Every season, GBH Drama prepares to bring you coverage of the latest and greatest in British dramas. This month, we're headed to Grantchester for the eight season of the show of the same name. With hot priests, mysterious murders, and a village full of capital C Characters, this show is sure to entertain. GBH Drama contributor Amanda-Rae Prescott is here to recap the magic as it happens.

MASTERPIECE aired the penultimate episode and the season finale of Grantchester Season 8 together for maximum emotional impact. Will’s struggle with the aftermath of the car accident comes to a head and he is forced to confront his acute stress disorder. Bonnie is in the late stages of pregnancy and is unsure if Will can be the man she married again. Leonard is also struggling with the impact of the murder on the future of the halfway house. Let’s discuss everything that happened in the doubleheader.

A note on content: the conclusion of Episode 5 and Episode 6 discusses suicidal ideation and the act itself.

Episode 5

Jagged Little Pill
The episode begins with Will lying on the center aisle of the church floor. His mind can’t stop replaying the motorcycle accident. He’s exhausted because he’s been taking the pills confiscated from Alfie. If you pause your screen and look at the bottle closely it’s labeled dexedrine or dextroamphetamine. These pills, normally prescribed for ADHD, are stimulants and can cause mood swings and psychosis in patients who become addicted. Will at first seems to be doing well with the pills because he has the energy to focus on sermon writing and helping the scouts. Will also helps Mrs. C and Jack with improving Leonard’s mood. Mrs. C states that Leonard and Will can never both be happy at the same time.

The side effects of the dexedrine aren’t immediately obvious to everyone else. The audience can see Will popping pills secretly and having occasional hallucinations. The downsides kick in when Leonard invites Ms. Taylor from the council to the halfway house to convince her colleagues to ignore the village residents' petition to close the home. Keith is the only resident left as the others have moved out. Leonard hires Mrs. C. as the housekeeper. Jack agrees to pose as a reformed thief to support Keith’s statements that the halfway house changed his life. Geordie and Cathy are there as concerned citizens even though Geordie cannot officially represent the entire police department. During the meeting, Will is tapping his feet really loudly. Ms. Taylor at the end of the meeting gives a neutral assessment of what everyone said at the meeting which angers Will. He yells at Taylor that she and the petition signers are all hypocritical NIMBYs. Will sounds like he’s possessed and Leonard is now convinced Will ruined everything for him and the halfway house. Will anyone figure out it’s the Dexedrine affecting Will’s mood?

Poisoned Chalice
In between Will’s pill consumption and Leonard’s sadness, Larry tells Geordie that two men have been taken to the hospital for poisoning. One man died and the other is still in critical condition. Larry was assigned to the case on Elliot’s orders. Geordie has been relegated to looking at files from 1929. Elliot is conveniently away at a conference so Geordie can’t immediately protest the order to stand down.

The deceased poison victim is named Dr. Bill Lambert. Larry also visits the second poisoning victim, Mike Cotton, at the hospital. His wife Anna is by his bedside waiting for him to wake up. Larry’s bedside manner isn’t the greatest, but he figures out that Cotton was the bartender at the local bar The Weekend Club and that Lambert was 1 of the patrons. Anna says Lambert was their GP as well, but has no idea who would want to hurt either man.

Larry’s next stop is to interview The Weekend Club staff. Sharon Anderson, the barmaid, claims that Lambert was super drunk and acting erratically. She denies knowing about the poisoned drinks and says she assumed Lambert was a regular drunk. Sharon does reveal that Lambert had a fight with her boss (the bar owner) an hour before closing. Bernie Palmer, the owner, denies arguing with Lambert. Palmer reveals that Lambert asked for the special reserve bottle on the evening of his death. The reserve bottle was a 50-year-old cognac taken from a German U-Boat. Palmer said that he drank from that bottle and other patrons did as well. No one else reported any illness. Larry takes the bottles for testing and orders Palmer to shut down the bar until they can confirm the source of the poison. Palmer tries to give Larry a bribe to keep open but Larry doesn’t fall for it. Yay, Larry!

