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Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Broadchurch: The questions we're supposed want answered

So earlier in the week I wrote a really rather scathing review about the highly anticipated return of ITV's Broadchurch. I wasn't alone in my disappointment as people complained about the lack of action, poor sound quality and over the top dramatic music presumably intended to convince the audience danger was afoot.

If you've read my initial review you'll know I had problems with the opener, with its new mystery and Joe Miller pleading not guilty but here are the unanswered questions we're supposed to be gripped by.

1) Why is Joe pleading not guilty? 
We know that Joe killed Danny. We have a theory that perhaps Joe's son Tom actually killed Danny and Joe has been covering up for him as that's the direction the US remake Gracepoint took, but it's all a little meh isn't it?

2) Why does Ellie sister presume she'll have to give evidence now that the case is going to trial?
There was a small scene where Ellie's sister presumed she'd have to give evidence which confused son Ollie. Did she know Joe had been seeing Danny in that house in Broadchurch? And if so why didn't she say in the first series and save us the bother of the next eight weeks!

3) Why are we supposed to care about Sandbrook?
Obviously Sandbrook was mentioned several times in the first series, but it just seems a daft plot device to have Hardy's past follow him to Broadchurch. The disappearance of two young girls is perhaps intriguing but the scene where it was revealed Hardy had been hiding witness Claire Ripley in his house for over a year just seemed too silly to believe.

4) The significance of the bluebells?
One thing I absolutely can't fault Broadchurch 2 for is it's look. The stunning  beach-front  views, the sunshine and the glorious blue skies look stunning in HD. Then there's the the subtle hint that bluebells are important. The very first scene there's a flash of bluebells and Ellie finds some in an envelope. Is this significant to the Sandbrook case or was Claire a florist in her life pre-Broadchurch?

5) Mark plays Fifa with Tom
A lot has been made of a scene that saw Mark Latimer playing Fifa with his son's best friend Tom Miller. Perhaps it's suspicious that he would be playing videogames with a young boy in a caravan, or more likely, he's a grieving father who has substituted Tom for his own son and just wants to do the things he would've done with Danny.

6) What does Lee Ashworth coming to Broadchurch mean for Alec and Claire?
The episode ended with a shot of Sandbrook suspect Lee Ashbrook standing on the cliff top with his eyes bearing down on Alec Hardy. How has he found out that Hardy was there and why does it matter anyway?

There are only a few true unanswered questions in this series and none of them really are keeping me awake at night. As I've said a lot on social media I just feel this series is an example of a broadcaster asking a writer to repopulate the success of a previous series even when that series had a definitive conclusion.  How can the end tagline be 'closure' and the start of this series be 'The end is just the beginning'  Make up your minds that's a real mixed message.

Broadchurch Continues Monday at 9.00pm on ITV.


Anonymous said...

You have hit the nail on the head exactly. None of these questions are that interesting, particularly the Sandbrook murders. No doubt that plot twist has been given prominence to allow David Tennant to get some gritty shouty acting scenes under his belt, but it isn't that interesting. Like a lot of others, I'll probably be more inclined to read reviews rather than actually watch from now on, but I have an awful feeling we are going to end up with another twist to drag this out to series 3. Alternatively, this is all heading for melodrama and I expect Hardy and Lee to be wrestling on a clifftop near crumbling rocks at some point and/or Ellie to find redemption through similar. It's all so very sad that they have ruined what was a good stand alone series just for the sake of money.

John905 said...

OK, this is the first big disappointment of the new tele year, but let's look forward to some of the other cracking stuff coming up, including Wolf Hall, new Sherlock and Doctor Who, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell, the new round of BBC Shakespeare, including an apparently stunning turn from Benedict Cumberbatch in Richard III, the Banished and Peaky Blinders, just to list a few. One dud shouldn't spoil the enjoyment, so let's move on to bigger and better shows!

Hola_1 said...

Hmm. So many mediocre or really negative reviews for this - not just here but on most sites. Of course, lots of people say they won't bother watching again, but it will be interesting to see exactly how many viewers it is going to shed next week and over the eight weeks. My guess is that it will probably drop back to around 5 million based on the fact that around one million switched off at the first ad break on Monday and adding in another million based on the poor audience reviews. It's also interesting that BBC had huge ratings opposite it for football and this must encourage them that they can win Monday night with a bit of effort - will be interesting to see what they do throw at Broadchurch now that it is so vulnerable. ITV must be worried already by the poor response to what they had hoped would be a real winner for them ratings-wise. No panic from them just yet, but it will be concerning for them that this is looking like being a flop. It will certainly kill of any chances of Broadchurch 3 though - thank goodness. This sequel is so very poorly written and plotted that it boggles the mind how much worse it could get.

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