“Temptation is the source of all suffering,” Sidney Chambers (James Norton) tells his parishioners in his Sunday sermon.
Well, if that’s true, the hunky vicar must be suffering mightily. He’s never been a guy who could resist temptation. In fact, there she is, in the pews, rolling her eyes and smirking. Yes, it’s a little late for Sidney to be having a crisis of conscience about weak flesh and all. Amanda (Morven Christie) is now a fact of his life in Grantchester, for better or worse. Presumably, we’ll get to the richer or poorer later.
Grantchester is prone to veering off into extensive explorations of the characters’ assorted personal dilemmas, forgetting that it’s billed as a mystery. This episode is one of those instances. So, while we do have a dead body and an investigation to determine how it got that way, most of this hour will be spent on other things.
First, the mystery: Josephine Sutton is found lying on the floor of the factory where she works. Her fellow employees have alerted the police and now are involved in some sort of prayer meeting led by the boss, Ezra Garston (Christopher Fulford).
Shame nobody’s checked to see if Josephine’s still alive—because she is. For the moment. Geordie Keating (Robson Green) and the police have her transported to a hospital where she dies soon after. It’s a suspicious death, and the obvious suspect is Josephine’s estranged husband, who happens to work at the factory and who happened to find her lying on the floor.
Naturally, Geordie figures the ex is responsible for her death. Josephine’s mother tells them he’d been violent toward Josephine before. Case closed. Or not. This investigation warrants a little more effort, which Geordie and Sidney and the doltish Phil Wilkinson (Lorne MacFadyen) reluctantly put in, but really, we’re not here for the crime-solving—at least not this time—we’re here to find out the dirt after what happened last week.
SPOILER (although you should have been expecting it): Sidney and Amanda have “done the deed,” as Geordie so elegantly phrases it. Now, they have to figure out what that means for their future. Sidney really, really, REALLY doesn’t want to be a vicar anymore. Amanda doesn’t want him to be a vicar anymore. Even the Archdeacon Gabriel Atubo (Gary Beadle) doesn’t want Sidney to be a vicar anymore. A lot of mean-spirited talk about spirituality follows.
Geordie, who’s turned out to be a cad, is riding headlong for disaster. What could he have been thinking escorting his wife Cathy (Kacey Ainsworth) to the policeman’s ball where he knew they’d run into Margaret from the office (Seline Hizli), aka “the other woman”? We know this is not going to end well, especially when you toss in a dollop of Masonic brotherhood ties to put up obstacles for Geordie. (If you watched George Gently or Inspector Morse and/or are watching Endeavour, this Freemasons-in-the-police-are-bad thing is familiar territory. Ho hum.)
But Sidney and Geordie aren’t the only ones with love-life troubles. Mrs. Maguire (Tessa Peake-Jones) receives a visit from her husband—yes, her husband—who went to war some ten years earlier and never came home. She always had a suspicion that Ronnie (Charlie Higson, who has more to do in the current season of Broadchurch) wasn’t a casualty of war, more like absent without leave. Now, here he is tugging at her heartstrings with reminiscences about the good ol’ days and news that he’s dying of cancer.
Then, there’s Leonard, sweet Leonard (Al Weaver), who’s all set to marry Hilary (Emily Bevan), awkward as that might be. Could those two crazy kids make things work? Not likely.
All of which is to say: If you’re looking for a happily married couple in Grantchester, save your energy; you won’t find one. I’d say, “Have faith,” but that’s in short supply too. Rarely has a charming English village seemed so discontented and unsympathetic. Why this is the case, well, that’s a mystery.
See also: Grantchester 3.03: 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.