TV Review: Grantchester Season 2, Ep. 3



A boy confesses to murder, but the victim is still alive.  Sidney and Geordie are on the case, but will it ruin Sidney’s new romance with Margaret?

Review (with some spoilers)

In episode three, I began to get a glimpse of what this show could be.  In investigating a murder case, Rev. Sidney Chambers relies on his intuition, charm, and sympathy to draw out truths his friend Inspector Keating cannot.  His interactions with the widow of a murder victim, while somewhat unconvincing for me, at least gesture toward a show with heart, one that looks unflinchingly at the pain, the jealousy, the anger of everyday people.  If the writing had been tighter and more coherent, I think this could have been a great plotline.

Unfortunately, however, the writing is not what I have come to expect of a British drama.  The widow’s character seems a little shaky–she becomes what the plot needs her to be.  The secondary characters were nondescript; I didn’t even feel sorry for the boy who confessed to murder or the girl suffering from her father’s abuse.  How could I?  They were more like props than people.

Meanwhile, Sidney’s romantic arc took a sudden turn.  We have seen him on one date with Margaret–a date she cut short because he was not invested.  This time we see her obviously smitten with him, but their interactions consist of her initiating all the action or her being stood up while he solves a case.  Yet suddenly at the end they’re both madly, madly in love!  I have never seen such a pop-up romance.

In a side plot, Sidney’s old flame Amanda is bizarrely getting herself arrested on her way to talk to Sidney because she doesn’t like the man she married and refuses to let Sidney forget her and find love for himself.  I don’t know Amanda very well because I have not watched season one, but her character her confuses me and I find it hard to feel sympathy for a married woman who’s always running off to flirt with her ex.  Sorry, Amanda.  Maybe if you’re lucky, the scriptwriters will make you a widow and free you up for Sidney.  Until then, please leave the poor man alone.

Truly, this episode is ill-paced and ill-written.  I finally started to feel like Sidney was being given a bit of proper characterization, but I have no clue what every other character was doing.  Is this normal for this show?

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