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'Grantchester' Recap: Season 8 Episode 3

Daniel Hautzinger
Geordie, Will, and Cathy stand in a group in a garden party looking cheery
Will, Geordie, and Cathy are present at a local college when a protest, theft, and murder all take place. Photo: Kudos and Masterpiece

Grantchester airs Sundays at 8:00 pm and is available to stream. Recap the previous and following episodes and other seasons
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Will’s friends are worried that Will is not himself after his motorcycle accident, but the vicar won’t talk about it. So Cathy organizes an outing to see a painting at the local college, to occupy Will. Modigliani’s “Reclining Nude” is at the college for a brief period, housed in the chambers of the art historian Dr. Abbot, who has spent seven years writing a paper on Modigliani’s nudes.

After Will, Cathy, and Geordie view the painting, they head to a garden reception. A commotion breaks out while Dr. Abbot is speaking, as three young women appear and begin protesting the “hypocrisy towards women in art” by taking off their clothes to their underwear. Geordie and Will try to intervene as the crowd starts throwing things at the women, and Geordie is knocked over by one woman as she darts away.

When one of the women takes her bra off, Cathy rushes to her and drapes her in her discarded dress. Geordie arrests her while the other women get away.

Just then, a cry of “theft” rings out. The Modigliani has been stolen. Abbot is apoplectic.

When Geordie arrives back at the station to interview the feminist protester, the men laugh at him for being given the run-around by half-naked women. He’s also made uncomfortable when he interviews the woman, who still refuses to clothe herself. Despite revealing her body, she won’t reveal her name or any other information, so Geordie puts her in a cell.

Then a man is found dead back at the college. Peter Delaney was a porter. He has been knocked in the back of the head, presumably with the heavy candlestick on the ground near him.

Will nearly has a panic attack when he sees the body. So it’s a good thing that Cathy and Mrs. C brought Bonnie home to stay for a few days before returning to keep caring for her mother after her stroke. Will hugs her tight when he sees her. They then have a little romp in a field.

Porters like Peter don’t know such marital delights: they’re not allowed to be married. And yet there are love letters in Peter’s room about a coming child from a woman named Sheila.

Geordie goes to visit Sheila in the dismal quarters she keeps. She explains that she and Peter have been married for two years. He got the job at the college and came down with her from the north to take it a few months ago, not telling Sheila that he would have to pretend to be single and she would have to live separately. They communicate by letter.

Sheila has no one to comfort her over the death of her husband. Will is lucky to have many people nearby caring for him, but he lashes out when he learns that his friends sent for Bonnie because they were worried about him. He gets upset with Bonnie, too, when she tries to get him to talk about the accident. He has God to talk to, he tells her.

The jailed feminist protester finally talks to Miss Scott when she comes in with tea and biscuits and tells her she understands the frustration behind the protest. Miss Scott gets the woman to share her name—Marianne—and that no one but the protestors knew about the demonstration beforehand. No one could have planned to use the chaos to kill or steal, and Marianne insists that she and her compatriots had nothing to do with the murder or the theft. Geordie releases her and promises that her fellow protesters won’t be prosecuted.

Out of leads, he returns to Sheila. She tells him that she last saw Peter the day he was murdered. Her friend Josephine, a maid at the college, told her the commotion surrounding the painting exhibit would give her the chance to speak to Peter. He told her the marriage was over, even though she is pregnant with his child. When Sheila left in tears, Peter was still alive. Josephine can corroborate that—and she does, explaining that she met Sheila outside the college a few months ago and quickly became a good friend in Sheila’s lonely, trying life.

Daniel thinks Leonard needs a loyal housekeeper like Josephine for his halfway house, but Leonard thinks he should be doing all the service, and he doesn’t want to ask Jack for more investment. So Daniel places an ad without Leonard’s knowledge, and a woman comes to inquire about the job. Her name is Martha, she has worked in fancy hotels, and she believes everyone deserves the same standard of care. She leaves Leonard with a resume and cleaning advice after he sends her away.

Leonard is upset that Daniel went behind his back, but he and Daniel eventually talk and Daniel apologizes, explaining that he simply wants the halfway house to be the best it can be. Leonard will contact Martha to see if she’s still interested in the job.

Still at a loss in his investigation, Geordie decides to search Sheila’s home, thinking that she killed Peter after he ended their marriage and then stole the painting to create a distraction. Will notices the painting rolled up in a trash can outside Sheila’s home.

Geordie and Will are now convinced Sheila is responsible for both crimes, and bring in Josephine to encourage her to stop lying for Sheila. After she realizes that Sheila will go to jail either way, because the painting was found at her house, she gives in and admits—with some encouragement from Will and Geordie, who have realized what happened—that she killed Peter. She was trying to help Sheila after Peter broke her down, and she realized that Peter didn’t even care about his wife. She then stole the painting to frame the murder as part of a robbery.

She thought she might sell the painting (even though it’s too famous to do so without someone noticing), but still had it with her when she went to check on Sheila. She saw Geordie there and panicked, throwing the painting out.

Geordie goes to Dr. Abbot to chastise him for his ignorance of the working staff of the college. If Abbot had told the police that Josephine had a key to clean his room where the painting was kept—and if he had recognized the service staff as real people—he could have saved the police time. He was always more upset by the theft of the painting than by the death of a porter.

Will claims to everyone that the death of a man in a motorcycle crash involving him doesn’t haunt him, and he convinces Bonnie to return to take care of her mother with Ernie in tow, too. He smiles at their departing car, but the façade of happiness falls as soon as the car pulls away.