After spending much of the season on the Sandbrook case, the Great Scot (along with Miller, of course) has finally figured out whodunit… was he right all along?

By Gillian Telling
May 06, 2015 at 02:27 PM EDT
Credit: Colin Hutton/ITV
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This is it, guys. It’s almost over. And while I can’t wait to find out what happened at Sandbrook, part of me is sad it’s ending. (At least we now know there will be a season 3.)

We left the show last week with a major cliffhanger, waiting to see if Joe Miller is going to be convicted of killing Danny Latimer or not. We open onto the courtroom.

The jury has reached a majority verdict. The have found Joe Miller…NOT GUILTY. NOT GUILTY. I’m in as much shock as Beth and Mark, who along with their daughter begin sobbing. And just like that, Joe Miller is free to leave. The child killer. As he gets up to go, he glances back at his wife Ellie Miller, and she stares at him with such vitriol it’s almost scary.

Beth runs out of the courtroom in a shock, and Tom sobs into his aunt Lucy.

Claire, who is sitting next to Alec Hardy, asks if he’s okay, and in return he tells her he’s arresting her for the death of Pippa Gillespie and Lisa Newbury. She nods, like she was expecting for him to say this.

Outside the courtroom, Alec is furious at the decision. “What does it take to destroy lives forever? 12 people. 12 ordinary stupid hard-of-thinking assholes!” he shouts at his ex-wife, Tess. He then tells her he’s arresting Claire, and Tess nods and says she’s sitting in with him. He shakes his head. “No, I need Miller,” he says. Damn right, you need Miller.

Are there any restrictions on where he can go? No. How to appeal? You can’t.

Back at the court, Jocelyn and Sharon are changing out of their wigs and robes. “How are the families taking it?” Sharon asks. She has some nerve. “Maybe you should have thought of them before taking on the case,” Jocelyn replies. “Please don’t be a sore loser,” says Sharon. “And don’t be shitty winner,” Jocelyn says.

Jocelyn goes on to tell Sharon that all she wanted was for Sharon to show the world how brilliant she was, and Sharon says that the entire law game is a sham anyway. “Street fighting in wigs,” she calls it. Jocelyn retorts, “There are wins that help you sleep at night and others that keep you awake. I’d stock up on the sleeping pills.” BURN. I really enjoy it when Jocelyn is being feisty.

Outside the courtroom Ellie is livid over the decision too, and Alec tells Ellie her anger is how he felt after Lee Ashworth got off for the Sandbrook murders. Don’t fight it or let it go, he says. Stoke it. “I need someone as angry as me right now because we are going to close the case on Claire and Lee Ashworth whatever it takes. Together.” Ellie looks forlorn, but he tells her, “You can’t change what happened, but you can make sure another killer goes down.”

We see Joe Miller get into a taxi and drive off. A free man. He looks away as he passes the Latimers, who drive away themselves in a stunned silence.

NEXT: A man on a hill

Hey, guess where Lee is in the opening of the next scene? That’s right. On his hill, gazing out. Shocker. His phone rings. It’s Alec, calling to tell him that Claire has been arrested, and that they have a piece of evidence linking her to Lisa and Pippa’s death. “She came to me. Said she wanted us to know the truth now. You haven’t had a falling out, have you?” Alec says, taunting him. Lee is clearly worried.

Alec and Ellie, back at the jailhouse, enter the interrogation room where Claire is, and start to quiz her.

Before we can get into it though, we go back to the church. Paul enters and who is there but Joe Miller. He’s there to seek sanctuary. “I need your help!” he says. Paul shakes his head. “No,” he replies. (As a sidenote, I feel really bad that I was wrong about Paul this whole time. He is completely one of the good guys.)

Back in the interrogation room, Hardy starts to quiz Claire. In turn, she asks HIM why he’d told Lee she’d been pregnant and had an abortion, saying it was a breach of trust. “You want to talk about breach of trust?” he asks. “Let’s talk about how the Gillespies used to trust you to take their daughter to school!” Hardy shouts. (He’s in Hardy mode now, not Alec. I will refer to him thusly.)

“You know what happened to Pippa Gillespie and Lisa Newbury,” says Alec, looking Claire in the eye. “You’re wrong,” Claire says. Hardy shakes his head. “I don’t think I am,” he says.

Miller asks Claire why she has Pippa’s father Ricky Gillespie’s number in her phone. And if Ricky Gillespie had sent her the bluebell. Claire says nothing. “Oh, he did!” Miller smiles. Claire is still playing innocent.

