At last my theory is vindicated. Granted I didn’t every specific detail right, but I got most of it right. I had worked out the rapist had not previously been involved with the other rapes, but that there were two attackers – who I believed would turn out to be Michael and Tom. I had also worked out that the accomplice filmed the event – and that it was the films that linked the rape to the previous rapes (as Michael and Tom would be too young to have perpetrated them), although I’m not sure the way depicted in the episode is even possible … can you really run a flash-light mode on your phone and record video at the same time? Not only that, but I knew the sock would either belong to Clive (Michael’s father) or they had matched Michael’s DNA paternally to the sample found at the scene. Michael’s accomplice was Leo, not Tom, but I was essentially right about everything else.
The evidence that either Michael or Tom was involved was overwhelming: to start with, one of them was the Broadchurch Highschool Porn Baron, and I was convinced the rapes were amongst that porn footage. We never really find out definitively if it was, but that was one clear clue. Then, after serving their penalty at the church, the boys watched porn again with Tom insisting and Michael resisting – this is a foreshadowing of the relationship he had with Leo, and of course it made sense because he was in remorse. The attacker knocked Trish unconscious and tied her hands behind her back – that suggests an attacker that isn’t as physically strong as her. Most of the other men – Ian, Jim, Aaron, Ed – were much strong physically and would have had no trouble controlling her. And finally, the boys sub plot of sharing porn would have been would up last week if it was not connected to the larger plot.
Some have noted the police work throughout the series was not very professional, or for that matter realistic. I tend to agree, and I think we had a clear example of this in the final episode. Michael was 16 when he raped Trish, and Leo filmed it on his phone. That’s child pornography, and Leo would find himself under charges for both possessing it, and for producing it – in addition to all his other charges. And they would be very serious indeed. While it was a good series that point should have been addressed. Also, how exactly did Leo film the other rapes if he acted alone?
Also, the scenario is not particularly believable – Michael is quite a shy boy, he gets drunk which lowers libido anyway, and then Leo knocks out Trish and tells him to go have a root while he watches. I just don’t believe Michael would be able to get it up in that scenario – especially if he didn’t find Trish particularly attractive (she is three times his age!), or if he didn’t relish the thought of control by violent force which is what rape is about. Put simply, in the scenario described it is so unlikely that Michael would have been able to get it up – even if he tried, the more realistic turn of events would be failing that that Leo goes and finishes the job. But, again that’s problematic too – Leo normally rapes women alone, it seems quite unlikely that he would change that paradigm.
Another issue I have is that Michael is such a generic antagonist, that he had barely no character development at all the entire season. I don’t think we even meet him until episode 3, and in the finale his mum Lindsay is nowhere to be seen for the entire hour! Again of course, this lack of attention is a big clue to who the culprit is, but seriously why don’t we see Lindsay at least once in the finale? She’s not even at the church service at the end, despite the fact that she’s the most devoutly religious character in the series – even more-so than the vicar.
Leo is just as generic – in fact even mores o than Michael. He has no motive whatsoever, and he already ha a girlfriend he effectively controls. He’s far more likely to be a physically abusive partner than a rapist, or to at least start there and then progress to rapes. And come to think of it, not only do we not get to see Lindsay, we don’t get to see Danielle (Leo’s girlfriend) either! In fat we barely see her at all the entire season – I guess that’s how Chibnall thought he was keeping Leo under the radar. Chibnall – some fucking character development of your antagonists would be helpful you know!
As an afterthought, you might be wondering if this was my theory all along why didn’t I say anything before the episode aired? I thought about doing so yesterday, but I decided against it because I knew I would want to post this post if I was mostly correct, which I was. And since you didn’t know what my theory was, the title of this post isn’t going to inadvertently spoil it for viewers yet to watch it – I would have had to have used a more neutral title. It doesn’t bother me if you don’t believe me, after all it’s just a stupid TV show. I’m just pleased with how close to the reveal I got.