Geordie is bored with the old case files and finds out about Larry’s progress. He tells Larry to go visit Lambert’s surgery for evidence. At the surgery, Lambert interrupts a woman stealing money from the lockbox and arrests her. The woman is identified as Lamberts’ niece and former employee Debbie Stevens. Geordie sits in on the formal interview back at the station. Stevens claims she stole the money because Lambert hasn’t paid her in two months. She denies involvement with the poisoning but tells Larry and Geordie that Lambert was not as nice as public perception painted him to be.

Larry is frustrated that there isn’t clear evidence linking Stevens to the bar, and Miss Scott, of course, has to point out to him that he needs to find records at the office or at Lambert’s home to establish motive. Larry admits to liking Elliot over Geordie because Elliot allows him to play a more active role in cases. The lab results confirm that the cognac was laced with cyanide, but the only two glasses that had cyanide traces were the ones Lambert and Cotton drank from. The poisoner had to be someone who was at the Weekend Club that same evening. Larry finds a black notebook at the practice but can’t decipher the meaning of the writing inside.

Palmer is questioned again about who had access to the special reserve cognac. He says that Anderson had a key to the cabinet it was locked in. Larry then asks Anderson if she obtained the cyanide to fight back Lambert creeping on her. She confirms Lambert was not a nice guy when drunk, but denies using the poison.

Back at the hospital, Cotton wakes up. He tells Larry that Lambert offered him a glass of cognac and he accepted the drink. The other patrons didn’t really like Lambert. Mrs. Cotton says that they moved to England after the 1956 Hungarian Uprising. There’s a twist to the Cotton origin story: Mike Cotton was not born in Hungary but in Russia. Geordie now suspects that the KGB could have been involved. Was Cotton a spy or was his new identity as a British bartender revealed to old enemies?

A Frayed Relationship
While Larry, Geordie, and Miss Scott figure out if Soviet spies have been hanging around the village, Leonard is still in a pretty rough state. He has a heart-to-heart with Jack about the fact that Daniel hasn’t been around since the argument in the previous episode. Jack urges Leonard to talk to Daniel because forgiveness is still possible. Jack also says that while Mrs. C. may not completely understand the dynamic, she knows Daniel makes Leonard happy.

Mrs. C overhears this convo and she’s now determined to show Leonard how much she understands. She walks over to Daniel’s house and she is horrified to see that Daniel is on his porch talking to another man and they share a cigarette. Mrs. C assumes Daniel is cheating on Leonard and runs away. She tells Leonard about Daniel’s mystery visitor which makes Leonard even more upset. Leonard then visits Daniel to confront him with Mrs. C’s observation. Daniel is incensed that Leonard believed Mrs. C’s assumptions so quickly. He was talking with a friend and nothing romantic was going on. Leonard and Daniel part with even more anguish between them. Can they find their way back to each other?

Truth Will Out
Will and Geordie officially interview the Cottons. Their story is that Mike moved to Hungary as a kid and he met his wife at the university and fell in love. Mrs. Cotton was a professor. They moved to England to escape the oppressive Soviets. Meanwhile, Miss Scott figures out that Lambert’s black book has a bunch of initials, dates, and money notations. She and Larry end up deducing that the initials from the little black book match the real patient records which means Lambert was blackmailing his patients after they revealed to him sensitive personal and medical information. The fact that two sets of records existed means that Lambert had an accomplice.

Debbie Stevens is re-questioned and ends up admitting that her uncle forced her to keep a record of the blackmail scheme. The records indicate Bernie Palmer was one of the targets so he’s brought back for another interview. Palmer admits that he had an affair, and Lambert gave him meds to treat an STI. Lambert then threatened to tell Palmer’s wife about the affair unless he paid up. Palmer says that he confronted Lambert at the bar about the blackmail the evening of the poisonings and this is the same dispute Sharon Anderson overheard.

