Grading the Season Finales 2015: Broadchurch

Today, Leah is back with a review of the season finale of Broadchurch.

Title Episode 8

Written By Chris Chibnall

What Happens? The episode opens with the shocking revelation that the jury in Joe’s trial has returned with a “not guilty” verdict, sending everyone in the courtroom into despair. Beth storms out in tears, and the judge wraps the case up, dismissing the jury. As soon as the court adjourns, Alec arrests Claire in connection with the Sandbrook murders and hands her off to his ex-wife Tess, while he goes to tell Ellie to harness her anger towards another goal: “I need someone as angry as me right now because we are going to close the case on Claire and Lee Ashworth.” The game, as they say, is on.

Alec sets a trap for Lee that pays off when he catches him in the act of searching for the pendant, so Alec arrests him. As they question Claire and Lee, Ellie comes up big with the discovery of new evidence, which shows that Lee replaced the floorboards in one of the Ashworths’ rooms around the time Lisa and Pippa went missing. This is the final pressure point they needed, and Lee and Claire confess, shown to the audience as a series of flashbacks explaining what exactly happened that night. We learn that Ricky killed Lisa after discovering her having sex with Lee, and he then pressured Lee and Claire into not going to the police by saying he would blame Lee for it. Since Lee’s DNA was all over Lisa from having sex moments earlier, it was likely Ricky would be believed. Unfortunately, Pippa heard part of the conflict, and at Ricky’s urging, Claire gives Pippa some of the drugged whisky to calm her down and put her to sleep until they figure out what to do. Once Ricky is gone to get the van to transport Lisa’s body, Lee realizes that Pippa thinks he killed Lisa and sees no way out of the situation, so he smothers the sleeping Pippa with a pillow. They dispose of the bodies and Claire threatens Ricky with his flask, which she has buried somewhere, and all three have been in a stalemate of mutual wrongdoing ever since. After hearing Lee and Claire’s confessions, Alec and Ellie bring Ricky in for questioning and then arrest him, and Alec is finally able to close the case.

After Joe is released from custody at the courthouse, he goes to the church to ask Paul for help. Paul knows Joe can’t stay in town, so he comes up with a plan and sets it into motion. Mark and Nigel physically carry Joe out of the church into Nigel’s van and take Joe to the hut on the cliff where Danny was killed. Waiting for him in the hut is Beth and Ellie, and Nigel leaves the four of them to have their moment. After Beth and Ellie say what they need to say to Joe, the three of them walk Joe outside and—with many of the characters we know looking on—put him into a taxi to send him away from the town for good. The people of Broadchurch created their own justice by exiling him.

Ellie and Alec say their goodbyes and seal it with a handshake, as Alec will be going back to live closer to his daughter now that the cases are over. Ellie goes to get Tom and meet up with Beth, Mark, Chloe, and baby Lizzie for the beginning of the reclamation of the beach and to continue to mend hearts with the two families. In the final scene, Alec goes to get in his taxi but pauses and looks around as the driver asks “Where to then, sir?” Perhaps he’s not done with Broadchurch after all. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Game-Changing Moment This episode felt like it wrapped up pretty much everything this show has been focused on for the past two seasons, so while I feel like there were some impactful moments in this episode, I do not see one single moment as having a game-changing impact on Season Three, other than perhaps Joe’s “not guilty” verdict. However, I recently read an interview done with Chris Chibnall (writer and creator) who said there will be no Joe in Season Three, so unless something changes, I believe we will not be dealing with that storyline more than its potential continuing affects on Ellie’s personal life.

The moment I felt had the most impact in this episode was the meeting at the hut where Beth, Ellie, and Mark had a chance to confront Joe. That meeting allowed Beth and Ellie to be able to have that confrontation with Joe and get those emotions out directly at him instead of lashing out at others or bottling it up. It was so important because it likely gave them a little bit of closure knowing they’ve had that chance to face Joe. The subsequent exile of Joe by the town gave both the characters and the audience a small sense of justice that was denied from everyone with the trial’s verdict, and it brought a sense of resolution to the story we have followed from the show’s beginning.

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TV Time: Broadchurch 2.07

It’s time for this week’s Broadchurch review, courtesy of the lovely Leah!

