Episode 5 of Broadchurch‘s final season was like a tightening vise. Hardy and Miller have a serial rapist on their hands, as one woman — Laura Benson — finally disclosed her assault two years ago and Beth’s supervisor detailed an unreported case from 11 months ago. Like Trish, those women were struck unconscious after a summer night out, their hands were tied behind their backs, and they were gagged with a sock (the kind Leo’s soccer team wears).
It was important to creator Chris Chibnall that Hardy and Miller have to face a person who was afraid of coming to them. “I wanted to include [Laura] because she is a smart, tuned-in woman who knows what she could go through if she reports, and that had stopped her,” he says in our weekly postmortem. “In the way that we’re exploring the different implications of the climate around sexual assault and the reporting of sexual assault, I really wanted this character to represent those fears.”
As for the list of suspects, it’s still long. Hardy and Miller know Leo’s well-rehearsed girlfriend was lying when she said she was with him the night of Trish’s attack. Clive continued to be shady, cruelly avoiding his family and making sure Jim knew that he saw him having an intense exchange with Trish at Cath’s party. Jim, meanwhile, nearly strangled Clive with a seatbelt while threatening to make his life even more miserable than it already is. Ed, Trish’s adoring boss, later beat Jim up after hearing from Cath that Jim had slept with Trish. And Ian, Trish’s estranged husband, closed the hour by breaking into her house (he still needs her computer, remember). Really, the only person we can conceivably rule out at the moment is Aaron, the convicted rapist we met last week — who, for reasons unknown, lied about all the fish he’d caught the night of Trish’s assault but was in prison a year ago. Like Hardy said, “Just because he’s an a**hole doesn’t mean he’s a rapist.”
Outside the case, Trish and Cath’s friendship reached a breaking point when Trish confessed that she’d had sex with Jim and Cath (played by Sarah Parish) uttered the cruelest line in the season so far: “All right, here’s what I don’t understand: Of all the women at that party, why would somebody rape you? It don’t make sense.”
“That particular line was the one that I spoke to Sarah Parish about when we approached her for the part,” Chibnall says. “I explained to her this was essentially Cath’s attitude to Trish, which would grow throughout the series, and she’d be confronted with it.”
“I wanted to have that conversation with her early on, because it’s a very tough line to deliver. And one of the many magnificent things about Sarah is that she just understood. She said, ‘I know who this character is. I’ve met this character, and that’s all I need.’ And really, that line is the key to Cath, in that Cath is all about Cath, and Cath doesn’t like it when life isn’t about Cath. Whatever the truth of her life is, she’s used to being the center of things in the same way that Jim is. Both of them were probably the center of the town’s social hub in their twenties and thirties. You see them 20 years later, and their marriage is, perhaps, not quite the thing they thought it was, and their lives are not quite the lives they’d hoped they’d have at this stage, because they probably haven’t been telling themselves the emotional truths about themselves. So Trish’s story and Trish’s journey really exposes Cath’s life and marriage for what it actually is.” (See Cath’s stone-cold response to Jim: “You’re stupid but you think you’re smart — that’s a very dangerous place to live. I could set fire to your life whenever I choose. If I were you, I’d be s**tting myself right now.”)
The tension was also ratcheted up for Mark Latimer, who packed a boxcutter and a hammer and drove to Scotland, where we got our first look at Joe Miller this season. And we learned why Chloe Latimer thought Daisy, Hardy’s daughter, could use a friend. Daisy told her dad that her phone had been taken, and a photo she didn’t want to show him had been sent to everyone — that’s why “the boys” are hounding her and why she hates Broadchurch.
“In a sense, what it’s really about is the teen generation taking and sharing these photos, and the trouble this is going to cause them, and how easily we’ve accepted that as a culture and as a society and as parents,” Chibnall says. “That’s one of the great fears … this has been normalized very, very quickly. I think it victimizes women more than men. Obviously that plays into the themes that we’re exploring this season.”
Broadchurch airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on BBC America.
Read more from Yahoo TV:
‘Broadchurch’ Season 3, Episode 4 Postmortem: Creator Chris Chibnall, David Tennant on Hardy’s Date
‘Broadchurch’ Season 3, Episode 3 Postmortem: Creator on ‘Seeing Hardy in a New Light’
‘Broadchurch’ Season 3 Episode 2 Postmortem: 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