In this week's episode of Grantchester, Sidney tracks down Ronnie Maguire, only to find something far more complicated.
Geordie: I've known Sidney a little while now, and we talk a lot about this and that. But I can safely say his need for spontanious sea air has never featured heavily.
Leonard: Sometimes people can be unpredictable.
While Grantchester keeps more to a linear time frame than some other Masterpiece Mystery series, it's a rare set of episodes that could function as a two parter. But that's what we find ourselves facing here, following on the heels of last week's installment. There, we ended with Sidney taking off to "find himself." This week, we pick right back up with a montage of his "On The Road" travels, hitchhiking his way north. As suspected, his short term plan is to find Ronnie, and demand a return of the money stolen from Mrs. Maguire.
Ronnie turns up living in a Romany camp that's ironically not that far from Grantchester. From dialogue suggestions, said camp has been planted there for several years too. Complicating matters, he turns out to have a second wife, Cora, (which was the reason he abandoned the first one) and two young daughters. He's also got an adopted granddaughter, Luella, who's about to get married, leading him to invite "the vicar" to stay and experience the Romany party life for her engagement announcement.
Turns out that's all for the good — Sidney staying and dancing with attractive women also affords him the opportunity to be there when Ronnie's body is found murdered at the end of the party, and the money he stole, re-stolen.
As always, there are a plethora of suspects. There's the Second Mrs. Maguire, who just found out she wasn't legally married to her husband. There's the Head of the Camp, Pal, who is the Second Mrs. Maguire's son, who probably didn't take kindly to finding that out either. There's Abraham, the fiancé of Luella, who Ronnie thought was a terrible choice of husband. There's also Marcus, who owns the farm and looks miserable everytime we see him. Pal is damned if the police will be called — Romany take care of their own, which just makes everyone look all that more guilty in Sidney's estimation.
Sidney calls the cops anyway, only to run into Geordie just as he leaves the phone box. The Inspector has been driving around all night trying to find him. How convenient that the police are right here, the second after he gets off the phone! But this isn't Geordie's juristiction, and that's not why he's here anyway. As we saw earlier, he was tossed out of his house by Cathy following the cheating revelations. (She made sure to pack him two pairs of clean pyjamas and his shaving kit though.) Between that and discovering Sidney left Leonard to cope when he's clearly still healing from the suicide attempt, Geordie demands he come home. When Sidney refuses, Geordie is stuck heading back to tell our Mrs. Maguire she's finally widowed ... as is the other Mrs. Maguire.
Geordie: Have you and the Lord had a row?
Sidney: I don't want to talk about it.
It turns out Pal has the cops in this area in his pocket. (Proof their camp has been in the area for quite some time.) Not because he wants to cover up the murder, but because he believes in seeking his own justice. (After all, this is his mother's husband who was just murdered.) With no inspectors around, Sidney teams up with him to solve the crime.
It's a decent dynamic, putting Sidney front and center. In short order, he learns that the Second Mrs. Maguire is the one dying of cancer, not Ronnie. That was what the money was for. (Romany, as non tax payers, are not legally allowed to use the NHS, even in the heyday of the mommystate.) The stealing of said money, it turns out, was actually separate from the murder. Luella took it, because she wanted to escape the camp and marry the farmer and stay here the rest of her life. (That explains the pained looks Marcus kept having earlier.) Ronnie was going to give her some of it, "in case Pal didn't agree with her choice" and she needed to elope.
Pal, blessedly, turns out to be a decent man despite the bluster, and allows his daughter to marry the man of her choosing. She returns the money to her grandmother for her cancer treatment. Meanwhile, the First Mrs. Maguire has forced Geordie to drive back to camp, so she can see her husband's body and judge this woman who stole him all those years ago. The meeting of the Mrs. Maguires is a hell of a thing though. Our uptight religious version sneers in a rage at the dying "gypsy" version with long unkempt hair who stole her man. I get why the show chose that route, but it was everything ugly they played up about the character when the show first started that they'd gotten away from in these later seasons, and I was disappointed to see them go back.
The murderer turns out to be Abraham, who snapped when Ronnie wouldn't tell him why Luella kept disappearing. Abraham was supposed to inherit the camp through marrying Pal's daughter. But he couldn't get anyone to take his authority seriously, least of all this non-Romany Ronnie who people respected more than him. Ronnie, who thought him a fool, and was hiding the fact that his supposed "fiancée" was actually planning to run off with someone else. What exactly happens to Abraham, the show doesn't say. Geordie doesn't bother arrest him, and whatever Pal's ideas were, Abraham has already been punished because he's not going to marry the daughter or inherit the camp now anyway.
Mrs. Maguire: Mrs. Maguire.
Mrs. Maguire: Mrs. Maguire.
Instead, the show focuses on a little redemption, as the First Mrs. Maguire overhears that the Second is dying. When presented with her life savings back, she hands over half of it to the other widow. After all, she's going to need it, and her children deserved to have their mother as long as they can.
With the mystery over, Geordie and Sidney head back home. The former finally breaks it off with Margaret, while the latter shows up- at Amanda's, acting as if no one will mind his disappearance and be overjoyed he came back. But Amanda is not about to just be glad he found himself and let things lie. She tells him that his ideas that this is neither simple or easy are wrong. It is simple and easy: the church or her. Considering that Sidney's relationship with the lord (if not the church) is already on the mend by episode's end, this might be a fight she might lose.
Next week: Grantchester's series 3 finale, with a boy who has been kidnapped ... or maybe rescued.