I appreciate what Grantchester is trying to do with opening Episode 3 to "Lonesome Town" as Will and Geordie strugglebus through their breakups. Still, since Pulp Fiction, I haven't been able to take that song seriously. It's hard to take Will's mope seriously (Bonnie is right there, and Ernie is so cute!) Geordie's is worse — if a woman leaves the vacuum running, turn it off! At least there's little time for it, as Geordie conveniently walks Leonard to work on the day a body turns up on the cafe's stoop. It's another vagrant death, and though Peters is downright rude about checking to see if he has any friends or kin, it's another in a growing string, all of whom were also found in doorways.
Leonard: He's just had his heartbroken...
Geordie: He was only with her for five minutes!
Peters insists Wallace isn't interested. But it's ok, Leonard jumps back into the Geordie sidekick job since he feels guilty for never giving the man any money. When Geordie tries to refuse, Leonard points out he's not coming as a religious adviser; he's an ex-con. There's a Tennyson book from St Margaret's College inscribed with "Robin Fellows;" upon arrival, they meet Jim Baker (Tom Glenister), professor of anthropology. Fellows (Jeremy Ang Jones) had a breakdown and left to recuperate with his parents. However, it's not Robin's body; he was an Asian student; the tramp was an old white dude. Geordie realizes he's seen the handwriting on an envelope on his desk he hasn't opened. Inside there's a note: "All Things Must Die."
Georgie and Leonard meet Fellowes' adviser, Professor Larson (Rowena King). He had a nervous collapse over his thesis, studying the needy and if it was something inherent in their makeup. Fellowes wanted to rehabilitate them, Larson sneers, and Baker helped. She's had a letter too, a Tennyson quote: "Ring Out Wild Bells and Let Him Die." At the encampment Robin was studying, Geordie spots Danny (Steven Blake), an old regular. Danny says the dead man was Barney, a thief. He also says the vagrants know they're being targeted and are traveling in packs for safety. Despite Peters protesting that Wallace said to close the case, Miss Scott brings Geordie the other vagrant files, and there's a pattern, all strangled.
Mrs. C is struggling with cancer, falling into depressive fogs, and snapping in rage over tiny things, including hollering at Ernie for carving his initials in a pew. Will takes Ernie with him to work on his motorbike, hoping (and failing) to get the kid to open up over his dad's passing a bit. When he confronts Mrs. C about yelling at the kid, she yells he can make his own dinner and then tells Leonard they are going out, where they have an expensive dinner at a fancy restaurant, complete with Champ Pagna, where she gets super drunk. She tells Leonard she had an abortion when she was a teenager; it's why she could never have children, and the cancer is a punishment from God.
The following scene is perhaps one of the most touching in Grantchester's history, as Leonard, without judgment or pity, reminds Mrs. C that she was a girl, not even 14. What happened to her, a boy taking advantage wasn't her fault, and the fallout (and pregnancy) is severe trauma she's never faced or dealt with. (It seems likely she's never even spoken about it until now, as the shame has kept her silent.) He promises God will return to her when she needs him and that she is loved. But Mrs. C. is still too angry and marches down to the church and tells the sunlight through the window that if God is turning his back on her, she's doing the same to Him.
Will clears off and finds Geordie at the office, now looking for a serial killer, but can't stay long since Wallace is on the prowl. He heads back to the church and realizes Ernie was carving his dad's initials, so he finishes them with birth and death dates and tells the kid he can visit and sit with them anytime. Back in the office, Miss Scott tells Geordie she got hold of Robin's parents, who refused to commit him; he disappeared a week ago. As he looks over the evidence and decides to have a shave, he suddenly realizes what's wrong with all the bodies — they've been cleaned, shaven, and cared for. An investigation of Robin's office finds a shaving station and pictures of Jesus.
Too bad Leonard wasn't with Geordie for that part because he might have been quicker to call the police when Robin shows up at his cafe the following day. When Robin says, "I didn't want him to suffer anymore," Leonard puts everything together and calls the station, but Geordie isn't in. He's matching the dates of the various deaths with Larson, who admits each lines up with her failing the kid out or ejecting him from class. Leonard plays the former clergy card to keep Robin talking until Geordie arrives and arrests the poor, who keeps begging for someone to "make it stop."
Robin doesn't directly confess at the station, but his statements can be read that way. What's striking is how little the man seems to understand what's happened or that they're discussing a crime. Geordie sighs; even if the kid did kill these men, he's not capable of standing trial. Meanwhile, Baker, who up until now I was convinced would turn out to be the real killer, comes down to the cafe to see Leonard. He says he's hoping to be a vicar one day, that he studies people, and he's so upset he didn't see what was happening to Robin. He's also upset to learn the body will only have a small funeral, so Leonard takes him along to attend. It's also Leonard's first time stepping foot in the church since his arrest.
Bonnie stops by the thank Will for getting Ernie to open up. He's already acting better, and she thinks he might be ok for the first time. Ernie also wanted to give Will a bell for his motorbike that matches the one on Ernie's tricycle. Hello Will, earth to Will. This is the first really good one! If you're randomly proposing marriage, can you marry this one, please?