THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Think you had an iron-clad theory about Broadchurch? Think again. This latest episode well and truly changed everything…

Starting seemingly seconds after last week’s cliffhanger, we discover the first of many spanners in the works. Laura Benson reveals she too was once a victim of a similar sexual assault. Not only does this have huge implications for the investigation, but it also tackles perceptions of rape. She was drunk and scantily clad. She didn’t report the crime because people would say she had it coming. But her silence now haunts her – she blames herself for indirectly causing Trish’s trauma. If it is the same man, she left him free to run loose.

The new issue of SFX Magazine available now contains 13 pages of Doctor Who series 10 news.
The new issue of SFX Magazine available now contains 13 pages of Doctor Who series 10 news.

Meanwhile, Trish’s own secrets begin to seep out beyond her control. We now know that she and Jim had an affair behind Cath’s back. But the two seem to have different opinions on whether Cath should find out. Ultimately Trish bites the bullet and tells her friend the truth. While brave and noble, it’s the first time we get a glimpse at Trish’s dark side. We want to be on her side as the victim of the attack – but here, she’s the culprit. Instead, it’s Cath we feel sorry for, the reality crushing her in a quiet, vicious exchange. A friendship disintegrates before our very eyes, cemented with a line so impossibly harsh. “Of all the women at that party.. would why somebody rape you?”

Three’s the Tragic Number

We’re still yet to scratch the surface of this week’s revelations. Slimy Aaron once again comes into the frame – turns out he has connections to both victims. With his criminal record and recent actions, he’s taken in for questioning. But he’s certainly not one to play ball in the interview. He lies to the police without batting an eyelid. They know it, he knows it. None of his alibi adds up, yet there’s no conclusive evidence to convict him. He’s a vile, disgusting man – but that doesn’t mean he’s the culprit. Does it?

Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman), Alec Hardy (David Tennant) & Aaron Mayfield (Jim Howick) - Broadchurch S03E05 ©ITV
Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman), Alec Hardy (David Tennant) & Aaron Mayfield (Jim Howick) – Broadchurch S03E05 ©ITV

And, just when you think the dust has settled – guess what? Halfway through the episode, the police learn of yet another unreported sexual assault! Same description, same circumstances. One case now escalates into three and the stakes are higher than ever. The threat of a serial rapist looms large over Broadchurch – but is that just what we’re meant to think? Could it really just be a series of coincidences after all? The number of questions that need answering before the finale rises by the minute.

Dark Side of the Man

But we’re not finished yet. Other suspects Clive and Leo continue to go down in our estimations. Clive unsurprisingly neglects his step-son and belittles his downtrodden wife. He also dares to wind up Jim on a taxi journey – which he soon lives to regret. Meanwhile, Leo forces his girlfriend to lie to the police. His cockiness and swagger is almost sickening. By the end we also learn of another possible tie between him and the attack. No doubt he’ll deny it, and no doubt it’s not as straightforward as it seems. Is it possible to trust anyone in this town…?

Alec Hardy (David Tennant) & Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) - Broadchurch S03E05 ©ITV
Alec Hardy (David Tennant) & Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) – Broadchurch S03E05 ©ITV

Even the usually lovable Lenny Henry shows his true colours this week. He comforts Cath as she breaks down from Trish’s confession, but the truth clearly hurts him too. In a fit of rage, he finds and beats Jim to a bloody pulp. But was it for Cath’s benefit, or his own? He evidently has an admiration for Trish, and now a violent side to go with it. Should we be keeping a closer eye on him going forward? It is always the quiet ones, after all…

Things also get more and more personal for Hardy, touching on yet another topical issue. We learn that his daughter’s phone was stolen and photos of her were circulated around her school. Nothing’s said but we can infer enough to know that this is a deeply serious situation. The thought that this might somehow tie into the greater narrative is uncomfortably worrying.

New Evidence - Broadchurch S03E05 ©ITV
New Evidence – Broadchurch S03E05 ©ITV
Final Ruling

Needless to say, Episode 5 is a pretty downbeat chapter where the proverbial completely hits the fan. But from a dramatic perspective, that’s all the better for us. Just as we’re expecting the series to start tying up loose ends, it starts dangling even more in front of us. So much so that it’s arguably bordering on overkill and tangling everything up. But we reckon that’s exactly the point. Broadchurch is distracting us with so much smokescreen that we all take our eyes off the real culprit. Who that might be though, well, we’re as clueless as anyone.

The fact that we’ve got this far without even mentioning the return of Joe Miller goes to show just how jam-packed the episode was. Mark Latimer has finally found Danny’s killer – but what happens next? Inevitable heartache awaits for Miller and Beth Latimer, either way. It’s almost a crying shame that this wasn’t used as the actual cliffhanger. Let’s just hope it doesn’t undermine his powerful exit scene at the end of Series 2.

So, with only three weeks left to go, the solution remains impossibly elusive. Frankly, it could be anyone – all the suspects are as bad as each other. There’s just one thing we know for sure. The only way we’re going to get a truly happy ending to Series 3 is if every man in Broadchurch gets his comeuppance…

Broadchurch Series 3 continues next Monday, 3rd April at 9 pm 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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