A dramatic twist followed by a soft landing end for Broadchurch

We didn't see that coming

Broadchurch ended with an unexpected twist followed by a neatly packaged ending which saw everything tied off nicely for the end of the show.

Eight weeks since we were first introduced to Trish Winterman (Julie Hesmondhalgh) viewers found out that it was taxi driver’s son Michael Lucas (Deon Lee-Williams) who raped her.

But, in typical Broadchurch style, it wasn’t quite that cut-and-dry. The 16-year-old had been groomed by Leo Humphries (Chris Mason) who forced him to have sex with her while he filmed it on his phone.

Leo grooms Michael
Leo grooms Michael before forcing him to commit the attack

Detectives Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) finally got their men after Leo was seen on CCTV getting rid of the blue twine next to Ed Burnett (Lenny Henry)’s shop.

He may have been wearing a balaclava, but Ellie’s local knowledge led to her picking him up on a traffic camera and getting into his own car (so much for a criminal mastermind).

Leo and Michael drinking before the attack
Leo and Michael drinking vodka before the attack

What made the story even more sinister was Leo’s blasé attitude when admitting the attack – and the three others including Laura Benson (Kelly Gough). Smiling as he said, “It’s just sex. None of them were virgins. What’s one more?” Shocking.

Trish was attacked at her best friend’s 50th birthday party and the suspect list never changed throughout the eight-week run. Leo was always in the running but seemed ruled out in episode seven. Michael was never an official suspect.

Leo's sinister police interview
In Leo's sinister police interview he says the rapes are "just sex"

Of the others, Jim Atwood, it turns out, is just a lying cheating worm, Ed Burnett HEARD the rape but didn’t realise what it was until afterwards, hence his guilty appearance, and Trish’s ex Ian Winterman (Charlie Higson) is just a bit weird.

In another surprise viewers saw a humane side to Michael’s father Clive, who had earlier been arrested for having Trish’s keys in his draw at home after she “left them in his taxi”.

He wept when the story came out, pleading with Miller and Hardy to pin the crime on him, not his son (“He’s just a boy”).

Michael Lucas confesses
Michael Lucas confesses to raping Trish

As well as the obvious story of rape, the show touched on a number of other issues that wove a bigger picture as to the ways women can be mistreated by their partner, such as stalking, cyber snooping and violence. Oh and forcing your girlfriend to have sex with a 16-year-old, an action which showed the full extent of Leo’s twisted mind.

The overuse of hardcore pornography was also portrayed as a “gateway” to the rape itself, with Leo admitting to watching “two hours a day, sometimes more”.

Not to be too damning of men, Hardy’s important message to Miller after they get Leo’s confession: “He is not what men are. He’s an aberration.”

Meanwhile the Latimers saw some much needed light at the end of their very dark tunnel, with Mark saying he needed to go away for a while to sort his head out after trying to kill himself. And although they will never be together as a couple again, they both admitted to loving each other.

The ending was a very soft landing after what has been a thrilling series, with the Reverend Paul Coates conducting his final church service and journalist Maggie Radcliffe revealing she was going to set up a YouTube channel. It also saw Ian holding out an olive branch to his family, although it's unlikely Trish will ever be able to trust him again after snooping on her computer.

But what was satisfying more than anything was Miller and Hardy’s bench chat at the end.

Miller: “Do you want to go to the pub? We’ve never been to the pub.”

Hardy: “Nah.”

Sigh. We won’t half miss those two.

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