The Long Call: Episode 2 Recap

Matthew Venn (Ben Aldridge) his mother Dorothy (Juliet Stevenson) © ITV/Britbox
Matthew Venn (Ben Aldridge) his mother Dorothy (Juliet Stevenson) © ITV/Britbox

After the first episode’s exhaustive introductions to the main players in the drama, it’s a relief to feel that we’re back on familiar police procedural ground as Matt and Jen’s investigation continues. They are now dealing with the abduction of a young woman as well as a murder, but whether they are connected we don’t know. What we are sure of is that both the Barnum Brethren and the Woodyard Community Center seem to be seething pits of secrecy and possible wrongdoing.

Once again it’s early morning, and Dorothy and Ruth Shapland (Nea Gwynne), the mother of the abducted girl, turn up at Matt’s house. They have found what may be an important piece of evidence — a necklace, still in its display box, found down the side of Rosa’s bed. Since the Brethren eschew worldly things such as jewelry (or cell phones to warn your adult son of an unexpected visit), someone from outside the sect must have given it to her. Matthew’s husband, unaware of the callers at the front door, wanders past in his undies. Awkward.

Matthew briefs his team, reminding them of Rosa’s limited experience and vulnerability. She has now been missing for eighteen hours with no leads. At the Woodyard, he and Jen interview Lucy. We already know that Lucy has lied and deleted material on her cell phone, and because of her disability she is underrated. The interview is inconclusive, but soon after, Matthew receives a call about a possible break in at an unoccupied beach house (chalet is the English term but the shabby little building does not evoke the Alps). He sends a member of his team, who reports that blood has been found on the floor, and that someone had been occupying the house longterm. The search turns up a laptop and a Bible. Are they Simon’s? And why and when did he use the beach house anyway?

DI Matthew Venn (Ben Aldridge) and DC Jen Rafferty (Pearl Mackie) interview Lucy Craddle (Sarah Gordy) © ITV/Britbox
DI Matthew Venn (Ben Aldridge) and DC Jen Rafferty (Pearl Mackie) interview Lucy Craddle (Sarah Gordy) © ITV/Britbox

Meanwhile Caroline and Gaby chat about her boyfriend Ed moving in. As Ed unpacks, Caroline receives a call from her father inviting her to have a drink and chat with him, but she tells Ed she doesn’t want to. It will be about “Simon stuff.” Ed, who obviously doesn’t realize how controlling Christopher Reasley is, encourages her to talk to her father, and doesn’t seem to need an explanation of what “Simon stuff” is.

Matthew talks to Elder Stephenson, the leader of the Brethren, about the dead man’s connection with the group. Simon was troubled, Stephenson says, and he gave him a Bible. At the church, Dorothy and some other women are packing food and religious literature into boxes for the hungry, no longer just for the homeless, as it was in Matthew’s childhood. Helping to load the boxes is one rare good memory he has of the Brethren.

He and Dorothy have a halting conversation, taking a tiny step toward reconciliation. She tells him it’s no longer all hellfire and damnation, that the Brethren want to help people. Matt responds:

I remember the kindness. I remember the judgment too. I know what you saw this morning. I refuse to feel ashamed. I know you do. I know it’s easier to pretend I don’t exist....It’s true, isn’t it? Better no son than a gay one.

The conversation ends as Matthew walks away and Dorothy gazes after him.

Back on the case, both Simon’s and Rosa’s DNA have been found at the beach house, and it’s her blood, not a good sign. The beach house’s owners live abroad, but Matthew has acquired information on the company that maintains the house, which is led by the barman Jen slept with; she is now seeing this as a very bad decision and co-worker DC Ross Pritchard (Dylan Edwards) now refers to him as a “person of interest,” to her annoyance.

Beach interview © ITV/Britbox
Amid the stunning scenery of the beach, DI Matthew Venn (Ben Aldridge) and DC Jen Rafferty (Pearl Mackie) interview Gaby Chadwell (Aoife Hinds. © ITV/Britbox

More interestingly, Gaby Chadwick is listed as one of the maids. They find her painting on the beach and interview her. Jen is furious that Gaby has obstructed the investigation and demands the truth. Yes, Gaby admits, they were lovers, but he broke up with her after she told him she wasn’t interested in the Brethren; and that suggests Simon was a lot more involved with the group than anyone knew. By the time he moved into the shared house, it was over. She doesn’t know if he took Rosa to the beach house. She’s still hurt and angry.

