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Grantchester Case File S1E2: A Death Defines a Dinner Party

Grantchester Case File S1E2


Welcome to this week’s “Grantchester” Case File! Before reading, do note that there are many spoilers ahead. This episode is available to watch online through Thursday, June 23, 2016.


For Sidney, accepting that he has let Amanda slip from his grasp and into the arms of her surprise fiancé, Guy, is something that he is not prepared to do quite yet. While his intention to avoid their pre-marriage dealings is going as well as one can expect, his sister Jennifer opts not stand for that.

Kind of, against his will, Jennifer talks Sidney into attending Amanda and Guy’s engagement dinner at the mansion of the bride-to-be’s family. Unfortunately, since Jennifer has brought her new beau Johnny to the event, Sidney is forced to deal with the forced, at times awkward party conversations without much of a safeguard – he appears less than thrilled.

Within moments of arriving, Sidney encounters Amanda and the two pretend that everything is normal. Amanda speaks about missing their time in Grantchester together, while Sidney can’t help but eventually notice the “Titanic-sized” engagement ring on her finger. While attempting to digest that ahead of dinner, Sidney meets the eager-to-please Guy and still can’t help but seem in disbelief that this is the man who has won Amanda over.

Dinner for Sidney is tense and odd. He witnesses the tense couple of Lilian and William and can’t help but gaze upon Amanda and Guy. As Sidney tries to survive this strangeness, he’s roped into conversation by Daphne, a sly, to-the-point woman with a background in psychology. As she tries to diagnose Sidney’s interest in drinking, he proceeds to keep his glass as full as he needs it to be.

Grantchester   Grantchester

Outside and filled with liquid courage, Sidney watches the fireworks go off as Amanda comes to him.

Sidney: “Why are you marrying him?”

Amanda: “Because he asked. You shouldn’t have come.”

Amanda’s tone and body language is designed to make Sidney feel guilty for not taking a real run at her sooner.

Once back inside the party, Amanda’s collection of gals (Sidney’s sister Jennifer included) exercise some big talk, while Lilian and William quarrel very publicly. Just as things get too heated, drinks are spilt and the room gets distracted. During this fracas, Amanda’s ring – which was being passed around the room at the time – goes missing. An intensive search begins, as fingers begin to point in the direction of Johnny, the lone black man in the room. After unnecessarily proving his innocence, many of the party guests opt to go home. Perhaps cooler heads will emerge in the morning.

Unfortunately, this does not happen.

Sidney is contacted the next morning by his pal, Detective Investigator Geordie. As it turns out, Lilian didn’t quite make it home. Rather, she’s been found dead in an isolated body of water. Suspiciously, she has marks of trauma around her neck and has had all jewellery removed.

Grantchester   Grantchester

At the funeral, Daphne introduces her roommate Sidney to Leonard Finch, a man of the cloth looking for work – he hopes Sidney will welcome him into the church. The vicar breezes past this subject for the moment and meets Geordie at the end of the service. Geordie says no one is talking and hopes that Sidney can help break the code of silence.

Together, Sidney and Geordie interview a slew of folks who could’ve had a hand in the murder of Lilian and the theft of Amanda’s ring. Quickly, attendees begin to throw Johnny under the bus and assume he’s the one at fault – of course, his past burglary conviction doesn’t help.

During a supposed pause in the investigation, Sidney and Amanda have a very candid conversation in the church regarding her engagement. She suggests that the marriage has been arranged by family and feels as if she had no choice but to marry Guy. As Sidney comforts Amanda, it appears as if she’s looking for more intimacy from the vicar. It is at this inopportune moment that Sidney is summoned.

What’s discovered is Guy forcefully searching Johnny and discovering Lilian’s missing jewellery in his bag. After being hauled off to jail, Jennifer tells Sidney that she and Johnny spent a chunk of time together, in bed, following the party. Thus, there’s no way he could’ve committed the crimes he’s accused of.

As Sidney mulls over all that he’s encountered, he comes to the conclusion that Lilian didn’t die from her fall into the water – she was dead before that. Together, Geordie and Sidney determine that it was perhaps the back of her neck bouncing off a staircase that did her in. Flashing back to the dinner party, Sidney recalls William mentioning that his home is “between carpets at the moment.”

Grantchester   Grantchester

Sidney and Geordie soon descend upon William’s home and easily convince his maid Edna to spill the beans. While letting out the truth, blood is discovered on the stairwell behind her – blood that had been covered in temporary carpeting. It is here when William enters the room.

William meets Sidney and Geordie with next to zero resistance. He admits to a domestic disturbance gone too far, leading Lilian to fall down the stairs and to her death. But, something seems extra fishy about this. Something tells Sidney that William is covering for someone – someone he longed for. Yes, the mighty sly Daphne.

Using Leonard’s kindness to their advantage, Sidney and Geordie get access to Daphne’s workspace. In it, they discover love notes sent to her by William – it appears as if something extra-marital was going on with William and that something was Daphne.

Needless to say, Lilian discovered this at the dinner party and that led to a confrontation at the home between her, Daphne and William. Although William previously admitted fault, it was in fact  Daphne that delivered the knockout blow, ending Lilian’s life. Together, they hauled Lilian’s body to the water, stripped it of jewellery and tried to get away with murder.

Grantchester   Grantchester

As for the ring? Daphne conveniently hid it inside a flashlight at the home of Amanda’s family. Why? So that Johnny could ultimately take the fall for what William and she did.

While satisfied about helping to close this case, Sidney is still pining for Amanda. At his birthday party not too long afterward, Sidney gives Amanda her ring back. Sidney’s growing more and more comfortable with her future marriage, even if part of him wishes it was his ring being placed in the hand of Amanda.

-Adam Grant

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