Broadchurch Review: Episode Seven

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Oh Broadchurch, why do you do this to me?! After an intense last week, we’re back on the case again tonight with the penultimate episode that pulls at your heart strings. This final season has been very strong, particularly these last few episodes. We may be left still guessing at who the responsible party is, but it simply wouldn’t be Broadchurch if it was already figured out. With only the series finale left to go at this point, tonight had many gratifying moments and a resounding reminder of what this season has really been about: Strength. 

Though the search for Trish’s attacker seems to be going nowhere fast, the team has at least narrowed the list down to a few primary suspects. This week, all eyes are back on Jim, Cath’s cheating husband. Another victim, Laura Benson, told the police that she called for a breakdown service, but when that didn’t arrive she ended up walking home. Conveniently, Jim has a breakdown service as part of his garage services. Cath is at her wits end with Jim, he’s been lying to her and cheating on her for who knows how long. She thought that they could move forward from this, but after seeing him being taken in for questioning, again, she’s rightfully done. Searching for who knows what, Cath finds a box of condoms in the glove compartment of the car, along with a receipt of when those condoms were purchased. Cath takes the condoms into the station as evidence. Sure enough the condoms match the brand found at the scene and there are some missing from this box. Jim has an awful lot of explaining to do.

Image Credit: BBC America

Image Credit: BBC America

Cath agrees to a search of their home, and even helps the police by trying to collaborate Jim’s whereabouts on the nights of the earlier attacks. Turns out, she was away on a spa weekend BOTH times. Funny how that works. Jim explains that he purchased the condoms after reaching the Axe Hampton house because he saw a waitress there who he was going to hook up with. She confirms the story, but adds that they didn’t actually have sex. As Jim was getting too rough and she told him to stop. So he’s placed out in the woods, near the time of the attack, presumably a bit frustrated the night Trish was attacked…

Then there is the issue of Ian to deal with. He’s come forward to the detectives that he installed spyware onto Trish’s laptop. A program that allows you to turn the webcam on remotely, essentially spying on Trish whenever he wanted to. Creepy. He won’t give up the person who installed the spyware onto the machine though, so Hardy gives him an ultimatum. By the end of the day he calls in with who did it, or they’ll come arrest him. Ian first makes a stop at Trish’s, asking if he can have a chat with her. He admits to her what he had done, and why. He was lonely, missed her, missed being in the house, and that he knows he threw it all away. But that he didn’t ever intend to harm her or hurt her by installing it. He wanted to be the one to tell her, not the police. And he calls and gives up Leo Humphries as the installer of the spyware. Leo is questioned again, apologizing for what he did. He knew it was wrong but didn’t want to say anything before for fear he’d be judged and charged as the attacker. He gives a sob story about how hard it was when his parents were separating and how Ian was always there for him. He’s still a swaggery little shit, this sob story and “apology” aren’t enough for me.

Image Credit: BBC America

A key piece of evidence at the end of tonight’s episode will bring in the reveal of the attacker. With the finale being next week it can’t be delayed any longer. These last few episodes have gone in circles as to who the culprit is, Jim, Ed, Ian, Clive, Leo, Jim, Ed, Ian, Clive, Leo. But next week will bring us closure for that regard. But Broadchurch this season has been about so much more than the classic whodunit we all have grown to love. It’s been about strength, and solidarity. Relationships, particularity between parents and their kids. And the ever changing, click bait hungry, culturally wide acceptance of male dominance. Yet in Broadchuch, the only strength I see (apart from Alec becoming increasingly disgusted with the rest of the “men” in town) is coming from the women.

Mark is found, alive, and taken to the hospital. Though a suicide would have been an easy way to close out his story line and allow for the final two episodes to be focused on the current case, it would be have been a disservice to Beth. You don’t just make a fantastically strong character, with her pain and grief and courage and then break her right as the show is ending. You just don’t. The conversation that follows highlights just how very talented Jodie Whittaker is and how strong Beth is as a character. Further reiterated later in the episode, Mark’s selfish way of grieving for Danny pushes Beth right out of the picture. There is no room for her to grieve, no room for her pain or need to break down. Mark has to make every little thing so much about his grief and his pain that it’s pushed his entire family right out of the picture. Not because they wanted it, but because he forced it. Even poor Chloe, has to ask why the three of them aren’t enough for him. Not everything in life is easy and sometimes you get played a shitty hand. But the women in Broadchurch take that sorrow and turn into strength, something that the men all severely lack.

Image Credit: BBC America

Broadchurch has had a lot of shitty things happen to good people; Beth, Chloe, Ellie, Trish, Cath, Daisy, Leah, Lindsay, Maggie, and Laura. But do you want to know what the biggest takeaway is for all of them, they survive. They’ve all been wronged at some point, but they all move on. Some more easily than others, but they are a fierce group of strong female characters. This season has focused on how men in the town have wronged those women, somehow or someway. And Alec Hardy is standing at the front of men, almost defiantly, stamping his foot saying “this isn’t what we are supposed to be.”

Image Credit: BBC America

The men in this town have lied, cheated, stalked, threatened, attacked and objectified these strong women. Yes Trish’s attack and rape is the center of the investigation, but it’s like none of the men in Broadchurch know how to act like a decent human being. And all of these things they’ve done, whether it be the kids at school sharing pictures of girls (without their permission), cheated on their wives, acted like having and watching porn is a necessity in life, invading the privacy of other humans. They all circle outward from the attack and rape, but just prove that any and all of those behaviors can lead down the path that is sexual assault.

Leah tries to get her mum out of the house, even for just a walk. But her fear is fresh and the grief is too strong. Knowing that she needs to help her mom out somehow, she secretly organizes a solidarity walk. After witnessing her mom break down over taking a walk and venting in the fact that how is it fair, this one attacker gets to change how the entire town goes about their day? So Leah does something very touching and very brave for her mother. In a shot that eerily echoed the “lighting of the beacons” for Danny back in season one, she puts together a night walk for all the women in the town. To come together, stand together, support one another and to show her mother’s attacker that you don’t get to win. Not this time, not today. You won’t win, because we are strong and we stand together.

Image Credit: BBC America

Think you know who done it? Leave me a comment or find me on Twitter!

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Michelle Harvey