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'Grantchester' Recap: Season 8 Episode 2

Daniel Hautzinger
Will sits across an interrogation table from Geordie and Elliot
Will is in danger of going to jail, but Geordie is determined to exonerate him. Photo: Kudos and Masterpiece

Grantchester airs Sundays at 8:00 pm and is available to stream. Recap the previous and following episodes and other seasonsKeep up with your favorite dramas and mysteries by signing up for our newsletter, Dramalogue. 

Geordie is trying to get out of the office when an emergency call comes in, extending his and Larry’s workday just ten minutes away from going home. People speed down this road recklessly, Geordie complains as he and Larry approach the scene. A man has been struck by a vehicle and killed. Sitting next to his corpse is the shellshocked driver: Will.

That causes Geordie to change his tune. It was just an accident, he insists. But Geordie’s boss Elliot—who admittedly dislikes Will, given that the vicar broke up his engagement—says that things don’t look good for Will. The speedometer on Will’s motorcycle has stopped, at 78 mph.

Will calls the vicarage, where Mrs. C and Jack are watching Ernie. Mrs. C immediately starts laying into him for his absence, until he finally gets in a word and tells her what happened. Will tells her not to tell Bonnie, but Cathy knows, and comes to the vicarage to stay with everyone else while they try to avoid letting the worried Ernie know that Will is in trouble.

Meanwhile, Ernie writes a letter to Will asking, “Would you mind if I called you dad?”

Will may not be around to be much of a dad. In an interview with Elliot and Geordie, Elliot is antagonistic and suggests Will could go to prison for a decade for reckless driving, while Geordie tries to offer excuses. Both Geordie and Elliot accuse each other of making things personal. But Geordie can’t change the facts, and has to arrest Will and put him in a cell overnight.

Geordie sets off to find a way to exonerate his friend.

The victim’s name is John Mitchell. There were no witnesses to his death. But he does have a stub for the Mirage Club, and his wife Jackie, once she is contacted, says that they went dancing there together. She left alone because he was drunk and they had argued.

Will struggles to recall the crash, but he did say that John was running, so Geordie tries to figure out what he was running from. He and Larry set off on the footpath that leads past the crash scene between the Mirage and John’s home. They quickly find another body, this one bloodied and beaten to death.

Milton Bedwin, the beaten man, was also at the Mirage. Two brothers run the club: Paul is a bit slow-witted, and Ray is rude and aggressive. Milton is their friend, but they threw him out for fighting. Ray says fights are common, and have become more so since Leonard opened his halfway house for ex-cons down the street.

Ray’s girlfriend Dot worked with Milton at a laundry company. Ray takes Geordie there to speak to Dot, asking if his tablecloths are clean while he’s there. Dot says that she put Milton on a bus home from the Mirage at 8:30, and that’s the last she saw of him.

Elliot orders Larry to bring Leonard and all his residents in to the station for questioning, to Leonard’s fury. He and Larry fight, and Larry insults Leonard. Geordie tries to intervene and defend Leonard, and Elliot chastises him.

Geordie pulls Leonard aside and asks him to speak to Will. Geordie can’t help him, despite insisting that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Will is stuck on the fact that John was the same age as him, and that he and Bonnie had talked about naming their coming child John.

Leonard helps a bit by walking Will through what he himself would do if he were counseling someone who found themselves in the same situation.

Some distance and perspective always helps. Larry believes that Geordie is blindly trying to help Will and ignoring facts, as he tells Miss Scott. Jackie has said that John got into a fight at the bar, supposedly over who was next in line for drinks. Geordie assumed it was with Milton, but Larry and Miss Scott ask Jackie to look at his corpse and she says that it wasn’t him.

Larry has looked through police records and found that Ray has a violent past. Jackie identifies him as the one who fought John. She also admits that the fight was actually caused by John flirting with a woman—Dot, Ray’s girlfriend.

Geordie faces the truth, and questions Paul, who just gets confused. He, Milton, Ray, and Dot all claim to not have left the club, and a witness saw the brothers there at closing. But Miss Scott realizes that Dot is lying about bringing Milton to the bus—it doesn’t run that late.

Geordie surmises that Ray followed John to scare him after the fight, along with Milton and Dot. Milton didn’t like when Ray pulled a knife, and Ray killed him when he let John get away. A shirt with faint bloodstains—the “tablecloths” Ray asked Dot about at the laundry—seems to confirm it.

Meanwhile, Will is wracked by guilt at the police station. He asks Miss Scott to let him see the deceased John, and she does, despite the rules. He prays over John, and Jackie enters, asking to join him in prayer. She then says John really wanted children, but they didn’t have any, and tells Will he was a good man, even if he wasn’t perfect. As she’s leaving, Will tells her he’s the one that killed John, and she slaps him.

Elliot brings Will in for another interview. Will is less foggy now and doesn’t think he was speeding, but Elliot doesn’t believe it—especially given the reckless way Will ruined Elliot’s life by sleeping with his fiancée. Elliot asks Will to sign a confession, but Geordie interrupts.

He has been at the vicarage, trying to exonerate Will, and found a photo of Ernie on Will’s bike from a few weeks ago that shows the speedometer stuck at 78 mph. Someone in the village saw Will riding at a steady pace, the place where he hit John is a blind corner, and John was running. It was an accident; Will is innocent of speeding or reckless driving.

Before going home, Will has some comforting to do. Ray has been arrested for killing Milton, but, unlike in all his prior arrests, he didn’t put up a fight. That’s because he’s innocent, as becomes apparent when Paul appears and turns himself in—he can’t lie anymore. He was with Dot, Milton, and Ray as they frightened John on the footpath. Paul intervened when Ray pulled a knife, allowing John to flee. Milton taunted Paul for not liking violence; Paul punched him, too hard, in the stomach, killing him. He just wanted them to stop laughing at him. The blood Milton coughed up went all over Paul’s shirt, which Dot took to launder. Ray took the blame.

Paul asks Geordie to tell Milton’s family he’s sorry. He talks to Will, who comforts him in the way that he would have comforted himself had he not been involved in the accident.

There’s a bit more grace to be had at the police station. Miss Scott has spoken to Larry about his aggression towards Leonard, and Larry admitted that his mother just died. Miss Scott suggested that he should try to continue to make her proud of him in his behavior, so when he released Leonard he apologized to him. But he also warned him that Geordie is retiring, so he won’t have someone to protect him much longer.

Mrs. C hugs Will when he returns home. He calls Bonnie to tell her what happened, and she first suggests that they name their child Sebastian instead of John. Ernie then gives Will his letter, and Will smiles at Ernie as the boy calls him dad for the first time. But when they hug, the smile vanishes from Will’s face.