Miss an episode of KCET's newest British detective series? Read our "Vera" recaps here.
Previously on "Vera"
When an on-the-lam single mother is run off the road and murdered, Vera's (Brenda Blethyn) only clues are a pair of plane tickets, £2000, and a frightened young boy. Read the recap for "Little Lazarus" here.
This Week's Episode: "The Ghost Position"
Vera rushes to the hospital to tend to her former colleague Sergeant Stuart Macken (Steven Hartley) whose 18-year-old daughter Stella (Jessica Barden) is in a coma thanks to a petrol bomb attack on their house. Fetching him a coffee, Vera turns back helplessly just in time to watch Stuart jump to his death on the hospital lobby four floors below. Who firebombed Stuart's house, and why would he commit suicide and leave behind his still-living daughter?
Vera gets an update on Stuart's troubled past few years from his colleague Chief Superintendent Rachel Waite (Nina Sosanya). After a terrible divorce, his ex-wife Marianne (Julie Graham) filed a restraining order against him, keeping him at least 100 yards at all times from her and her new family. When his work started to suffer, he was demoted from Chief Inspector to Sergeant, and it seemed he was holding onto the last vestiges of his sanity, saved only by his good relationship with Stella.
So far, the biggest lead is Stuart's involvement with a recent protest gone wrong. Volunteering himself for the riot squad, he made ten arrests by the end of the demonstration. Could it have been one of the formerly incarcerated? While DS Joe Ashworth (David Leon) and DC Holly Lawson (Wunmi Mosaku) interview nine of the ten arrested protestors (the tenth is missing), Vera focuses in on hydraulics engineer Brian Gower (Ron Cook), Stella's stepfather, who starts acting funny when asked about the burns found on Stella's hands, burns that existed before the firebombing. Thanks to a search warrant, the police get their hands on Brian's laptop and find, via his internet browser history, that he recently visited a site on how to create petrol bombs.
Brian swears innocence, saying he never visited the webpage. While yes, he did despise Stewart, he had no reason to murder him. Check the tapes, he says, saying Stewart would find a way around his restraining order by videotaping them from afar. When Vera and Joe find a box of digitapes in Stuart's now-burned house, they start going through the videos and focus on one of a young man walking up to an unknown cottage. Holly confirms from the video that the young man is Douglas "Dougie" Cranham (Brogan West), the missing arrested protestor.
Unable to find Dougie, Vera and Joe speak with Dougie's pregnant fiancée Lena (Rose Leslie), who is selling ice cream at a local garden. She hasn't seen him in weeks, she says, while he works at a power plant up north. Stays in Watworth, she believes. Connecting the Watworth location to the video footage, Vera finds the cottage as well as a familiar face: Janice (Emily Woof), one of the arrested protestors they had recently interrogated at headquarters. While Dougie has often spent the night at her cottage, he's currently nowhere to be found.
Vera is called back to the hospital when somebody attempts to murder Stella by unplugging her machine. Checking the security footage, Vera sees a man in a hoodie escaping from Stella's ward. It must be Dougie. Alas, it seems his mission has failed, as Stella finally awakens from her coma, readily available to answer any questions Vera may have about what led to her injury.
With new information, Vera and her crew returns to Janice's cottage in full force, asking about her relationship to Stella. It seems that Janice was Stella's art teacher, and since Stella would sometimes come hang out at the cottage, she became quite close with none other than Dougie. Wanting to break free from societal restraints, Stella became involved in Dougie and Janice's political action. In fact, she was at the same protest as her father, just on different sides of the law, and when violence broke out, Stuart broke rank and rescued her from harm. Checking the adjacent barn, Vera finds broken glass, a backpack that smells of petrol, and a layer of heavy soot along the wall.
Tasked with trailing Lena, DC Kenny Lockhart (Jon Morrison) turns out to be the key in solving the case. Following her back to the house that she and Dougie defaulted on, he sees Dougie's shadow through the window. Calling in the crew, they break into the house with a battering ram, only to find that the person in the hoodie isn't Dougie. It's Lena.
Back at the hospital, Stella fills Vera in on the details. One day she and Dougie were making petrol bombs in the barn when one burst, accidentally setting Dougie on fire and scorching Stella's hands. Panicking, Stella called in her father to deal with Dougie's dead body, burying him in the forest. But when Lena found out, she took action and tried to murder Stella with the same weapon that befell her fiancé. Feeling guilt for his daughter's injuries, Stewart could take it no longer and ended his life.
But there's one final twist: Vera figured out that Stella had visited the petrol bomb website on her stepfather's computer before she even knew Dougie. The petrol bombs were her idea, as was the protest. Stella forever has blood on her hands.
Hey! I Know That Actor!
Rose Leslie, who played two-time attempted murderer Lena Holgate, played Gwen Dawson on the first season of "Downton Abbey" and currently portrays wilding woman Ygritte on HBO's "Game of Thrones."
Ron Cook, who played Brian Gower, is a Shakespearean stage actor who has also appeared on such television programs as ""The Diary of Anne Frank" and "The Singing Detective" and in such films as "The Merchant of Venice," "Quills," "Topsy-Turvy" and "Hot Fuzz."