July 30, 2023
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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Leonard will accept anyone into his halfway house, no questions asked, and a colorful set of people have made it their home. On the younger side there’s suave Mikey, flirtatious Judith, and fiery Alfie. The older residents are the volatile Keith and subdued Duncan. And then there’s the newly hired housekeeper, Martha, who has already gotten on Mrs. C’s bad side by demanding first dibs on the oven.
That’s not the only fight in the house. Some friendly rounds of table tennis nearly veer into violence because of the hot tempers of Alfie and Keith. But the residents are more complicated than the violent ex-cons so many villagers complaining about the halfway house believe they are.
Alfie, for instance, confesses that he sometimes wants to kill himself because of the guilt he feels for his robberies, but also for the hurt he caused a woman he loved before he went to jail. They courted in secret, and then he did something to make her sad and she committed suicide. He gives Will his calming pills for safekeeping out of the fear that he will use them to kill himself, and asks Will to pray with him.
But Will hasn’t forgiven himself yet for his motorcycle accident, and can’t do it.
Leonard is doing everything he can to help the ex-cons rehabilitate—so much that Daniel makes him promise to break to spend the night at Daniel’s home, something they haven’t done in a long time.
When Leonard and Daniel return to the halfway house in the morning, they find Keith passed out from alcohol in the hallway, Daniel’s camera missing, Duncan locked in his room, and Alfie with slit wrists in a shed in the back.
Will tells Leonard what Alfie confessed to him. Will believes he failed Alfie. But Geordie doesn’t believe it’s suicide. There’s not enough blood from Alfie’s wrists, suggesting he was killed first. A blow on the back of his head and a very clean shovel suggest that was the mode of killing, and the suicide was faked.
Leonard insists that someone must have broken in, stolen Daniel’s camera, and then killed Alfie when he tried to intervene. But Geordie smells bleach in Alfie’s room and finds chloroform made from bleach and alcohol. Someone knocked Alfie out upstairs and then brought him to the shed—which doesn’t make sense in the context of a simple burglary. Geordie suspects one of the residents is responsible.
Mikey was out of the house with a mate, but he won’t share his friend’s name. Judith is missing, and her bed wasn’t slept in. Duncan played cards with Keith, who locked Duncan in his room after Duncan kept winning. Keith got so drunk he blacked out.
Keith has a tendency towards violence, so Geordie brings him in to the police station, along with Leonard and Daniel, who have to lie about their whereabouts the previous night because homosexuality is illegal. Elliot tells Leonard that his house will soon be shut down, given the complaints of villagers.
Keith explains that he drinks to forget, and that he sometimes gets aggressive when blissful drunkenness takes too long to descend. He has the tattoo of a notorious gang, and explains that he simply did what he had to do to survive after fighting in a war for a country that didn’t want him. (He is South Asian.) He also notes that a few days ago, he intervened when he came upon Alfie threatening Judith with a knife.
That could give Judith a motive to retaliate against Alfie—and, given that Keith was probably too drunk to have killed Alfie in such a calculating way and that Mikey nearly passes out at the sight of blood, Judith becomes the prime suspect. But she’s still missing.
She slips back into the house in the chaos after it is egged and has a window shattered by a brick thrown by an angry neighbor. Will finds her stashing some stolen goods, including Daniel’s camera and Alfie’s wallet. She explains that she was out working men as a prostitute. Under questioning, she says that the incident Keith witnessed between her and Alfie was a misunderstanding. She tried kissing Alfie to convince him to do something for her, and he flinched and drew a knife when she got close.
In Alfie’s wallet, Geordie finds a photo of a woman and a faded news clipping about her death by suicide. Alfie’s record shows that he was once questioned about his possible involvement with a woman’s death; perhaps this is her. His records also show that he was sponsored to come to the UK from Italy to work on farms.
Duncan also worked on farms, and had warned Judith against Alfie, believing he was leering at her. And he doesn’t have a criminal record. Confronted with this fact, he admits that he came to the halfway house because he was homeless. He’s going to head back up north to Scotland soon.
Another suspect disqualifies himself when he visits Will at church. Mikey admits that he has been dating three separate women; he didn’t want any of them to find out, or to hear from the police about him, so he lied about who he was with when Alfie was killed. But now he shares a name and she confirms it.
Will is worried that Alfie’s death is some form of “divine retribution” for his sins, and that the same thing will happen to him. Geordie tells him that he helps people every day; that balances out any mistakes or sins. But he entreats Will to talk to someone about the motorcycle accident before it eats him up inside.
Leonard does share his feelings with Daniel, telling him that he’s disappointed in him for not supporting him in the halfway house, when Daniel simply wants Leonard to step back and take care of himself. Daniel gets upset—he has devoted his life to Leonard. He storms out as Martha appears to hand in her resignation to Leonard—the house is just under so much stress.
Will and Geordie realize that Alfie’s work sponsorship took him to a town called Stanley—and there’s one of those in Scotland, where Duncan is from. They make some phone calls and learn that Duncan worked on a farm in Stanley and had a daughter, Heather, who is the woman who dated Alfie in secret. Duncan and his wife Phyllida blamed Alfie when she turned up dead, not believing that Heather could have committed suicide.
Returning to the house to confront Duncan, Will registers that Martha has a Scottish accent and realizes that she is actually Duncan’s wife Phyllida. The two parents waited until Leonard, Daniel, Judith, and Mikey were gone, and then got Keith drunk and choloroformed Alfie. They tried to get him to confess to murdering Heather; when he refused to lie, Phyllida hit him with a shovel and they staged the death as a suicide. She locked Duncan in his room as an alibi.
Will talked to a minister in Stanley, who said that Alfie and Heather wanted him to marry them but he refused because he knew that Heather’s parents would disapprove. Alfie ended their relationship soon afterward, because it could never be legitimate. Heather killed herself the next day.
Will finally wants to deal with his own psychological pain, and tries to write a letter to Bonnie opening up about the accident. But he keeps getting stuck, and eventually turns to the pills Alfie surrendered for comfort instead. Under their influence, he finally feels at ease again as he goes to pray in the church.