Back at the church, Becca Fisher and Paul are talking about what to do about Joe Miller. “He can’t be here!” says Becca. “He can’t come back to this town!” Paul knows this, but he said he at least needed to tell someone else what he is going to do. (And what is that exactly? Tell Mark? KILL JOE?)

Mark and Beth are standing on the beach. “How are we meant to survive this?” asks Beth. Mark tells her that if the system won’t give them justice, they’ll have to do it themselves. Wait, does this also mean they are going to kill Joe?

Hardy and Miller are outside the jail, trying to figure out their next moves on Claire, who isn’t budging. Miller is flipping through the case file, saying something is bugging her. “I need to go to Lee and Claire’s to get a photograph,” she says. Alec suddenly gets a call and runs out—he goes to Claire’s hideout, where Lee is tearing the place upside down looking for something. Hardy asks if he was “looking for this?” and shows him the pendant. He then arrests Lee in connection with the murder of Lisa and Pippa.

Back at the church, Joe is sitting in a pew when Mark and Nigel come in. Joe starts to run, but they grab him and drag him out of the church, while Joe screams for help. Yikes! What are they going to do with him? I hate Joe Miller, but don’t want them to do anything that would get them in trouble!

Up on the cliff, newspaper editor Maggie brings a bottle of gin to her girlfriend Jocelyn, who is pissed she lost the case for the Latimers. “This one hurts,” admits Jocelyn. “I wanted to make it right for them, and I can’t.”

Back at the prison, Hardy’s ex-wife Tess brings whatever photograph it is Miller wanted from Lee and Claire’s place. “See, there it is,” she says triumphantly.

“Oh Miller, that is outstanding!” cries Hardy. They rush off.

WHAT? What’s in the photograph??

NEXT: You can’t trust anyone

They have Lee in the interrogation room next. Miller hands him a receipt for a bunch of floorboards he’d bought for a job, and then asks why, on Monday morning, did he go back and buy the exact same supplies? He starts to sweat. Is this it? Is this the moment?

Also, why are his floorboards a different color than they were before the girls went missing. What happened to his floor that he had to put down a new one? Hardy shows him the heart pendant that Claire had given him. “This is the evidence that Pippa Gillespie was in your car the night she died,” he said. “You should never have trusted Claire,” Hardy says. “You can’t trust anyone, even the people you love,” he adds for emphasis. We see Ellie’s face falter. “Ultimately, we’re all alone,” Hardy says.

Lee’s eyes fill with tears. “No one’s coming to rescue you,” Hardy says. “Last chance. Did you kill Lisa Newbury?”


This is it. We go back to the night Lisa and Pippa died. Lee is at his place, alone with Lisa, who was babysitting Pippa, asleep upstairs. Lisa puts the moves on Lee—the two of them start having sex and then we see that Pippa’s dad, Ricky Gillespie, is watching them through the window. He busts in, breaking them up. Lisa calls him a bastard, and he punches her. He’s clearly drunk, and furious at her choice of words. He grabs her head, and smashes it on the floor.

Big mistake.

Lisa is clearly dead. Ricky Gillespie, her uncle and Pippa’s father, is the one who murdered her.

We return to Claire in the interrogation room, and they tell them that Lee has confessed that it was Ricky who killed Lisa. “But what happened to Pippa?” Miller asks.

We flashback to the night in question again. Claire comes home and walks in on Pippa, crying on the stairs. “Is Lisa alright?” Pippa asks, and suddenly Ricky Gillespie is there saying no, I’m afraid Lee has really hurt her. (LIAR!) Claire walks in and sees Lisa, dead on the floor and freaks out. Ricky gives Claire a flask and tells her to give it Pippa to make her sleep.

“We’re not part of this!” Lee says, but Ricky threatens him. “You’re all over her, you were inside her, her blood is all over your floor,” he says. “You go to the police, and I’ll put it all on you.”

Ummmmm. Lee is screwed.

“Don’t give her the flask,” Lee tells Claire. “It had rohypnol in it.”

But Claire is frozen. “Did you have sex with her?” she asks, not looking at Lee. She slaps him. “What have you done?” Ricky and Lee then wrap up Lisa’s body, and Claire goes to talk to Pippa to find out what she saw. Pippa says she heard Lisa and Lee having sex and then she heard a fight and that Lee hurt Lisa.

