After six episodes, it’s time to say a temporary goodbye to our gruff inspector and young vicar with a drinking problem. And although they seemed like clichés at first, they have become so much more to us over this season. The finale puts Sidney on the other side of the metaphorical confessional, and boy does he need to give his sins some air.
This episode begins with a flashback: Sidney meeting Amanda for the first time in years, at The National Gallery. They flirt over the paintings, and she swears she’ll never get married. She even jokes that she hates everyone her dad has picked for her and gives Sidney veto power over his picks!
Flash forward to the present, and find Sidney gazing at Amanda’s wedding invitation, and weeping.
Sidney cycles over to the archdeacon who is wearing a ridiculous bonnet, and our lad is diagnosed with “crisis of self.” The archdeacon knows all about Sidney’s goings-on with criminal investigations and German ladies. Back at home, Leonard has his own diagnosis: the investigations have unsettled Sidney. “I know how it feels when the black dog comes calling… and I’m not talking about Dickens.”
And now for Geordie’s take: “What is it, the night with the jazz singer? The rich one’s impending nuptials?” asked Geordie. “It’s Hildergarde,” says Sidney. He still feels bad about sleeping with the jazz lady.
They’re interrupted because someone’s been shot nearby, an officer. The prostitutes outside the station, including Annie, were witnesses, but surprise, surprise, Annie wants Geordie to bugger himself sideways. She will only talk to the handsome vicar who remembered her name.
And indeed, she herself heard a name: Merlin. A string of clues leads them to Merlin, which is a factory. Sidney wanders around, the music gets more ominous, and shots ring out. Geordie has been shot in the stomach. “I don’t want to die,” he says to a freaked-out Sidney on the way to the operating room. Disappearing into surgery, he offers a clue: “Heart.”
Sidney sits with Geordie’s wife waiting for news, and they’re bonding, but when she realizes Sidney was with Geordie “playing cops and robbers” she gets mad at him and leaves. You have to feel her, a this point. Sidney remains convinced the cops are on the wrong trail. But they won’t hear it. “Piss of back to church, Mr. Chambers,” says the Chief Inspector.
A scene of Sidney washing his face indicates his PTSD has been triggered by the violence. Mrs. Maguire (lovely old cross Mrs. Maguire, we cannot praise ye enough) and Leonard tell Sidney they want to help him. Naturally, rather than unburdening himself, he tells them to make a scene in the police station so he can sneak into Geordie’s office and look for clues.
Sidney, it’s a dangerous game you’re playing, lad. But at least some members of the police are on his side and let him slip away from the station, with his clues. Using Geordie’s clues, Sidney finds his way to a local magnate, Mr. Health. He discovers this man was a commanding officer who liberated Belsen and two recent shooting victims were both his soldiers. His wife, Mrs. Heath, seems very fragile.
With no news of Geordie, Sidney gets utterly smashed and makes a scene at Amanda’s pre-wedding cocktail hour, embarrassing everyone, most of all himself. It ends with a fight with Guy and then Sidney tumbles to the floor, and stumbles out. We’ve never seen our vicar so low. Back at the vicarage, he’s being sullen and morose. “You drink more and more these days,” says Hildegarde. “Why do I feel like one man went to London and another came back?”
Mrs. Health brings Sidney a list of her husband’s soldiers. “He saw the camps. He saw evil. After that, how could any of us expect things to be normal again?” she asks, when Sidney notices the bruises all over her arms.
Sidney goes through the list of soldiers and tries to match them up with the people who live in the area. And he bicycles off under a cloudier-than usual Grantchester sky. So symbolic. His first visit is to Mr. Miller, a sad, addled veteran who reminds Sidney of himself. He’s none too fond of Mr. Heath. Sidney, grows convinced the killer was Mr. Heath and shows up at the man’s office, again, demanding to know what happened overseas. Mr. Heath calls the police.
“You want the truth: here it is Mr. Chambers. You are not a police officer,” says the Chief Inspector. “Do you want me to put you in a cell, you arrogant little sod?”
On a second visit, Mr. Miller tells the whole story to Sidney. He’s a veteran who was called a coward by those in his unit due to his reluctance to participate in a wartime atrocity. But Sidney realizes by looking at his heart-shaped tattoo that it’s not the full story, and he’s huddled up with the killer.
They tussle. “We live in the shadow of it. All of us,” says Sidney, pleading. He tries to calm Miller down, but is too late. Miller kills himself as the cops close in.
Flash forward, and Sidney is sitting with Geordie, who has come out of his coma. “Did you pray for an old heathen?” he asks. They hold hands. “Don’t you ever do that again,” says Sidney. So bromantic.
Time for the big confession. “I killed one of my my own men,” said Sidney. It turns out the flashback we’ve been seeing the whole season is worse than we thought. The young man Sidney keeps thinking about was dying of a massive wound, and Sidney shot him, while he lay in his arms, to put him out of his misery.
“You did what you had to do, Sidney,” says Geordie, as Sidney weeps.
The next confession is more domestic. Hildegarde, learning of his infidelity, says, “I let my husband do this to me, I won’t let you do it.” She leaves him.
And then, he fesses up to Amanda, and apologizes. “We have had fun,” says Amanda, during their final rendezvous at the National Gallery. Sidney says goodbye.
The final montage includes Hildegarde flirting with someone, Mrs. Heath letting her husband’s associates see her bruises, Amanda in her wedding dress, and a cane-dependent Geordie and Sidney bantering about Sidney’s love life, Gilbert and Sullivan, jazz, and bollocks.
Oh, these two are perfect for each other! Who needs Amanda when Geordie’s nearby? Alas, the season is over. What the Dickens? See you next season, Grantchester. May you be whiskey-soaked and quaint in the interim.