**SPOILER WARNING: DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN BROADCHURCH SERIES 3 EPISODE 2**
“I am not in the mood for swaggering young s***s,” snapped Olivia Colman’s DS Ellie Miller in tonight’s Broadchurch.
She is talking about Leo Humphries (Chris Mason, below) – the smug youth in charge of his Dad’s fishing tackle shop that may have sold the twine that was used to tie up Trish Winterman.
He is an arrogant so-and-so – she’s right – with an office bedecked with scantily clad women. But misogyny of varying degrees was woven throughout this episode and Ellie could have been talking about any number of the show’s men.
The posters on Leo’s wall clearly sent poor Ellie off with what may be an uncomfortable reminder of her son’s problems at school (he has been suspended for downloading porn), but she could be alluding unconsciously to other men who meet that description – perhaps David Tennant’s cocky and abrasive Hardy, the partner she sometimes loves to hate (more of that later)?
But of course polestar in her mind is probably the “swaggering s***” numero uno, her husband Joe who got away with the series one murder of Danny Latimer.
His shadow still looms over Broadchurch where poor Mark Latimer (Andrew Buchan) is still struggling with his bereavement – the book he wrote with newspaper editor Maggie clearly doing nothing to expurgate his anguish.
In fact, there was a beautiful scene in the church when Mark tried to address his feelings of rage and impotence with vicar Paul Coates (Arthur Darvill) who was himself suffering a bit too.
No one comes to the church any more, moaned the Rev Coates; they all needed him at the time of Danny’s murder but, several years on, they’re no longer interested.
Well I wouldn’t count on it: the problems are mounting in Broadchurch and Danny has not been forgotten by those who loved him.
Mark and Beth Latimer had a heartbreaking encounter in which they talked about their relationship, and the hole in their lives.They are now estranged and Mark asked for more distance between them because he didn’t want the false hope that their partnership could be rekindled. It was all very sad.
In fact these skilfully-written head-to-heads offered the episode’s best moments.
Beth was involved in a moving scene with Trish – their first Rape Crisis meeting which allowed Julie Hesmondhalgh to deliver a graphic and truly moving testimony on the traumatic impact of her attack. Two people, just talking. It’s writer Chris Chibnall at his best.
And Hardy and Miller also provided some excellent fireworks when she raged at the way he forced Trish‘s police statement when she wasn’t ready (Miller was right – Trish stormed out of the interview room when the subject of her sexual history came up).
These compelling highlights threw into sharp relief the frankly weird diversions that peppered the hour: the strange sight of newspaper editor Maggie discussing the closure of her Broadchurch office with a bizarre segway into the economics of print media, plus the seemingly pointless scenes between Hardy and his daughter.
Still, the picture of the suspects is building up nicely.
There’s taxi driver Clive Lucas (Sebastian Armesto) who loomed into view with one or two of those dodgy Broadchurch glances which suggest that he is too much of an early suspect to be a likely contender. The list also includes Trish’s estranged husband Ian (Charlie Higson, below) who we met for the first time; he’s a slippery teacher with a new girlfriend who admitted to being one or two sheets to the wind during the Axhampton House party where the violent attack took place.
During her formal interview with Miller and Hardy, Trish admitted to having had consensual sex with someone else on the morning of her attack; an unpleasant suggestion regarding her promiscuity from ex-husband Ian was also made during his police interview (when he tellingly declined to give a DNA sample).
I suspect that her lively sexual history will be a factor in this ongoing investigation where writer Chris Chibnall seems very determined to weave strong social points into his narrative. There was also a good moment when Miller reflected on the lack of police manpower given to the Winterman case compared with a murder investigation. All examples of that misogyny again which seems to be creeping around series three of the drama.
But if Chibnall knows how to do anything it’s provide a gripping climax. And the final moment when Trish picked up her phone and jumped back as if she had touched an electric eel was exhilarating.
She had just seen a message from an unknown sender – “Shut up, shut up or else”.
Well it would be enough to make anyone’s blood run cold. But what can it mean?