At the beginning of the 3rd season, Sidney Chambers (James Norton) meets with the new Archdeacon, Gabriel Atubo (Gary Beadle). They speak about Sidney’s reputation and the previous Archdeacon’s removal. Sidney agrees to lead by example. That night, Sidney goes dancing with Amanda (Morven Christie). Geordie (Robson Green) and Cathy (Kacey Ainsworth) watch from a distance. After the dancing ends, Geordie makes it clear he doesn’t like Sidney’s new music. Sidney doesn’t believe him, since he noticed Geordie tapping along with the rhythm. The two couples go on their on ways. Sidney gives Amanda a ride home on his bike. Once they arrive at Amanda’s place, both complain that Sidney is a good man and that prevents them from moving their relationship forward. When Sidney returns home, he finds the door open and Dickens going insane.
Sidney opens a closed door and is shocked to find a crow inside. After helping the crow escape, he finds another dead one nearby. He receives a call informing him they’ve got business to attend to. In the morning, Sidney meets with Geordie at a local church. Inside, they find philanthropic Dr. Atwell (Gregory Floy) dead on the ground. They’re introduced to Patrick Harland (Nigel Cooke), who discovered the body. When Atwell is turned on his side, water spills out of his mouth. This leads the team to believe the man was likely drowned. Outside, a homeless man, Jerry (Ian Davies), admits he was outside of the church all night. He mentions the name Bonnie several times, but refuses to say anything else. Back at home, Leonard Finch (Al Weaver) analyzes the dead bird. Geordie suspects it is probably nothing, but Leonard and Sidney are definitely concerned.
Sidney receives a phone call. The caller refuses to speak. Amanda arrives seconds later with a letter from Guy (Tom Austen). Mrs. Maguire (Tessa Peake-Jones) does her best to eavesdrop on the conversation. Once she is finally removed, Amanda admits she doesn’t want Guy to see Grace. Next, Mrs. Maguire tries to convince Sidney that his relationship with Amanda is going to go terribly wrong. However, she does admit she doesn’t believe she has ever seen Sidney happier. She insists marrying a divorced woman would lead to a disaster. Sidney meets up with Geordie. They speak about Sidney’s pent up frustrations and Atwell’s charity work. They visit Atwell’s house. Sidney finds a photograph. He spots a woman that he believes he remembers.
They also discover Atwell’s will leading them to believe Atwell knew he was going to die ahead of time. Geordie heads upstairs and finds a dead bird in Atwell’s bedroom. Back at the station, Margaret Ward (Seline Hizli) digs up the department’s files on Atwell and Ivy Franklin. Margaret explains that Ivy was a Matron at Dapple Oak, which is a home for the mentally feeble. Unfortunately, Ivy passed away a few months back. Sidney receives a call. He suspects it could be Geordie. The man on the other end describes the way birds die. He suggests Sidney knows why he is doing this. The mysterious voice also talks about helping a woman take her last breath. Geordie arrives seconds later and discovers Amanda has stopped Sidney from smoking. Sidney suggests the called might be harassing him, due to his relationship with Amanda.
Geordie believes otherwise. He explains that Sidney performed at Ivy’s funeral. Sidney recalls speaking at the woman’s funeral ceremony. The couple visit Hilary Franklin (Emily Bevan). She confirms the doctor said Ivy’s heart gave out. Hilary shows the couple to Ivy’s room. Hilary’s father, who is suffering from breathing problems, is found in the bed. Hilary also admits a bird flew into the house not too long ago. She blames herself for leaving the window open. Meanwhile, Mrs. Maguire plays with Grace. She steps out of the room. When she returns, she finds Jerry holding the baby. Sidney returns home and discovers the disturbance. Geordie takes the baby, before Sidney nearly chokes Jerry to death. When Sidney calms down, Jerry admits to knowing more about the death of Atwell. He admits he saw someone drown him.
