Broadchurch episode 5 review

Review Louisa Mellor 1 Apr 2013 - 22:00

The press is the real villain in Broadchurch's moral-heavy fifth instalment. Here's Louisa's review...

This review contains spoilers.

Since green boy Olly sent that first investigation-compromising Tweet, Broadchurch has narrowed its eyes at the press and waited for it to start claiming its own victims. Jack Marshall was the first of those, the discovery of his body the visual equivalent of an Aesop’s moral about looking before you leap to conclusions. 

Jack’s demise was a demonstration of the press' ability to hollow out a person’s life, shove a hand in, and puppeteer around what’s left to tell whichever story sells. The front page narrative cast him in turn as creepy Jack, hugger of young boys, then saucy Jack, wedder of child brides, and now what? Suicide Jack, who must have had something to hide? Experience tells us he’ll be tucked away on page twenty before he’s allowed the simple dignity of being Jack Marshall, deceased.

The tale of Jack’s “secret family” unspooled steadily in the episode, each nugget - the marriage, the car accident, the dead son - moving him from suspect to sympathetic accused. Not that he was entirely sympathetic, despite Hardy’s sigh of relief when he heard Jack’s story. It’s okay guys, that sigh seemed to say, Jack’s one of the good child sex offenders. He’s heterosexual! She was practically legal! He married her for Christ’s sake! Jeez, lighten up a bit. Grass on the pitch and all that.

That aside, the papers, especially those from that London, were still this week’s villains. Seen rewriting Karen’s story, papping the Latimers, and whipping up a Dorset mob, Broadchurch couldn’t be more visibly narked about press intrusion if Hugh Grant had been a script consultant.

It’s notable that rogue journo Karen was given something of a free pass this episode. Exclaiming over her editor’s decision to sex up the Marshall story more or less absolves Karen of blame in Jack’s death, and redirects Broadchurch’s critique of the media towards anonymous headline writers.

Talking of sexing things up, was there something in the water this week? Olly and Karen, Chloe and Dean, SOCO Brian and Ellie, Hardy and Becca Fisher… There were more unwise couplings and propositions than murder accusations flying around Broadchurch in episode five. They can’t all blame it on the ouzo.

One romantic liaison in particular caused due upset. Beth’s tirade at Becca Fisher proved that hell hath no fury like a woman armed with Tyrrell’s Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar crisps, as Reverend Rory (I know that’s not his name) witnessed. Mark Latimer too, found himself on the wrong end of his wife’s temper, and deservedly so. If she’s telling the truth, it seems that Beth’s pregnancy isn’t as “complicated” as first advertised, her potential infidelity one of the many wrong paths Broadchurch has sent us down so far.

On the subject of paths you shouldn’t go down, let’s hope DI Miller’s given young Tom the stranger talk by now. Susan’s static caravan was repositioned in Broadchurch as a witchy gingerbread house this week, her chocolate Lab the bait to lure in local youngsters (and possibly, dodgy Nige). Was it significant that Nige offered the skateboard-hoarding Susan £500 in cash to get out of Dodge, precisely the sum found in Danny’s bedroom before he died? We’ve three episodes to find out.

With that deadline looming, who else shares Ellie’s concerns about Hardy’s ability to get the job done? "Stay in", it'll abate, Hardy told Jack before leaving him entirely vulnerable. “Relax” with me, he told Becca Fisher, not a week after they'd looked at each other from across the interrogation table. Even if like me, you’d sell your Nan for change to buy David Tennant a mug of cocoa, you have to admit that his frosty DI hasn't exactly earned that stolen promotion yet.

Reluctant as I was to enter into a game of 'who's the killer' predicated on the sensationalist hook of a child-murder, Broadchurch has me guessing. To that end, let's recce the new facts: Olly’s absent dad was the owner of one boat found ablaze. Danny was the pimp-style owner of two mobile phones. Susan Wright was likely the owner of four high-tar cigarette butts found where Danny’s body was discovered. Additionally, Tom Miller definitely knows something, as do Olly’s addict mum, crossbow Nige, and – we assume – Reverend Rory. Without any pointers from psychic Steve this week though, goodness knows where I should be pointing the finger. Anyone care to help me out?

Read Louisa’s review of the previous episode, here.

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Disqus - noscript

Really sad that Jack decided to end his own life. I liked the character a lot and really felt for him this episode. I'm desperate to find out what Tom has to do with all this; he knows something big.

