THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

The final series of Broadchurch continued this week with another thrilling episode – and the truth has never seemed so distant.

Once again there was no messing around, picking right up where Episode 2 left off. Trish reported her threatening text to the police and they’re desperate to find out who sent it. What follows is an extended investigation that’s similar in nature to last week, with lots of interviews and suspects being explored. The difference this week, however, is that we now recognise some of these characters – and they just get more suspicious by the minute.

Trish Winterman (Julie Hesmondhalgh) and husband Ian (Charlie Higson) Broadchurch Series 3 Episode 3
Trish Winterman (Julie Hesmondhalgh) and husband Ian (Charlie Higson) Broadchurch Series 3 Episode 3

For instance, things get complicated when Trish’s daughter lets her estranged father, Ian, know about the sexual assault. He finally understands why the police investigated him last week and panics that he’s in right royal trouble. Not only did he refuse to give a DNA sample, but he also outright admits to lying. Turns out he was drunk and can’t remember a thing, which means he now seems more likely a culprit than ever. Could he have done something terrible without even realising it? His actions will no doubt unravel before long, and be just as much a surprise to him as they will be to us.

“The more we talk to, the more we rule in!”

Of course, this is Broadchurch, and things are never that simple. Ian’s not the only key suspect that comes under greater scrutiny this week.  Cath Atwood’s husband Jim still plays the innocent, but he’s a nasty piece of work – even when he’s denying accusations, you can’t help but doubt him. Yet, he seems far too easy to point the finger at, and we’d be surprised if he turned out to be the actual culprit. Jim is the classic dodgy-acting red herring if ever there was one. Or at least, that’s our guess.

Clive Lucas (Sebastian Armesto) - Broadchurch S3E1 ©ITV
Clive Lucas (Sebastian Armesto) – Broadchurch S3E1 ©ITV

Far more likely, at least at face value, though is taxi driver Lucas. We met him briefly last week but this time he properly comes under fire from Hardy and Miller. He’s a compulsive liar too, and he’s expertly caught out by our two chief investigators mid-interview. We’re only just beginning to peel away the layers of these new characters, and it brings back the excitement first felt way back in Series 1 when everyone in Broadchurch was a mystery. The reality of Lucas’ true nature fully sinks in when we eventually meet his wife, a downtrodden woman with low aspirations who is resigned to a life of unhappiness for the sake of her child.

“Makes me ashamed to be a man…”

With so many men in the frame, and so many of them difficult to rule out, it’s up to the women to restore some faith in humanity. Thankfully, our leading ladies absolutely steal the show once again. Olivia Colman as Miller brings some much-needed comedy to proceedings, grimacing at Hardy’s tea-making skills and humorously nagging him about being “thin and grouchy”. On the other end of the spectrum, meanwhile, Julie Hesmondhalgh and Jodie Whittaker nail the dramatic side of events, with some incredibly powerful scenes in this week’s episode. The scene of Trish and Beth at the beach though is arguably the highlight, discussing their respective traumas together. Here we see the two victims of Broadchurch, played by two of the finest actresses in the business. Talk about one heck of a power couple.

It’s at moments like this that the merging of old and new finally begins to resonate. In fact, we’re beginning to think there may be more going on here than meets the eye. While the wider Broadchurch community might be out of the spotlight, the Latimers’ tale seems far from over. With Mark still set on pursuing justice for Danny’s death (“I still dream of Dan… do you?”), it’s inevitable that there will be some closure for the family by the time the final episode ends. And, once again, there’s more than a passing mention of Joe Miller himself. He couldn’t possibly have anything to do with what’s going on now… could he?

Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) & Alec Hardy (David Tennant) - Broadchurch S03 E03 ©ITVEllie Miller (Olivia Colman) & Alec Hardy (David Tennant) - Broadchurch S03 E03 ©ITV
Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) & Alec Hardy (David Tennant) – Broadchurch S03 E03 ©ITV
Final Ruling

Yet, despite a thorough insight into some of the major suspects, the investigation still seems overwhelming. Everyone’s got something to hide and there will be plenty more lies to weed out in the weeks to come. Towards the end of the episode, Hardy and Miller are faced with a gigantic list of every man who was at the party. Clearly, we’re still a long way off from discovering the truth.

Naturally, we’re also left with another tantalising set of cliffhangers. We see Lucas opening a drawer of very suspicious-looking items, while Trish is shocked to discover some “thinking of you” flowers on her doorstep. Are they from friend or foe? Sympathy or terror-inducing? Oh, and we haven’t even mentioned Tom Miller’s misbehaviour, or his curious connection to Lucas’ step-son. Three weeks in and we’re still only scratching the surface of this mystery…!

Next week we hit the halfway mark and we’re expecting some big surprises to propel us into the final furlong. But we’ll worry about that when we get there. With the weight of the previous series gradually lifting, Broadchurch Series 3 is truly beginning to find its place in the grander scheme. More importantly, if it continues to keep up this run of quality, it could well end up just as good as the original.

Broadchurch Series 3 continues next Monday, 20th March at 9pm on ITV1.

For those who have suffered from sexual abuse or know anyone who affected by sexual abuse, you’re not alone. Contact The Survivors Trust at 0808 801 0818 or visit their website. They’re here to help.

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