It’s a tough life being a fisherman, but you’d think it would be tougher being a fish; not so when you end up dead in your own nets. Trawlerman Tommy Stonnall had been missing for weeks, says harbourmaster Frank (David Calder), but death took place only 24 hours ago. You can practically smell the fish as the body’s examined, revealing a head wound.
NB: Review = spoilers
The dead man’s sons say he’d been hitting the bottle, but they clearly suspect murder; sister-in-law Anna Marshbrook says he was in decline since a death by arson, for which he was blamed by local big cheeses the Connocks.
Vera defuses a tense situation between the Stonnalls and the Connocks, who lost their father in the warehouse fire, then takes a boat trip to find where the body went into the water.
It’s good to see Vera getting her sealegs – she seems to know all the jargon anyway – and she finds the abandoned van Tommy seems to have been killed in. Evidence in the van leads to waitress Zahra (Yusra Warsama), and the guest house in which Tommy had been staying, and apparently storing contraband.
The van was owned by skipper Quinn (Alex Ferns), who is caught smuggling cigarettes and immigrants; had Tommy become involved with Zahra’s family after a smuggling run?
Anna’s boat goes up in flames, Vera believes because it was used to dispose of Tommy’s body; Ellie Cannock and Jack Marshbrook were having an affair , but did they dispose of the body? And did they kill Tommy because he found out that Ellie’s father started the fishmarket fire for the insurance money?
Tommy may have been trying to sell his trawler to give money to Zahra; so could son Steve have killed him to prevent this happening? As the two sons fight, Vera comes for Steve, who confesses that he killed his father by accident.
‘Families, eh? – Nothing but pain and trouble’ as Aiden remarks. Well, he’s zonked out because the new baby’s keeping him up at night, but otherwise he has nothing to complain about. Vera ends up helping Zahra with her immigration case – she feels sympathetic because her mam’s dad had a tough time when he came over from Ireland in the ‘30s.
But Vera, though she’s her own boss, and unaccountable to anyone, clearly feels the isolation of having no family; as she looks out to sea in the final shot, she must be wondering what it would be like to have someone. That nice harbourmaster Frank might be suitable, why don’t they give it a go?
While this hasn’t been the most engaging series of Vera, with few spots of excitement after the death of Bethany in the first episode, it’s certainly been atmospheric, and arguably with its evocative sea scenes and plausible characters, this was the best episode of the season.
New boy Hicham was given remarkably little to do – maybe he could feature more when the series returns next year – and maybe we could get a bit of development in Vera’s private life. She’s still too dependent on the booze and coffee for our liking, and a love interest would cheer her up. Perhaps she’d even get a new hat. Here’s hoping.
For our episode one review, go here
For our episode two review, go here
For our episode three review, go here