Spoiler alert: Episode 6 of Broadchurch‘s final season ended with what will stand as one of the series’ most memorable, and hauntingly beautiful, sequences. After hearing from Joe Miller what happened the day Danny died — and that he couldn’t have done anything to save his son — Mark (Andrew Buchan) took a small boat out in the dark of night, imagined seeing a teen Danny there with him, climbed into the water, and floated away.
We’ll have to wait until next week to see whether Mark lives or drowns (presumably his intention after telling Joe he can’t live with what Joe’s done to his family, but he’s not strong enough to make him pay, and that goodbye-sounding call with daughter Chloe). What creator Chris Chibnall will say now is that the series has been building to that conversation between the two men since Mark visited his son’s killer in his holding cell at the end of Season 1.
“I think that Mark has been kidding himself this whole while, thinking if he’d done something different he could have saved his child, and actually Joe can’t even give him that salvation,” Chibnall says. “It’s a bigger truth that Mark has to deal with, that he couldn’t have affected the events that night. So the guilt that he’s been living with about his affair is sort of transmogrified into a broader sense of powerless. In a sense, that conversation with Joe is all about his powerlessness, his impotence, his stasis, his emotional inability to move on. I think Andy Buchan, who plays Mark, has magnificently charted this journey and this deterioration of Mark from the happy-go-lucky guy we see walking down the street [who’s] mates with everyone in Episode 1 of Season 1, to this person who’s gradually, slowly had his whole life stripped away from him.”
Elsewhere in the hour, Hardy and Miller each dealt with their own family drama. Hardy’s daughter, Daisy, told him she wants to live with her mother again, and he said if she stays, he’ll help her fight to make Broadchurch her home — even if he has to smack a teenage boy in the face for her. Miller, meanwhile, was giving son Tom a lesson on consent when she discovered that he stole back his phone and loaded it with more porn. Tom lost his phone (and his laptop) for good, but Ellie got some information that might prove useful in Trish’s rape case — Tom said the porn came from his friend Michael, who got it from his dad, cabbie Clive.
As for our other suspects, Jim Atwood suddenly seemed keen to move away and make his marriage with Cath work. The third rape survivor, who still refuses to talk with police, told Beth and her adviser that she’d been attacked while walking through a field after her car broke down and the towing company she called never showed. Was it Jim’s garage she phoned? Ian, Trish’s estranged husband, continued to act shadily, trying to hand off Trish’s laptop to Leo in public so Leo could delete whatever it was he’d put on it for Ian. (Leo refused, since he knows the cops are watching him.) Ian also tried to point a finger at Trish’s boss, Ed Burnett, claiming he had to speak with Ed once because he was sexually harassing Trish and she was afraid of losing her job.
Ed was already in police custody for beating up Jim after learning he’d slept with Trish, but more things are adding up against him: He had blue twine in a pocket of the mud-stained suit he wore to Cath’s party. (He said he was wearing his suit while finishing up work that night.) He also had thousands of photos of Trish on his phone, admitted he sent her the flowers with the “Thinking of You” card, and had been sleeping in his car on Trish’s street for the past 10 nights — all just evidence that he loves her and has been looking out for her, he said.
DS Katie Harford finally told Hardy and Miller that Ed is her father, and we learned why the dad and daughter aren’t close. (He hit her mother once, and he and his wife separated while she was dying.) Now, if Ed does turn out to be guilty, they have to worry about whether Katie’s involvement will hurt the prosecution’s case. Miller exploded at Katie, expressing the sentiment Chibnall discussed with Yahoo TV earlier this season: “What we talked about a lot with our police advisers is, the generation of women who are coming through as police officers who have to do a lot less training to be qualified to investigate these things and, possibly, are slightly unaware of all the battles that were fought by their predecessors in the name of feminism and in the name of women getting equality. Katie is an example of somebody like that who doesn’t understand how easy she’s got it compared to Ellie.”
Broadchurch airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on BBC America.
Read more from Yahoo TV:
• ‘Broadchurch’ Season 3, Episode 5: Creator Chris Chibnall on Cath’s Chilling Line
• ‘Broadchurch’ Season 3, Episode 4: Creator Chris Chibnall, David Tennant on Hardy’s Date
• ‘Broadchurch’ Season 3, Episode 3: Creator on ‘Seeing Hardy in a New Light’
• ‘Broadchurch’ Season 3 Episode 2: Creator on Season 3’s Growing List of Suspects
• ‘Broadchurch’ Season 3 Premiere Postmortem: Creator Chris Chibnall on the Final Case
• ‘Broadchurch’ Final Season: David Tennant Previews Hardy and Miller’s Slight Role Reversal