As the 2nd episode begins, we see Sidney Chambers (James Norton) playing cricket with others from the community. Mrs. Maguire (Tessa Peake-Jones) and Amanda share treats with Rosie Towler (Emma Davies) and her daughter. Geordie Keating (Robson Green) gets ready to hit the ball. His wife, Cath (Kacey Ainsworth), and children cheer him on. When Margaret (Seline Hizli) cheers for Geordie, he becomes distracted and misses the ball. We’re introduced to Munir (Parth Thakerar) and Zafar Ali (Dinesh Sundran). Neil Carver (Simon Harrison) speaks with Annie (Ciara Charteris) and Rosie. Munir tries to give the group some food from his home country. They refuse the offer. Jack Chapman (Nick Brimble) interrupts and happily enjoys a piece of Munir’s food. Zafar compliments Sidney on his relationship with Amanda. He also confirms he is spoken for.
Zafar tries to bat the ball, but things go awry and the game comes to an end. After Zafar is ridiculed for his failure, the group relaxes with a nice drink. Leonard (Al Weaver) drinks with Mrs. Maguire and Hilary (Emily Evan). Leonard pours out some of beer and Dickens drinks it. Zafar sits with Sidney. He expresses his desire to convert and join Sidney’s church. Sidney becomes unwell and collapses to the ground. Several others do as well. Sidney wakes up in his bed with Amanda Hopkins (Morven Christie) sitting nearby. Amanda reveals that Geordie has called a village meeting. Amanda also explains that Geoff Towler (Peter Davison) is a solicitor. She plans on speaking with him regarding her potential divorce.
Sidney meets with Geordie and learns that the symptoms closely resemble arsenic poisoning. Margaret hands over information about the brewery. Geoff interrupts and admits he has a special arrangement with the brewery to purchase their vintage bitter. After departing, Geordie tells Sidney about the arrangement and suggest Geoff probably sells the vintage alcohol at full price at the country club. They meet with Munir seconds later. He seems distraught and confirms he is waiting for an imam. Zafar is found dead in the bathtub. Munir confesses to moving the body to the bathtub. Sidney explains it is an Islamic religious ritual. He also explains that the bruises on Zafar’s body have been there for a few weeks. Munir insists his brother’s body needs to be buried before sunset. Sidney manages to get permission to delay the burial for the sake of the townsfolk.
Munir also mentions the name Annie Towler. Sidney pays the Towler family a visit. He finds Neil there checking on the family’s dog. A fantasy, love novel is placed on the table. The family cover for Annie, by suggesting she was in her room all night. When Neil notices that Geordie doesn’t believe it, he chimes in and admits she was with him. Next, Sidney suggests taking Dickens to the vet. Medication is prescribed. When Geordie tries to dismantle their story, Neil pleads with Annie to tell the truth. Annie admits to visiting Zafar and taking him tea. Neil suggests he lied for Annie, because Geoff despised Zafar. Annie makes it clear she intended to tell her father about her relationship with Zafar. Sidney quickly realizes that Zafar wants to convert, so he could marry Annie. Annie is unable to tell them who beat up Zafar.
Outside, Geordie express his concern that Annie was the only woman to fall ill. Meanwhile, Amanda speaks with Geoff. Geoff makes it clear that Amanda needs a reason to divorce Guy. He believes Guy will used her relationship with Sidney otherwise. Archdeacon Gabriel Atubo (Gary Beadle) visits Sidney. He tells Sidney that he needs to distance himself from Amanda. Once Sidney leaves, the Archdeacon tells Leonard to make sure Amanda is aware. Sidney finds Munir drinking in a bar. Munir expresses his difficulty attempting to settle into the town. Sidney follows Munir to the Towler house. Munir throws a rock through the window and calls Annie a murderer. After Sidney calms things down, Munir confesses that he told Annie about the bride his parents selected for Zafar.
He suggests Annie might’ve killed Zafar out of jealousy. Sidney visits the station and finds Geordie gone. Phil Wilkinson (Lore MacFadyen) tells him to leave the Towler family alone, unless he is 100% positive that they’re guilty. Sidney visits Geordie’s house and speaks with Cathy. Sidney promises to tell her, if he finds out that Geordie is having an affair. Leonard visits Amanda and tries to convince her to end her relationship with Sidney. Amanda tells Leonard what the solicitor told her. It is clear that Amanda and Leonard have found themselves in very similar situations. Sidney confronts Geordie after watching him kiss Margaret. Geordie refuses to speak about his marriage or his relationship with Margaret. When Sidney returns home, he finds Hilary and Leonard sharing a meal. Geordie visits Sidney and asks about the broken window. Sidney pries into Geordie’s relationship with Margaret.
Sidney tries to convince Geordie not to throw away his marriage for a stupid fling. He also admits his relationship with Amanda is also a fantasy. Then, the two discuss Munir’s theory that Annie killed Zafar. Geordie tells Sidney that the postmortem confirmed Zafar had more arsenic in his system than anyone else. The two decide to visit the Towler house once again. They inspect Annie’s room and find gifts from someone with the initials NC. They immediately suspect Neil. They consult with the man, but he denies everything. He also proves that the writing on the gifts does not match his. They track down Annie seconds later. She pleads with Sidney not to send her home. She accuses her father of having Zafar beaten up. She also admits he might’ve put something in his tea. Annie reveals she is pregnant. When asked about the gifts, she admits she thought Neil sent them.
Something clicks for Sidney. He realizes that the medication has failed to help Dickens. He suggests someone might’ve tampered with it, when Neil was treating the Towler family’s dog. Sidney and Geordie rush to the Towler house. They find Munir trying to force Geoff to drink something. After a search, a suicide note suggests Geoff was trying to off himself. Sidney admits the note founds like a fantasy. After Geoff is transported to the hospital, Rosie is tracked down and arrested for Zafar’s murder. Rosie tries to deny everything, but she does suggest Annie should’ve been with Neil. She is accused of using her husband as a scapegoat. After she admits it wasn’t supposed to end this way, Sidney speaks at Zafar’s memorial ceremony.
We see Leonard walking with Hilary and Geordie watching Margaret. Sidney tells the group that Zafar was living how he wanted. As for everyone, their perfect life is simply a fantasy. Next, Geordie visits Margaret. He states that he is not coming inside. Sidney visits Amanda and prepares to end the relationship. He doesn’t have to. Amanda takes charge and confirms their relationship will never work. At the end of the episode, we see that Geordie has betrayed Cathy once again.
The 2nd episode of Grantchester’s 3rd series was great. The episode started out fun with a game of cricket. Then, things went awry when the men were poisoned with arsenic. The mystery unraveled at a great pace, while the episode simultaneously explored the personal problems faced by the main characters. Much like the relationship between Annie and Zafar, Sidney, Leonard and Geordie have been living fantasy lives.
Sidney’s unrealistic relationship with Amanda has likely come to an end. At first, it looked like Geordie would change his ways. However, he succumbed to his urges and slept with Margaret once again. His decision will likely come back to haunt him soon enough. Leonard is doing his best to enter into a more acceptable relationship with Hilary. Will he be able to push his true feelings aside for the long term?
The episode was great as always. An 8.5 out of 10 is deserved. Catch up with previous recaps of Grantchester now!