Claire makes a bad decision. She gives her the alcohol with the roofie in it, then goes downstairs. She tells Lee about Pippa hearing him have sex, and that she thinks Lee killed Lisa. “She should be asleep now,” Claire tells him.

Lee silently goes upstairs. Oh God no. To kill Pippa? UGH. YES. He walks into the room where she’s sleeping and he smothers her with a pillow. Bastard.

Back in the interrogation room, we close in on Ellie’s face, who just looks horrified.

We once more flashback to the night in question. Claire is taking Ricky to the woods. “Where’s Pippa?!” he screams. “I gave her the stuff from your flask, and she had a reaction, said she couldn’t breathe and was choking,” Claire lies. Ricky looks panicked. “She’s gone,” Claire says. Ricky loses it.

Meanwhile we see Lee burning the bloodied floorboards in the animal incinerator.

Back in the woods, Ricky is a mess. Claire warns him she buried his hip flask, and says that if he thinks of talking to the police, she knows where the flask is buried, which would lead him back to the crime. “You’ve thought it all through, haven’t you?” he says.

We’re back to the present, with Ricky Gillespie in the interrogation room. “We know you killed Lisa, but where did you bury her body?” asks Hardy. “No comment,” Gillespie says. Hardy is angry. “I couldn’t let YOU down,” Hardy shouts at him, about why he’s been obsessing over Sandbrook over all these years, trying to find his daughter’s killer.

Ricky is defeated. He tells them that he got his punishment that night, by losing his only child. Hardy asks what he did with Lisa’s body, and he admits that they buried it at a church in a graveyard. “Best place to hide a body,” he says. “Grave.”

Claire, Lee, and Ricky are all taken away. Hardy goes into the room by himself, looking at the photos of Lisa and Pippa. He shuts the case file and starts sobbing. Is he relieved? Saddened? Exhausted?

NEXT: Closure—sort of

Miller and Hardy are sitting by the sea. Hardy still looks miserable. “You did it,” Ellie tells him. “You got them.” But Hardy isn’t happy. “All those lives gone,” he says forlornly. Ellie is about to leave to meet Beth, but then she turns and says, “I think you’re wrong, what you said to Lee in there. We’re not all alone.”

Hardy tells her, “I hope you’re right, Miller.” They nod at each other.

We then find Mark and Nigel getting Joe Miller out of a van and bringing him to the Cliffside hut where he killed Danny. Paul lets them in the house, where Beth and Ellie are sitting. Joe looks petrified.

“Sit down,” says Beth. He sits. “You could have taken your punishment, been decent,” she says. ‘When you die, no one would mourn for you,” she says, sobbing. “We could kill you, no one would care. But I will not be broken by this,” she says, getting stronger and angrier. “We all get to live! But you… you have no life left. Not here.”

Joe starts to say he’s sorry, and Ellie loses it. “Shut up, you piece of shit!” she says. “If you were sorry, you’d have pleaded guilty!” She tells him he is leaving town and never coming back, and he will never see any of his children again and if he tries, she will kill him. “You are dead to us,” she says. “Do you understand?”

Paul tells him to get in the waiting cab and to go to the train station. Joe needs to leave town and never come back and he’s on his own. Joe turns around, and half the town is standing there, watching him. They all follow to the car. “You think you can banish me?” he asks Mark.

“We’re sure of it, Joe,” he says. The main cast stand together, not quite in a moment of victory, but of something poignant.

Miller and Hardy are standing in his seaside rental, seemingly about to say goodbye. “I couldn’t have done this without you,” Hardy says. “And you didn’t,” Miller smiles. She asks where he’s going to go. She goes to shake his hand, and we see them firmly shake. Partners in crime, friends in life.

The family of Danny then gather on the beach, and tell baby Lizzie they have to reclaim the beautiful beach for her, and keep their love as strong as steel. At last, the moment I’ve been waiting for—Mark and Beth’s reconciliation. The two of them hold hands, and I feel nothing but joy. Tom, Ellie, and little Fred show up, and there are hugs and smiles all around. The sun peeks through the clouds. Hope at last for the Latimers and the Millers. Hope at last.

Hardy gets into a taxi, takes one last look around Broadchurch. When the cabbie asks where to, he says nothing—nor does he get into the car.

I think (hope!) that this means that he’s staying in town. Nevertheless, we’ll see you again in season 3, Hardy. Aye, we’ll see you in season 3.

Episode Recaps


The British import explores the personal lives and investigations of Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman).
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