Grantchester airs Sundays at 8:00 p.m. and is available in streaming. Recap of the previous episode and other seasons.
Everyone needs a vacation, Will perhaps more than anything: he won’t stop obsessing about all the work he has to do as a vicar. (It’s not that he’s complaining; he loves what he does. He just wants to talk about it all the time, much to the chagrin of others.) So let’s go to Merries Holiday Park, run by the bubbly. Roy and Babs Reeves with the help of photographer / gofer Bryan, the always smiling Sunny, and the rest of their team.
The whole parsonage family is there, from Mrs. Chapman and Jack to Leonard and Daniel, alongside Geordie, Cathy and their children. Esme, Leonard and Geordie’s daughter, both despise the station’s “forced fun” and prefer to read, but everyone appreciates the joy of it all. A pair of other guests – overly friendly Sid and his brooding wife Margie – are less of a fun, but they come with the territory.
And they, along with wives in general, come for a lot of jokes during Roy’s comedic shoot after dinner, which Babs seems to hate. The resort is teeming with couples after all: Will is left to drink alone after everyone retires with his lover. A burst of music through the speaker after midnight is the only disturbance.
Until the next morning, when breakfast is delayed by the arrival of an ambulance. Will goes to investigate, to Geordie’s chagrin: he’s on vacation! Roy was found dead on stage. Local police suggest “shady ticker” – Babs say Roy’s heart was bad.
Geordie wanted nothing more than “five days without a carcass,” but Will urges him to investigate. Roy had painkillers on him – his back was painful – and appears to have been dragged down the hall. Babs said she was in bed and Roy had gone to practice his comedic routine, as he often did at night. The local detective, who has never worked on a murder case, believes it was “natural causes.” When the autopsy returns, it shows that Roy died of an overdose of painkillers.
Geordie and Will search Roy’s office and realize that he must have been there at some point: he probably accidentally pressed the speaker button, hence the music playing loudly. Inside a safe, they discover a folder titled “Margie” which contains photos of men dancing, kissing and more with Sid’s wife.
Will asks Margie if she worked at Merries, and she says yes, she wanted to be an artist. When Sid appears and says he saved her from Roy, she gets angry. Roy blackmailed men with the photos of them and Margie, and tried to do the same with Sid, but he survived and came back to Merries – on her and Margie’s wedding anniversary, nothing less – to tell Roy.
Babs was aware of Roy’s blackmail plan and did nothing about it. She’s bitter about Roy in general: her father owned Merries, and then when she married Roy, he took over. She thinks he messed it up and wishes she could have handled it on her own, but she’s a woman in a sexist era.
Leonard bonds with Merries staff member Bryan as he feels out of place in their own time. They discuss photography, literature, travel, and feel different from others. Bryan walks in for a kiss and Leonard leaves quickly. He tells Daniel, who forgives, then apologizes to Bryan after hours, telling him, “I understand.” Their experience as gay people is confusing, terrifying, lonely. Later, Bryan comes to Leonard’s cubicle to talk to him more, barging in to find Leonard in bed with Daniel.
Will also has a troubled romantic encounter with a staff member. Sunny asks him to dance but he refuses – he discusses Roy’s death with Geordie. On Geordie’s encouragement, he apologizes for his rudeness, then follows Sunny to swim in the lake and sit together by a fire. Like Margie, she wants to be an artist, but enjoys her job making people happy in Merries. They kiss, but as they return to camp, Geordie interrupts them. He watched a film reel from Roy’s safe and discovered more blackmail of men dancing with a woman at the resort: Sunny.
Sunny says she’s not like Margie; it is not cheap and does not go that far. But Will is hurt, thinking he was being used. Babs later tells Will that Sunny had no choice; Roy promised her he would make her a star. She wasn’t using Will; she really loved him. He apologizes to Sunny.
Roy himself appears in the footage, which leads Geordie and Will to realize that someone else was filming: Bryan. Bryan shares footage from the night Roy died. He also tells Will that he saw Leonard and Daniel together; Will tells him he must be wrong, but Bryan insists that such behavior must be dealt with. Will asks Bryan to leave it to him.
Looking at the footage from the night of Roy’s death, Geordie realizes that Roy must have been poisoned by the stout he was drinking, and that he was talking to Sid at the bar when he filled his glass. Watching Margie cry during Sunny’s first routine as a comedic roasting husband, Will has her own realization: She hated her life with Sid. She poisoned Sid’s drink, and Roy took it instead, thinking it was his. When she went to get rid of the painkiller vial that evening, she saw Roy stumble outside and dragged him out into the hallway, knowing he was practicing his routine there, and left the vial in his pocket.
I feel worthless, she tells Sid when confronted by Will and Geordie. You treat me like a prize and use me to score points, like bringing her to a place where she wanted to escape, where everyone knew what she was doing, on her own birthday, and show it.
Leonard longs to show his love for Daniel. Sitting by the lake, he sneaks an affectionate touch to wipe the ice cream off Daniel’s face.
As everyone leaves, Bryan walks up to Will with photos of the happy vacationers. Will tells her that he will take care of Leonard when they get home.
Bryan doesn’t believe it. And it has pictures of Leonard intimately stroking Daniel’s face.