As the finale episode begins, Sidney Chambers (James Norton) speaks with the Archdeacon (Gary Beadle) about his feelings for Amanda. Sidney explains that he still has faith in God, but has lost his faith in the church. He agrees to write a resignation letter. Seconds later, we watch as Archie Reilly (Joseph Greenlaw) strolls past Daniel Marlowe’s house. Daniel (Oliver Dimsdale) tells the boy to be careful of the monsters in the fields, as he rushes by. Archie continues onward before being confronted by an unknown man. He runs in the opposite direction before smashing to the ground and cutting his head. Archie scurries backwards to try and escape the man’s grasp. Sidney takes the good news to Amanda (Morven Christie). She seems surprised that Sidney has picked her over the church.
They begin planning their next moves promptly. Sidney returns home and breaks the news to Mrs. Maguire (Tessa Peake-Jones) and Leonard (Al Weaver). While visibly unhappy, Leonard remains cordial. Mrs. Maguire makes a snide comment in response. Next, the group meets at the church. Sidney rehearses Sylvia’s upcoming marriage to Jack (Nick Brimble). The event is postponed when Archie stumbles in like a zombie. Geordie (Robson Green) visits Cathy (Kacey Ainsworth) and the children at home. Esme (Skye Lucia Degruttola) lets him know that she wants nothing to do with people that make her mommy cry. When Geordie returns to the station, he is stopped by Phil (Lorne MacFadyen).
Next, we’re introduced to Richard Reilly (Neil Jackson). Richard tries to teach some of his pupils at home. Archie’s brother, Jacob (Darius Greenlaw), watches as the detectives arrive. Archie is led inside and his parents are made aware of his strange encounter. Richard immediately blames his wife, Charlotte (Perdita Weeks). Geordie asks Archie about the man. Archie explains that the man was wearing a brown hat and a multi-colored scarf. It is also revealed that the family’s maid, Sally (Emma Appleton), was put in charge of watching the boys. Geordie immediately doubts the man’s story. Richard gives that theory more credence, when he confirms Archie has a vivid imagination. Sidney isn’t so sure. Afterwards, Sidney tells Geordie about his decision to resign. Geordie hopes the move will stop his friend from being so miserable.
Next, they visit Archie’s teacher, Mark Davies (Sam Hoare). Mark admits Archie is a handful. He also suggests the boy has somewhat of a tumultuous home life. Geordie searches Archie’s locker and discover that it is very tidy. They find a comic book of sorts that resembles the man Archie was describing. This convinces Geordie that Archie made up the story. Later, Geordie invites Sidney out for a drink. Geordie complains that Sidney is going to ditch him now that he is happy. Geordie heads to the office, where he sleeps on a bunk. In the morning, Sidney finds Sylvia crying. He ignores her and is confronted by Leonard. Leonard scolds his friend for always leaving when he is needed the most. Archie and his brother head back to the field to play hide and seek. This time, Jacob goes missing.
Sidney and Amanda visit a house together. While it is slightly dirty and smelly, they admit it could be theirs. They agree to pay a down payment on the property. Back at the station, Geordie spots a young woman. She is wearing a scarf that closely resembles the one Archie described. Back in his office, Geordie receives a call alerting him to Jacob’s disappearance. Everyone rushes over to the Reilly house. Once there, Archie tells them that he never saw anyone with his brother. Geordie asks him about the scarf. It is revealed that the scarf is worn by Girton College pupils. It just happens to be the school, where Richard works. Richard and his wife have no idea who could be out to get them. The town comes together to search for the boy. Geordie admits it usually turns out to be the family in such cases. Phil finds Jacob’s bag.
At this point, Richard accuses Daniel of being involved. He explains that his boys walk past Daniel’s house almost every day. Leonard steps him and takes up for Daniel, before Richard storms off. Back at home, Charlotte watches home videos of her boys. Sidney enters and tells her that the search will start again in the morning. She requests to go to the church. Geordie calls home and begs Cathy to check on the kids, while Sidney escorts Charlotte to the church. The archdeacon tries to comfort the locals at the church. Once Charlotte arrives, she receives his full attention. In private, Daniel and Leonard speak about their sexuality and the mistrust from others. Daniel becomes upset when he notices the wound on Leonard’s wrist. Sidney listens to Charlotte. She suggests she hasn’t been good enough to her children. She explains that the secrets and lies have hurt them.
