GrantchesterThe penultimate episode of the season opens with Will playing backgammon at St. Cedd’s Care Center, the retirement home, with Ida Merryman (Anna Calder-Marshall). As befits someone who used to be on prostitutes, she tries to play strip backgammon. Matron Fletcher (Caroline Faber) is horrified, aggravated when Clem Preston (Bruce Alexander) locks himself in his office and begins blasting “Johnny B Goode” over the speaker system. His rebellion is unfortunately short-lived, as Fletcher obtains spare keys from caretaker Pat Wyndham (Mark Quartley) and lets himself in. It complements her buttocks; she responds by bullying and humiliating the old man, much to Will’s horror.
Geordie: Getting older is humiliating. I put my back down last week while brushing my teeth.
Geordie spends the day with the kids, though Esme refuses to come, and Cathy is at a union meeting, which means Bonnie drops them off. She and Will have an uncomfortable conversation, deciding to be friends, only for Maya to show up as soon as she drives off. She broke up with Geordie’s boss and wants to run away with Will. It’s obvious his thing for Maya was because she wasn’t available, to which Geordie correctly calls her. Will responds by calling on Geordie not to try to win Cathy back, as if it’s a phase that will pass, instead of hearing what she’s telling him. But love lives will have to wait, as will his attempts to make Mrs. C work for her, as a body is found in St. Cedds. The matron was found dead in Clem’s bedroom; he and Ida are gone.
Geordie suspects Clem; however, Will points out that it’s unlikely and Pat confirms that Clem is harmless. But, there is something fishy; the matron took control of Clem’s estate from her daughter, Clara (Kirsten Foster), and there’s moonlight in Clem’s room. It’s not that Will will be around much. Maya told Wallace everythingand when he kicks the priest out of Geordie’s office saying he doesn’t want it”Brown Father bollocks” over here. (This is not an anachronism referring to the PBS show, the original Brown Father short stories were popular in the 20s and 30s.) He and Geordie reunite on a heart-to-heart, as Geordie admits this life is hard for a marriage, and Wallace may admit that Maya is right to leave as long as the exit is still open.
As for the case, there is a sighting report from Clem and Ida. Peters says they apparently hijacked a wealthy man at gunpoint and are long gone. Will meets Geordie at St. Cedd’s, where they find the bottle of moonshine in a bottle of turpentine. Turns out Pat has a distillery in the gatehouse; he swears the matron didn’t know but admits he was supplying Clem and had a drink with him the night of Fletcher’s murder. But he has an alibi; he spent the rest of the evening watching TV with the old birds in the main room. However, while Fletcher didn’t know about Pat’s hobbies, she wasn’t above it all either. His office has half a dozen requests to take over his patients’ estates.
Clara walks into the station, assuming her father has gotten himself into trouble again. The two have been separated for years; she had no idea that Clem was even in a house, let alone that he had surrendered his guardianship to Fletcher. Clem has spent his life as a con artist, swindling and stealing. She is surprised by the murder, but carjacking and stealing money is consistent with her usual behavior. he usually had tea at the Ritz afterwards. Geordie checks to see if there are any hotels with tea service nearby; it’s the Ashford Hotel, not the Ritz, but Clem and Ida are there, albeit unarmed. (There was no weapon, just a glasses case in his pocket.) As Geordie stops him, he claims to have “slain the dragon!”
Clem takes up this confession at the train station, saying he shouted it out to entertain customers. Ida claims she did, but she has no idea Matron died. Clara asks to speak to Ida to apologize for her father, but Ida says that Clem was the spirit driving them all forward as they sat trapped there. Fletcher’s humiliation of Clem happened in front of everyone, including Pat. His alibi actually dates from Saturday; the resident could not remember the day he watched television with him. He didn’t want to kill Fletcher, she just attacked him with the paperwork, and he pushed her away. Clem and Ida saw him and were trying to protect him. Clara is moved by her father’s devotion to Pat and Ida and invites them to come home with her.
Mrs. C has doubts about the new treatments recommended by her doctors (radiation almost certainly, this being 1959). Jack tells her it’s her call; he will stick to any choice she makes. Will is less optimistic and Mrs. C tells him that he is a boy who tells them all how to live. Geordie isn’t as blunt, telling Mrs. C that she and Will have been a lifeline to him during this separation. He says it’s been a tough year for both of them, but he’d be walking on hot coals if it meant more time with Cathy and her kids.
Although the case is solved, Geordie is still busy with a union strike. He asks Peters why there were no arrests, but apparently no one is willing to stand up to their ringleader chained to the door. It’s Cathy, and no one’s stopping the boss’s wife. He must order them to release her and demands vans to bring the strikers to the station for disturbing the peace. Of course, an interrogation room was just what the Keatings needed for couples therapy, though the way Geordie walks around singing suggests they may have done it on the table. (Let’s hope the observation room was empty!) Either way, Geordie is out of the parsonage and back home, which means Bonnie is going to leave.
Inspired by Clem and Ida seizing the day, Will calls Maya. Unfortunately, that’s when Bonnie decides to come along, announcing that she wants to be more than friends after all. Before he can stop her, Bonnie confesses all her feelings in the hall, enters the kitchen… and sees a dumbfounded Maya. Horrified, she calls Will out for lying to her, for saying Maya was all about sex and she can’t believe she ever trusted a word from his mouth. Maya, for her part, is equally outraged that Will was never serious about going with her either. She and Bonnie both walk out, shaking their heads at how Will has cheated on them and himself, leaving him in the parsonage, having ruined his luck with two women.