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Vigil - Episode 5 - Review

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Vigil keeps up the momentum going into its penultimate episode with a devastatingly action-packed submarine spectacle that called to mind the tense thrills of Chernobyl and For All Mankind, whilst delivering plenty of above-ground storylines with revelations abound – I was initially lukewarm on it after the episode aired in comparison to last week’s, but it really does just keep getting better and better and after a full night's sleep I've only let just how good this episode was.

We were able to get an answer as to who killed Jade this week as TV’s most competent cop, Longacre, got her team on board to shift through some archive footage of Ben Oakley’s part time sport-watching hobby (did anyone spot the ground? They left it appropriately ambiguous) and hunt him down (Cal MacAninch). It turns out he’s using MSP Patrick Cruden as a way to get out of the country in favour of political asylum and away from police arrest, because Oakley was the one that stole Jade’s photo and ended up leading to her death. Cruden was in the dark about this, with Oakley manipulating his reputation against him – the sheer instant breakdown of Cruden when he found the truth was such a great performance from Stephen McCole, whose character has been going through a lot in this series - but then so has pretty much everyone.

I thought the flashbacks above ground were the strongest part of last week’s Vigil that showed the evolution of Silva and Longacre’s relationship, but in this week, we saw what led to its end – Silva needs time and Longacre lashes out in response, accusing Silva of being ashamed of their relationship. We learn that Silva hasn’t told her parents that she broke up with Longacre, and she also hasn’t told her that she was applying for joint custody of daughter Poppy. On a quiet walk the two spend time together and share a bond that only serves as to give us more of an emotional moment going into the finale at the weekend – what happens if Silva doesn’t come back? The unthinkable has to be considered a possibility, right? Vigil is borrowing heavily from the Line of Duty playbook, but there’s the reminder now – if we didn’t have enough already, that Silva has something to fight for – something on land back home, that is everything to her.

Just in time for things to go south undersea in a tense final few moments. Of course – whilst it was Glover in the mask, he wasn’t trying to kill Silva but save her from the poison, and after lengthy decontamination, they’re now heading back into the interior of the ship for one more crime scene to solve, one more(?) murder that needs answering. Just who killed Jackie? At the scene – Silva finds on Jackie’s body, a note that tells her that she had one last job to do, which Jackie was less than keen to follow through on. Her son’s fate was always not going to be resolved so easily with one task – and once the blackmailer knew that they had a hold over Jackie, they wouldn’t let their prized asset go so easily. And then Glover realises he has a cut – and disaster happens.

This was a terrific scene, full of tense moments from start to finish that really amplified the action – we’ve seen plenty of deaths on Vigil but we haven’t seen a major character killed off yet, sans maybe Jade – who had ‘character waiting to be killed’ written all over her from the moment she was revealed as having a connection to Burke, especially with the foreshadowing that came with introducing herself as literally pretending to be dead – killing off Glover would have been another big shock aside from Silva. Was that kiss with Lt. Docherty going to be their last that they shared together? Glover’s death certainly looked more likely out of the dynamic duo, reunited again after the fallout in the previous episode – to say their relationship has been turbulent would be an understatement.

Oh. And if things couldn’t get any worse – there’s also the threat of the Russians lurking in the background. After what seemed like a misdirection at first when the Americans became the centre of attention, Vigil brings the Russians back into front and centre, everything has been about them from the start because of course it has. A Navy debriefing keeps everyone in the loop – the Russians are closing in. They don’t know Vigil’s location exactly and are forcing it to the surface by all means possible – they got close when Silva joined the ship, and now – with Vigil on its way to the surface once communication is back online, things are going to get uglier. A full-scale war is certainly on the agenda – the threat of a permanent cold war is something that Vigil has done well to replicate, brilliantly echoing For All Mankind at the moment more than any other submarine drama.

And Silva of course – is the one caught in the thick of it all. Join us next Sunday – when appointment television, at the end of a thrilling week that’s seen new episodes of not just Vigil, but also Only Murders in the Building, What If?, See, Emmy Winner Ted Lasso and Gone Fishing arrive in an age where binge-watching supposedly is the new normal, reaches the end of an absolutely thrilling six weeks.

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