Broadchurch 1.7 turned all the burners up tonight - or at least the burners on two major very different suspects.
Nigel goes in and out and back in contention as the killer tonight. He took Susan's chocolate lab last week, but as we saw in the coming attractions, he didn't harm it, even though he raised a crossbow in its big-eyed sweet direction. Tonight we learn that he's Susan's son, and she has a story that would make a good series in itself. But its relevance to Broadchurch is that Susan claims she saw a man take a body off a boat, and leave it on the shore where Danny's body was found. She eventually identifies the man who carried the body as Nigel. In a good twist, Nigel says under questioning that he's her son, who we previously learned was taken away from Susan at birth. Nigel claims Susan's identification of him as the boatman was due to the bad feelings she harbors for him - which we later learn in part arise because Nigel looks just like his father, Susan's husband, who was child killer himself.
But back to the Broadchurch story, other than our learning that people living in its town have a high percentage of sickos indeed, we now think Nigel - like the priest, Susan herself, and all the suspects we've thus far encountered - is in the clear. Which makes the final word on this tonight, that Susan tells Nigel in private that she did see him carry Danny's body on the beach, all the more surprising and disconcerting, or just what a show like Broadchurch should be doing to us.
But is it possible that Nigel was carrying Danny's body, but didn't kill Danny? Was Nigel carrying the body on someone else's behest? Whose?
This brings us to the second suspect tonight - Ellie's boy Tommy, who we learn had a big argument with Danny. We further learn at the very end that the messages that Tommy erased - which we saw him erasing in the very first episode, and which the police have now retrieved - are enough to make Hardy react with an expletive when sees them.
So here's my current theory: Tommy killed Danny, maybe accidentally, and Nigel on someone's behalf put the body on the beach. But whose? Mark is Nigel's boss, but why would he want to protect Tommy if Tommy was the killer of Danny? Joe Miller would have a motive for protecting his son Tommy, but there's no connection we know of between Joe and Nigel.
So tantalizing missing links continue in Broadchurch, but tonight's outstanding episode also finally told us what happened with Hardy in that other, previous case, which is another provocative story indeed. Broadchurch is a series in which even the secondary stories are powerful and commanding.