'Grantchester' Recap: Season 6 Episode 1
October 3, 2021
Everyone needs a vacation, Will perhaps most of all: he just won’t stop obsessing with all of the work he has to do as vicar. (Not that he’s complaining; he loves what he does. He just wants to talk about it all the time, to others’ annoyance.) So it’s off to Merries Holiday Park, run by the bubbly Roy and Babs Reeves with the help of the photographer/gofer Bryan, the always-smiling Sunny, and the rest of their staff.
The whole vicarage family is there, from Mrs. Chapman and Jack to Leonard and Daniel, alongside Geordie, Cathy, and their children. Leonard and Geordie’s daughter Esme both disdain the “enforced fun” of the resort and would rather read, but everyone else enjoys the cheer of it all. A pair of fellow guests—over-friendly Sid and his glum wife Margie—are less of a pleasure, but they come with the territory.
And they, as well as wives generally, come in for plenty of jokes during Roy’s comedic set after dinner, which Babs seems to dislike. The resort is full of couples after all: Will is left to drink alone after everyone else retires with their lover. A blast of music over the loudspeaker after midnight is the only disturbance.
Until the next morning, when breakfast is delayed by the arrival of an ambulance. Will goes to investigate, to Geordie’s chagrin: he’s on vacation! Roy has been found dead on stage. The local police suggest a “dodgy ticker”—Babs says Roy’s heart was bad.
Geordie wanted nothing more than “five days without a carcass,” but Will guilts him into investigating. Roy had painkillers on him—he had a bad back—and seems to have been dragged into the hall. Babs says she was in bed, and Roy had gone to practice his comedy routine, as he often did at night. The local detective, who has never worked a murder case, believes it was “natural causes.” When the autopsy comes back, it shows Roy died of an overdose of painkillers.
Geordie and Will search Roy’s office and realize that he must have been there at some point: he probably accidentally pressed the loudspeaker button, thus the loud broadcast of music. In a safe, they discover a folder labeled “Margie” that contains photos of men dancing, kissing, and more with Sid’s wife.
Will asks Margie if she used to work at Merries, and she says yes—she wanted to be a performer. When Sid appears and says he saved her from Roy, she gets upset. Roy blackmailed men with the photos of them and Margie, and tried to do the same with Sid, but he survived and came back to Merries—on his and Margie’s wedding anniversary, no less—to rub it in to Roy.
Babs knew about Roy’s blackmail scheme, and didn’t do anything about it. She’s bitter about Roy in general: her father owned Merries, and then when she married Roy, he got to take it over. She believes he has ruined it, and wishes she could have run it on her own—but she’s a woman in a sexist era.
Leonard bonds with the Merries staffer Bryan over feeling out of place in their own era. They discuss photography, literature, travel, feeling different than everyone else. Bryan goes in for a kiss, and Leonard quickly leaves. He tells Daniel, who is forgiving, and then apologizes to Bryan after hours, telling him, “I understand.” Their experience as gay men is confusing, terrifying, lonely. Later, Bryan comes to Leonard’s cabin to speak with him more, barging in to find Leonard in bed with Daniel.
Will also has a troubled romantic encounter with a staffer. Sunny asks him to dance but he refuses—he’s discussing Roy’s death with Geordie. On Geordie’s encouragement, he apologizes for his rudeness, then follows Sunny to swim in the lake and sit together by a fire. Like Margie, she wants to be a performer, but loves her job making people happy at Merries. They kiss, but as they’re returning to the camp Geordie interrupts them. He has watched a film reel from Roy’s safe, and found more blackmail of men dancing with a woman at the resort: Sunny.
Sunny says she’s not like Margie; she’s not cheap, and doesn’t go as far. But Will is hurt, thinking he was being used. Later, Babs tells Will that Sunny didn’t have a choice; Roy promised her he would make her a star. She wasn’t using Will; she actually liked him. He apologizes to Sunny.
Roy himself shows up in the footage, which leads Geordie and Will to realize that someone else was filming: Bryan. Bryan shares footage from the night Roy died. He also tells Will that he saw Leonard and Daniel together; Will tells him he must be wrong, but Bryan insists that such behavior must be dealt with. Will asks Bryan to leave it with him.
Watching the footage of the night of Roy’s death, Geordie realizes that Roy must have been poisoned via the stout he was drinking, and that he was talking to Sid at the bar when he refilled his glass. Watching Margie cry during Sunny’s debut routine as a comic roasting husbands, Will has his own realization: she hated her life with Sid. She poisoned Sid’s drink, and Roy took it instead, thinking it was his. When she went to get rid of the vial of painkillers in the evening, she saw Roy stumbling outside and dragged him into the hall, knowing he practiced his routine there, and left the vial in his pocket.
I feel worthless, she tells Sid when confronted by Will and Geordie. You treat me like a prize, and use me to score points—like bringing her to a place she longed to escape, where everyone knew what she used to do, on her own anniversary, and showing her off.
Leonard longs to show off his love for Daniel. Sitting by the lake, he sneaks an affectionate touch to wipe ice cream off Daniel’s face.
As everyone leaves, Bryan approaches Will with photos of the happy vacationers. Will tells him he will handle Leonard when they return home.
Bryan doesn’t believe him. And he has photos of Leonard intimately caressing Daniel’s face.