This episode serves as a possible pilot for sixth “Grantchester” and a second full season for new vicar Tom Brittney. Lots gets resolved, both in regards to recent events and season-long subplots. The show’s sparing in the schmaltz, instead going for knowing smiles and warm feelings, and it feels as good as a show about murders in a small British city in the fifties with characters who are becoming woker than most shows set in the modern day is ever going to feel.
Possibly because Brittney finally lets his guard down. The episode opens with him doing a degenerate drunk routine at his mom’s party. Mom Jemma Redgrave is marrying rich dipshit Dominic Mafham. Brittney disapproves, hence the drunkenness. So he spends the first third of the episode hungover, as he and Robson Green track a dead woman to a strange convent run by authoritarian Tracy Ann Oberman, who enrages and intrigues Brittney. He can’t understand how she does what she does in God’s name or some such thing. Sidney’s been gone so long I’d forgotten “Grantchester” used to regularly have crises of faith. Brittney’s been a rock this season, until last episode. So, broken, he involuntarily gravitates towards Oberman.
Oberman’s a good foil for Brittney. She’s unpredictable and rather cagey; her interrogation scene is almost a femme fatale thing, which is weird considering she’s just out of the habit.
Then there’s the Leonard (Al Weaver) plot. His dad—a perfectly fine but nothing special Sean Gilder—comes to visit and things don’t go well. There are unexpected revelations and dashed hopes and it’s all very depressing until it isn’t anymore because you don’t want to be depressed going out on the show this season. No spoilers but… it’s a very nice ending.
“Grantchester” has been fairly busy this season and this episode does a fine job wrapping up all the existing storylines. It’s a little uneven balancing subplots for Brittney, Green, Weaver, and Peake-Jones—even with Peake-Jones getting a lot less—with Green’s stuff all at the beginning of the season, but it works well enough. “Grantchester”’s successfully navigated the vicar change… now it just needs to get renewed.