Grantchester 2.05: Episode Review

Amanda (Morven Christie) has thrown herself into Sidney’s campaign to have Gary Bell released from prison. She’s calling in favors from her rich, influential friends. She’s meeting Sidney in a tea shop and ordering his tea with not too much milk, just the way he likes it. She’s talking about hope.

Sidney (James Norton), looking all puppy-dog-in-the-rain, is smitten all over again.

In Episode 4, Amanda announced she’s pregnant. In this episode, nothing is mentioned about her pregnancy. At least she’s drinking tea and not martinis.

Gary Bell, as far as we know, did indeed kill the girl he’s been convicted of killing. Sidney visits him, bearing packets of cigarettes that Gary eagerly tears open to retrieve the trading cards inside them, ’cause Gary’s just a dopey kid really.

Sidney thinks Gary should have been acquitted because he didn’t mean to kill the girl. It just, you know, sort of happened when he held her down and poured turpentine down her throat. And anyway, she asked him to. Gah!

You can decide whether Sidney has the right idea.

For a small-town vicar, Sidney Chambers certainly leads a complicated life. As does Geordie Keating (Robson Green), erstwhile police detective.

Geordie goes to the hospital to visit Rita (Tanya Franks, whom you might recognize from Broadchurch). Geordie knows that Rita’s husband, Eddie, beats her. He wants Rita to file a case against Eddie. She flirts with Geordie wistfully, but won’t do as he asks. Next thing we know, Geordie is pursuing Eddie anyway, and locking him up for possession of stolen goods. A few minutes later, Eddie dies in the cells and Geordie is in the frame for killing him.

Sidney puts on his reproachful face.

Being on the side of justice apparently involves thinking the worst of your best friend. Thus, about 25 minutes into Episode 5, we’re asked to believe that salt-of-the-earth Geordie is a philandering bent copper with serious anger issues, because that’s what Sidney chooses to believe. After all, he’s spoken with the only “reliable” witness to Eddie’s death, the thief who was locked in the next cell. He’s told Sidney, “No way [Eddie] died unless your pal did it. No way on God’s green earth.” So, that settles it.

You can decide whether Sidney has the right idea.

Sour Mrs. Maguire (Tessa Peake-Jones) has a suitor. She and Leonard Finch (Al Weaver) are bickering.

Sidney scolds Leonard for saying insensitive things, which is rich coming from a guy who’s just told the mother of the girl Gary Bell killed that she’s not the only person who’s ever lost a child—the equivalent of slapping her in the face and telling her to snap out of it. Thanks vicar.

Then again, pastoral duties are not Sidney’s forte. He’s more inclined toward investigating things. That must be why Geordie asks Sidney, rather than any of his police colleagues, to investigate Eddie’s death. Never mind that Sidney was the first person to be convinced Geordie is guilty. Never mind that Sidney has no legal authority to investigate anything.

The questions surrounding Eddie’s death eventually are answered.

Sidney and Geordie grapple.

Sidney keeps his shirt on.

Dickens the puppy keeps a low profile.

Amanda reassures Sidney, telling him he’s “the bravest, kindest, wisest man” she knows.

“Why do you keep coming back?” he replies. “What’s the point?”

Sidney has the right idea. That might be the wisest thing he’s ever said.


Leslie Gilbert Elman is 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.


  1. Sherry Schwabacher

    Thank you for all you do. Just as John Stewart always said, “We watch Fox News so you don’t have to”, you watch Grantchester so I don’t have to. Bless you.

    • Karen Moon

      It’s my favorite.

  2. veloaficionado

    You don’t really like this series, do you?

    If so, why bother reviewing it? I could hear you stifling a yawn.

  3. Leslie Gilbert Elman

    I’ve been a devoted Masterpiece Mystery fan from the start, back in 1980. That’s why I review the entire series. It’s also why I hold it to a high standard because I know how well crafted the programs can be. (Thinking of Diana Rigg in Mother Love still creeps me out!) But I can’t love everything, so sometimes reviews are negative.

    Plenty of people disagree with me about Grantchester. On the other hand, I like Kenneth Branagh’s Wallander (which is coming up next) and plenty of people disagree with me about that, too!

  4. Willow

    I have not enjoyed season 2, particularly after reading the books… Amanda has been a really horrible side story. In the books, she was a strong career woman! And Sydney did not have nearly so much personal drama and constant unhappiness. Very disappointed. It is nice to read someone else who agrees with me!


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