'The Long Call': Episode 3 Recap

Dennis (Martin Shaw), Grace (Anita Dobson), and Matthew (Ben Aldridge) © ITV/Britbox

Once again an episode of The Long Call opens with another early morning montage: Rosa, released from the hospital, is brought home by Dorothy and her mother Ruth. Matthew and Jonathan are bracing themselves for Dorothy’s visit later that day, and soon after Matthew and Jen intercept Christopher Reasley during his morning run and summon him to the station for an interview. It’s compelling watching, although we still don’t know the truth about Simon’s murder or how ensuing events relate to it. In the next episode, everything will be revealed, and I'm not sure whether I want a tidy end or if I'd like to spend more time in this complicated and conflicted world.

Reasley, who is definitely up to something serious, claims the necklace was bought for his daughter but he gave it to Rosa who was very upset (about nothing much, such a sensitive girl), and riffs a little on how ill-prepared she is to face the world. Not a smart move, he admits. We know he’s lying, and so do Matthew and Jen, but why, and what is he covering up? Why did he––or someone––abduct Rosa after Simon’s death? Or was her abduction not related at all, which means other women could be in danger.

Matthew and Jen visit the Brethren’s farm, a peaceful rural spot where everyone seems to be working in harmony. They’ve come to interview Rosa to see if her memory has returned, but she spins the same story about everything being blurry, and when they tell her they know about the necklace, Dennis lurks and interrupts the conversation. Jen strikes up a conversation with Grace Stephenson (Anita Dobson, Eastenders), Dennis’s wife who we last saw doing an imitation of the first Mrs. Rochester in Episode 1. Finding they’re both Londoners, Grace responds to Jen’s warmth and seems ready to talk before Dennis intercepts them. Jen wants to investigate Dennis further; she recognizes Grace is trapped in an abusive relationship, and she’s afraid for her. But Matthew fears intervention by Jen, an Outsider, could break what trust the police have built with the Brethren.

At the Woodyard Jen and Matthew interview Gaby. They know she’s withheld evidence once, and they need to find out what else she knows, particularly after the emergence of a new piece of evidence: Simon’s £200,000 was transferred to her account. According to Gaby, Simon feared the Woodyard was in jeopardy because of an impending scandal and would need funds for legal fees. And while the two detectives are at the Woodyard, they take Lucy’s shoes to test for evidence.

Grace (Anita Dobson), Ruth (Nia Gwynne), and Dorothy (Juliet Stevenson) © ITV/Britbox
Rosa's baptism is a joyful and moving experience for the women of the Brethren--Grace (Anita Dobson), Ruth (Nia Gwynne), and Dorothy (Juliet Stevenson) © ITV/Britbox

Matthew sends Jen to go with colleague DC Ross Pritchard (Dylan Edwards) to the hotel where Simon went for a meeting the night before his death. Ross has been openly rude to Jen and we’ve seen Matthew call him out on it, but now Jen confronts him. She reminds him she’s his superior officer, and then later, when she drives to his house to pick him up, she finds he has a delightful baby and wife, which gives her an entirely new take on his character. She even apologizes to him for calling him the US equivalent of a dumb jock. They achieve a remarkable level of camaraderie, but they’re sitting outside enjoying a splendid sea view on a gorgeous day, and having drinks; it’s a comfortable transition. Ross even broaches the subject of Jen’s ex, and has figured out she has run away from a relationship in London. And yes, the hotel staff remember Simon, but whoever he was supposed to meet there did not show up.

Meanwhile, the not-too-comfortable introduction of Dorothy and Jonathan is underway. They both say the right things, Matthew doesn’t say much at all, and Jonathan does his best to find common ground with his mother-in-law. His family is far away so he’s glad she and Matthew are (geographically) close. They move from the outside of the house to show her the interior and Jonathan’s remodeling efforts, and oops, there’s the master bedroom. After a moment of hesitation, Dorothy praises the huge window that fills the house with light, and provides a beautiful view of the sea; it’s evasion, but it’s also a genuine response to natural beauty. She even praises them for making a real home for themselves. Is she or Jonathan trying too hard?

Matthew hasn’t forgotten Jen’s fears for Grace. He attends, at a discreet distance, Rosa’s baptism (full immersion in the sea), an occasion of joy for the Brethren. After her traumatic experience in the real world, she is ready to commit to the group, but Matthew takes advantage of the friendly atmosphere to ask her if she doesn’t remember anything more. He asks Grace about Simon and Rosa; the only substantive thing Rosa has told them is that Simon helped her, but not how. And Dennis doesn’t have to know, he assures her; he knows she’s frightened of her husband. Her response only confirms this:

I’m fragile, Matt. I always have been. Dennis saved me. Without him I wouldn’t have survived.

