With Sidney Chambers now gone from Grantchester, Geordie looks to a new religious assistant in crime-fighting: Leonard.
Leonard: Apparently, it's not illegal because Queen Victoria couldn't imagine what two women would get up to together...and no one had the constitution to explain.
For many, Sidney Chambers' exit at the end of Season 4's premiere episode felt like an abrupt and sudden leave-taking, a random curveball tossed at the audience. Those who knew about the behind-the-scenes drama at least understood why it happened. For the rest, it felt like the Hot Vicar of so many tumblrs just randomly exited.
To be fair, the randomness (and speed) of Chamber's leaving was the fault of many parties. If Season 3 had not been quite so intent on having Chambers choose the church over Amanda, it might have been in a better position to handle this. At least the U.K. got two weeks to adjust to Chambers falling in love with a random American before departing. With a six-episode season, it meant he was part of the first third. PBS' insistence on taking the first two episodes and putting them together as a "two-hour premiere," on the other hand, basically gave viewers a single installment of "Sidney's last hurrah" before closing the book on him.
But viewers aren't the only ones struggling with the sudden loss. Inspector Geordie is super lost without his partner. The new episode finds him also trying to digest something else: The rising tide of women's equality. He visits Cathy's workplace, Swinnerton's, standing around being poked and prodded by her boss Anthony Hobbs (Christian McKay) for a new wedding anniversary suit. The church isn't doing so hot either. Leonard is terrible at sermons, and though the Chapmans are doing their best to get him promoted to vicar, it's really not a great idea.
Geordie is called to Cambridge University's Mathematical Laboratory about a break-in that wasn't. It was Tim Amery (Charlie Hamblett) who called it in, having found the place in disarray. But when Geordie arrives Professor Alex Simms (Tom Turner) declares it all a misunderstanding, insisting everything is fine. Alex's wife, Jean Simms (Zoe Telford) and assistant Karla Read (Marli Siu) explain the computer is used to help local businesses on the side. Alex was in overnight to work on it. But before Geordie can leave a mercury spill is discovered. The fumes have apparently been poisoning Alex all night, and next thing you know he's dead.
Upon further investigation, Alex turns out to have previous charges against him swept under the rug, for "indecency," a.k.a. having been caught in flagrante with another man. Feeling out of his depth, Geordie heads over to ask Leonard and Daniel where to start investigating such things, and maybe finding out who Alex's lover was. Daniel has a pretty good idea where to look, and Leonard wants to help in Sidney's place. Next thing you know Lenoard is leading Geordie in and code wording his way past the maitre d, while Geordie is allowed in on the power of his fabulous new suit. They don't get far, but they don't have to, as Jean walks in, sees them, and runs.
She, too, was looking for Alex's lover, Bobby Guthrie. She's quite aware of her husband's true nature, having agreed to marry him after their time as coworkers at Bletchley during WWII, to keep him "employable." Guthrie's wife is not nearly so aware, even as Gutherie lies dying of mercury poisoning in their bed. Geordie is about to go off and accuse Jean of doing her husband and his lover in out of jealousy, only to discover she has her own lover, Karla. Theirs was a marriage of making it work, and Leonard is there to appreciate it, and perhaps push Geordie just a smidge towards understanding it too.
Meanwhile, Will Davenport attempts to ride in to save the show from becoming too adorable. But Mrs. Chapman isn't having any new vicars, not ones that ride motorcycles and make hearts throb, no sir. She insists Leonard has taken the position and dismisses him. In the world of change, Cathy's not having a great time either. After falling for all of Hobbs' sweet talk about fashion, she finds herself sexually assaulted by him ahead of her anniversary dinner with Geordie. The dinner goes terribly, as one would expect, with Geordie utterly bewildered at how he must have screwed up.
Naturally, he's in a horrible mood when they confront Guthrie the next morning. The poor man is so deep in the closet he can't admit he even knew Alex. Geordie blows up and confronts his wife with the truth of her husband's proclivities. This upsets Leonard so much, he quits on the spot. There's no evidence that Alex's murder had anything to do with anyone's sexuality, and now Guthrie's life is ruined. The inspector realizes Leonard is right. Ignore the modern relationships, the computers, and look at the evidence, something he's failed to do with all the psychological intrigue. The mercury vials were a murder weapon. A search of them turns up Jean's wedding ring. But Leonard's influence has already led Geordie to realize it's not her. It was planted by Amery, who was mad that Alex was standing in the way of progress and new computers of the future. He killed Alex, framed Jean, and planned to inherit the lab and upgrade it.
As for the church, Chapman's fuss forces the Archdeacon to show up to push for Will's appointment over Leonard. His coded message makes it clear Leonard's not being promoted because he "does not have a nice family." Chapman has had all the wind drop out of her sails anyway, as the wool has fallen from her eyes over Leonard and Daniel's relationship. Will Davenport is officially our new vicar. Grantchester rolls on.