Broadchurch: Thoughts on Series 2

Broadchurch Series 2
© itv.com

Remember when I wrote about my disappointment with the first series of Broadchurch here? Well, back then I honestly didn’t think I would want to watch the second series but when I found out that Charlotte Rampling would be in it, I simply couldn’t resist. I mean, David Tennant AND Charlotte Rampling (not to mention Eve Myles, one of my favourite girl-crushes ever, and James D’Arcy, who’s quite easy on the eyes as well… ;-))? Oh, alright then…

So I just finished watching Series 2 and I must say it totally made up for the shitty ending of the first series. I know many people didn’t like it (actually I read a few reviews that referred to it as “Boredchurch”) because it was completely different to Series 1, being a legal drama more than an actual whodunnit. Personally, I love legal dramas and court storylines, so I really enjoyed watching all the townies’ secrets come out in the witness box. The second plotline about the Sandbrook murders was quite riveting as well and I liked the characters of Claire Ripley and Lee Ashworth. FINALLY we got to know more about DI Hardy’s backstory and why he was being so weird in Series 1. Hardy’s interaction with Ellie Miller was really enjoyable as well this time round – I loved their matey banter and how he kept forgetting her younger son’s name. 🙂
The ending of Series 2 was quite different to what I was expecting but I thought it was very well written (quite the opposite to what I thought about Series 1’s ending) and beautifully filmed. I’m not quite sure how they are going to carry on from there for Series 3, which has just been confirmed, but judging from this series, they’ll probably find a way to surprise us. I just hope that Hardy and Miller will be back.

Have you seen Broadchurch Series 2 and if so, what did you think?

The Golden Couple of Politics?

Thursday night BBC 2 aired the third and final episode of its contemporary political drama ‘The Politician’s Husband’ starring David Tennant and Emily Watson as a married couple with high ambitions in the microcosm of Westminster politics.

After ‘Broadchurch’ (see this post to read about my thoughts on that one) I was curious to see what Tennant would make of this role. I hadn’t really read anything about the storyline beforehand, so when the first episode played out as it did I was pretty surprised. Some people might say the title of the show was a suggestion as to how things would go but I certainly didn’t see it coming. That said, though, it was really enjoyable to watch Freya basically outwitting her husband and becoming her own person as opposed to the pawn in his powerplay.

The beginning of the second episode seems to be quite ambiguous among TV critics and viewers. Alison Graham, TV editor at the Radio Times, writes that in her opinion rape and, as in this case, especially marital rape doesn’t belong on a freeview channel. The comments to her article show that even though quite a few of her readers agree with her, there’s also the odd disagreeing voice among them and I am one of those as well. If we can have murder, child abuse, suicide and other deeds depicting the darkest depths of the human soul on TV on a daily basis, then why should we shun something that occurs just as frequently in real life – even if behind closed doors and not as openly discussed – as the other things I mentioned? Just because it makes us uncomfortable to watch doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be shown. I’m sure there were times when watching a psychopath torturing his victim before killing it off made us uncomfortable, too, but did we ban those plots from our TV screens? No? So there.

‘The Politician’s Husband’ shows how a woman rises from the shadows of her husband to becoming a powerful figure in her own right, though at first it is by a mere coincidence which no one expected. It all comes at a price, though, and for me it was much more uncomfortable than watching that rape scene to watch the scenes where Aidan and Freya play the happy couple and they are so good at it that the viewer almost believes it’s not an act at all. But then you see the underlying hostility and distrust between them in their eyes and you realize that even when they are at their strongest, most united point in the storyline, which is right at the end of the final episode, it’s all just superficial and nothing has really been resolved between them. For me this final scene is all about that saying “Keep your friends close but your enemies even closer” and it’s just really sad to watch how this marriage that seemed so strong and happy and genuine at the beginning of the first episode turns into this farce. At some point in either the second or the third episode Freya asks her husband “Love without respect, is that even possible?”. I think by the end of the third episode their relationship has sadly changed to respect without love.

However, even though I was saddened by how it all played out for their marriage and their relationship, as a woman it was certainly very entertaining and satisfying for me to watch how Aidan’s pathetic scheming backfired and he got his just deserts in the end, having to yield the real power to his wife. 🙂

What really bugged me throughout the episodes, though (and I know it’s nitpicking and doesn’t really take away anything from the plot and the acting, which was brilliant, but still), is that a) the entire show seemed like an advert for Apple (iPhones galore, an iMac in the office, a Macbook on the kitchen counter, an iPad on the nightstand… Did Tim Cook write the script or what?) and b) the aforementioned iPhones kept ringing loudly throughout the episodes and almost every time when the call’s recipient picked them up they were ALWAYS set to silent mode and the little orange thingy on the side was clearly visible. Hello, editing department? Are you familiar with iPhones at all?

