Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy … Grantchester has returned. And this episode, which aired in the U.K. last December, opens with a rehearsal for a Christmas pageant. Thus, the aforementioned tidings.
In the past, I’ve been harsh with hunky vicar Sidney Chambers (James Norton) and his pals, which has distressed fans of the series. So, in the spirit of the season—Season 3, if you’re counting—I will endeavor to review these episodes charitably.
Everyone’s preparing for Christmas 1954. Sidney and the curate Leonard Finch (Al Weaver) struggle with the lights for the tree. Mrs. Maguire (Tessa Peake-Jones) is baking up a storm. Cathy Keating (Kacey Ainsworth) has her eye on a telly for the family, but Geordie (Robson Green) vetoes the idea. And isn’t Dickens the puppy a big, handsome boy now?
Yet casting a shadow over the holiday preparations is a certain elephant in the room, which everyone chooses to call “The Situation.” (You can hear the capital letters whenever it’s mentioned.)
“How’s ‘The Situation’?” Geordie asks Sidney.
Sidney says he hasn’t thought about it. Typical Sidney. But of course he’s thought about it.
“The Situation” is Amanda Hopkins née Kendall (Morven Christie) who’s very, very pregnant with her husband’s child but separated from him and living with her Aunt Cece (Anna Chancellor). Sidney visits Amanda regularly. They’re “canoodling in plain sight” and causing “whispering amongst the servants” at Cece’s place, but Sidney and Amanda can’t help themselves.
“How is it going to work, the two of you with another man’s child?” someone asks Sidney.
“We’ll be fine,” he says. And you know they will, although how that’s going to come about is hard to imagine. Sidney is a vicar, after all, and he can’t marry a divorced woman, no matter how much he and Amanda belong together.
If you think about it, there’s been a distinct shortage of happily-ever-after couples in Grantchester. In the mystery portion of our plot in this episode, marriage has catastrophic consequences yet again.
As the snow falls gently outside the picturesque country church, Sidney’s all set to perform a Yuletide wedding ceremony until the groom turns out to be a no-show, leaving the bride alone and frantic.
Sidney wants Geordie to track down the groom. Geordie replies, rightly, that “a bloke getting cold feet is not police business.” Yet Geordie should know—because we definitely know—that this isn’t merely an instance of frostbitten toes.
Minutes later, the groom turns up dead, and Geordie has himself a new case.
Bill Davis, the groom-turned-corpse, was a well-to-do banker of a certain age. Linda (Maimie McCoy, who’s turned up in Endeavour, Wallander, and DCI Banks in the past couple of years), the distraught bride, is a flashy sort of a gal who makes her living as a dancer. In a nightclub. For gentlemen. There are plenty of people who’d prefer they didn’t tie the knot, starting with the groom’s adult son. But killing the groom? That seems a bit extreme.
Then, bizarrely, Geordie discovers similarities to an unresolved case from eight years earlier—another Christmas wedding spoiled by a dead groom. The suspect in that incident was a fellow named Albert Tannen (a bedraggled Julian Glover, aka Grand Maester Pycelle from Game of Thrones). Geordie couldn’t make the charge stick against him then, but he’s gung-ho to nab Tannen for both crimes now. Yet Geordie should know—because we definitely know—that things won’t be tied up neatly just yet.
There’s more investigating to be done, and six more episodes of Grantchester to come.
See also: Grantchester 2.06: Episode Review
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.