Episode 2 of COBRA Season 2 opens with the aftermath of the explosion at sea, which has caused immense amounts of damage, extensive flooding, and hundreds of deaths, including that of the local Member of Parliament, with many more missing. The only communication is by mobile phone, straining the system. Fraser's assistant Audrey is presumed dead, but she's survived, drifting in cold, choppy waves. So has Mark, who led the dive mission to inspect the wreck, and he has salvaged a rescue inflatable. He hauls Audrey aboard.
But nothing is going to be easy. The weather is too bad for rescue helicopters to fly out. The inflatable has a leak, and Audrey agrees reluctantly to swim with him to the nearby wind turbines, miraculously undamaged, where a maintenance boat is tethered. If you think that's bad, the current COBRA meeting is equally dangerous and unstable, and possibly many attendees are thinking fondly of shoving PM Robert Sutherland into cold, deep water. It's still unclear whether the communication system breakdown is a fatal weakness or a deliberate attack by Russia.
Archie, always ready for a media appearance and an attack on Robert, appears on television, slamming the government. Our other favorite political maverick, Francine Bridge, is job-hunting and discusses her options with the new Labour leader Chris Edwards (Andrew Buchan). He suggests she run for the newly vacant seat in Kent — "after the funeral"— and will thus qualify for a seat in the shadow cabinet. Despite his negative TV interview, Archie tries to negotiate with Robert for a cabinet seat and also suggests firing Eleanor. (In Season 1, he tried to get Robert to fire Anna, and, like last time, again, Robert refuses to negotiate.)
Robert is convinced there is a connection with the arrest of the two Russian suspects at the airport, which has already been leaked to the media by rogue journalist Hari Misra. Elinor, head of Intelligence, is tasked with finding his source. Robert suggests that if Hari doesn't talk, Eleanor should give him "a painful lesson on the true meaning of cancel culture in the basement under Thames House." He concludes by telling Eleanor to "do your job." Anna catches up with Eleanor as they leave the meeting and apologizes for Robert's outburst. Eleanor shrugs it off and hands her a file on Edin Tosumbegovic, with whom Anna had an affair in Season 1.
Anna reads that Edin, in hiding and waiting for her, was tracked down and shot himself rather than suffer torture. Robert walks in while she's reading, and she snaps at him, close to tears. He's understanding when she apologizes. He knew, of course. In addition to the current problems, Robert and Anna are both jittery about the imminent release of the Singer Report, an examination of the government-ordered shootings which killed a journalist, which is another storyline from Season 1. Also, Ruin Britannia is now shutting down mobile service, in case things weren't bad enough.
Eleanor meanwhile reports that the Ruin Britannia code points to Russia but may only appear that way. It doesn't stop Robert from meeting with the Russian ambassador. Ambassador Voronin (Rob Locke) dismisses his concerns, telling him that the woman he arrested is a small-time criminal and her male partner an idiot who believes he's the reincarnation of Che Guevara. Robert is furious.
Back on the coast, things are getting worse. The new Home Secretary, Joseph Obasi, visits the Rescue Headquarters, which is pretty much paralyzed now that Ruin Britannia has attacked the mobile system. Joseph surprisingly tells Fraser he thought the inciting act, the arrest of the two Russians, was wrong. Fraser's only option now is to set up a courier service, something he mentions to Audrey's brother Cary Hemmings (Michael Jibson), who's arrived on a well-equipped motor scooter. Cary offers to help.
Audrey and Mark have swum to the service vessel, finding crew member Stewart (Tony Way) alone. Two other men died. But the boat, including its radio, is badly damaged, and when it starts to sink, they climb the ladder to a platform on the wind turbine. There's virtually no shelter, and they could die of exposure. Huddled together, Audrey and Stewart take comfort in each other's presence, chatting about their families and football. Mark tells them they're annoying him while he's trying to think.
Their only chance, and a very narrow one, he's decided, is that he should swim to shore for help. But Stewart succumbs to the cold, despite Audrey's attempts to keep him warm and engaged. As Mark swims toward land, he hears a rescue helicopter above him. Mark — yes, grumpy, tough, "no girls aboard" Mark — cries as the helicopter heads for the turbines and Audrey and Steward are rescued.
At the Rescue Headquarters, help comes to Frasier in the form of a group of aging Mods, led by Audrey's brother Cary, all riding powerful motor scooters, his volunteer team of official couriers. The visiting Home Secretary, revealing sneaky hidden depths, ponders that this is a story the press will love and makes sure they know about it. Even better, there's a patch on the communication system now, and at No. 10 Downing Street, copies of the Singer Report arrive. Robert and his team are exonerated, much to their relief.
At the next COBRA, Frasier is welcomed back and reports that now his task is a clean-up job with one-third of the area's buildings destroyed and innumerable casualties. Robert vents his fury on the Cabinet; it's their fault he lost face and was made to look ridiculous by the Russian ambassador. Eleanor, calm as usual, stands up to Robert, not allowing him to blame anyone for his mistake. Also, the Singer Report leaked to the press; Robert and Anna both carefully maintain innocent expressions.
We still don't know how Russia is involved, if at all, or what caused the earth tremors that caused the catastrophe. Were they connected with Chinese drilling operations in the North Sea? And what's Hari up to? He receives a flash drive from one of his sources with a video of an imprisoned man who, the caption reads, was responsible for the explosion. Hari is getting very nervous about MI5 surveillance; he calls Francine for reassurance but doesn't seem too pleased when she tells him that it means he's closer to the truth. We see Eleanor listening in, a satisfied smile on her face, to a conversation between Hari and one of his contacts in a restaurant. We'll learn more next week!