurch in the first place. And it seems all the suspects are in on it, with a triple-killer-double-victim murder in on hand. Clare set the ball rolling, with her admission on the necklace, the first domino that brought the whole thing crashing down, helped along no end by some fantastic detective work by Miller. Really, the woman should be the lead here…

BroadchurchSeason 2 has been a very mixed bag, getting some very negative reviews. And I can see why, with red herrings all over the place, confusing sub-plots and greater ‘soap-style’ story lines over season 1’s more streamlined story. Season 2 manages the miracle trick of having two whole story lines in it and yet feeling emptier than the first.

But allow me to offer a counterpoint to this, that the reason season 2 has suffered so badly and yet might be the most interesting time yet, is that it shows us the story AFTER the story. Season 1 was a very well acted, very well written, stereotypical crime drama. We have a crime, red herrings, sub-plots and a final reveal and conclusion. We see this week-in-week-out on any number of TV shows, books, movies. It is the very framework on which the genre is built.

But season 2 has taken the brave step of saying, ‘well, what happens next?’.

broadchurch-trailer-season-2Season 1 is filled with tropes of the genre, from the angry wife, the final chat between killer and victims family,  to soon dismissed sub-plots and suspects. But season 2 takes those tropes and uses them to dissect the genre, to tease out why this idea we have to policing is bunk and dangerous. We’re so used to seeing these stories all neatly tied up in a bow, presented to us as a heart-warming tale of good v evil, but Broadchurch has confronted that head on, with our heroes and villains all being flawed humans, painted in shades of grey rather than stark contrast. It’s power comes from the questions it asks about us, about TV and about our expectations.

It may not have made for popular viewing, but certainly made for interesting viewing.


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