By: Laura Denby
Following Grantchester’s series opener, normality has resumed for the group – although Mrs C is mourning the end of their holiday.
Given that they couldn’t escape the tradition of a weekly murder while they were away, I can’t think why that is; but she still insists on greeting her household with “merry morning, campers!” on a daily basis.
The boys aren’t exactly sharing their landlady’s cheery demeanour after the events of episode one, though. Merries staff member Bryan reported Leonard (played by Al Weaver, a regular in the Grantchester cast since series one) to Reverend Will upon discovering him in bed with his secret partner Daniel.
Bryan (Michael Abubakar) realised that nothing would be done, so acquired proof of their liaison. This week, armed with photographs of the two men sharing a moment of affection, he takes further action.
Conveying his message with a bible quote alluding to Leonard’s ‘crime’, Bryan sends a note demanding payment for his silence; leaving the village’s poor curate terrified.
Of course, there is a fresh new case to solve while this dilemma lingers. A baptism descends into drama when we learn that baby James is the son of young working class man Davy – not the wealthy, older couple whose care he’s in.
This leads Robson Green’s Geordie to an adoption agency run by Joan Beaumont, who Will (Tom Brittney) believes is coercing vulnerable pregnant women into giving away their babies.
Just as Geordie is telling Will to stop looking for problems that don’t exist, Joan is found dead. She oversaw the adoption in question, so are either set of parents involved?
Well, as usual, there’s a twist in the tale as a surprise link is found between the deceased and a young woman – and this is where the mystery unravels.
Meanwhile, the blackmail threat plays a central role as Will reaches out to his difficult family to borrow the necessary funds, with guest star Jemma Redgrave reprising her role as Will’s mother Amelia.
He asks under the pretence that the church is in need of extra support, but doesn’t have much luck as his step-sister Tamara interrupts. She eventually comes through with her father’s money, though, proving there is far more to her than meets the eye.
Will arrives to pay off Bryan and express his disgust over his treatment of Leonard; but not before Leonard tries to explain himself. He admits he is in love with Daniel, appealing that this is why he rejected Bryan’s advances.
Bryan tells Leonard that he was trying to catch him out over his sexuality, rather than seduce him as it seemed last week. “I could smell it on you,” he claims viciously.
Still, Leonard dares to hope the whole saga is over after Will sends the blackmailer on his way.
There’s little chance of that, as the episode ends with Bryan clutching the envelope of compromising photos at the police station.
What’s next for Leonard as he’s reported to the police?
As Bryan, accompanied by the Archdeacon, follows Geordie into his office, he holds Leonard’s fate in his hands. It’s a tense cliffhanger that evidently sets the tone for the remainder of season six.
It has already been teased that this year’s Grantchester outing is crucial for Leonard, impacting the other key characters along the way.
Given all we now know about what it means to be gay in the 1950s, he is sure to face a distressing time and a happy ending is not guaranteed.
Producer Richard Cookson previously said: “Leonard’s homosexuality is placed on trial – literally – when his private life is exposed.”
With such intimacy between two men still a crime, Geordie’s faith in the law is set to be tested. Will he be forced to arrest his friend next week?
If the hints we’ve been offered are any indication of this story going forward, we can expect Will to struggle between truth and loyalty, while Cathy (Kacey Ainsworth) is inspired into activism and Mrs C grows conflicted over the situation.
Viewers are now left wondering what the future holds for one of Grantchester’s longest-serving characters – and whether Leonard can be saved as the series progresses.