Eventually, she admits Richard has had several affairs with his pupils. Geordie and Sidney confront him seconds later. At first, Richard denies it all. Then, he admits to a single affair. Sidney speaks with Sally and learns that she was one of the many he slept with. Sally insists Jacob didn’t know about the affair. Back at the station, Sidney looks through Jacob’s bag. He discovers that someone has been feeding the boys. He suggests the boy wasn’t kidnapped, but rescued. Sylvia tries to find the perfect wedding dress. She remains visibly upset and lashes out at Jack about his tent in the backyard. Charlotte and Sidney speak with Archie. They try to convince the boy to tell them who has been looking after him.
Archie admits he doesn’t want to get him into trouble. Geordie and Sidney arrive at the school moments later. They look through the property and find a picture of Mark with his son. A glass of milk and another comic are discovered as well. Mark explains that the his son, Oscar, is now living with his ex-wife. Phil enters with an identical scarf. Davies is transported to the station. He maintains his innocence. He insists Sidney knows him and knows he wouldn’t do anything to harm a child. Outside, Geordie suggests Sidney’s relationship with Mark might be a hindrance to their investigation. Back at home, Sylvia gives Sidney a little money for the down payment on their own. She also explains that people need him and not the church. Sidney jumps on his bike and prepares to meet with Amanda.
Sidney never arrives. Instead, he heads to the church and pleads for answers. Geordie comes up with a plan to get Mark to speak. It starts to work, but Geordie becomes frustrated and throws two glasses against the wall. He sends Phil out and becomes physical with Mark. Sidney arrives and learns that Geordie has lost it. Margaret (Seline Hizli) confirms she spoke with Mark’s wife and Oscar died in a car accident. Sidney manages to talk Geordie down. Sidney asks his friend how long will he punish himself for his mistake. Geordie speaks about a memorable encounter with Cathy early into their relationship. Sidney comforts a sobbing Geordie. Then, they return to Mark and convince him to tell the truth. Sidney and Geordie recover Jacob seconds later. After he is reunited with his mother, Sidney confronts Amanda. She blames herself and admits she knew Sidney couldn’t leave the church all along.
He admits it is a part of who he is. Amanda becomes enraged by the fact that Sidney will not be there for Grace. The next day, Sidney allows Leonard to be in charge of the service. They also speak about heartbreak. Sidney gives Sylvia a necklace. He agrees to give her away and makes her cry in the process. Cathy and the kids arrive. She speak with Geordie outside, before entering. Jack and Leonard share a drink. Then, the service begins. Leonard gives a sermon and officially marries the couple. Afterwards, Daniel snaps photographs for them. Geordie tries to make things right with Cathy. It seems he has gotten his foot in the door. Sylvia confronts Sidney and tells him that first love is never the last. Sidney begins to sob. Cathy and Geordie dance. Leonard confronts Daniel. He explains that most aren’t ready for them to be honest, but they should be honest with themselves.
Leonard gives Daniel a kiss. Sidney delivers a speech before the celebrations end. At the end of the episode, Geordie explains that Sidney needs a woman. He reveals that even Leonard went home with someone the night before. Nevertheless, Sidney has no intention of letting Geordie choose a woman for him. With that, they head off to play a game of backgammon.
The 3rd season finale was by far the best episode of the season. It wrapped up all of this season’s storylines perfectly. Sidney made the decision to put the wishes of everyone else before his own. That forced him to end the relationship with Amanda. Now, Sidney is right back where he started with his jazz and booze. Geordie managed to smooth things over with Cathy. As for Leonard, he finally stopped lying to himself.
He took a leap of faith with Daniel. It will be interesting to see how that plays out with the townsfolk and the church in future seasons. The episode had it all. There was plenty of drama, tons of crying, and several well-placed uplifting moments. This episode alone justifies another season of Grantchester. We can only hope it gets renewed for a 4th. The episode scores a 9.5 out of 10. Catch up with previous recaps of Grantchester now!