The blackmail records also show that someone named AP visited Lambert once and then paid 10 pounds repeatedly. AP is Anna Cotton’s real name. Mike Cotton is then arrested, because he clearly had access to contaminate the cognac and motive to hide their real identities. As Larry is processing Mike, Will says that it doesn’t make sense that Mike is guilty. Mike doesn’t have the know-how to control the cyanide dose. Anna, on the other hand, does: back in Hungary she was a chemistry professor. Anna admits that she was paying off Lambert to stop him from squealing about her real identity to the Russian Embassy. The Russians consider her an enemy of the state and blame her for her students dying in the Uprising protests. Anna says Mike tipped her off about when Lambert would arrive at the bar so she could add the cyanide to the bottle. She didn’t anticipate Lambert offering Mike a glass. Will asks Anna if she carries the guilt over what happened to her students and she says she never can forget it. Anna is led to the cells after she tells Mike goodbye in Romanian.

Paths Of Least Resistance
In between the interrogations, Geordie gets a call from Elliot giving him an even worse assignment than desk duty. Elliot has clearly heard from a snitch that Geordie’s been involved in the investigation of the poisoning and wants to punish him further. He’s being sent to a police station on the other side of Cambridgeshire, at least a 2-hour drive away from Cathy and the kids. Geordie later tells Cathy about the reassignment and he tells her he’s going to put in for retirement instead. Cathy is surprised by Geordie’s honesty, but he tells her that they’re a team. She even makes a joke about Larry doing well. Geordie types up his letter of resignation and hands it in. This is a refreshing change from their conflicts in earlier seasons!

On the other hand, Will is becoming more and more dependent on Dexedrine to get through the day. Geordie asks Will for a private word and then tells him to give him the pill bottle. Will protests but Geordie wrestles the pill bottle away. Geordie tells Will that he’s better than using pills to ease his guilt and needs to try harder to shake the guilt. Will apologizes to Geordie for his behavior. Will is supposed to meet Bonnie to celebrate Ernie’s birthday, but Will’s feelings and the case have gotten in the way of his ability to put Ernie first. Will then visits the halfway house to apologize to Leonard for ruining the councilwoman’s visit. He also admits to Leonard that he can’t hear God’s voice anymore. Leonard doesn’t accept Will’s apology and instead says he can’t trust Will. He calls out Will’s self-pity and also says he’s useless. Will leaves the house feeling like a bridge has been burnt.

Will returns to the church to pray silently. He then composes a letter and leaves it at the front of the vicarage for Bonnie to find. He says in a voiceover that he let his family down and he can’t shake the guilt of the accident so he’s leaving. He ends the letter with an apology and then leaves. Geordie finds out Will missed Ernie’s party and goes to look for him and is greeted with the letter. Will doesn’t leave any clues about where he’s headed.

Episode 6

Drunk And Disorderly
Will is outside a bar somewhere clearly not in Grantchester. He’s egging on a drunk guy to fight him, and he’s also likely drunk and high on a new supply of pills. This confrontation doesn’t end well, because Will gets punched hard and falls.

Will wakes up on a bench at a police station. His shirt is stained from a nosebleed and he clearly hasn’t showered in a day or two. PC Sam “Mac” McKenzie, the officer in charge, tells Will he’s not under arrest; he just wanted Will to sober up. He tells Will where the shower is and offers a change of clothes. While Will is in the bathroom Mac figures out Will’s address from his Bible and calls Grantchester station. Mac doesn’t ask Will a lot of questions but the two children playing inside the station do. Jacob can’t believe Will is a vicar and Sadie thinks the pills are candy. While the kids talk to Will, PC Mackenzie interrogates another young man who was busted for shoplifting. He offers the shoplifter a sandwich. It’s clear this is a very small village where Mac knows everyone.

Back in Grantchester, Cathy and Geordie have searched everywhere for Will. They even went as far as contacting crazy Tamara to find out Will’s location. Bonnie and Ernie arrive at the vicarage and Geordie has to break the news of Will’s disappearance. Bonnie gets an initial birth pain but she refuses to do anything about it until Will returns and feigns that she’s fine. Cathy wants to get her hands on Will for all of the trouble he caused which is honestly fair. Later on at the station, Miss Scott takes Mac’s call about Will. She tells Geordie that Will is in a village outside Colchester which is several hours away. Is Will ready to return home?

