What happened to Claire and Lee? Will Beth have her baby? Will Ellie have to take the stand and face questions about her actions towards Joe? Those questions and more are answered in the Wednesday, March 18 episode of “Broadchurch,” the third of the show’s second season.
“Broadchurch” is so good and so much fun when David Tennant and Olivia Colman’s Alec and Ellie are yelling at each other, so it seems that the episode is off to a strong start when that happens as Alec searches for Claire and Ellie deals with Beth in labor. However, things then take a turn for the absolutely ridiculous by episode’s end, once again thanks to pushing on Sharon’s part in court, this time on a matter that is so utterly out there and over a period of time that seems so short in the scheme of things, that the only thing to do is hope that future episodes correct it. Yes, Sharon is doing what she needs to for her client, but she continuously seems to take things a step too far – and only in two episodes of the trial – that it’s hard to find anything to like about her, even when she visits her own son in prison. Sure, maybe that’s the point, but it does seem to be taking away from what made the show so good in the first season to have this so early on in the second.
Beth does give birth to a baby girl, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Latimer, amidst screams of pain and for Ellie to go away, and Mark continuing to be MIA from his family and his phone going straight to voicemail. Still, Ellie is at her (former) best friend’s side, despite Beth trying to push her away, until the next morning, when Beth tells Mark to get her out of the house. That’s when Ellie leaves. Mark then shares a moment with his new daughter as he promise that they’re going to look after her and “get it right this time.” If that’s not moving enough, the camera then zooms out to include a photo of Danny in the frame, a look at the family’s past and future on the screen.
As for the missing Ashworths, Alec finds them at Claire’s house, which is absolutely baffling. Why would Claire bring the man she claims to be afraid of to the one place where she should be safe from him? Lee and Alec predictably get into it, and after her husband leaves, Claire tells Alec she was scared, had no choice but to go with Lee and doesn’t know what the bluebell means or who sent it to her. Then Lee calls Claire to let her know he’ll be there when she needs him, and flashbacks make it clear that there’s a lot more to what happened than she’s saying or Alec knows. In fact, after making an allegation that Alec harassed him and giving him no choice but to apologize in front of an officer or face a whole lot of complications he doesn’t need at the moment, Lee brings files of his own research to Alec and offers up a few new suspects. Plus he seems very confused about the bluebell, so who sent it to Claire?
Meanwhile, Alec once again has Ellie talk to Claire and do a bit of reconnaissance, this time of her phone, as the women have a girls’ night out and pick up a couple of men and bring them back to Claire’s. (It seems Claire forgot – or just doesn’t care – that she’s supposed to be in some sort of witness protection.) While Ellie doesn’t feel better after having sex with her man, the evening does prove to be worth it when Claire tells her that Lee drugged her and she woke up halfway through the night (later saying she woke up at 5AM) to find him cleaning the whole house. After hearing that, Ellie suggests that Claire is a suspect to Alec, but he already knows that. By keeping her safe, he’s ensuring she doesn’t run away. What does Claire know about that night? How involved is she?
Running in clear parallel to the Sandbrook investigation is Joe’s trial, with Sharon presenting another viable suspect to the court: Ellie Miller – in collusion with Alec Hardy. It begins when Sharon leaves Alec with no choice but to admit that Ellie had access to the family computer and the only connection to Joe they have with the phone and computer was the location: the Millers’ home. Before Ellie takes the stand, Jocelyn tells her to stay calm and stick to the facts – and most importantly, don’t get emotional. Jocelyn has her go over Joe’s background, knowledge in forensics and interest in the case before asking about her attack on her husband. Ellie says being a detective had nothing to do with it; it was simply a wife attacking a husband.
Then comes the hard part, as Sharon has already shown she’s not one to back down, and right from the start, her questions are personal. What was her and Joe’s sex life like? Did they watch porn? Did she ever find photos of children in his possession? Is she a good police officer? Then why didn’t she detect any suspicious behavior from her husband? That’s because he didn’t kill Danny, Sharon proposes, and she and Alec Hardy are having an affair and colluded to frame Joe to get him out of the way. Yes, that’s Sharon’s actual argument, and her evidence is the two hours she spent in his hotel room the night of Joe’s arrest because there’s no way the two of them were just talking. “I am not the guilty one here,” Ellie insists, doing exactly what Jocelyn had advised her not to do: get emotional.
“Broadchurch” season 2 airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on BBC America. What did you think of episode 3?