Grantchester 2.03: Episode Review

Things between Sidney Chambers (James Norton) and Margaret Ward (Seline Hizli) have progressed to the point where they’re kissing in front of the parishioners. Has the Hunky Vicar taken a step in the right direction at last?

Mrs. Maguire the housekeeper doesn’t think so. She thinks Margaret is disrespectful.

“She calls me Sylvia!” says Mrs. M.

Well, you call the vicar Sidney, say I. What do you expect?

And anyway, we’re not here for a soap opera. At least I’m not. I’m here for a mystery. It begins as soon as Sidney enters his church to find a young man sitting in a pew weeping, his hands covered with blood.

Poor distraught Theo Graham confesses that he murdered his landlord, cutting him from here to there with a straight razor. Thus the blood. Only when Sidney goes to investigate (because Sidney investigates stuff), he finds the landlord very much alive.

Said landlord bullies his wife, which Sidney can’t abide. The Hunky Vicar casts some scowly looks at him. The landlord pays him little mind. The landlord’s wife, Vivian, takes note, however. All women take note of Sidney. Sidney is noteworthy in that regard. (Vivian is played by Liz White, whom you might recognize as WPC Annie Cartwright from the original UK version of Life on Mars.)

It isn’t long before someone finishes off the bully landlord by mowing him down with a car, right in front of Sidney and his sidekick Geordie Keating (Robson Green). “Theo’s finishing the job he started,” says Sidney, ever able to leap to conclusions in a single bound.

There’s a chase and a kerfuffle, and Sidney’s slashed with a straight razor. Vivian tends his wound, which gives her—clever girl—a reason to tell Sidney to remove his shirt. (“Sidney removes his shirt” is a stage direction in every Grantchester script.)

Less than halfway through the episode, Sidney believes he has the whole crime sussed. He then proceeds to investigate by, quite literally, snooping through peoples’ drawers and doing all sorts of things that he shouldn’t—ethically, legally, and most important logically. Honestly, if he spent more time doing his real job and less time playing detective maybe his sermons wouldn’t be so awful.

Geordie—you might recall he’s the actual policeman—is left to cope with the fallout from Sidney’s erstwhile love life. For <discouraged sigh> Amanda (Morven Christie) is back again. So desperate is she for attention that she travels all the way from London to Cambridge to shoplift a pair a gloves. Like her polka-dot dress wasn’t screaming “Look at me!” loud enough.

So, while Sidney “investigates” the tempting widow Vivian, leaving Margaret flat and demonstrating what a crap boyfriend he is, Geordie spends the night listening to privileged Amanda moan that marriage is hard. Cue the platitude generator. I do wish that Sidney and Amanda would get together already. They really deserve each other. And Margaret, sweetheart, you could do so much better!

Typical of Grantchester, the mystery element of the story takes a backseat to the trials and tribulations of the characters. If you find them engaging, that’s a plus. If not, there’s always Sidney with his shirt off.

We still have to wrap up the case from Episode 1. No mention was made of Gary Bell this week, but he’ll be back. As will Grantchester. Earlier this week the announcement came that it was renewed for a third series. If you find it engaging, that’s a plus. If not, there’s always Sidney with his shirt off.

Leslie Gilbert Elmanis the author of Weird But True: 200 Astounding, Outrageous, and Totally Off the Wall Facts. Follow her on Twitter @leslieelman.

Read all of Leslie Gilbert Elman’s posts for Criminal Element.

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