The second episode of The Woman in the Wall delivers some more backstory and plenty of twists as the investigation into Father Sheehan’s murder threatens to reveal an entire sordid history.
This recap of The Woman in the Wall Season 1 Episode 2 contains spoilers.
Coming right on the heels of the premiere, the second episode of The Woman in the Wall names the titular corpse, reveals more about the Magdalene laundries and how what happened in them might relate to the events of the present day, and sees Lorna begin her own investigation that parallels Detective Akande’s work with the Garda.
The past and the present, the real and the imagined, all continue to blur.
The Woman in the Wall Season 1 Episode 2 Recap
Shortly after burying the body behind the wall of her living room and being thrust back into scattered memories of her time in the laundry, Lorna receives a missed call on the dead woman’s phone from a man named Dara.
What is the name of the dead woman?
Impersonating the deceased, Lorna learns that the name of the dead woman is Aoife. She tries to arrange a meeting with Dara, but the phone dies before the details can be finalized, so she sets out to find a charger.
Meanwhile, Detective Akande and Aidan unearth CCTV footage of a man who is very much not Father Percy Sheehan driving his car, with an unidentified woman in the passenger seat, hidden from view.
Inquiries among the locals lead the coppers to Amy, another tight-lipped local, who tells Akande that the driver had been into the shop trying to buy vodka late on a Friday night, but she had refused to serve him.
Lorna and the police cross paths while she’s trying to charge Aoife’s phone in the back of the store. Akande and Aidan are there looking for more CCTV footage of the man in question. Lorna, fearing that she’ll be exposed on the tapes, sabotages the hard drive by spilling coffee on it, buying herself some time and securing just enough charge to message Dara back and arrange a meeting.
Who was driving Father Percy’s car?
Despite Lorna’s efforts, the police are nonetheless able to determine that the driver of Father Percy’s car was… Dara O’Halloran, the same man that Lorna has scheduled a meeting with.
Speaking of which, when Lorna turns up at the bar, she strikes up a conversation with Dara, who is reluctant to give anything away. She claims to know Aoife, who turns out to be his wife, and tells him she was helping her find someone from the convent. Dara accuses Lorna of being a woman named Clemence, whom Aoife seemed to have been looking for, and we know from Lorna’s sporadic flashbacks that Clemence was in the mother and baby home with her.
Promptly, the Garda arrive and arrest Dara for Father Percy’s murder, only narrowly missing Lorna. On the way home, Lorna stops by Clemence’s house to try and speak with her, but she’s shooed away.
Did Dara kill Father Percy?
When Akande interrogates Dara, he attempts to confess to Father Percy’s murder, getting all the details wrong and proving he’s trying to cover for someone else. He eventually admits that Aoife, formerly a nun at the convent, went to visit Father Percy. In confessing, he’s obviously assuming she killed him and is trying to take the fall for her.
Nevertheless, though, it’s clear that whatever went on while Father Percy was at the laundry is integral to his murder, so Akande and Aidan go to speak with Sister Eileen, who was the Mother Superior at the time.
Sister Eileen is very particular about Aoife being referred to as a “Sister”, since she apparently never took her final vows, and the title is taken especially seriously by the church. However, despite this having happened three decades prior, Sister Eileen remembers her quite vividly and recalls her being troubled.
She also implies that Father Percy was only ever present to give services and had little to do with the operation of the laundries, which she half-heartedly defends as having done the best for the women who were sent there despite a lack of funding and support for the young mothers. Akande, naturally, isn’t buying this, and one gets the sense that even Sister Eileen doesn’t believe it either.
Who is James Coyle?
Elsewhere, Lorna attends a meeting for fellow survivors of the laundry, ministered by James Coyle, who is building a legitimate case against the church based on their personal stories. Clemence is also in attendance.
It takes a bit of convincing and direct questioning, but Clemence eventually agrees to meet with Lorna the next day to talk about Aoife, and what seems to be the crux of the matter – the fate of the children taken from the young mothers at the laundry.
The Woman in the Wall Season 1 Episode 2 Ending Explained
Towards the end of the episode, Akande has a panic attack while driving back after visiting Sister Eileen. It isn’t the first time he has suffered with one, but it has been a while since the last. As it turns out, he was born in one of the mother and baby facilities attached to a Magdalene laundry. This is personal for him.
In a double-whammy cliffhanger, the police receive CCTV footage showing Lorna with an axe and a clear intent to use it, while Clemence’s brother finds her dead in her room.
It seems pretty obvious that someone is covering things up at this point, but who? And what? There’s plenty more of the story left to unravel.
You can catch The Woman in the Wall Season 1 Episode 2 exclusively on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.