Insomnia episode 2 recap: A tragedy shocks the family

Vicky McClure in Insomnia episode 2 on Paramount as a women who can't sleep
Emma's problems continue in Insomnia... (Image credit: Paramount Plus)

Insomnia episode 2 sees sisters Emma and Phoebe receiving some difficult news which puts an even bigger strain on their relationship.

Elsewhere, Emma's children Will and Chloe are going through their own problems. Chloe is staying out late with a mysterious friend and Will becoming distant from the family, acting out. Not only that, the pressure is on at work for Emma, and due to her stress and lack of sleep, she's not dealing with it very well.

That's not all, because the end of the episode is rather shocking when the police show up at Emma's door asking to speak about her mother.

Here's what went down in Insomnia episode 2...

Emma and Phoebe lose their mother

This episode opens with Emma having a panic attack in her car, and she realises her mother had scratched her arms when she visited her in the hospital. It then cuts to her mother's hospital room where it is revealed she has flatlined.

Emma walks to work which is interspersed with flashbacks of her and Phoebe watching as their mother was taken away by police officers. When she arrives, her assistant tells her a client was annoyed because she didn't want to sign anything without Emma present, implying she has been missing important things.

At the house, Robert calls Phoebe over to babysit Will. While there, Phoebe gets emotional and tells him that she's pregnant, and that she got IVF so she doesn't know who the father is. Robert is supportive and says he's happy for her, but Phoebe says to keep it quiet as Emma doesn't know yet. 

While she's at work, Emma listens back to her dictaphone's recording of her saying the seemingly random series of numbers, and attempts to use a search engine to figure out if they actually mean something. She gets distracted and realises she's missed lots of calls from Robert, who left a voicemail telling her to be nice to her sister, who is currently babysitting.

When Emma returns home, Phoebe tells her that their mother, Patricia, died that morning, and Emma is cold and says she doesn't know what she expects her to say. Phoebe opens up about the death and Emma explains she can never forgive their mother for attempting to suffocate Phoebe, but her sister doesn't understand why she's held onto a grudge for so long. It is also revealed they grew up in a children's home called St. Agnes together.

Phoebe makes one final plea to Emma saying she'd like it if they could collect their mum's belongings together, and Emma says she'll think about it before embracing her and thanking her for looking after Will. Meanwhile, Emma is still unable to sleep and finds herself sleepwalking and having flashbacks.

In the morning, Robert asks Emma if she thinks Will seems off to her, and she admits she hasn't noticed. Chloe arrives home and Emma interrogates her asking why she was out all night, but she's evasive and says she's going for a shower.

At the hospital, Phoebe and Emma argue about their mother and are told it is not possible to see the body because she has been moved to another facility because there needs to be a post-mortem to find out exactly why she did die, which confuses the sisters. Emma leaves and goes to work, hitting a cyclist off their bike because she wasn't looking where she was going.

She's clearly stressed when she arrives at the office and is put in a difficult position when she is told she needs to drop one of her clients due to a conflict of interest. During a rehearsal, Will pushes over another child and Robert witnesses this, but he refuses to apologise.

Emma attends a work event only to be ambushed by one of her clients, who asks what she's doing there and why she's socialising with his wife because she's his lawyer. She cuts right to the chase and says she can't represent him anymore due to the conflict of interest. After an intense chat, she's told to go home by her rather frustrated boss.

At home, Robert asks why Will attacked Ben and tells him he could have hurt him. Will says he doesn't know and Robert becomes concerned, asking him what's going on. He also refuses to talk to Emma. Robert speaks to Emma about Will and says he's acting weird, and reveals that Michelle has given him a prescription for sleeping pills to pass onto him.

Emma comes clean about her mother, saying she told Robert that her mum had died when she was a kid, but this isn't true and he is obviously quite taken aback. She admits she was in a psychiatric facility because she had a breakdown before her 40th birthday and stopped sleeping, and she admits she thinks she's following in her mother's footsteps.

Robert comforts her and apologises, saying he's there for her and forgives her for not being honest sooner. That night, Emma blacks out and finds herself standing outside in the pond, and that she had lit candles and played some music on the record player.

In the morning, Emma and Robert find cocaine inside Chloe's bag and get very annoyed at her, asking if Amy got that for her because she couldn't afford it. The conversation is interrupted by the police, who want to speak to Emma about her mother's death. They reveal that her mother was suffocated and that she will be required to make a formal statement about what happened.

Lucy Buglass
Senior Staff Writer

Lucy joined the team in 2021, where she writes series guides for must-watch programmes, reviews and the latest TV news. Now she works for our sister site TechRadar in the same role. Originally from Northumberland, she graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a degree in Film Studies and moved to London to begin a career writing about entertainment.

She is a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic and has a huge passion for cinema. She especially loves horror, thriller and anything crime-related. Her favourite TV programmes include Inside No 9, American Horror Story, Stranger Things and Black Mirror but she is also partial to a quiz show or a bit of Say Yes to the Dress