Broadchurch Series 1 Episode 3 (ITV) Review

Things weren’t looking great for Mark on last week’s Broadchurch, with the walls closing in on him and his phoney alibi just as Hardy and Miller identified the beach house as a possible murder scene. This week, we get the whole story, but it doesn’t mean that the mystery of Danny’s death is any clearer.

As I mentioned last week, and I have no doubt many of you figured also, it was always a long shot for Mark to actually be Danny’s killer. He’s so obvious, what with his shifty looks and mysterious absence on the night of the incident, but now we know that he was actually playing away. Surely a murder charge is worse than the label of adulterer? Maybe not, since Mark had convinced himself that his taking the family for granted may have been what tempted fate. This allows all of the red herrings, such as the opening dream sequence, to make sense – he felt guilty, but not for the reasons we first thought.

Despite the police not informing Beth of her husband’s indiscretions, we know that their daughter was fully aware of what her dad might have been up to. The two ladies have some interesting moments this week, as when Beth desperately implores her little girl to be “older than she is” so that the whole family can cope with what’s to come. I really loved this exchange between the two. We still don’t know why Beth’s pregnancy is ‘complicated’, however, and she obviously doesn’t want to come clean to Mark. We see her weighing herself, checking for signs in the mirror and enjoying a glass of wine – this is not a glowing mother-to-be.

We get a lot more from the relationship between Ellie and Hardy in this episode, too, as his behavior drives her to the end of her patience. Her husband advises her to “smother him with kindness”, and we get a humorous moment in which she invites him over for dinner. Despite me finding the whole ‘dark past’ contrivance a little tedious, we get some tasty morsels of information here that suggest it’s entirely down to Hardy’s previous case. Journalist Liz even confronts him about how he “let the family down”, and she attests that she’s come to circle a grieving family all so she can protect them from the same fate.

Watching Mark squirm in the interrogation was really great, as we could see his excuses and carefully crafted alibi gradually crumble around him. He thought he was a goner when the detectives found Danny’s blood in the boat, and the audience were encouraged to believe the same. We do know that Mark was prone to hitting his son on more than one occasion, as revealed by Ellie’s son during questioning. My guess is her knows even more than that, since we saw that he had the phone. More ambiguous is how Susan Wright fits into things, as we saw last week that she had Danny’s skateboard in her caravan.

This was another good episode of Broadchurch, with David Tennant standing out more than he has done with some brilliant scenes to play with. He tells us that his time in Broadchurch is some kind of penance for what happened with the previous family, and I hope we find out a bit more on this. With Ellie being so nice and well-adjusted from the start, Hardy is obviously supposed to be the flawed hero who redeems himself, so I hope this ends up feeling earned, rather than clichéd. The hunt for Danny’s killer is only getting more interesting, though, and there’s a lot to think about before next week.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.