Title Episode 7

Two-Sentence Summary Alec seems more like his old self once again and sets into motion a plan to catch the Sandbrook culprits, creating conflict for Claire, Lee, and Ricky. Both sides make their closing arguments in court, and the jury goes into deliberations, returning with a majority verdict that we’ll have to wait until next week to see.

Favorite Lines “Stop thinking of life as something that happens to you. What we do now, that’s who we are.” (Beth)

“I stopped and turned around and faced the demons I’d been avoiding. There was no other way to go, so I fought back. When I’m weak…then, I am strong.” (Paul)

“I look at you and I see someone stained by death. I think it haunts you every single day.” (Alec)

My Thoughts We’ve finally reached the penultimate episode of this season, and we’re so close to answering so many of the questions we had at the beginning of the season. Joe’s trial is almost over, and Alec and Ellie are very close to unraveling the thread of all that happened the night Pippa and Lisa disappeared. This episode felt a little bit jumbled because of the amount of times we jumped between different characters, but overall I thought it was an enjoyable one, as we were given many scenes showing how the characters were doing as we moved closer to the verdict.

The trial finished with its witnesses in this episode, as Ellie was attacked on the stand one final time—this time about lending her sister money. The trend of “no one ever tells Jocelyn what she needs to know to do her job properly” continued, since Ellie had not told her about the loan. I spent most of the time while Ellie was on the stand wishing for it to be done with because we’ve seen her attacked a million times already, and nothing different was going to come from this line of questioning. That’s probably why this felt a little out of place in the episode for me; the jury were already going to consider the possibility of the police being corrupt in this instance, and other than setting an ominous tone for the ending of the trial, it felt a bit weird to end with an imbalance in witnesses of sorts, especially since we didn’t even see Jocelyn get to try to ask Ellie questions that would counter some of the damage done.

Finally, though, we came to the last major part of the trial, and Sharon and Jocelyn each presented their closing arguments to the jury. In my opinion, both lawyers presented a compelling argument, though Sharon’s was focused more on speculation and theory, and Jocelyn’s pointed out key evidence. I am assuming that we will receive a guilty verdict at the beginning of the next episode, but I know that if I was part of this jury it would be a difficult case to decide on. The show has done a good job of taking moments from Season One that could look suspicious if viewed through a different lens and using them to fuel the defense’s case, which means that, while I am assuming we will likely get a guilty verdict, I cannot feel certain. Broadchurch is the type of show that could potentially have enough daring to try to pull off a not guilty verdict and perhaps even succeed, though that doesn’t hold much appeal for me.

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TV Time: Broadchurch 2.06

Leah is back with her thoughts on the latest episode of Broadchurch!

Title Episode 6

Two-Sentence Summary While Tom’s testimony ultimately leads to a reunion with Ellie, Mark’s testimony creates a wedge between him and Beth. In the process of putting pressure on their Sandbrook suspects, Ellie discovers a picture of Claire wearing Pippa’s pendant, and the audience is shown a flashback of Claire stealing the necklace from Tess’s car.

Favorite Lines
“This isn’t about your dad; this is about your friend Danny. Because Danny can’t speak up for himself anymore. So our job is to find out what Danny would say if he was here.” (Jocelyn)

“Your father has done enough damage, and I won’t let him destroy us too!” (Ellie)

“I never thought it would be a part of this.”
“Everything’s a part of it, Mark.” (Mark and Jocelyn)

“I’ll give you money to shut up.”
“I’ll give you more money to stop being less of a knob.” (Alec and Ellie)

“They’d have ruined your career. I got away with mine…just.” (Alec)

My Thoughts This episode was very enjoyable, even though some of it felt like setup for the final two episodes. I enjoyed seeing Ellie gaining confidence and taking charge, and seeing more of Alec with his family. I’m glad we’re finally starting to narrow in on the Sandbrook case and figure out what happened, and that Joe’s trial will reach a verdict soon so we won’t have to keep watching people being attacked on the stand.

