The Vanishing Triangle – Season 1 Episode 5 Recap & Review

Episode 5

After the killer’s appearance at the hotel, Burkley is even more worried about Lisa’s safety. Gough has been caught – not two miles away from the hotel. This prompts Lisa to outrightly believe that he is the killer. For now, Burkley stations her at his house with Mary and Rachael. Before going in, Lisa tearfully confesses her horrid recollection from the night Janice was murdered. The killer gave her the option to choose between Janice and herself…and Lisa ended up going for the latter.

Even though she was only a child, Lisa is ridden with guilt. Burkley gives her his personal office to work out of. Lisa straight away calls Barbara, who tells her that an old woman, Betty Walsh, visited the office looking for her. She turns out to be Billy Miller’s mother when Lisa contacts her. Billy is ill and doesn’t have long left. Betty invites Lisa to question him the next day since Billy is “having a bad day.” 

Burkley and Frank Carey, who is also Gough’s friend, question him like an accused. Gough is outraged and keeps lashing out at them. He finally concedes that he has insomnia and often wanders around town in his car. That is why he was missing on the night that Susan and Mandy were taken. He explains that he visited the brothel once but never had any physical contact with Mandy. Gough claims to have an alibi as well, which Burkley checks out in the city. 

The woman, Karen, is a prostitute and verifies Gough’s side of things. Given the circumstantial evidence and Gough’s strong alibi, the police are forced to let go. Lisa visits Laura Doolin’s house, Mandy’s best friend, in hopes that she will testify against Gough. However, Laura refuses to say anything as she is under direct threat of life. Burkley goes through documents of internal affairs and finds out that Gough has had numerous disciplinary issues. He was also transferred from one station to another when Chief Gill was his boss.

But Gill’s statement is completely redacted, giving Burkley no clues. When he meets with Gill, the seasoned vet advises Burkley to stay away. His tone is menacing but Burkley is unfazed. Instead, he goes to another officer, JJ, who was Gill’s second in command. Although he is frightened of Gill, JJ tells Burkley that Gough was transferred for racketing minor girls he apprehended into prostitution.

Gill is right outside the house when Burkley emerges. This time, Gill threatens him with revealing his secret love affair with Tom. Now, Burkley is caught in two minds, whether to save himself or go after Gill’s secret. He immediately visits Tommy and asks him to leave. Burkley has arranged some money and a flight out of London since Gill’s men will now come after him. In more pressing developments, Susan finds a shard of glass and cuts herself free. She also frees Mandy and the girls make a run for their lives.

Mary, Burkley’s wife, suspects he is having an affair with Lisa. However, Burkley tries to assuage her fears and reiterates his love for her. But when she leans in to kiss him, Burkley breaks away and breaks down in tears, due to his having to lead dual lives and lying to the people he loves.

Tommy is beaten black and blue, just as she is about to leave. Lisa starts following Gough in his car. He eventually stops her at gunpoint and demands to know what she wants. He keeps pleading his innocence to Lisa. But she doesn’t believe him.

In a moment of clarity, she recognizes that Gough’s eyes are different than that of the killer. She quietly gets in her car and drives away. In an anticlimactic climax, Mandy and Susan run straight into the killer. He chases both of them and knocks them unconscious. Chris, who was earlier stabbed badly in jail because he stabbed Evans in the previous episode, slips into a coma. And Lisa is inconsolable when she fears her only family might never come back to her. 

The Episode Review

Episode 5 once again provides solid storytelling with very few surprises. The Vanishing Triangle has delivered consistency throughout. We are still some distance away from learning the identity of the killer. Billy’s testimony will be key in determining the outcome for Lisa. The dialogue and familiar genre beats are perhaps too oversimplistic in the episode. Those things take away all the tension buildup.

For instance, the ease with which the writers acquit Gough of any suspicion points to laziness. It is not that they aren’t sure of themselves but given the framework they have created, they don’t have enough flexibility. That’s why the narrative is so focused and narrow, which bears some positives for the show. 

Allen Leech is the strongest performer on the show, single-handedly elevating its emotional resonance. His heartbreaking expression of imprisonment after Mary leans to kiss him is the highlight in the episode.

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You can read our full season 1 review of The Vanishing Triangle here
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