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Vigil episode four brings spies, love affairs and yet another murder – recap

Vigil episode four brings spies, love affairs and yet another murder – recap
Louis Chilton recaps the events of the BBC thriller’s fourth episode

Tom Edge’s submarine-set crime drama continued on BBC One on Sunday night, throwing yet more convolutions into the story. With only two more episodes left now remaining, things are starting to come to a boil, with murders, love affairs and deadly twists coming thick and fast. Is the HMS Vigil set for sabotage? Could Anglo-Russian tensions lead to an international stand-off?

These questions and more go unanswered throughout Vigil’s fourth episode, but there’s plenty of information that does get divulged – from the identity of Jade Antoniak’s killer to the specifics of Amy Silva’s (Suranne Jones) relationship with Kirsten Longacre (Rose Leslie). By this point in the series’ run, it’s fairly clear who we should and shouldn’t be rooting for. Jones and Leslie’s characters have endeared themselves to us through professional acumen and grit in the face of adversity; Shaun Evans’s devious coxswain Elliot Glover has now firmly established himself the show’s most superficially loathsome figure in my book. Fortunately for the momentum of the series, however, the overall whodunnit is still very much alive and kicking. What’s actually going on? Who knows. It all has the feel of a conspiracy that’s as big and all-consuming as the sea in which the Vigil roams.

Testing, testing

At the start of the episode, Silva is awoken from turbulent dreams by the sound of an alarm; the Vigil is awash with activity, the order sent down to launch a missile. Making her way to the cabin, Silva is shoved (a little melodramatically) into a wall, giving her a nasty-looking head wound. As she talks with the captain in a state of panic, he assures her that the whole rigmarole is in fact simply a drill. Silva is left looking the fool, but you can’t help but feel for her. Who’d schedule a missile drill at a time like that?

Later, the incident comes back to haunt her, as Glover dobs her in to Captain Newsome (Paterson Joseph).  Casting aspersions on her psychological wellbeing, the coxswain tells the commander about Silva’s medication, something he could have only known through his illicit affair with medical officer Tiffany Docherty (Anjli Mohindra). The captain sides with Glover, and confines Silva to the care of Docherty, until she is deemed mentally fit to continue. It’s not quite “send her to the brig”, but it may as well be.

Not-so-diplomatic immunity

Episode three ended with Detective Longacre being taken in for questioning by two MI5 operatives. As you might guess, she’s a tough nut to crack. It’s just as much a fact-finding exercise for Lonacre, too, who asks prickly questions about MI5’s own infiltration of activist groups, receiving only cagey answers in response. Before too long, Colin Robertson arrives and ends the interrogation, marching her out the room before asking: “What did you get out of them?”

Robertson (Gary Lewis) and Kirsten Longacre (Rose Leslie)

Longacre manages to catch a breakthrough in the murder of Jade Antoniak, after video footage leads them to a well-spoken man wearing a laughably conspicuous blood-stained sweater. After searching his property, they also find evidence connecting him to Jade’s killing. This is, it seems, most definitely the guy. Except the name he’s been using isn’t his real one; he’s actually a Russian spy, one of many, and as such qualifies for diplomatic immunity. The whole thing is very Lethal Weapon 2, and Longacre is rightly miffed at the injustice of it all. It’s enough to earn a pow-wow with a government minister, however, who agrees to consult with the Prime Minister about returning Vigil to port. The order comes down by the episode’s end – but thanks to a particularly inconvenient communications error, it’ll be days before Vigil gets the message.

Love during peacetime

Interspersed throughout the episode are flashbacks to Silva and Longacre’s relationship: what looks like an anguished breakup, then an early courtship. Through a series of surprisingly affecting achronological scenes, we see their anguished breakup, followed by their tentative courtship, and Silva’s own sexual awakening. We are being fed the characters’ backstories in pieces; Vigil has yet to assemble them into a whole. But it’s getting there.

At loggerheads: Amy Silva (Jones) and Glover (Evans) have it out

Another breakthrough, another corpse

Another alarm gives Silva the opportunity to move freely around the submarine again, and she investigates the quarters of Petty Officer Jackie Hamilton (Anita Vettesse). After learning that Jackie’s son was released from Indonesian Prison after serving just a year of a ten-year drugs charge, Silva suspects some kind of nefarious intervention. Sure enough, there’s signs of the poison that killed Burke on a cloth by Jackie’s bed. Taking the evidence to the captain, she seems to convince him of the theory, and he summons her to be questioned.

When she doesn’t show, however, Silva goes looking – and finds a body, instead. She barely has time to process the scene before she is approached and tackled by a figure wearing some kind of gas mask. Whether this is friend or foe, I guess we’ll find out next week.

Vigil continues next Sunday at 9pm on BBC One