“What sort of woman is that?”
If there’s one thing series three of Broadchurch is getting right, it’s dialogue like this. Smartly written and performed without incredulity, the way Chibnall and co approach the subjects of sexual assault and slut-shaming feels very real and important.
In previous weeks I’ve talked about the show’s lack of sensationalism and how sexual objectification in media can be a bad influence, this week there are more layers to uncover.
Apart from the aforementioned quote that implies that any woman can provoke rape, there’s a scene in this episode in which the wife of taxi driver Clive Lucas is interviewed by Miller and Hardy and her downtrodden and timid nature gives off the strong smell of emotional abuse.
Hardy remarks “You know what’s bothering me about this case? It’s making me ashamed to be a man”
Later in the episode, Tom Miller steals back his phone from Ellie’s bedroom and proceeds to share more porn with his friend. The connection is clear and though the show doesn’t differentiate between good or bad porn (ie the kind that perpetuates objectification and sets unrealistic standards) the intent is undeniable.
What makes this series so interesting is the way it entwines these messages with the central mystery. There’s always a sense that there’s something else going on with every character and though we don’t suspect Trish is lying, we think she may know more than she is letting on.
I’ve seen some interesting theories about what really happened at that party but I don’t want to dig too much so I can let it organically happen in front of me.
Series three knows what it’s doing and the way it understands all of the things it portrays makes the unfolding drama all the more compelling. The questions are enthralling but unimportant. Why does taxi-driver Clive have those things in his draw? What is Ian Winterman hiding?
All of them will get answered before the series ends but at the moment I’m just as interested in watching a show that addresses so many levels of misogyny in a way that’s both organic and integral to the moral core of the show than I am watching a whodunnit (which isn’t the point anyway).
Add to that the magnificent partnership that is Tennant and Coleman and you have a genuinely impressive third series of Broadchurch.