Matthew offers to help her, and help Rosa, too. Does another generation of women have to suffer in silence and subservience? But the conversation is over.

Forensics reveal that the partial footprint on the beach by Simon’s body is Lucy’s, and she’s taken to the station. Matthew briefly consults Jonathan, who, awkwardly, is the director of the Woodyard (isn’t this a conflict of interest?): Does Lucy have the ability to maintain a mature relationship? Jonathan confirms she does, so he brings in janitor Alfie (John Paul MacLeod), Lucy’s boyfriend, to see what he knows. Jen interviews him. Why the secrecy, she asks. Because people will judge them, Alfie says. Lucy is not a child, she’s an adult.

Jen (Pearl Mackie) © ITV/Britbox
Jen (Pearl Mackie) interviews Alfie with her usual sensitivity and empathy. © ITV/Britbox

Matthew interviews Lucy. He knows she was at the beach. She tells him she’d arranged to meet Simon there, but that when she arrived he was dead, and she was terrified and confused. What else does she know? She’s not saying, claiming it is not her secret to tell.

Grace may have backed off from telling Matthew anything, but his words have struck home. She takes Rosa to the police station to tell them what really happened. It turns out Rosa was raped after a social event at the Woodyard where she drank too much wine. Simon recorded the crime on his phone. (Just a thought: If he wanted to “help” Rosa why didn’t he fight off her attacker?) He wanted to go to the police with the evidence but Rosa refused. Instead Reasley “rescued” her, blamed and lectured her, and gave her the necklace as a bribe to keep silent. So who was her rapist?

Caroline Reasley, meanwhile, has resumed her affectionate friendship with Gaby and is excited to learn about her pregnancy. She tells Ed that she and Gaby plan to raise the baby together, and Ed, not expecting fatherhood so soon, looks alarmed. When he finds Matthew’s card on the kitchen table, he suggests that she stay loyal to her father instead of siding with the police. And at that moment, Reasley arrives and tells Ed to leave so he can talk to his daughter. Caroline brings up the topic of the NDA again, and Reasley tells her Simon refused to sign it because of Rosa’s rape, and how painful Caroline would find it when the rapist was identified. And that’s because the rapist was Ed.

Rosa continues her story at the police station. After Simon died, Ed wanted the address of the chalet (aka beach house). She thought he might know about the murder, or was the murderer himself, and was angry and scared. She followed Ed to the beach house and watched him search, probably for Simon’s phone. Ed found her spying on him and wouldn’t let her leave. As she struggled she fell and hit her head, leaving the bloodstain at the house. She now feels it was her fault Simon died.

Heartbroken, Caroline finds Ed at the beach and confronts him. He doesn’t really think he’s done anything wrong, and thinks she’s being unreasonable, and now he needs her help to escape abroad. But we’re not surprised when they go back to the house and, as Ed throws belongings together, the police appear. It’s clear that Caroline has no intention of fleeing with him or letting him escape justice.

Dorothy (Juliet Stevenson) and Ruth (Nia Gwynne). © ITV/Britbox
Dorothy (Juliet Stevenson) and Ruth (Nia Gwynne) await news of Rosa. © ITV/Britbox

Meanwhile Dorothy and Rosa’s mother Ruth are at home, afraid for Rosa and Grace. Matthew arrives to tell them the two women are safe at the station and expresses his anger at the Brethren’s dangerous conspiracy of silence. Neither Dennis nor God kept Rosa safe. As he leaves, Dorothy follows him out. She makes it clear to Matthew that her loyalty is to Dennis who has spent his life defending and protecting her, not to her son. Dennis ordered her to infiltrate Matthew’s marriage and his life to get him back into the Brethren and under his control. Matthew doesn’t understand normal marriage, she says. His marriage will never be right and it will never not be a sin.

After this horrible betrayal, Matthew goes to Dennis and Grace’s house. Dennis is praying but Grace opens the door. He asks her if she was supposed to meet Simon that evening. Was she the one who wanted help from Simon, so she could escape Dennis? She closes the door, frightened and silent.

A lot went on in this episode but it looks like we still don’t know who killed Simon and there are still many unanswered questions. What exactly was the scandal that was anticipated to jeopardize the Woodyard, what did it have to do with Reasley, and, given the crimes committed under its roof, why did Simon think it worth saving? What do you think? We’ll find out in the next, and final, episode.

Janet Mullany

Writer Janet Mullany is from England, drinks a lot of tea, and likes Jane Austen, reading, and gasping in shock at costumes in historical TV dramas. Her household near Washington DC includes two badly-behaved cats about whom she frequently boasts on Facebook.

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