The latest episode of Grantchester opens to a scene of Will being flirted with by female parishioners set to Frankie Avalon's "Venus." It's been far too long since we had a church-set episode and Will dealing with the snark and gossip of the community. Everything about the opening, from the reminder that Daniel can shade with the best of them, to creepy Baker's earnest desire to become a curate, to Jack's horror at Sylvia's girdle hiatus, is delightful. Mrs. C's hiatus extends to the vicarage, which means no cakes for the Missionary Circle's fundraiser unless Will gets baking. Let's just say his and Bonnie's tipsy attempts would not impress Mary Berry (though Geordie doesn't mind), as the two make eyes at each other and plot behind the Keatings' backs to get them back together.
Leonard: She and God had a falling out. God lost.
Will: You couldn't have lost your faith *after* you baked 12 cakes?
Despite Leonard's idea to replace the cakes with Baba Ganoush, the fundraiser is shaping up fine until a body turns up in the middle of the stage at Vicarage Hall. The deceased is electrician Neil Hughes (Tom Lorcan), husband of Grace (Lauren Douglin). She is part of the Missionary Circle that includes her BFFs, widow Kathleen Wilson (Sophie Fletcher) and French student Natalie Beniot (Alaïs Lawson), who roomed with the Hughes when she first arrived in the UK. The wealthy Eleanor Ingram (Louiza Patikas) is the head of the committee, and her husband Adam (Simon Balcon) was hanging out with Neil at church making misogynistic remarks and sneering at Daniel. Will wants this to be an accident, but no, it's murder.
Grace's response is to focus on the fundraiser rather than weep and scream. She admits she hadn't seen her husband since the night before when she left the Hall and assumed he'd crashed in his van rather than come home. Outside, Neil's van shows signs someone tried to break into it, and Geordie finds sexy photos of Kathleen inside. She admits they had an affair, but he broke it off once he took the photos. She'd tried to get the images back, but when she arrived at the Hall, he was already dead. She grabbed the hammer next to him and tried to break into the van to find them but failed. However, that wasn't the murder weapon; someone hit him in the head with his toolbox.
Miss Scott turns up an arrest record, from three months ago, for stealing a wallet at the cricket club where he volunteers as an umpire. Natalie works there as well and reported Neil for stealing. She says it was a misunderstanding, and it's why she moved out. Neil's locker has an envelope of jewelry. Back at Vicarage Hall, Eleanor thanks Grace, saying she insisted the fundraiser go on. Daniel looks over the photos and asks where the rest are -- a home roll has 24, and there are less than a dozen. When shown the jewelry, Grace doesn't recognize it, but the handwriting on the envelope matches Eleanor's. Adam has a gambling problem, and Neil paid off the debt as his BFF. Eleanor repaid with what she had: Her jewels.
Operation Keating Reunion is a go after work, with Will dragging Geordie to the lovely Italian place. Bonnie and Will pretend it's all a coincidence, but Cathy and Geordie see right through it and, with heavy sighs, sit down and order all the wine they can drink. Will and Bonnie gamely try and bring up happy memories of first dates and wedding days, but all Cathy remembers is Geordie's hangovers. She points out how pregnant she was at the time when he tried to give it back. After Geordie gives Cathy a necklace Bonnie procured and Will slipped to him, and she accuses him of trying to get back in her bed, they both walk out.
Meanwhile, Bonnie and Will are getting along like a house on fire, and Operation Keating Reunion becomes Operation Will&Bonnie Date. When Bonnie tries to jump him, Will goes full Will and turns her down. Bonnie is insulted and accuses Will of vicaring her before marching off. At the cafe, Baker, who still gives me the creeps, no matter how earnest he is, asks Leonard about being a curate, and their conversation leads Leonard to admit how much he misses his calling. His real gifts of being a counselor only become more apparent when Mrs. C starts making fun of him and his beat poets, and he loses his temper -- not for making fun of his crowd, but because she still hasn't told Jack or Will.
We already know the answer when she asks how she finds the words. Bluntly. Jack is super hurt that she told Leonard but not him, and she replies she couldn't break his heart by telling him, while he insists it should be him who has cancer, not her. Will blames himself for not realizing Mrs. C's antics weren't just her usual cranky pants self. Leonard says no one can know what's happening all the time, not even under their own noses or in their own house.
Cathy's complaint Geordie only gives her jewelry when he wants sex gives him an idea. Neil asked Eleanor to repay him in sex. Adam insists his BFF would never, only to learn that he did, and she agreed. Horrified at what Adam did, Geordie realizes these two didn't do it, no more than Kathleen. That's when Grace shows up and admits she did it. Like Mrs. C, Eleanor couldn't break Adam's heart, so she told her BFF, and seeing the Kathleen photo sent her over the edge. But she doesn't know the toolbox was the murder weapon, and her story doesn't add up.
Also, if Neil harrassed Kathleen and Eleanor, there's no way he didn't go for Natalie, who was living under his own roof. Natalie admits he raped her regularly, despite Grace knowing what her husband was and trying to guard her like a hawk. When everyone left the Hall that night, he tried to go for Natalie again while she was up a ladder, and she blindly hit him with the toolbox. When she saw the body, Grace knew it was Natalie and blamed herself for not seeing what her husband was doing. She begs Geordie to tell her that the judge will be lenient, as Natalie isn't truly guilty here, but Geordie's face says it's a hopeless wish.