Matthew tells Ruth about her daughter’s blood being found and cannot tell her if Rosa is still alive, but the search continues. Dorothy, who seems more animated than usual, invites Matthew into her house and shows him a folder of newspaper clippings about his cases. She’s proud of his career, and tells him that even as a child he was observant, a listener, but reminds him it was his decision to leave. Matthew corrects her — no, he left the Brethren, standing up in the congregation to declare he could no longer live in the community. Dorothy backtracks, saying he was no longer welcome because she knew he had moved on, life here wasn’t enough for him. When he visited at 19 and at university, she saw only contempt and rejection.

Grief has soured her. She’s closed to forgiveness, for herself and for her son, and she knows she did wrong in not inviting Matthew to his father’s deathbed. She confesses she wants to meet “him,” and in a gesture of reconciliation — probably — Matthew tells her his husband’s name is Jonathan. Frankly, she’s exhausting. Matthew goes home, seeking comfort, and emotionally wrung out.

Matthew Venn (Ben Aldridge) and Jonathan Roberts (Declan Bennett) @ ITV/Britbox

“Today I came out to my mum.” Matthew Venn (Ben Aldridge) and Jonathan Roberts (Declan Bennett) @ ITV/Britbox

Father and daughter Caroline and Christopher Reasley meet, and, as she points out, he’s very anxious to send her away after complaining he barely sees her. He offers her an all-expenses trip to Barcelona. She changes the subject by telling him Ed has moved in with her, and when he insists she needs a break, she confronts him about taking her off the Woodyard schedule. But their bickering is interrupted by Jen, who wants to talk to her about Gaby and Simon’s relationship.

Caroline is furious with Gaby for lying to her and to the police, or at least omitting important evidence. She feels Gaby should have told her, and Gaby responds that it wasn’t a “normal” relationship because he was an alcoholic (no, I don’t understand it either).

Maurice Craddle (Alan Williams) and daughter Lucy (Sarah Gordy) @ ITV/Britbox
Maurice Craddle (Alan Williams) and daughter Lucy (Sarah Gordy) © ITV/Britbox

And next up in the daughter-father conflict stakes, Lucy and her dad Maurice Craddle (Alan Williams): Lucy is smart, opinionated, and wants a life of her own. Maurice saw her get into Simon’s car, he knows she lied to the police, and he’s afraid for her. It’s a terrific portrayal of a woman with a disability pushing for independence. He shouts at her, “You’re a child. You always will be.” Realizing what he’s said, he mumbles an apology, but the damage is done. After, she blatantly ignores him, sitting on the couch texting and giggling like the teenager she is.

Matthew, who really wants to stay home with Jonathan and drink vodka, gets a call — there’s a lead on Rosa’s whereabouts and he joins the search. She’s found alive but injured and taken to hospital, where a doctor tells the police that she may not remember the details of what happened. Dorothy is at the hospital with Ruth. Doing a fairly good imitation of a proud mum, she tells Matthew, “Well done!” and invites him to join the Brethren’s gathering later. His visit is brief, but happy memories of communal meals resurface. Dorothy shyly asks to meet Jonathan.

Caroline, after her conversation with her father was interrupted, goes to his house but he’s not home. She discovers a Non Disclosure Agreement between her father and Simon, made at the time he moved into her house. Was he asked to spy on her? Upset, she tells Ed one of her deepest secrets — how she got her scars; her father was drunk, driving the family home, and in the ensuing accident her mother was killed and Caroline was badly injured. Christopher used his influence to avoid any criminal consequences. Ed mansplains that she is grieving, and doesn’t seem particularly bothered about the NDA.

Gaby, who has been working out her feelings by painting a portrait of Simon and then destroying it, goes to the Brethren’s church, and is caught looking through the window by Elder Stevenson. He invites her in, they chat, and she finds that Simon never mentioned her. She tells him that she is pregnant with Simon’s child.

And, remember the necklace? And Simon’s laptop? Simon instructed his lawyer by email to make a gift of £2,000 to the Woodyard Center, which explains the mysterious withdrawal from his bank account. Rosa’s necklace, quite an expensive one, has a limited production and distribution, and CCTV at a jewelers shop shows that it was bought by Christopher Reasley.

We’re now halfway through and some major questions are coming up. Who killed Simon and why? Did that same person abduct Rosa, and why? What is Christopher really doing and why does he have so much power? Is Ed to be trusted? Are the Brethren really as changed as Dorothy claims, and will she and Matthew reconcile?

What did you think of this second episode? And what do you think will happen next?