We’re back to the Gary Bell story from Episode 1, in which Gary is on trial for murder and Sidney plans to testify in Gary’s defense. “Tell the truth,” Sidney advises him. “Have faith, the jury will believe you.”
Is it a spoiler to remind ourselves that Sidney’s advice isn’t always – or should I say, isn’t ever – spot on?
We’ve seen enough Grantchester to know that Canon Sidney Chambers (James Norton) is no paragon of wisdom, judgment, or virtue. But he’s hunky and sometimes he takes his shirt off. Alas, in this episode he doesn’t take his shirt off. (Now that is a spoiler, and I apologize for it.)
The mystery portion of our program, which becomes less of a focus with each passing week, involves a parishioner named Reggie Lawson who believes he’s being haunted by his ex-wife’s ghost. Sidney encounters Reggie at her grave in the churchyard. Reggie asks Sidney to perform an exorcism at his home to lay her spirit to rest.
At this point, I’m thinking that if the late Mrs. Lawson née Anna Herzl is, in fact, haunting her former husband it’s because she’s Jewish and he had her buried in a Christian churchyard. That’s a highly… erm… unorthodox move. It doesn’t seem to trouble Sidney though. He proceeds to Lawson’s estate where the air is perfumed with Joy (the late Mrs. Lawson’s favorite scent), pictures fall off the wall at the sound of her name, and horses rear up and kick when they sense her ghostly presence. (Did I hear you say “Frau Blücher”? Stop that. We’re being serious here.)
Reggie Lawson’s Wife No. 2 is Kitty, a stock pretty, bratty blonde who resents everything having to do with the memory of beloved wife No. 1. She refers to the late, lamented Anna’s “sainted” memory, but that’s not quite right, is it?
The fact that Reggie waited a full four months after Anna’s death before he married Kitty is another thing that’s not quite right.
Sidney smells a rat. Well, Joy by Jean Patou and a rat…
When Reggie turns up dead, as he does about 12 minutes in, Sidney realizes he has “A Case” on his hands. He then becomes fractious and obstinate, as he always does when he has “A Case” on his hands. You just have to throw up your hands. That’s what Geordie Keating (Robson Green), the actual police detective in this series, does. By the end of the episode, Geordie all but admits that he’s given up trying to detect anything and he’ll just drink beer, play backgammon, and wait for Sidney to figure everything out.
Meanwhile, the soap opera grinds on. Sidney is invited to a party at his sister’s place to which he grudgingly invites Margaret (Seline Hizli), his erstwhile gal pal. Margaret charms everyone, but Sidney can’t stay away from Amanda (Morven Christie) who’s there because she’s Sidney’s sister’s friend. They steal away for a quiet moment. Amanda tells Sidney she needs someone to listen to her “stupidities.” That’s yet another thing Amanda and Sidney have in common.
Also, the drinking.
When she’s not skulking around Cambridge committing petty crimes, Amanda appears to spend her days lounging in her beautifully appointed home sipping martinis. No wonder Sidney can’t resist her.
Sidney’s back to drinking again, so we know he might soon become insufferable. Re-watch Series 1, Episode 6 if you don’t remember how insufferable drunken Sidney can be. And it’s possible that won’t be the worst we’ll see. Consider that, of all the crap moves Sidney has pulled on his friends, the crappiest move might be what he does to Geordie on the witness stand at Gary Bell’s trial in this episode.
At least Margaret seems to have wised up about Sidney. The guy is nothing if not predictable. How predictable? So predictable that PBS now has a Grantchester Bingo game on its site.
But where’s the square marked “Sidney removes his shirt”?
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.