I was traveling this past Sunday and so only got to catch up with season 3's finale of Grantchester later. The whole trajectory of the season seemed to be leading toward pushing Sidney to choose either the Church or Amanda. Sidney's erratic behavior the episode before and the kinds of things he said to his Archdeacon left me more than half expecting him to choose love and marriage to a divorced woman over his vocation as a vicar. (And, obviously, if season 3 were to be the final season, then what more fashionable way for him to depart and end the series!) I fully expected either a kind of Edward VIII style speech about being unable to go on without "the woman I love" or, perhaps even worse, a full-fledged protest against the Church for daring to have rules, for daring in this case to take seriously the words of Jesus himself on divorce and remarriage. And so it seemed, when Sidney confronted the Archdeacon early in the final episode, that that would indeed be the direction the series would take.
But then the tone changed. At the end, it was Amanda who left the village, not Sidney. If this were real life, then one would have wished that Sidney had married Amanda in the first place - and thus avoid all this unnecessary drama. But, of course, this is fiction, not real life, and the drama is part of the story. Whether Amanda is really gone for good or will reappear in another season remains to be seen, of course. For now, I was relieved by Sidney's decision to stay. This was still the 1950s, after all, and the call of duty still had some resonance in a world in which everything had not yet been abandoned. Obviously, the show had to be some concession to a more contemporary world view. So it was suggested several times that, while Sidney should choose to remain faithful to his calling, his motivation and proper loyalty should be less to the Church than to the people who, as both Mrs McGuire and Leonard insisted, needed him.
A somewhat ambiguous way to end, but in an ambiguous world perhaps a nonetheless satisfactory ending! With Mrs. McGuire getting remarried and Geordie being reconciled with his wife, and both Sidney and Leonard committed to staying in place, season 3 ended more promisingly than I might have expected. One can only hope that there will soon be a season 4.