Scapegoating: Electric Boogaloo
Keith Pruitt is the only halfway house resident left, and he’s also packing up to leave. He tells Leonard that he was able to reconnect with his now adult son who he lost touch with years ago. Keith is grateful for Leonard’s assistance, but he’s shaken up by the police constantly visiting the house. Leonard feels like there’s nothing left of his dream. Daniel then comes by to tell Leonard that his latest photography collection has been offered a spot at a London gallery with possible opportunities for more work. Leonard doesn’t have it in him to tell Daniel not to take the offer. Daniel leaves after telling Leonard he plans to move to London.

Larry then knocks on the door of the halfway house. There was a robbery nearby and Elliot ordered a search and interview of every resident. Leonard says everyone else is gone and cooperates with the request. At the police station, Elliot orders Leonard to go to the interview room. Leonard protests that he was not involved, which then results in Elliot assaulting him. Larry is confused by Elliot’s outburst of violence.

Leonard sits in a cell alone for quite a while until Larry visits. Larry unlocks the door and tells Leonard to quickly escape while Elliot is distracted. Larry hasn’t always been nice to Leonard, but this time he says it’s the right thing and what Geordie would do in the same situation. Leonard says he could kiss Larry but he shakes his hand instead. How will Elliot react?

Death Visits The Wilsons
Geordie finds Will at Mac’s precinct. Geordie tells Will that God didn’t send him there, but he’s concerned about Bonnie and Ernie. Will confesses that he’s scared about being a bad father to the new baby and Geordie replies that Will’s family deserves better than current Will. After their conversation, Mac tells Geordie that Will is a broken man and that Geordie loves Will like a son, and Geordie agrees.

Emotional progress is interrupted, of course, by police work. Curtis Cooper, one of the villagers, reports that Mr. Wilson is dead. Geordie follows Mac to investigate while Will is left with Jacob and Sadie. At Mr. Wilson’s house, they also find Mrs. Wilson dead and a footprint left by the killer. Cooper is questioned about the debt the Wilsons had but he denies hurting the couple. Based on the position of the bodies, Geordie surmises that there was an argument. He also notices that the killer’s footprint is a child’s foot. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson are Sadie and Jacob’s aunt and uncle, and had primary custody of the kids.

Hurry Up And Wait
Cathy and Bonnie meet at the church to have a heart-to-heart while they’re waiting on Geordie to return with Will. Bonnie tells Cathy that she’s upset about Will’s messy state. She then admits she was nervous about marrying again but Will was different. Bonnie also says that Will made her laugh and that their sex life is amazing. This is a very awkward thing to say while sitting in a pew but Bonnie is clearly thinking about the possibility of their relationship ending. Cathy tells Bonnie that Will is a good man, and will return to her.

Bonnie refuses to sit still while waiting. She mows the lawn against late-term medical advice. She feels a sharp pain which is the very beginning of labor. Bonnie doesn’t want to give birth before Will comes back but Cathy advises her that the birth of a second child is often much quicker than the first. Can he get there before the baby arrives?

Lashing Out
Jacob argues about religion with Will, but Will’s responses are angering Jacob. He then pulls a knife on Will and forces Will and Sadie to get in the car parked outside. Jacob’s knife is clearly a possible murder weapon. Along the way in the car, Jacob threatens to throw Will’s pill bottle out the window. Jacob’s plan to escape is foiled by the car running out of gas.

Will takes a smoke break while Jacob and Sadie play tag. Geordie and Mac end up passing the abandoned car on the road. Mac and Geordie confront the kids which results in Jacob claiming he killed his aunt and uncle. Jacob wants to run away from his guilt, but Will tells him he can’t run forever. Will then asks about the bruises he observed on Jacob’s body. A flashback reveals that the aunt hit Jacob with a lash for stealing candy since Sadie was hungry. Jacob and Sadie go outside to escape their aunt and uncle arguing with each other.

Everyone returns to Mac’s station where Jacob is processed. Mac says that Jacob will likely end up in a young offenders facility due to his age while Sadie will likely be placed in a group home. Geordie and Will say goodbye to Mac and begin to head home. While driving, Will finds a note in his copy of the Bible. Will tells Geordie to turn the car around because the note is an important clue.

