There was little to no press before this series of Broadchurch. The one thing writer Chris Chibnall did tease was that it viewers could expect ‘a very different kind of story.’ He wasn’t wrong, because where Broadchurch was once a reliable, tension packed drama full of real life characters, this series has proved once an for all that lightning rarely strikes twice. I was a bit disappointed with last week’s opener, but I laughed out loud at times during its farcical second episode.
The second episode saw the start of the Joe Miller trail, as his wife and a mumbling David Tennant played matchmaker between the woman Tennant’s character is holding under ‘witness protection’ and her husband who Tennant’s character has always believed was responsible for the disappearance of two teen girls. Sound utterly ridiculous? I know! I sound full of vitriol, but I genuinely can’t believe how awful this series has become. I so wanted my preconceptions of this second outing to be proved wrong. I wanted egg on my sceptical little face, instead with each moment I spend in that gorgeous seaside town, I feel a little fed up.
What exactly has gone wrong? Without wishing to repeat my original review last week, I think it’s down to one simple thing: we didn’t really need a second series. All this series has proved so far is that there isn’t another story to tell. Chibnall has always maintained that Broadchurch was less about the whodunnit and more about the effect of this awful crime had on a tight nit community. Sadly for Chibnall it was his masterfully crafted mystery story that got the nation talking back in 2013 and without the mystery element the series loses its appeal. He must appreciate this as he’s tried his best to add in a mystery surrounding the Sandbrook case. Sadly, the Sandbrook holds very little interest and I find the fact that Hardy’s been holding this woman hostage all this time truly bonkers.
There are times that series shows its former self, mainly in the scenes that see Olivia Colman’s Ellie battle with her life in the shadows of her husband’s crime, but there are to fleeting to hold the series together and we’re subjected to moments of madness with Hardy rigging Ellie’s former home with cameras in hopes of his suspect Lee Ashworth spilling the beans on the whereabouts of these missing teens. Perhaps Chibnall is missing a trick not letting the audience spend time with the families involved with the Sandbrook case so that we can feel empathy for them, instead we’re asked to care about this case we know virtually nothing about.
The final moments of this episode which saw an angry Beth Latimer go into labour as ‘villain’ Lee Ashworth kidnapped his wife. That irritating score was there indicate this was a massive twist and I should be on the edge of my leather, instead I saw it coming the mile off. And I struggle to see why I should care why a man has kidnapped his wife from a man who was also holding her hostage in his cabin. It’s truly bonkers. If a soap did the same storyline the majority of us would be saying how incredibly unrealistic and silly it was, somehow ITV think this is a plausible Monday night drama, but I seriously question whether I’ll last the run of eight episodes if it continues to self destruct like this.
Broadchurch continues Monday at 9.00pm on ITV.