Grantchester introduced Will Davenport (Tom Brittney), the new vicar of Grantchester, back in the season’s first episode. But it wasn’t until tonight’s episode that he had much to do. In episode three, Will has formally taken over from the recently departed Sidney Chambers (James Norton). And it doesn’t take long before detective Geordie Keating (Robson Green) comes calling, looking for help with a puzzling case.
A reluctant detective
Unlike Sidney, who was always eager to tag along on Geordie’s crime-solving adventures, Will is somewhat reluctant. When Geordie crashes a party at the vicarage to celebrate Will’s investiture, the new vicar tells the policeman that his job is tending to his flock, not chasing bad guys. But when Geordie explains him a child might be in danger, Will relents.
A young boy (Niall Usher) has appeared at the police station with blood-stained clothes. He won’t — or can’t — speak, but Geordie think a bloody page in the boy’s Bible might be a clue. But it’s not Will’s religious knowledge that ends up being useful. When talking with the boy, he quickly realizes that he is deaf. And Will, very conveniently, happens to know sign language.
A quick conversation reveals the boy’s name — Adam Carter — and where he lives. When Will and Geordie arrive at the farm, they discover a devout and clearly dysfunctional Mennonite family preparing to bury Adam’s mother Miriam. A few pointed questions from Geordie reveal that she died after falling from a hayloft. Was it an accident, or was she pushed?
Cathy and Leonard deal with their own struggles
Meanwhile, Geordie’s wife Cathy (Kacey Ainsworth) has gone back to work at the department store after spending some time at home because of her nerves. Cathy has good reason to be on edge. Her co-worker assaulted her in last week’s episode, and she’s still reeling. After another creepy encounter with the lecherous Anthony (Christian McKay), she musters up the courage to talk to her boss, who patronizingly tells her that the whole thing was a misunderstanding, probably her fault, and that she should forget all about it.
It’s heartbreaking to watch Cathy struggle, especially since she can’t explain what’s bothering her to her husband, either because she blames herself for what happened or perhaps because she’s afraid of what Geordie might do if he learns of the attack. (Though let’s be honest, it would be pretty satisfying to see Geordie land a well-placed punch on the smug Anthony’s face.)
Poor Leonard (Al Weaver) is grappling with his own issues in this episode. After Mrs. Chapman (Tessa Peake-Jones) caught the curate and his boyfriend sneaking a kiss last week, the atmosphere in the vicarage has turned icy. He’s afraid she’s going to report him to the bishop, or worse, the police, which could destroy his career and possibly send him to prison. What he didn’t expect was that she’d quit her job as housekeeper, a decision that wounds Leonard in a different way.
“What will I do without my friend?” Leonard asks her. She doesn’t respond. Mrs. Chapman’s reaction to Leonard’s homosexuality isn’t surprising (we know she’s deeply conservative and doesn’t like change) but it would be nice to see her eventually be able to open up and accept Leonard for who he is. We’ll have to wait and see whether this is the last we’ll see of the stodgy housekeeper or if she’ll find her way back to the vicarage eventually (odds are on the latter).
A mystery solved
Back at the farm, Geordie and Will eventually figure out who killed Miriam. It was the grandmother, who was fed up with her abusive, controlling ways, particularly the way she lashed out at Adam, whose deafness she took as a sign of the devil.
Throughout this episode, Will has a difficult time controlling his emotions, In one scene lashes out at Adam’s father for not protecting his son, and in another, he works out his frustration on a punching bag. His reaction to the abuse he witnesses is telling and hints that there’s something dark in the usually upbeat vicar’s past. Chances are, we’ll learn more about that — and the mysterious girl who taught him sign language — in next week’s episode, where Geordie discovers that Will grew up in “a house filled with secrets and lies,” according to the episode description from PBS.
The next episode of Grantchester airs Sunday, August 4 at 9/8c.