Yes, I’ll shut up now. 😉

Broadchurch: Final Verdict

So ‘Broadchurch’ has been over for a little while now… And though I do believe in the saying “If you’ve got nothing nice to say, just don’t say anything at all” (or somesuch), I think I need to voice my reasons for being thoroughly disappointed with the way it ended. Because I’m sad to say that the final episode really ruined the entire series for me. I know from reading the show’s fansite on Facebook and all the positive comments about it that I’m probably in the minority here, but I know at least two other people who feel the same way I do. So here goes…

The Pauline Quirke character: What the hell was that about? First they give us all those ‘town weirdo’ stereotypes, then they reveal her very troubled and tragic past and then she just vanishes and nobody seems to notice or care? Why introduce this character at all if she’s not going to give anything to the story in the end? I really don’t understand it and I think it’s really poor writing.

The David Tennant character: I pretty much only started watching this show because of David Tennant and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I think I already said in my previous blogpost about the show that I hope they give us a bit more insight into his character’s backstory. Well, they didn’t. Except for some farfetched plot line about his ex having an affair. Oh, golly, how original! So all those questions I (and probably everyone else watching) had about why he had those PTSD symptoms have stayed unanswered. Great. So why have him be like that in the first place? Another example of bad writing.

Which leaves us with the third and most important blunder in the storyline: The killer. Seriously, am I the only one who saw that coming from miles away? Well, OK, maybe not miles but at least the second to last episode. That scene at the skate park where Ellie was talking to her husband and he said something along the lines of “I’m available for questioning in the bedroom, you know?” and then when she wasn’t looking his face just turned really dark and hostile. That was such a major indicator that he had to be the killer, I can’t believe so many people were actually surprised when they revealed he really was the one who killed Danny! Hello?? Did you watch that episode at all? Also, this entire plot line with him being in love with Danny and the murder being more of an accident than an actual murder is so ridiculous. Child abuse? Really? After all that build-up that is what the writers came up with? So after the newsagent’s storyline they just thought “Oh what the heck, no one will notice that we just transferred that whole plot element from one character to another and took the easy way out”? I was really majorly disappointed with that. Actually, I’d like those 8 hours of my life back that I spent watching that show because honestly, I could have written such an ending myself, I don’t need to watch TV for that. The writers managed to keep me in the dark for more than 6 episodes, I’ll give them that, but the way the whole thing was resolved in the end was such a let-down. And yes, I do realize that a second series is coming sooner or later and they will probably tie up a few of those loose ends then (at least I hope so!), but still, no one knew it was going to be more than one series and seeing how the murder plot itself was solved and pretty much done with at the end I don’t see why any of the other threads couldn’t have been tied up now as well.

Oh well… I guess you can’t please everyone and apparently a lot of folks really liked the ending, so I’ll just shut up now. 😉 But at least my opinion is out there now. I feel much better already after this little rant. ^^

Broadchurch: A Seaside Whodunnit

For the past few weeks my Monday evenings have been reserved for watching one of my all-time favourite Doctors actors, David Tennant, in ITV’s new crime/mystery drama ‘Broadchurch’. I have to admit that I only learned about this show a few hours before it started airing but it had David Tennant in it, it was set in Dorset, which is an area of Britain I have been to and really like, and I always like a good whodunnit, so I was excited to check it out.

The story is set in a rather ordinary seaside town called Broadchurch and the characters seem pretty ordinary at first glance as well. There’s the friendly and slightly chaotic family who’s friends or acquaintances with basically everyone in town; the grumpy old newsagent; the bustling female police officer with a devoted house-husband at home; the male police officer with a dark secret in his past; the town weirdo (actually there are quite a few of those); the sensitive but slightly geeky vicar; the high-flying reporter from the Big City and many others. The victim of the crime that sets the story in motion is Danny Latimer, the young son of the aforementioned family. After he is found dead at the bottom of the cliffs and it has been established that his death was not an accident a frantic search for his killer begins and the lives of the townsfolk are disrupted as almost everyone is being put under scrutiny. Suddenly the viewer realises that nothing is as it seems to be in this quaint little town and that everyone seems to have a secret.

Usually with crime stories I’m quite good at making out who the killer is very early on but this one is different. For the first five episodes I had basically no idea whatsoever as to who it might be and now that the sixth episode aired last night I’m still undecided. It might be due to the fact that apparently only 4 people involved in the production knew who the killer was while it was being filmed and the actor or actress playing the killer was only told a few hours before the crucial final scenes were filmed. There are two more episodes to go and I really can’t wait to find out who did it! And after last night I’m really keen to know if the dog is OK (anyone who’s seen last night’s episode will know what I mean)!

The other thing I would really like to know is what the hell is wrong with DI Hardy? Illness? PTSD? It really bugs me that we don’t get to know more about his past and so far his character seems rather one-dimensional due to that which is a shame. :-/

So, anyone else watching this? What do you think who did it?