'Vigil': Episode 2 recap, what happened and our theories

DS Longacre is getting closer to the truth as she investigates Burke's death. (Image credit: BBC)

There was plenty going on in last night's opening episode of Vigil and the pace didn't let up when the conspiracy thriller returned for the second part of its opening double bill! 

DCI Amy Silva (Suranne Jones) and DS Kirsten Longacre (Rose Leslie) might not be making any friends on board HMS Vigil and at Dunloch Navy base respectively, but they certainly seem to be worrying some powerful people with their investigation. Here's how tonight's second episode went down...  

What happened to HMS Vigil's reactor? 

Gary Walsh was seriously injured in the nitrogen burst that occurred during the reactor malfunction and ship doctor Tiffany Doherty battles to stabilise his condition, knowing the vessel can ill-afford to lose another crew member. Meanwhile Chief engineering officer Simon Hadlow told Captain Newsome the reactor experienced an emergency reactor shutdown, "but without the emergency". 

So what caused the problem? Could it have something to do with the mysterious enemy submarine Newsome suspects might be in the area? Or does it connected to the information on Burke's secret USB stick? Either way if the reactor isn't fixed soon HMS Vigil could be forced to come to the surface with potentially catastrophic consequences for Britain's national security...

What is on Craig Burke's USB drive?

DS Kirsten Longacre managed to talk her way out of Dunloch with Burke's USB stick, but struggled to view the video diaries on file as they are password protected. However, her colleague Porter has some interesting information and reveals that Gary Walsh — who was injured in the nitrogen burst — and another man recently beat up Burke at a local pub. 

A quick search shows one of Walsh's younger brothers was dishonourably discharged from the Navy for heroin possession, information that DS Longacre decides to send to DCI Silva aboard HMS Vigil. 

Meanwhile, onboard the submarine, DCI Silva learned Lt Commander Prentice disciplined Burke several times in the days leading up to his death. Yet Walsh was also disciplined, with the reason omitted from the logbook — but why? 


Lt Commander Prentice refuses to cooperate with DCI Silva. (Image credit: BBC)

Who attacked DS Longacre? 

DS Longacre returns to DCI Silva's flat after meeting Porter at the police station and suspects she has been burgled. After immediately calling for back-up, she is attacked in a vicious assault by two men who were hiding in the house. Who sent these assailants and were they trying to recover what DS Longacre discovered in Burke's bedroom? Or were they simply trying to scare the detective off the case? 

Back on HMS Vigil, DCI Silva receives DS Longacre's message about the assault on Burke and searches Shaw's bunk for heroin. She also searches for Burke's missing fleece, which Hadlow told her he was wearing on the night he died. With blood found on the missile deck, DCI Silva wonders if someone hid it as the garment incriminates them.

DCI Silva then asks Shaw to do a drug test and when questioned about his relationship with Burke he talks about his hostility towards his former crew mate, but denies killing him...

What are the Navy keeping from the police? 

CS Robertson and DS Longacre come to Dunloch to speak to Shaw about their investigation and are told that HMS Vigil is due to be replaced, but that could take three weeks — meaning DCI Silva will need to stay aboard the vessel for much longer than expected. The Navy bosses also claim to know nothing about the missing fishing trawler.

In a conversation with Branning on her way out, DS Longacre also discovers that Gary Walsh's younger brother Dougie was discharged from the Navy after accusations of bullying, with Burke giving evidence against him. Dougie later killed himself and a fight occurred when Burke showed up at his wake to apologise to Walsh. But was that the only disagreement between Burke and Walsh, or could the death of young Dougie simply been part of an ongoing feud? 


Gary Walsh denies killing Craig Burke. (Image credit: BBC)

What's haunting DCI Silva? 

As DCI Silva sleeps, she dreams of a past life where she is driving beside a lake with her partner and their daughter, when they career off the road to try and avoid a collision — but what happened next? 

