THE MISSING Recap: “Episode Three”

     November 29, 2014

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Things continue to progress and deepen in both of The Missing‘s timelines, but as was the case with its premiere, the final seconds are what created the most horror and the most promise.  The search for Oliver continues in earnest both in 2006 and in 2014, as well as an exploration of the complications of the relationships over that time.  Hit the jump why “I can’t survive in a nightmare like you do.  I have to live.”

the-missing-episode-3-imageEverything we’ve seen so far in The Missing seems to point towards there being a sex trafficking ring of high-profile people that Olivier, horrifically, was caught up in.  The lack of evidence found in the basement, according to Julien, was surprising in how carefully sterile it was.  It doesn’t seem like this was the work of an amateur.  Further, undercover agent Antoine tipped Julien and Mark off to a very secret transaction going down among the local thugs, and was later killed for it.  The biggest clue there was Julien having to get the mayor’s signature for a warrant, and then him calling Ian.

While the crime itself is a driving force (and reminiscent in some ways of True Detective‘s central crime), The Missing excels in the moments in between.  The red herrings in a show like Gracepoint, for instance, feel forced and have gotten tiresome very quickly.  But in The Missing, those diversions are themselves interesting detours (like in Broadchurch, which had so much strength in its non-crime plots it’s actually returning to focus on them).

Julien’s wife appearing as a surprise was a lovely moment, even without it turning into a mystery of its own.  The same was true of much darker moments, like when Emily frets over finding Oliver’s fox, and later screams at Mark for not doing his job, before breaking down in an emotional plea.  Later, a beautifully haunting score accompanied her on a walk through the town, stopping back at places where Oliver had been.  The most powerful moment was the cut to her collapsed beside the pool, where she had imagined Oliver returning to her.

the-missing-episode-3Tony, of course, also remains an incredibly difficult figure to watch.  In 2006, he’s rightfully indignant over the questions of his guilt after the revelation of his 2000 assault, but his anger plus his heartbreak are an incredible combination.  Later, though Ian tries to steer him away from Vincent as a suspect, he can’t let it go.  Not only did he break in to Vincent’s apartment, but he actually revealed himself and allowed his violent side to get the better of him once again.  And yet, Tony can also be impatient and petulant; in 2014, he gets surly about the lack of response from neighbors at the time, and chides Julien that he’s wasting his time.  He also lashes out at Emily and her extreme pessimism, mocking her recent marriage to Mark.  It makes him real.

But there are many other things in the 2014 timeline that have yet to be answered, and are as much of a mystery as Oliver’s case.  Why did Emily travel all the way to France to tell Tony she doesn’t want to be involved this time, if she really doesn’t want to be involved?  Why is Khalid in prison?  What is going on with Julien’s wife at home?  What is Malik’s theory of the crime?

All of these plots and characterizations, though, are elevated by the show’s great filmmaking.  There’s a sad beauty to Emily’s walk around town, and an exciting tension during Julien’s high-speed car chase.  The rain was also used to augment certain settings, like Julien at the SWAT team closing in on the sheds, and the storm outside as Emily confronts Tony about the assault on Greg.  It creates a dreamy landscape that, Emily suggests, has all devolved into a nightmare.

the-missing-season-1-episode-3Episode Rating: A

Musings and Miscellanea:

— So that is where Julien got his limp, from that car crash.

— An interesting development with Emily and Tony’s personal history.  Apparently she had a close friendship with Greg that turned, possibly, romantic (or that could have just been Greg posturing).  It’s strange, though, that Emily didn’t know that Greg had been in the hospital at the time.  And now, of course, we know what the incident was Emily’s father was referring to.

— Vincent had a really nice apartment in France, didn’t he?  Gorgeous views!  Not as great in England.  Also, do they have laws about sex offenders living that close to a school …?

— Who was the woman Vincent was looking up?

— That video of Oliver crying out for help and being snatched back at the end … harrowing.

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