On the fifth episode of Grantchester's third season, there's a nominal case about a girl falling from a window or something, and dying. But it's so tertiary to the main story, no one even stays arrested.
Sidney: How do I reconcile what I've done with what I believe?
Geordie: This is why I don't go to church.
Grantchester has always managed to maintain a balance between mystery and accompanying soap opera drama. There's always room in the space of an hour for both a crime to be solved and for Sidney to have Amanda feelings, Geordie to have an affair, and Leonard to wrestle with his sexuality. But a funny thing happened on the way to the murder this week. There were just one too many personal dramas going on. The mystery fell to the wayside. By the end of the episode, what had started as a promising set up, a girl who looked like she'd fallen to her death out the window of the sewing factory she worked in, had basically been written off completely. No one even went to jail.
Said mystery was actually an excuse to bring back the masonic rumblings from the Cricket Game Mystery earlier this season. At the time, as viewers might recall, Phil Wilkinson warned Sidney that he and Geordie better not go after the Towlers unless they were sure, lest they upset Towler's masonic friends "above us." Turns out that's because Superintendent John Baldwin, Geordie's boss, is a mason. This week's suspect Garston (and his father, Ezra): also masons.
Oh and by the way, Wilkinson? Also a mason! (Did anyone else hope that Geordie said "I knew it, i'm surrounded by masons!")
Wilkerson isn't just a mason. He's a mason with connections. And he just bypassed Geordie's refusal to recommend him for the Sargeant's job. How? By doing as the Superintendent asked, and threatening this week's eyewitness (the victim's mother) into IDing the wrong person in order to derail the Garston case.
As you can imagine, Geordie is completely livid when all this falls into place for him. Unfortunately, it happens at the worst possible time -- in the middle of the yearly Policeman's Ball. Geordie is already liquored up and heedless of the fact that Wilkinson's wife all but threatened to expose his affair with Margaret to Cathy earlier in the evening. He flips out at Phil before storming off with Sidney to take the witness to re-ID the right man. (Yes, right then that evening, they leave the ball.) Phil, nursing wounded pride, goes for the jugular, and clues Cathy in on the Margaret affair (along with Amanda, who happens to be right there.) Cathy goes home, only to realize the necklace Margaret was wearing at the Ball that evening was bought for her by Geordie... while all he bought Cathy was a food mixer. Ouch.
Apparently, Geordie's right hook in response to this betrayal knocked some sense into Wilkerson. By the end of the hour, he tries to make it up to Geordie, by finding all the evidence they need to nail Garston, if they wanted. He swears he does really just want to be a good cop. (Thank heavens for that at least. If this turned into "Geordie and Sidney surrounded by stealthy masons" it would get really old really quick.) As it is, Geordie and Sidney have given up on bringing the son to justice and settle for Sidney guilting father Ezra Garston into paying all expenses for the murdered girl's orphaned son until he becomes an adult.
Hilary: Have you ever been with a woman?
Hilary: Oh, I'm so glad.
This alone would have been enough to fill the hour. But then there's the matter of Leonard and his fiance Hilary. While everyone else is at the Policeman's Ball, they are left to babysit Geordie's kids, which Leonard finds an actively abhorrent experience. This after Hilary has already accidentally made his emotions roil by innocently hiring Daniel to be their photographer for the engagement photos. (How is she friends with all the gays in Grantchester? Let's....not ask.)
Now, with most of the kids packed off to bed, she's excitedly indulging in fantasies of finally getting to have sex (she is a virgin), and is overjoyed to think Leonard too has never done the deed, since he's never done it with a woman. (Yeaaah, about that....)
It's all too much for Leonard, who can't hold back his revulsion at the idea of having sex with a woman. It's an odd scene afterwards, as Hilary still doesn't seem to connect quite what's actually wrong here. But clearly *something* is. She returns his ring and walks out. (Really, it's for the best.) Leonard, in despair, attempts to slit his wrists, only to fail at that too. He winds up being patched up by Sidney, who Amanda sent home after the ball as punishment for covering up Geordie's affair.
All this, and we still haven't gotten to Mrs. Maguire.
Ronnie: Sometimes I wish He'd answer back.
Sidney: Well, if He did we couldn't call it faith, could we?
Last week, Mrs. MG suddenly turned up with an admirer type sniffing after her. This week, all that gets complicated when her husband, Ronnie, drops back in. He's apparently been missing since the War (the second one), and claims he's returned now after ten years because he has lung cancer, and he wants to say goodbye.
Is he serious? Or is he after something else? He's certainly good at playing people, catching Sidney in church agonizing over his relationship with Amanda, and suggesting he left originally because he thought everyone would be better off without him. She's less certain, telling Ronnie at one point he's full of shiat, which is as close as the woman has ever come to cursing. Turns out her instincts were right. Sadly, it's a discovery she only makes after she lets her feelings override them. By then, he's made off with not only her locket, but all of her savings, and skipped town.
It's all enough to drive Sidney back to the archbishop's office, to rail against the church, this society, this world, and this insistance that he, Leonard and Mrs. M be these pillars of the community, when all it's doing is suffocating their happiness. He even throws an emotional punch at the archbishop, reminding him how racist most fo their fellow clergy and parishioners are. How can he stand there and take it? The archbishop looks this little pretty white boy's temper tantrum up and down, clearly not impressed with any of it. Sidney is going to have to make a choice. Put up or shut up.
The episode closes with Sidney taking off what Amanda calls "his dog collar", changing into street clothes and hitting the road, rucksack on his back. He leaves a note telling Leonard he's taking off because he needs some time. But knowing Sidney, what he's really after is to put a few things right.
Next week, Sidney's travels take him exactly where you suspected he was headed -- to find where Ronnie McGuire made off to with his wife's money. At least the mystery he stumbles upon in the process promises to stay front and center this time.