As DCI Silva wakes she is given a message sent by DS Longacre who tells her about the fight outside the pub and that Simon Hadlow was the second man involved in the assault on Burke. She tries to question Hadlow and shocks him with the amount of evidence she has against him, yet Hadlow refuses to cooperate saying he is busy trying to get the reactor back online, hinting that he can't say more as "there's a chain of command". But what does Hadlow mean by that and who is he trying to protect? 

Lt Commander Prentice then locks DCI Silva in her quarters after screaming that Burke was nothing but a drug addict who got what was coming to him... 

What does Jade Antionak know about Trident? 

DS Longacre goes to meet Jade Antionak and reveals that she believes her boyfriend could have been murdered and that she found a series of computer files in Burke's room. She then tells Jade of the vicious assault she suffered and warns that the same people may try and come for her, yet Jade reveals that DS Longacre is up against dark forces far more powerful than she imagines — but who or what are they? 

Back at sea, HMS Vigil narrowly avoids a collision with a tanker as DCI Silva escapes from her room. But how could the submarine have come so close to the tanker without realising it was there? Is an enemy vessel interfering with their navigational systems or does Vigil suffering further malfunctions? 

When Glover comes to find DCI Silva she reveals the root of her depression is a traumatic incident when her family's car went into a lake and she was forced to choose between saving her husband and her daughter. The confession brings the two closer — but can DCI Silva really trust Glover? 


What does Jade know about HMS Vigil?  (Image credit: BBC)

Did Lt Commander Prentice kill Burke? 

As Captain Newsome discusses restarting the reactor with Hadlow, DCI Silva heads to the bridge to arrest Lt Commander Prentice. Meanwhile Glover makes a crucial discovery when he finds Burke's fleece, which has been hidden behind a ventilation duct. 

When DCI Silva interviews Prentice she asks him why he didn't discipline Walsh for possession of heroin in the run up to Burke's death and asks why he described him as treacherous in their earlier argument. 

DCI Silva suggests that Burke died after a scuffle with Burke on the missile deck and calls Hadlow to reveal what he knows, yet while he admits to seeing an assault, he doesn't know who committed the attack. Could this be the "chain of command" Hadlow was talking about earlier? 

Newsome's cooperation with DCI Silva's investigation re-opens a rift, in which Prentice hints that he was stationed on HMS Vigil to keep an eye on Newsome after his poor performance as Captain. Newsome confines Prentice to his cabin. Does Newsome have his Navy commander's full confidence? If not, why has he been allowed to continue as the captain of one of Britain's Trident submarines?

Who was Prentice acting on behalf of? 

Prentice reveals that he asked Burke to meet him on the missile deck on the night he died and confesses they had a fight, in which Burke fell and struck his head. He visited Burke later on to check on him, yet could only watch his crew mate die in front of him, before trying to make his death look like a drug overdose to try and save his career. 

Yet when DCI Silva examines Burke's fleece, she finds a strange green stain on it. Prentice reveals Burke was sweating and shaking in the moments before his death, so was he killed by Burke's punch or was something else to blame? Meanwhile, the submarine's reactor restarts, to the crew's relief... 

Who was Jade Antoniak meeting? 

Jade tells a friend she is meeting someone who knows what happened to Burke, yet becomes anxious as she waits to be picked up and calls DS Longacre. The detective races to meet Jade but when she gets there she finds her dead — but who was Jade meeting and was she killed for what she knew about HMS Vigil, like her late boyfriend? 

Meanwhile at Dunloch, when Shaw hears the wreck of the Mhairi Finnea has been discovered he orders the recovery team to dive at first light. What secrets will the fishing trawler hold and will the wreck offer clues to the identity of the phantom vessel Newsome fears is tracking Vigil? 

Sean Marland
Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV, TV & Satellite Week and whattowatch.com

Sean has been writing about all things telly for over 10 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are The Great British Bake-Off, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.