This episode didn’t have quite as clear of a theme for me as the past couple of episodes, but I did notice a few similarities between some of the characters. Our detective duo had some familial reunions, while Mark and Beth were torn further apart. Alec had surgery to put in a pacemaker to deal with his illness, and his ex-wife Tess showed up to help look after him. I don’t know if she is there because she feels obligated to him, since she said part of the reason she showed up was because she wanted to tell him she loved him for covering for her in Sandbrook. Or maybe she still loves him in the way divorced parents can think of each other as family, and she’s there because they’ll always be family through their daughter. Either way, these two seemed to have made peace with each other, as is evident by the somewhat heavy-handed “No more broken heart” Alec told his daughter (about the surgery) while looking at Tess. It’s nice to see they’ve gotten to the point in their relationship where they can talk and still care about each other without getting angry or resentful. Hopefully this means Alec will start to live for things outside of the Sandbrook case again, and he’ll be happier and healthier.

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TV Time: Broadchurch 2.05

It’s time once again for the lovely Leah’s weekly take on Broadchurch!

Title Episode 5

Two-Sentence Summary The prosecution and defense teams trade off in witness wins with Susan and Nigel, and we start to finally get some sense of what the defense is going to provide as the alternative to Joe. Familial strife is abundant in this episode, and Ellie dives deeper into the Sandbrook investigation and manages to find a new clue.

Favorite Lines
“Look, Tom, I know you want that to be true, and I know you blame me. But your dad killed Danny. And if I could’ve spotted what was going on or if I could go back and make it un-happen I would, but I can’t.” (Ellie)

“I was reading about another family. They were saying that a trial was as bad as a murder, and I thought that can’t be right. But then going in there every day, seeing our lives get turned inside out…when all we did was love our son. I get it.” (Mark)

“Because I didn’t like you enough. And I always knew you’d blame me if you lost. Because that’s what you always did, every time you didn’t win, every time you missed out on a big brief—you always blame someone else.” (Jocelyn)

My Thoughts The more time we spend out of the courtroom, the more I tend to enjoy these episodes, and this hour was no exception. I also found myself enjoying the Sandbrook case more now that we’re focusing less on Lee and Claire, and more on the case itself.

The trial feels like it’s beginning to finally narrow in on a conclusion now that we know the basics of the alternative theory the defense will present to the jury. I am already dreading seeing Mark being attacked on the stand, but I do think that, from an outsider’s perspective, it’s a credible theory on some level. Tom’s testimony is probably going to be both frustrating and painful, because I’m not sure he understands what he’s getting himself into. From his conversation with Ellie, it seems like he doesn’t know very much about the details of the case and has tried to avoid dealing with the emotional fallout that would happen if he accepted that his dad killed Danny, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up hearing about a piece of evidence in court and has a moment of painful realization or (equally painful for the audience) denial.

Mark hit on the thing that I hate most about trials in his conversation with Jocelyn—that in some ways it’s as bad as the murder. When someone is killed, there are other people left behind who become victims as well. Trials too often feel to me like a reinjuring of those who are already devastated by the original event. It’s one of the worst parts of our imperfect justice system, and this second season is highlighting that through the way the Latimers have been attacked in this case, as well as Ellie, Alec, and a few other members of their community, too.

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TV Time: Broadchurch 2.04

Leah is back with her thoughts in the latest episode of Broadchurch!

Title Episode 4

Two-Sentence Summary Joe’s trial continues, with each side introducing a surprise witness that throws a wrench into the other’s case. Claire and Lee reunite, while Alec and Ellie continue to look into the Sandbrook case by visiting the town and end up discovering new information that points them toward the grieving father.

Favorite Lines “Is that why it got to you? Because you could never be sure.” (Ellie to Alec, about the Sandbrook case)

“Willie Pep: 241 fights, 229 wins. Reportedly claimed he could win a fight without throwing a single punch.” (Ben to Jocelyn, about Jocelyn’s prizefighter metaphor)

My Thoughts This episode gave us some new information along with a few surprises. I enjoyed this episode a bit more than last week’s, probably because my favorite character (Ellie) wasn’t being attacked, and because I enjoyed learning more about the Sandbrook case as well as Alec’s psyche. I’m going to try a slightly different format this week, taking a look at some of the themes I saw in this episode.