At Mac’s station, Jacob is asked about his aunt’s temper. He then admits his aunt had a bad temper and she did start the argument with the uncle. His uncle stabbed the aunt with the same knife Jacob had out of frustration. He then felt regret about killing his wife and turned the knife on himself. The note Will found was the uncle’s confession to the murder-suicide. Jacob took the note to preserve the memory of the couple who were his parents. Will hugs Jacob and repeatedly reassures him that he did what he could and that what happened was not his fault. The uncle’s confession results in dropped charges but now Sadie and Jacob are orphans. Geordie suggests Mac adopts the kids to avoid them being broken up. Mac is hesitant because of his wife’s reaction but he’s willing to ask her. Geordie and Will then say their goodbye to Colchester — for real this time.

On the drive back, Will tells Geordie to take the remainder of the pills from him. The Wilson case showed Will that he needs to be present for Ernie and the baby. Geordie holds Will’s hand to symbolize their father figure and son bond. Will is finally committed to forgiving himself which is a relief!

Meanwhile, Leonard takes another look at Daniel’s photo collection. He notices one of them is a portrait of himself smiling. The photo encapsulates how Daniel sees him and loves him. Leonard then runs to Daniel’s house. He knocks several times and doesn’t hear a response but then he sees Daniel approaching the house from the footpath. Leonard thinks he’s quoting Shakespeare by telling Daniel he is his sun, his moon, stars, and everything. Daniel corrects Leonard and says that he’s quoting E.E. Cummings. Leonard also agrees to change to keep Daniel happy. Daniel tells him he rejected the London exhibition offer because it would have meant losing Leonard. Our faves are back together!

Outside of the vicarage, there’s a basket with three black Labrador mix puppies. These are Dickens’ puppies. They’re really adorable! Will and Geordie then walk through the door. Bonnie hugs Will and then hits him. Cathy and Mrs. C leave the room, hinting that they’re waiting for their turn to settle their scores. While they’re alone, Bonnie tells Will that she needs to know if he will leave again. Will apologizes for everything and promises that he will never leave her. Bonnie’s water then officially breaks and everyone ends up going to the hospital.

Will refuses the nurse pointing him to the waiting room as he wants to witness the delivery. Geordie is already enamored with one of Dickens’ puppies and brings him to the hospital. We can’t blame him for adopting one of the fur babies! A little bit later, Will is holding his newborn son. Everyone coos over his smile and plump cheeks. Geordie asks if Will and Bonnie have picked a name yet and they admit they haven’t. Ernie ends up naming his little brother James. Will then adds George as his middle name. How cute!!

Geordie returns to the police station to clean up his office and asks Larry what happened to Leonard. Larry says he let him go. Geordie then hands Larry his “abhor what is evil” plaque. Larry started off rough but definitely proved himself! Elliot then asks Geordie if he was the one that reported Elliot’s attack on Leonard. Geordie says he didn’t because he was too busy dealing with Will. Elliot then reveals that Geordie’s retirement was rejected by the police administration because Elliot is getting transferred as punishment for excessive force. Bye Felicia!

We’ve seen Will baptize babies before but this one is extra special because it’s his own son. Leonard helps Will get ready for the service as a reminder of the old days. All of Will and Bonnie’s family and chosen family are there to see James George Davenport committed to God. After the baptism, there’s a montage where we see Mac taking care of Sadie and Jacob. Mrs. C also becomes the nanny for the Keatings, giving her purpose in retirement.

The episode ends with Geordie and Will walking in the fields. Will is holding James as they discuss what profession he will end up in. Geordie says James needs to develop a more cynical attitude as he’s too sheltered right now. Will jokes about him becoming a Vicar but also says he will support whatever James decides to do. Grantchester Season 8 ends with Will, Geordie, and baby James continuing to bond as a family.

Season 8’s surprisingly happy ending was indeed well-earned. Will was not going to be able to take the same advice he dished out to his parishioners at the drop of a hat. Unfortunately, the ending leaves no clues as to how Season 9 of Grantchester will transition from Tom Brittney as Will Davenport to introducing Rishi Nair as Vicar Kotteram. We’ll have to wait and see!