Again, he begins speaking about Bonnie. Sidney realizes that the killer must’ve done the same. After scouring over the autopsy paperwork, Geordie confirms Jerry was telling the truth. Leonard agrees to stay with Hilary for the time being. They also manage to get permission from Hilary to exhume Ivy’s body. Her body is dug up that night. A doll is found inside the woman’s casket. Also, Leonard catches Hilary burning a letter. She doesn’t spot him. Next, Leonard meets with the Archdeacon. His bravery is commended. However, things go sour when the Archdeacon begins to speak about Leonard’s friendship with a homosexual man. He is told not to get too close to him. Geordie and Sidney visit the mental hospital. They’re quickly rushed by Dot (Gillian McCutcheon), before running into Andrew (Sam Barnard). Andrew bums a cigarette from Geordie. Veronica Stone (Susannah Harker) interrupts and takes the cigarette.
As Veronica leads them away, Sidney looks back and notices Andrew has another cigarette. The group crosses the tuberculosis unit and Veronica suggests staying far away. When asked about Bonnie, Veronica denies knowing her. She also agrees to let the detectives look through her paperwork. Leonard returns to Hilary’s place and digs the burnt letter out of the trash. It appears the letter was addressed to Sidney. Hilary enters and catches Leonard. Hilary is forced to tell the truth. She explains the letter was left for Sidney at the funeral. She stole it, because it contained derogatory statements about Ivy. Hilary also shows her scarred, which was burned by Ivy. Hilary also admits Dr. Atwell told her to keep the letter a secret. Sidney and Geordie return to the mental hospital and break inside. Geordie scours through paperwork, while Sidney heads upstairs.
Dot interrupts Geordie just as he finds documents containing weird codes. Sidney finds Andrew locked in his room. He also finds several names written on a nearby. It includes the name Bonnie. Andrew explained that Bonnie likes birds, because they could fly away. Andrew refuses to say anything else about Bonnie. Next, Geordie confronts Veronica about the codes. She admits they were before her time, so she knows nothing. Once Geordie returns to the office, he gets help from Margaret. Also, Cathy visits. Cathy explains that Esme (Skye Lucia Degruttola) never made it to school. Seconds later, Sidney finds Esme at his place. He takes her in and notifies Geordie. Esme tells Sidney that her parents always fight now. Sidney makes it clear the Esme needs to tell her father. He admits Geordie would move heaven and earth to make her happy. And, something clicks.
With Margaret’s help, Geordie manages to read the coded messages. He discovers that Bonnie’s last name started with an H. Sidney receives another call. This time, Grace is threatened. Sidney rushes to Amanda’s place and finds Grace safe. He enters the bathroom. The tub is full. Patrick Harland attacks Sidney from behind. He manages to fight Patrick off with a little help from Amanda. Geordie checks Patrick’s room at the church and finds it is full of caged birds. The two meet up seconds later and confirm Patrick is their suspect. They rush to the hospital and find Patrick trying to drown Veronica. Sidney reveals that Bonnie was put through the same treatment. The hospital staff punished the kids by holding their head under water. Sidney explains to Patrick that he never got the letter. Patrick admits he is angry, because he doesn’t even know where Bonnie is buried. With Andrew’s help, they find her gravesite seconds later.
Leonard speaks with Hilary and tries to encourage her to have some fun. Back at the station, Geordie gets a little too friendly with Margaret. Phil Wilkinson (Lorne MacFadyen) watches. It appears that Phil plans on using their relationship to his advantage. Sidney says a prayer for those killers at the mental hospital. They receive a new headstone as well. In a flashback, we see how Patrick admitted Bonnie to the hospital. Sidney admits to Amanda that they cannot stop Guy from seeing Grace. They visit him together seconds later. Guy is allowed to hold the baby. He breaks down and admits he has messed everything up. Sidney leaves and immediately takes up smoking once again.
It is nice to see Grantchester back. The 3rd season started off strong and took a dark turn. The murder of Dr. Atwell involved Sidney personally. The case had many parallels with Sidney’s own personal life and his relationship with Grace and Amanda. Like Patrick, Sidney knew he wouldn’t be able to hold onto Grace and was ultimately forced to give her up to Guy. In doing so, it appears Sidney and Amanda’s relationship was probably short lived.
The episode also confirmed that Leonard’s sexuality will likely take center stage this season. Will the Archdeacon allow Leonard to continue serving his parish, if he learns about his sexuality? And finally, Geordie’s marriage has hit a speedbump in the form of Margaret Ward. This season has a lot to cover. The pilot episode was great and deserves an 8 out of 10. Catch up with previous recaps of Grantchester right now!