I'm really disappointed in the Broadchurch police department. I'd expect people and press to jump to conclusions, but the police should've gone with the evidence. According to the post mortem, Danny wasn't sexually abused and Jack's conviction was for sex with a girl who was almost of legal age.

His previous conviction was completely irrelevant and there was no evidence to suggest he was any more of a suspect than the rest of the people in town.

Tom is starting to look extremely suspicious to me. Not only is Hardy dragging him through a reconstruction (what is the point of doing that to a traumatized kid?), he also asks what would happen to the killer - out of the blue.

His meeting with Susan can go both ways. Is he about to be a victim or is he doing an investigation of his own that will lead to the uncovering of Danny's skateboard? I can't shrug the feeling that meeting in the arcade was less than accidental. I'm just not sure who planned it.

Nige is looking more suspicious too. Offering Susan 500 quid? That does make me wonder if he paid Danny too. What is going on between him and Susan?

So the only way the police could get the details of Jack Marshal's conviction was to wait for Jack himself to tell them? If only the police had some means of researching arrest and conviction records.... But I guess that's beyond the scope of hard-core police work.

And how generous of the loathsome Karen to allow terminally gullible Olly to write the story, then make him feel grateful that it will be under her byline instead of his, saving him from the embarrassment of getting the credit. He's sort of pretty, but damn is he stupid.

I think that Tom is the murderer, Olly is a relative of his and Tom knows about the boat that was found ablaze. Tom also has two mobile phones as he gave one to his mother in the first two episodes and had another under his pillow which he deleted the messages from Danny. I also think that Susan and Tom know each other and that is linked somehow. Tom asked his father about the Danny's mobile phone and whether the police have any evidence from it and what the punishment would be if you were convicted of murder.

The bald, thick, piano faced, plumber bum bum friend needs to die.

Here is my guess. The daughters boyfriend is a druggie and he has the kids running the drugs. At the start of the show a KID is standing there with blood running off his fingers.
I think that is Tom. Tom either killed Danny or was there when it happened. I think Susan is a red herring and she knows stuff but did not do it. The bald guy who tried to buy off Susan is guilty of something, but I do not think it is murder.
So I think the murderer can still be almost anyone! I am enjoying this show very much.
The mom is killing it acting wise.

I don't think this is going to be as simple as X did it.
My suspicion is that there is more going on in the Broadchurch community than meets the eye. I think Susan and Nige are involved in some kind of smuggling, probably drugs, and probably dropped off at the beachhut - also there is the possibility that they are using the postman to move the drugs around (hence the apparent argument with the postman and Danny). I think that Danny and Tom broke into the hut, boys being boys and all that, and found money (probably in £500 bundles - which would make the money thing make sense) - which they stole. I think on the night of the murder, they went back to get more money, but got caught in the act. Maybe Tom got away without being spotted, perhaps after a fight with Danny (and maybe he now mistakenly thinks he accidentally killed him - hence the deleting his messages etc.). I think that Danny was then accidentally killed by either Susan or Nige (or more likely one of their smuggling cronies (the "i know men who would rape you" types). Susan and Nige then had to dispose of the body and make it look like an accident. I expect a few of the other characters (the hotel owner and the girls boyfriend) are involved in the drug scene too.

I think also the reason Susan is now trying to get her hands on Tom is because she know's he was with Danny, and wants to shut him up.

Even if i'm wrong, I bet it's going to be a lot more complicated than it just being one persons doing. Motive is what's important, and I think the show is exploring how peoples own interests and lives in small town overlap - and how far people will go to protect themselves.

Oh, I also think that the "psychic" is listening into peoples phone conversations (he's a telecoms engineer after all) - and was using the psychic concept to cover how he knows what is going on.

The phone is obviously a drug/burn phone. Both Danny and Tom have identical and really not technologically advanced phones that their parents don't know about... and both are "paper boys." I think they were drug mules (not sure if Jack knew or if it's just the postman boyfriend) and something went wrong on a deal, or maybe Tom killed him for money. But the phones are definitely drug related.

I think that the boys were involved in drugs running, hence the second phone being pay as you go, the plumber is involved and possibly the person running the drug deals, although he is very jumpy for a crim. I think Susan witnessed the murder, strange person, but not guilty of murder, hence why she has the skateboard (protection maybe?). and why jumpy plumber giving her money. Also "jumpy" rallied the troups against Jack, possibly taking any eyes off him?

was i the only one who yelled at the screen when becca turned down david tennants sexual advancings? i know his character is a bit prickly and all that but in my mind i still can't seperate the fact that he's the doctor and he's on the list of men i would turn gay for in a second

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