The “A plot” involving a seemingly mercenary adoption provider (Christina Cole) ends up being almost incidental thanks to the cliffhanger. See, “Grantchester” isn’t wasting any time with the season arc involving blackmailing camp staffer Michael Abubakar coming after Al Weaver for a pay-off, so the world doesn’t find out the local curate was wiping a man’s cheek. Possibly. Abubakar had actually walked in on Weaver and boyfriend Oliver Dimsdale—trying to walk back his attempted kiss—but Abubakar didn’t understand Weaver and Dimsdale were a couple. It doesn’t help when he does find out.
So it’s not going to be something to come back later on; it’s the season subplot. The only one so far. Unless there’s something with Tom Brittney and his new obnoxious rich girl step-sister Emily Patrick. Patrick wasn’t at the wedding of Brittney’s mom, Jemma Redgrave, and her dad, Dominic Mafham, because Patrick would’ve intentionally ruined it. So Mafham shipped her away. The step-siblings are only now meeting, and they take an instant dislike to one another, both because Brittney’s a vicar and because Patrick’s a spoiled brat.
There are some great moments in the A-plot, of course, mostly involving Robson Green and fatherhood. The case involves a poor couple, Madison Clare and Eddie-Joe Robinson, whose baby—post-adoption (she consented, he did not)—is now with rich asshole Miles Jupp and his disinterested wife, Polly Frame. Robinson’s trying to get the baby back, which leads to Green and Brittney confronting Cole; for a while, it seems like there might not even be a murder this episode, just less depressing “Call the Midwife,” with Weaver’s subplot getting the spotlight, but eventually there’s a corpse.
The episode sticks to the “Call the Midwife” approach, focusing on the people involved. Again the thread of fifties misogyny comes up, with a fair amount of classism mixed in, plus Brittney flexing the Church’s muscles against secular charities like Cole’s. That tangent goes the fastest, with one of the expecting mothers, Rebecca Stone, surprisingly telling Brittney off, and he doesn’t bring it up again. Though he’s too busy interfering with Weaver’s subplot; the scene where Brittney has to remember Abubakar confronting him about Weaver’s indiscretions to think potential blackmailers is very peculiar because the audience knows Brittney should know who’s blackmailing Weaver for being gay and the holiday camp because it was one of his plots last episode. Only Brittney plays it completely oblivious. Eventually, there’s an excellent scene where Weaver has some words with Brittney about the quality of his allyship. “Grantchester” seems to be making a big swing with this subplot.
The murder resolve isn’t particularly good. It’s logically sound, and the pieces fit, and it allows for an aspirational ending—before the brutal hard cliffhanger—but it’s kind of blah. Especially since it means a big part of the episode was intentionally undercooked.
The Green parenting talk scene—when he lectures heir-minded Jupp about children—makes it pretty much worth it, though.