'Grantchester' Season 3 Episode 4 Recap: Robbed of Life

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A bank robbery allows Leonard to be a hero for a moment, but when the man they assume committed the robbery turns up dead, things get more complicated.

Hilary: He was an absolute hero
Wilkinson: Gary Cooper, step aside!

This week's episode of Grantchester finds a very unusual situation for a small town in the UK in the mid 1950s -- an armed robbery. The episode opened with said robbery, in the post office, where Leonard and gal pal Hilary are picking up a package. The scene is such that one of our gentlest characters in the series finds himself staring down a gun, in an attempt to save the lives of those around him. Thankfully, he survives, with only a bruise from the handle of the gun to show for it.

Even 60 years on, a shooting in the UK is a relatively rare occurance. Though Grantchester traffics in murder and death every week, having guns front and center like this is not the norm. It leads to one of the few topical moments in our usual escapism, as Geordie and his officers arm themselves on their way to arrest the suspect, a known felon named Walter Dunn. Geordie is so serious about how deadly these firearms are, he insists Sidney wait outside. Dunn, it turns out, has been dead for hours when they get there. But the over-excitement causes Wilkinson to fire his weapon in a panic. "He moved his arm! You all saw it!" (His arm flopped lifelessly to the side of the chair, but nevermind.) 

Credit: Courtesy of Colin Hutton and Kudos/ITV for MASTERPIECE

So whodunit in doing in Dunn? If Dunn was dead before the robbery occurred, who robbed the post office? Was it his assistant, Frankie, the one with the criminal past? Was it Dunn's Catholic wife Alice, who thinks his murder is punishment for something? (And are the two of them having an affair, as Geordie assumes?) Is post office owner Cyril Parker somehow involved? He lied about how much money was in the till during the time of the robbery. (For the record, the scene where Margaret does the math in her head and figures out there was only £10 in the drawer instead of £20, and then Young and Geordie *stand there ignoring her* while they struggle to do the same math made me want to slap both of them.)

As Cyril likes to remind everyone, his daughter Wendy (who was working that day) has a bad heart. Maybe he needs the money for her medical care? It turns out that yes, Parker was embezzling, not for medical care, but because he could. But the robbery (and the murder) are completely outside of his scope of petty laundering. In fact, the robbery screwed it up. So who is guilty? 

Leonard: You know how they say in moments of peril, your life flashes before your eyes?... All I saw was the overdue library book on my bedside table. A penny a day! Imagine the fine.

As always, there's enough guilt running around in the subplots for everyone. We're treated to Sidney in sweaty white tee-shirts and short shorts running out his frustrations now that he's not seeing Amanda anymore. Geordie, meanwhile, is making threatening remarks about how "if a man looked at his wife that way Frankie does at Dunn's wife," as if he's not still sleeping with Margaret at every opportunity. The only person who seems to be dropping into a relationship guilt-free is Mrs. Maguire, who is also winning bingo while she's about it. As for poor Leonard, he's just retreating deeper and deeper into the closet, and poor Hilary doesn't have a clue.

Perhaps Sidney was trying to do the right thing when he drunkenly calls Leonard out on his newfound ladyfriend in the episode. But it backfires, pushing Leonard into asking Hilary for her hand in marriage. (The passionless kiss he gives her upon her acceptance was the saddest bit of all. How long until the poor thing realizes that his chaste behavior is not religious, or even normal, but because he's just not that into her?) 

Sidney's behavior was backfire-worthy for almost the entire episode. He's mad at Geordie for not giving up Margaret last week because he gave up Amanda: "We had a pact!" (Seriously, dude?) He's trying not to be upset at Amanda, but seeing her and Guy with Grace is too much for him. He goes so far as to suggest Amanda get back with Guy after all. (No SERIOUSLY, dude? She's not going to sleep with you so she might as well go back to being married?!) At least Amanda snaps back at him for such a suggestion. Also, note she doesn't tell him Guy is going to be the bigger person and take the adulterer hit for her. I suppose we don't need Sidney feeling guilty for that too.

As for Geordie and Margaret, how long until Cathy catches on? Everyone in the station knows. (And Wilkinson now has a reason to screw over his boss, since Geordie put him on paperwork-duty for that little gun firing mishap.) One assumes Sidney won't tell her unless she confronts him, but once he's confronted, you really think he will lie? With Margaret pushing Geordie to stay the night with her, and talking about thinking herself pregnant, and future babies... this is going to get messier before it gets better.

Mrs. Maguire: Nothing fun is without sin.
Jack: I know, isn't it marvelous?

Speaking of babies! Turns out Alice and Frankie didn't do her husband in. Their alibi--once Sidney gets them to admit to it--is that Frankie drove Alice to the dentist...the type that does abortions on the side. (The pill, y'all. It's gonna solve a lot of this stuff.) No, it wasn't Frankie's baby either. It was Walter's. But as Walter was an abusive horror show, Alice didn't want to have his kid. In fact, it seems like, once we get down to it, no one is sorry Walter is dead. Not Alice, not Frankie, and not the secretary Martha, whom Alice admits she knew he was sexually abusing at work. Wait, what?

Turns out Dunn's secretary killed him, in a moment of desperation, as he tried to rape her. As for the robberies, those were Martha too--directed by Cyril's daughter Wendy, whose heart wasn't so bad after all. Interesting that our most violent crimes this season turn out to be perpetrated by women. Women it turns out, who were desperately trying to escape the patriarchy that was suffocating them: Martha by a terrible boss, and Wendy by an overprotective and repressive father. All they ever wanted to do was get out, and go to Paris and get away. Trying, as Sidney's sermon points out, to live the only life they had.

After an episode of trying repression, Sidney decides perhaps they had the right idea after all, and storms into Amanda's home determined to live the only life he has too. Someone should tell Hilary to get her a man who throws you against the wall like Sidney threw Amanda. They didn't even make it upstairs.

Next week! Another mystery involving freemasons. How 1950s.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

A Woman's Place Is In Your Face. Cat Approved. Find her on BlueSky and other social media of your choice: @anibundel.bsky.social

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