First, a quick recap of the new information we learned: Joe’s trial introduced two new witnesses that provided a big hit to each side’s case. Jocelyn brought in Joe’s old paramedic shift partner, who told the story of a night when Joe snapped and seriously hurt a man, providing evidence of Joe’s temper and capability for violence. Sharon ended the episode dramatically by calling Susan Wright to the stand and revealing the defense’s alternative killer: Nigel. Meanwhile, Ellie and Alec traveled to Sandbrook to do some more investigating and discovered that Ricky Gillespie’s alibi is not as solid as it seemed, giving Alec doubts about whether he made a mistake going after Lee. Claire and Lee reunited, and the audience learned that Claire is definitely withholding information from Alec and Ellie about something she and Lee did in the past.

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TV Time: Broadchurch 2.03

Leah is back with her thoughts on the latest episode of Broadchurch!

Title Episode 3

Two-Sentence Summary Lee continues to cause trouble for Alec, and Ellie gets Claire to tell her what really happened the night the Sandbrook girls disappeared. Meanwhile, Beth gives birth to new baby Lizzie, and the trial continues with Ellie’s testimony.

Favorite Lines “I am sick to the back teeth of taking flack for stuff I haven’t done.” (Ellie)

“Ellie, listen. The world is screwing you over right now. You owe you something.” (Claire)

My Thoughts This episode seemed like one in which not much actually happened, but I was glad to get a bit more information on how all the characters are doing mentally and emotionally. I probably enjoyed this episode more for that reason, though I am still tired of Ellie being the show’s punching bag, and I hope this does not continue through the whole season.

One of the storylines I enjoyed most in this episode was the birth of baby Lizzie. I was glad Ellie stayed with Chloe while Beth was in labor, and their conversation on the stairs was one of my favorite moment, in which Chloe simply asks whether Ellie knew what Joe was doing instead of screaming at her like Beth has been doing. Meanwhile, Mark was absent for hours on end without being reachable on his phone. You would think with a wife who is ready to give birth any day that he’d answer his phone when it rings, but if he was spending time with Tom, then maybe he feels so guilty every time he’s there that he ignores all calls. The most emotional part of this for me was when Mark first held Lizzie. He broke my heart with his teary promises to take good care of her, as well his assurances that she was wanted and loved and that they wouldn’t make the same mistakes this time. Mark clearly still has a lot of guilt over feeling like they failed Danny as parents, and he wants to make sure they don’t fail Lizzie, too. I loved how realistic the emotions from Mark felt in that moment, because the show is showing us how losing your child in the way the Latimers did changes so much about your life, including how you feel about yourself as a parent.

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TV Time: Broadchurch 2.02

Today, the lovely Leah is back with her thoughts on the latest episode of Broadchurch

Title Episode 2

Two-Sentence Summary The preparation for and the beginning of the trial occur, which results in Joe’s confession being excluded from evidence. Alec and Ellie convince Claire to meet with Lee in the hopes that he’ll reveal something incriminating, but their plan goes awry when Beth unwittingly provides a distraction that lets Lee escape and take Claire with him.

Favorite Line “Because my life, my old life, is gone. And I made so many mistakes—some big ones. And I need to put something right. We could do it together.” (Ellie Miller)

My Thoughts I want to admit something, so you know where I’m coming from while I discuss certain parts of this episode: Personally, I am not a fan of shows that focus on courtroom scenes or the technicalities of the legal system. They usually infuriate or annoy me in some way—probably because of the way the victims or their families are often treated on the stand and because the audience usually has to spend a lot of time with the guilty party (or their lawyer) making smug faces. Thus, because of my bias against those types of scenes, I felt a fair dose of annoyance along with the enjoyment of other aspects of this episode.

Since I prefer to end things on a positive note, let’s start with the storyline that annoyed me more: the trial. A lot of this episode was spent in following the setup for and then the start of Joe Miler’s trial, and we got to see Jocelyn scolding a lot of people and the first witnesses giving their testimony. Most of the trial scenes were centered on one aspect of the case that the defense would attack heavily: the circumstances around the arrest of Joe Miller. Here is where my annoyance starts, and a lot of it is from what I touched on in my review last week. In going through this trial realistically, the show is asking me to apply reality (or at least some version of it) to the very emotional events of the Season One finale, which felt to me to have more impact because of the decisions made to not have it follow strictly realistic police procedure and instead let it play out in a more dramatic way.

