Broadchurch series 2, ITV - review: Is there too much drama simply for the sake of it?

Episode 2: There's plenty going on but it lacks the subtlety of the first series

Neela Debnath
Monday 12 January 2015 23:00
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If last week’s revelation knocked you for six, then tonight’s episode is likely to only leave you a tad breathless.

Sadly, all the electric tension of episode one has evaporated, instead events are becoming improbable and additional drama seems to be shoehorned in for the sake of it.

The jury are told to entirely disregard Joe’s (Matthew Gravelle) confession because Ellie (Olivia Colman) got a bit too hands on with him.

Meanwhile Sandbrook suspect Lee Ashworth (James D’Arcy) has absconded and presumably abducted his wife Claire (Eve Myles) during a meet up.

While that's going on, Beth’s (Jodie Whittaker) waters break during a confrontation with Ellie. There’s so much going on that it's starting to feel unbelievable.

Just like the writers of The Fall and Last Tango in Halifax, Chris Chibnall is trying to prolong Broadchurch. Unfortunately this attempt to protract the drama just feels painfully obvious tonight and lacks the subtlety of series one. The understated intrigue was the show's biggest strength and kept us all hooked. But after this episode, viewers may be wondering if Broadchurch should have been a standalone.

But it's not all bad: the two plot lines are absorbing, the characters are well-drawn and the cinematography is even more stunning. But having several major plot developments in such close succession just feels overwhelming and unnecessary. We’re already committed - we don’t need loads of things happening at once to hold our interest.

Hopefully tonight’s instalment is just a hiccup. Let’s also hope that poor Ellie gets a break at some point – she really deserves one.

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