Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Broadchurch Series 3, Episode 3 by Chris Chibnall (2017)

If there’s a defining theme that seems to run through Broadchurch 3, but is particularly prominent in this third episode, it’s toxic masculinity. As Hardy says, “it makes me ashamed to be a man”.

Chris Chibnall’s script dwells on the many ways the men of Broadchurch act suspiciously, defensively or even aggressively at the thought of being accused of rape, and on the many insidious ways permeating society at all levels that men objectify, abuse or mistreat the women in their lives. This is achieved through simple things like Miller’s newly-found fear of walking home alone at night, her son Tom’s porn obsession (“very much not the first”, as Rev Coates comments), Mark distressing his wife by insisting on revenge against Joe, or Hardy’s concern at his teenage daughter hanging around with “the boys”, but also through more disturbing elements of the storyline like Ian’s binge-drinking and dodgy laptop content, Lukas’ womanizing, and Jim and Ed coming to blows over Cath. Even something as innocuous as the owner of the party venue saying that, as a kid, “down by the waterfall was my place... I’d sit and no one would notice me” sounds a shade sinister in light of what we know took place there. Cath herself comes to doubt her own husband. When it comes to the suspect list, it is – in Miller’s words – “a scarily wide net”.