When I look at Joe’s arrest from this new point of view, it’s no surprise to me that Joe’s confession was tossed out as evidence. Despite knowing that the confession was not coerced, I thought that Sharon provided a strong enough argument to create reasonable doubt that his confession was made freely. Unsurprisingly, this will make the case a lot harder to prosecute. It will be interesting to see what evidence Jocelyn focuses on in making the prosecution’s case, since I feel like, without Joe’s confession, most of the evidence that we know of is circumstantial.

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TV Time: Broadchurch 2.01

The lovely Leah is back today with the first of her Broadchurch episode reviews!

Title Episode 1

Two-Sentence Summary Joe Miller sets the whole town into chaos when he unexpectedly pleads not guilty at his hearing, and new characters are thrown into the mix as legal teams are hired and begin to prepare for the trial. Meanwhile, Alec’s past with Sandbrook is looming even larger than last season as Ellie discovers that not only has Alec been protecting a key witness from Sandbrook all this time, but the suspected Sandbrook killer himself is in Broadchurch as well.

Favorite Line “Knowing the truth and getting justice is not the same thing.” (Jocelyn Knight)

My Thoughts This episode did a good job of setting up the rest of the season with the introduction of new information and new characters, all without managing to lose the nuances in behavior and the emotional impact that make this show so good. Two main plotlines were introduced in this episode that will likely be our main arcs throughout Season Two: Joe Miller’s trial and the reemergence of the Sandbrook suspect.

The first major event of this episode was Joe Miller’s hearing. Joe’s plea appears to have broken the fragile, peaceful equilibrium of the town, and there is definitely some emotional fallout. Everyone was expecting to gain some closure that day only to have it unexpectedly denied, and Joe is inflicting another wound on the Latimers and this community by forcing them to go through a trial.

While time has passed, the main people affected by Danny’s death are still hurting. Ellie is seeing a psychiatrist and feels guilty over the whole mess—not to mention that her own son blames her so much that he’s not living with her and doesn’t even want to see her. While the Latimers have started to move forward with their lives and prepare for their new baby, Beth is still blaming Ellie and herself, and Mark is escaping from his family for hours at a time to play games with Tom. I feel like at some point this season the Latimers (or at least Mark) may collapse under the weight of the emotional strain. I can already see potential for a major outburst, especially in Mark’s reactions in the courthouse and at the graveyard. My heart breaks for them, especially because I don’t think they quite understand what this trial is going to bring about. As we see with the exhumation of Danny’s body at the end of the episode, this trial is going to hurt.

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On Grief and Knowledge: Thoughts About Broadchurch

Today at Nerdy Girl Notes, we have a little treat for Broadchurch fans: Leah is back with some thoughts about the show before the next season starts up! She’s also going to be posting reviews here after each episode, and I know she can’t wait to talk about the show with all of you!



I recently had the pleasure of binge-watching the BBC drama Broadchurch, and I promptly fell in love with it! The second season’s premiere airs on BBC America on March 4, and, after watching some of the sneak peaks, I am practically quivering with anticipation. In honor of Season Two premiering this week, I decided to write about my favorite aspects of Season One, as well as some reasons why I’m looking forward to Season Two.

Spoilers lie ahead, so if you haven’t watched Season One yet, read at your own risk. I have not named the killer or mentioned exactly what happened, but there are things that could point you toward the answer, so if you truly want to stay unspoiled, I would suggest avoiding reading this post until you are caught up.

For those of you who’ve watched Season One but need a quick recap, here is a short video recap from the BBC to refresh your memory.

Five Things I Loved About Broadchurch, Season One:

The Portrayal of Grief
One of the things I found so interesting and wonderful about Broadchurch was the way in which they portrayed the spectrum of grief in all its nuances. Though not the only ones shown grieving, the Latimer family was the main focus of most scenes involving mourning the loss of Danny, and each family member was allowed to grieve in different ways. We also saw through their eyes the way in which grief can permeate all the different areas of your life. I could write a whole post just on the way Broadchurch shows grief, and maybe someday I will. But for now, I will briefly talk about Beth as a great example of the complexity in this show’s portrayal of the grieving process.

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