The episode begins with Tom Brittney drunk, talking to God about his engaged-to-another-man girlfriend (Ellora Torchia), and Brittney has finally become the vicar of “Grantchester.” Even if there still aren’t any scenes with him doing any services. Brittney’s also running low on consoling excuses to explain his presence at the police station to new boss copper Michael D. Xavier.
Xavier’s a stickler for the rules.
And apparently, a wet noodle with the ladies because Torchia’s his fiancée, and she’s trying to get Brittney to keep their affair going indefinitely. Brittney’s trying to get her to leave Xavier, then the episode’s murder investigation gets him reconsidering the liaison. Well, the murder investigation and their inability to keep their hands off one another even in inopportune locations.
Like I said, he’s finally a real Grantchester vicar.
The episode establishes its other big subplot—Robson Green (still living with Brittney in the vicarage and listening to the bedposts bumping in the next room) is again failing to show estranged wife, Kacey Ainsworth, he can take care of the kids. Ainsworth has gotten so busy at work she’s brought in her niece, Charlotte Ritchie, to help out. Ritchie’s a widow with an adorable tyke of her own and a far more appropriate love interest for Brittney; they become fast friends in the episode, both being fans of Green (on his better days), but it’s unclear if there’s any actual chemistry.
Ainsworth’s work subplot—which involves an attentive male coworker (Ryan Early) who Green can’t stand—introduces the murder A-plot. Local cleaning supply maven Kirsty Besterman is telling the salesgirls at Ainsworth’s department store how to best promote the product and then has to leave suddenly. Something’s happened to her husband, Rob Pomfret.
Pomfret soon is calling the police—Green takes the call, even though it’s his day with the kids, and Brittney tags along. Turns out Pomfret got hurt while over at the local madam’s establishment, which introduces said madam, Rebecca Lacey, and one of her girls, Boadicea Ricketts, as suspects.
In addition to wife Besterman.
There’s a lot of back and forth about marriage from the female perspective, which gets both Brittney and Green thinking about their current romantic troubles. Lots of good acting from the guest stars. Besterman and Lacey in particular.
Meanwhile, the C plot involves Nick Brimble being convinced wife Tessa Peake-Jones is having an affair. He confides in Al Weaver, who takes it upon himself to investigate, discovering a far different but still profoundly consequential truth. Lots of good acting on that plot; Weaver and Peake-Jones get some fantastic scenes together.
And then Ainsworth, despite getting to start the A-plot, has a good arc of her own, including making a new friend in capable police secretary Melissa Johns.
It’s a very full episode; Daisy Coulam gets the script credit, and she packs in a whole bunch, including introducing presumably recurring Early and Ritchie. In addition, Ricketts has her own son, adorable tyke Ace Gill, who helps make her an analog to the other mothers on the show.
So very full, very affecting episode. Lots of deep feels and not just on the soapier subplot.