Dublin Murders episode 2 recap: is Rob less innocent than we all believe?

Warning: this article contains spoilers for episode two of Dublin Murders. Read on at your own peril…

Despite Rob’s promise to Cassie that they won’t investigate Operation Vestal, they make a dark bargain to keep the secret and carry on working on the cases…

The second episode of BBC One’s Dublin Murders, starring Ripper Street’s Killian Murphy and Penny Dreadful’s Sarah Greene, premiered on 15 October at 9pm. And, much like yesterday’s ominous series premiere – which opened with a ritualistic murder, and detectives Rob Reilly (Murphy) and Cassie Maddox (Greene)’s efforts to track down the twisted person behind it –the second installment of the show left us with a lot of questions. 

Here, Stylist’s digital editor Kayleigh Dray does her best to unravel them all.

Did Rob have something to do with his friends’ disappearance?

As we discovered in the first episode of BBC One’s Dublin Murders, Rob Ryan — formerly known as Adam Ryan — went into the woods with his two friends in 1985. Disturbingly, though, he was the only one to return… and he did so covered in blood that didn’t belong to him, with scratch marks in his clothing but no cuts.

The whereabouts of his friends remains a mystery, even two decades later when the body of a young girl is found in the very same location. And he seems to have a lot of convenient gaps in his memory, which some have suggested means he may have played a more sinister role in their disappearance. Indeed, there are even those who have suggested that the wolf of his visions is a manifestation of his own unconscious guilt.

“My own thoughts was that Adam was somehow involved in their disappearance or death, and that he can’t bear to remember for that reason,” suggested one. “This would also explain why he can’t really settle with Cassie. He’s permanently morally compromised.”

Then there’s that intriguing monologue we saw in the first episode, which seemingly took place in the future, after the case of the murdered ballerina has been closed. You know, the one where he started banging on about how the murdered are the lucky ones, and the survivors are simply rejects? That one.

“They’re chosen. And the rest of us aren’t lucky at all. Not blessed. Not watched over by some kind angel, the ones who get left – they’re just too slow, too stupid, too muddy, too dull. The Gods don’t want them. Their lumps, their rejects. We all are. Rejects.”

His speech triggers Cassie to respond that she will not see him again, which may upset some fans of the show, as a lot of viewers have been losing their minds over how “cute” the police detectives’ relationship is.

So, why do Cassie and Robert fall out?

The duo seem to be on very good terms at the moment, so what gives? Why, in the future, does Cassie want nothing to do with Rob?

Well, as we noted before, there is something extraordinarily toxic about the duo’s relationship.

“Rob is someone who’s really disturbed but has been managing to keep a facade on it to this position alongside Cassie as a hotshot detective,” Murphy tells Independent.ie.

“It’s a performance that’s been very effective thus far, but it seems to be coming to a point now where that mask is beginning to crumble. It’s about keeping things together but there’s a breaking point.

Could that breaking point have something to do with his murky past? Only time will tell…

Is Dublin Murders a classic murder mystery? Or is it a supernatural spectacular?

At the moment, Dublin Murders feels like a classic whodunnit: we have police officers, off-the-charts sexual chemistry, a murder to solve, and a handful of likely suspects. But what if there’s more to it than all of that? What if, as so many people are tentatively suggesting on Twitter, we’ve got the genre of this psychological thriller all wrong?

Well, fans of the book series upon which the show is based certainly seem to think that things are a bit more woo-woo than we thought.

“The old gods have a portal between their world and this within the woods,” said one, in a comment on GoodReads. “Woods are actually a place where an alternate universe does exist, in the form of the lives the animals lead, which we humans rarely see. The hint would then be that Peter and Jamie were sacrificed on the stone. So that Adam could live?”

Another agreed, adding their own theory around which of the old gods this could be.

“Cernnunos, as The Horned God, Lord of the Animals is portrayed as human or half human with an antler crown,” they said. “While He is recognized most often through his connection to animals and our own deeply buried, dimly recalled, instinctual animal natures, Cernnunos is also a tree, forest, and vegetation god in his foliate aspect of The Green Man, Guardian of the Green World. His branching antlers symbolise the spreading treetops of the forest as well as his animal nature. As Master of the Sacrificial Hunt, His is the life that is given in service of new life. His wisdom is that the old must pass away to make way for the new.”

Perhaps someone offered a blood sacrifice to the gods, in order to preserve and protect old Ireland (the forest) from the crashings and trappings of modern life (the motorway). Then again… 

Well, then again, it’s a bit of a bonkers theory, isn’t it?

Why is Cassie using a false identity?

One uestion has been answered: the guy lurking in Cassie’s flat last week is an undercover cop. But, as it turns out, that answer brings with it more questions: why is Cassie using an alias?

All we know is that it has something to do with a woman called Lexie, whom many are suggesting is Cassie’s twin sister. Or, y’know, some shadowy version of herself.

“Are Cass/Lexie the same person? Has she a split personality?” tweeted one confused viewer.

We potentially have the answer, although it comes with a serious spoiler alert: read on at your own peril.

In the books upon which Dublin Murders is based, it is revealed that a murdered woman, Lexie Madison, is found to have been using an ID that Cassie used while working undercover She sets out to not only find out what happened to Lexie, but also to figure out why they look so alike and why she was using her fake ID. To do so, she goes undercover to live with Lexie’s housemates… with sinister consequences, naturally.

It remains unclear whether the TV show will follow the same plot as the books. However, it seems safe to say that Cassie isn’t living her truth, and that she, like Rob, is hiding from her past.

As Greene noted previously: “The whole show is about their secrets. They’re thick as thieves and they’re really good partners who finish each other’s sentences. But I think they have a shared guilt of surviving.”

She continues: “They both survived traumas in their pasts and that binds them together.

“They’re each other’s keeper of secrets and it might not be the healthiest of relationships between the two of them.”

Erm, but who killed Katie?

Ah yes, we’d almost forgotten the real reason why we’re all here: to solve the ritualistic murder of a 13-year-old ballerina. Some people suspect that her sister bumped her off, in order to protect her from her father’s advances. Others think Rosalind is shifty and did the deed for far more unsavoury reasons (why are there no pictures of her with Jess and Katy, hmm?). 

Then there’s all that business with Sandra Sculley: 

And let’s not forget that everyone is very much against the upcoming construction of a motorway, which will go through the forest, and Katy’s father was the head of the campaign to stop it from happening. 

Does this relate to Katy’s death? This guy certainly seems to think so (although, based on what we’ve learned so far, we really doubt he’s the most reliable of sources):

Some have suggested that the two missing children are buried in the path of that soon-to-be motorway, which could be an intriguing plot twist…

How did Cassie/Lexie afford that luxe flat?

Twitter has questions…

So, what do we know for sure?

We haven’t a scooby about anything, quite frankly. At this point, all bets are off and everything’s to play for. One thing’s for sure, though: we will absolutely be tuning in next week to find out more.

The next episode of Dublin Murders will air Monday 21 October, 9pm on BBC One. 

Read our episode one recap here.

Image: BBC One

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