Vigil begins with a trawler boat ending up in a pickle, catching onto something and being dragged underwater. Those on the submarine have a chance to do something about rescuing the men, with DCI Steve Arnott kicking off because no-one will take it seriously, and he’s instructed to go back to his bunk.
But… despite this coming ‘from the team who brought us Line of Duty‘, and starring Martin Compston (okay, as Craig Burke, not Arnott), he’s gone into cardiac arrest by the time someone’s found him. Then it’s worse than that, he’s dead Jim, dead Jim, dead Jim, dead Jim! It’s worse than that, he’s dead Jim, dead Jim, dead!
The official news is that he died of a drugs overdose, but given that the sub can’t come back to base, DCI Amy Silva (Suranne Jones – I Am Victoria) is being sent out to investigate it over three days, and since she can’t get a signal out from underwater, she wants to take DI Kirsten Longacre (Rose Leslie – Luther Series 4) as her Number 1, and clearly she is No.1 to her because an early hug – out of sight from anyone – shows they’re in a relationship together. Phew! I thought the BBC were going to give us another of those disgusting heterosexual relationships!
Since it’s about the submarine HMS Vigil, that would’ve been a better title, especially for SEO (search engine optimisation) purposes, since ‘vigil’ is just a regular word that’s in use. Hence, why a certain rock band named themselves ‘MOTHXR’, not ‘mother’.
But about the cadaver, and due to various aspects around his person, Amy thinks “there’s been a mur-dah!”, but Captain Newsome (Paterson Joseph – Inside No.9: Wuthering Heist) doesn’t want to hear any such talk as they have a job to do (and probably something to cover up in his dept).
Along the way, flashbacks show Amy has had her own share of tragedy in her family life, and credibility is stretched when Kirsten is shown taking a picture with her phone of suspect Jade Antoniak’s (Lauren Lyle) car as she drove off, getting a clear, still image of her number plate(!)
However, everyone just feels like they’re going through the motions, with one or two crew members being deliberately obtuse – which means they’re either the obvious murderer, or a badly-written smokescreen.
Well, we certainly got the latter towards the end as a supposed cliffhanger was set around the submarine losing power, but slightly more interesting was a discovery by Kirsten of a USB stick with revelations to reveal by Burke, telling tales from the afterlife about how there’s 20 ways to kill someone on a submarine. Not quite as many as Paul Simon’s ways to leave your lover. Either way, this will keep him onscreen throughout the series no doubt.
However, after tonight’s opener, whether I’m still there to watch all of it has yet to remain since the majority of these characters are just cardboard cut-outs, and no-one’s pushing the boat… I mean, submarine, out. There was more like in Martin Compston’s cadaver.
UPDATE Episode 2:
Vigil continues tomorrow night on BBC1 at 9pm, and then it returns to Sunday nights from next weekend. It is available to pre-order on DVD, ahead of the release date on October 4th.
After broadcast, each episode will be on the BBC iPlayer.
Episode 1: 4/10
Episode 2: 2/10
Series Directors: Isabelle Sieb, James Strong
Producer: Angie Daniell
Creator: Tom Edge
Writers: Tom Edge, Chandni Lakhani, Ed Macdonald
Music: Glenn Gregory, Berenice Scott
DCI Amy Silva: Suranne Jones
DI Kirsten Longacre: Rose Leslie
Glover: Shaun Evans
Captain Newsome: Paterson Joseph
Prentice: Adam James
Hadlow: Connor Swindells
Chief Petty Officer Craig Burke: Martin Compston
Matthew Doward: Lorne
Lt Comm Erin Branning: Lolita Chakrabarti
Lt Commander Mark Prentice: Adam James
DS Porter: Reuben Joseph
Poppy: Orla Russell
Adams: Tom Gill
Ben Oakley: Cal MacAninch
Cat: Aisha Toussaint
Jade Antoniak: Lauren Lyle
Jackie Hamilton: Anita Vettesse
Chief Petty Officer Tara Kierly: Lois Chimimba
Shaw: Stephen Dillane
Hennessy: Dan Li
Medical Officer Tiffany Docherty: Anjli Mohindra
Anderton: Cristian Ortega
Gary Walsh: Daniel Portman
Heather Cronin: Bobby Rainsbury
Ray Kohli: Parth Thakerar
Admiral Scott: Angelique Fernandez
Deerbourne: Bhav Joshi
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.