It’s an exceedingly unpleasant hour of “Grantchester,” full of revelations and character developments, some to the point where it’s hard to imagine what next week’s episode is going to bring. Will (Tom Brittney) ends the episode in a rather dark place, which is to be expected given how things go in the episode, but dark enough everyone’s a little taken aback. As usual the episode ends in a sermon. Not a happy one.
The episode’s mostly downbeat, teasing possibly awful reveals—the best possible option is a gang of teen criminals—but there are positive moments in it. Al Weaver’s arc this season, becoming more and more comfortable in his own skin, results in some great marriage counseling scenes with Weaver, Tessa Peake-Jones, and Nick Brimble. Old man Brimble (who’s excellent this episode) gets to try to do the work of atonement due to his martial strife with Peake-Jones, which is nice to see. And the show presents it believably. There’s no sugar-coating in “Grantchester,” which is too bad after this episode.
Without spoiling too much, this episode brings a season-long subplot to the front burner—revealing it to be a single subplot too—and throws everyone into the bowling pot; mostly Brittney and Robson Green. They’re already on awkward ground with Brittney being more pally with boxing coach Ross Boatman lately than Green, to the point Brittney hasn’t told Green about his awkward marriage proposal to Lauren Carse (who’s reduced to a very small part this episode, though maybe not inappropriately given the subject matter).
A nice scene for Oliver Dimsdale and Weaver, cementing Weaver’s character development over the season, and some strong acting from Sandra Huggett as Boatman’s wife. Jim Caesar’s back again as the troubled youth who Boatman and Brittney want to help—and who Green’s indifferent about—including an introduction to his home life and mum Sarah Stanley. Tough stuff with Caesar, a lot of it left unsaid.
From the first five or so minutes, just with everything being so relatively low stress, it seems like something bad’s coming down the pike in “Grantchester” but its immediate arrival—and the force of the bad—is jarring. Outside Weaver’s estranged father maybe showing up for a visit next episode, the show’s going into the season finale without much foreshadowing and starting from a very bad place.