‘Vigil’ Season 2 Episode 1 Recap & Ending Explained: How Did Anthony Chapman Die?


The first season of Vigil was mind-blowing, but season 2 just takes the narrative to another level. The investigation of the second season isn’t connected to the previous one, so one doesn’t need to watch Season 1 to enjoy the show. However, the two central detectives, DCI Amy Silva and her romantic partner, DI Kirsten Longacre, reappear in the show, and this time around they investigate severe fatalities caused by military weapon testing gone wrong. Pace has never been an issue with Vigil, and writing is indeed its forte. Every 5 minutes or so, we come across new information that totally changes the course of the investigation, making each episode gripping till the end. Additionally, there is so much grace and quirk in the dialogues that every second line subtly comments on world politics and modern warfare. But let’s not spill all the beans prematurely and look at the proper breakdown of the events of Vigil Episode 1.

Spoiler Alert

What Went Wrong During the Drone Testing?

Derek McCabe, the man in charge of a company called Alban-X, had designed some military drones called R-PAS, also known as Remotely Piloted Air Systems. These drones, stacked with bullets, rockets, and grenades, were to be used during combat operations so as to minimize the loss of human life on the battlefield. However, the entire project was still in the testing phase, and McCabe needed half a billion dollars in funding to begin mass production. It was where the British government came in. The country had been selling weapons to the governing Sheikh of Wudyan, a fictional country set up somewhere in the Middle East. We can assume that Wudyan could be a neighbor of some conflicted states like Afghanistan, and the first world country needed “men” to carry their weapons so that they could curb terrorism without setting foot in the war zone.

British Air Vice Marshal Marcus Grainger cracked a deal with the Sheikh to fund Alban-X’s research so that they could set up a joint R-PAS squadron in Wudyan. As Vigil Episode 1 began, Grainger invited Ali, a representative of Wudyan, to the Dundair Air Weapons Range in Scotland to demonstrate the power of these drones. However, during the weapon test, someone hacked one of the four units, which ended up killing two military officers on the testing ground along with a few other security personnel who were trying to stop it. A few hours after the tragedy, DCI Silva got hold of the case and quickly arrived at the scene to investigate further. The question was, who sabotaged the testing and why?

The rogue drone had also opened fire on a few of the Sheikhs sitting with Ali in the control room, as a result of which some of them were severely injured. Ali felt that the entire testing was a deliberate attempt to insult His Highness and therefore decided to leave the country without any further discussion. Obviously, the MPs of the British government weren’t much in favor of selling weapons to a Middle Eastern country, for reasons we are all aware of. They had openly called Wudyan’s ruler a war criminal in the parliament because of his extremist methods. The man had forcefully sent activist leaders and journalists to prison in order to maintain his sovereignty. However, what’s worse was the fact that neither the British Army nor Alban-X were much bothered about the political scenario in the country. They just wanted someone to invest in their research project, which would be used to kill the militants in the Middle East. Through this, they would be able to curb terrorism without spending a single penny.

Was Colin Dixon responsible for the fatalities?

Grainger had been boasting of an autopilot feature in the R-PAS when things backfired and ended up creating a mess. As soon as the drone operators set the machine to autopilot, someone sitting in a far-off place logged into the system and used the drone to kill the men on the ground. According to Flying Officer Colin Dixon, anyone with access to the main system could control these units once the original pilot had set them into standby or autopilot, and that was exactly what happened. Someone got hold of the R-PAS console and started operating Colin’s drone to frame him for the murders, but DCI Silva could see through the conspiracy and therefore decided to investigate further before coming to a conclusion.

Who is Firas Zaman?

During the test, Grainger was informed of a trespasser near the perimeter, but because it was a usual incident, it wasn’t reported to DCI Silva. However, as soon as she found out about it, she sent DI Longacre to look further into it. In the woods, Longacre arrested a man named Firas Zaman, who was formerly a resident of Wudyan and had sought asylum in Scotland. Before his arrest, the former journalist and activist had erased all data from his phone; however, the detectives recovered some suspicious drug prescriptions from his flat, which seemed like some sort of code. In simple words, Zaman had been spying on the Dundair Air Weapons Range and sending intelligence to someone near Al Shawka airbase in Wudyan. Coincidentally, the two pilots operating the R-PAS belonged to the same airbase. And a “fifth console” that had been in question also disappeared from the same location. It was implied in Vigil Episode 1 that Zaman was keeping an eye on the drones during the test, and as soon as the pilots set them to autopilot, he alerted the person in question so that they would take control of Alpha R-PAS and create havoc on the ground.

It was no surprise that there was a mole in the Al Shawka airbase, as someone had earlier informed Zaman about the joint partnership between the Wudyani and the British Air Force, which he even leaked to the media. The two forces had set up a joint R-PAS squadron where the British government would supply the necessary weaponry to the Wudyanis and train their pilots so that they could resolve their conflicts with the neighboring state. However, Zaman and his associate, Mohammed Rajab, had a different point of view. According to Zaman, these drones were not only meant to be used in proxy wars against their neighbors but also against the local population. As mentioned earlier, Wudyan’s ruler, being a war hero, wanted to maintain his sovereignty at all costs, and therefore he would use the new technology against his own people in times of political unrest. The Sheikh would do anything to cling to power and would use these drones as a tool for necessary repression.

How did Anthony Chapman die?

As Vigil Episode 1 began, Wing Commander Chapman, posted at Al Shawka Air Base, informed Squadron Leader Eliza Russell that he had been diagnosed with liver cancer and therefore had to leave the base for the next 6 months to get much-needed treatment. He handed over the command of the R-PAS squadron to her and left Wudyan with his teenage daughter. However, while leaving the city, Chapman got suspicious that someone had been following him. We later found out that it was Chapman who had logged into the fifth console to control the drone that ended up killing innocent people. DCI Silva tried to contact the man, but she couldn’t find him anywhere; however, in the end, a detective told her that the fifth console had a tracking device through which its location could be traced. It was operated from a little village in the Trossachs, and Silva didn’t want to waste a moment catching the suspected official.

Silva and Longacre arrived at the location where they found Chapman’s dead body outside the house. The deep wound on his body suggested that he was shot with a high-power hunting rifle. Before the forensics could arrive, Longacre heard a loud scream in the woods and quickly ran towards it. Apparently, Chapman’s daughter, Sabiha, was still alive, but there was a threat looming over her. A masked man holding a hunting rifle was following her, but before he could take a shot, Silva and Longacre saved her. Though the shooter was still following them, the threat would be easily resolved at the beginning of Vigil episode 2.

The question we want to ask is: Did Chapman betray his country? Our wild guess is that he was in no way involved. It could have been someone else in the Al Shawka airbase who had been leaking information from the compound so as to hamper the joint operation. But it could be speculated that Chapman did know about the leak, and therefore he decided to escape Wudyan so as not to get caught up in the entire fiasco. His wife was a Wudyani, and therefore the man probably sympathized with the community. In the next episode, DCI Silva is going to interrogate the two pilots, Sam Kader and Callum Barker, who were operating the drone from the Wudyan base at the time of the tragedy, and as suggested in Episode 1, there was indeed something fishy going on between the two. Additionally, the entire sabotage mission had something to do with Firas Zaman and his activist group Jabhat Al Huriya, who would do anything in their power to overthrow the regime. So did they kill seven British soldiers and two Wudyani technicians to damage the relationship between the governments? As of now, that’s a maybe. But we may find out more about it in the later episodes.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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