Broadchurch: Series Two, Episode Seven. Television Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Cast: David Tennant, Olivia Coleman, Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan, Charlotte Rampling, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Arthur Darvill, Eve Myles, James D’Arcy, Meera Syal, Carolyn Pickles, Jonathan Franks, Tanya Bailey, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, William Andrews, Matthew Gravelle, Lucy Cohu, Shaun Dooley, Adam Wilson, Simone McAullay, Joe Simms, Tom Rosenthal, Hollie Burgess, Lucas Hare.

The penultimate episode of a long running drama is just as important as the bitter conclusion. The viewer has had the set up in the initial opening episode and stayed the course, but if the penultimate instalment doesn’t leave the viewer hanging on the edge of the chair, shouting in frustration, even if they know that answers are never that easy, then all is lost and time and tide wash away the burgeoning expectation and the final reveal is taken away.

The second series of Broadchurch may have had its cynics, it may have had the clamour and outpouring of those wishing to give Chris Chibnall’s excellent drama the last rites but it has delivered exactly what it set out to, the courtroom drama after the fact and for that it cannot be judged harshly.

If the series has added anything on top to the gravitas that surrounded the exceptional first series, then it has to be in the way that Chris Chibnall has bought in the characters of Lee Ashworth and Claire Ripley. The psychotic nature of their relationship, the destructive interdependence, the keeping of darkness that resides in both their hearts and the craven like beast that lives in both their hearts, draws the viewers away from the court setting and adds extra petrol to an already explosive and potentially vicious and death like scenario.

For Eve Myles especially, so long lauded, and rightly so, as a quality actor from programmes such as Doctor Who, Torchwood and Colditz, this perhaps is arguably her finest hour on screen so far. The ability to turn from the defensive and emotionally distraught and exhausted Claire Ripley to a lioness able to fight back with eyes blazing wildly and with the venom of a startled snake raging through her, her bite as toxic as the life she has found herself embroiled within.

This caustic relationship is played out with the same sincerity as the flowering bond between old friends, Maggie Radcliffe and lawyer Jocelyn Knight, Carolyn Pickles and Charlotte Rampling, who finally admit late in life their mutual love to each other. In a touching scene on the cliffs overlooking the town of Broadchurch, the kiss is as important as the fight in the sea between Claire and Lee, it symbolises the tie that the beach where the murder of Danny Latimer took place has on everyday life. Life must endure, it must go on, but love can be either found or destroyed in the beat of a single heart.

As the tension reaches its conclusion, to see a good old fashioned courtroom drama played out to its maximum potential has been gratifying and with the final episode to come, the dramatics are far from over.

Series two of Broadchurch concludes next Monday.

Ian D. Hall