Trish's Stalker Is Complicating Her Recovery On 'Broadchurch'

Colin Hutton/BBC America

Broadchurch's two detectives are no closer to solving their current case after three episodes, and there's a second mystery brewing after Trish receives a mysterious text message from someone threatening her to keep quiet. She's willing to admit that she had consensual sex with a partner on the day before the party, but resists telling Hardy and Miller who that was. Could that person also be Trish's stalker on Broadchurch? It's implied that the same person who sent the menacing text also sent anonymous flowers to Trish's home to thank her. The mixed messages thoroughly terrify Trish — if the same person is responsible for all of them, they are using tactics often employed by abusers.

According to the not-for-profit service organization New Hope for Women, signs of emotional abuse include not only threats of violence and verbal abuse, and but also attempts to "isolate the victim by severing the victim's ties to outside support and resources." Even buying gifts can be a sign of emotional abuse, especially if they come after a violent acts or threats. Perhaps instead of her rapist, it's actually the man Trish had consensual sex with before the assault who is sending her these messages. It's not impossible that Trish was attacked by a stranger while she was involved in an abusive relationship. But the most convincing argument against this theory is the anonymity involved. Her abuser would want Trish to know he was responsible for these threats and tokens.

Abusive or, at least, unhealthy relationships are all over the rest of this episode, too. The married cab driver's chronic infidelity is creating a toxic environment, but his wife refuses to move on. This is obviously affecting their teenage son. Cath's husband's reaction to her line of questioning implied violence, so it's very possible there's some type of abuse present in this marriage, too.

Colin Hutton/BBC America

Meanwhile, the men around Trish change their tune a little bit after the news that she is the victim is released, but their reactions are still problematic. Ed, a friend and coworker, expresses sympathy but also confusion — he doesn't think of Trish as the "type" of women who gets attacked like this. Her ex-husband, Ian, who was so quick to judge Trish before he found out she was raped, turns around completely and offers (unwanted) emotional support. The owner of the property where Trish was attacked says he no longer wants to rent out the property because the assault has "sullied" the place.

These men (and some women) find it hard to believe that an assault like Trish's could have taken place in their town. But as their own toxic relationships show, Trish's assault is one outgrowth of an already problematic culture. And at least one mysterious stalker is determined to keep Trish feeling afraid and alone.