There’s not much in the sleepy village of Grantchester that’s likely to set one’s pulse racing. Hearing a spirited debate about whether to have bingo in the church hall? Watching hunky vicar Sidney Chambers (James Norton) out for his morning run? That pretty much covers it, and both of these things happen before we’re five minutes into this episode.
No one could have predicted armed robbery at the post office, but that’s what happens next.
Gentle Leonard Finch (Al Weaver) and his friend Hilary Franklin (Emily Bevan) just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time: the post office on the day pensions are paid out and the coffers are full. They didn’t know, of course. They merely went in to pick up a gift Hilary ordered for Leonard all the way from America.
The robber, on the other hand, knew very well what he’d find in the till. This is a premeditated crime if ever there was one. But when the gasmask-wearing hoodlum pistol-whips sweet Leonard Finch … well, that’s something we simply will not tolerate!
With each passing episode of Grantchester, we run lower and lower on good guys. Leave us Leonard at least.
Our kind-hearted curate comes out of the ordeal bruised but looking every inch the hero. He even IDs a potential suspect for the crime—a lowlife named Walter Dunn, who has prior convictions for armed robbery and aggravated assault. Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green) knows Dunn well and wastes no time going off to hunt him down and bring him to justice. Trouble is, by the time the police arrive, Dunn’s been shot dead.
Now what’s an inspector to do?
Geordie and company begin making their way down the list of other possible suspects. There are plenty. In fact, the robbery could have been an inside job, maybe even perpetrated by the postmaster himself.
On the other hand, Dunn’s wife Alice (who else remembers Holly Aird from The Flame Trees of Thika?) is hiding something. Frank Camber (Tommy McDonnell), the mechanic from Dunn’s garage, knows what it is but isn't telling. Dunn’s secretary, Martha Bennett (Carlyss Peer), seems awfully nervous too, and why is she fiddling with that Eiffel Tower souvenir? They each had reasons for needing cash, and robbing the post office would have been a convenient way to get it.
Geordie decides who he deems most likely to have committed the robbery/murder and sets about trying to browbeat a confession out of them. All of this with Sidney on hand because no one seems to think it’s peculiar that Sidney is invited into the interrogation room when suspects are being questioned. (Sorry, but I still think this is weird.)
At the start of this season, I promised to be kind in my reviews of Grantchester, and I intend to keep my promise. Nevertheless, I need to ask fans about Geordie. He used to be the decent ordinary good guy; lately, he’s been a disappointment. Do you agree that Geordie has lost all credibility since he started cheating on his wife with Margaret (Seline Hizli) from the office? You’re with me on this, right?
Not that there’s anything wrong with Margaret. She’s the smartest person working at the Cambridgeshire Constabulary. Then again, she doesn’t have much competition. Geordie’s colleague Phil Wilkinson (Lorne MacFadyen) is a bit thick, and in this episode, he makes it clear that he can’t be trusted with firearms. Geordie himself is volatile and stubborn, and his instinct is rarely reliable. Margaret’s the only one in the whole place who can put two and two together—not to mention the only one who can add up the change in the post office till. If she and Sidney had wound up together, I’d have understood. She might have been good for him.
This brings us to Amanda (Morven Christie), who has ignored everyone’s advice to steer clear of Sidney. She’s around his house with baby Grace, asking Mrs. Maguire (Tessa Peake-Jones) to babysit, telling him about her new job. Amanda and Sidney are just good friends now—or so they claim—but Sidney’s frustrated by the whole situation and taking out his frustration by running (lots of running) and sniping at those around him—including Leonard.
“I’m sorry that you’re not very happy at the moment, but that’s not my fault,” Leonard tells Sidney, and he couldn’t be more right. While Sidney’s resenting everyone else’s contentment, Leonard does what you’d expect a clergyman to do: provide gentle counsel and put the needs of others before his own.
We’re halfway through this season and the characters are in a muddle. “How is this all going to end?” Sidney asks Geordie. If the conclusion to this episode is anything to go by, things could end messily.
See also: Grantchester 3.02: 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.