Review: The Missing (S1 E5/8), Tuesday 25th November, BBC1

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After the initial teeth-gnashing emotion of the first episode – where Tony and Emily Hughes were coming to terms with the disappearance of their young son Oliver – I’ve felt this drama has taken a while to get going. Yes, it has been super-tense in places, but the dual timeline approach has seemed to stunt this drama’s growth and drive. Thankfully, last night’s episode, in both timelines, was the most dramatic and tense since the opener.

Tony wanted to confront Vincent Bourg, so, with Emily in tow (although she was dead against the idea), he went to the riverside where he new Bourg would be fishing. He beat Bourg until he got the information he needed – Vincent Bourg had been in cahoots with Ian Garrett.

When he got back to the car Emily sensed what he had done and there was a nice shot focusing on both pairs of hands – Emily’s were gripping the wheel so hard the whites of her knuckles almost shone through her skin; Tony’s bloodied hands shook with rage, shock and fright. This was a great way to show how each character’s emotional state of mind. Emily gripping hard, almost too hard, while Tony’s simmering frustration and anger at the slowness of the investigation had now fully exploded.

We also got to see how Rini’s short arc played out. Introduced in the last episode as a kind of narrative propulsion tool, her role in the story – in both timelines – was crucial. In fact her story turned out to be almost identical in both timelines. In the past, fresh from Julien’s drying out session, she was asked to meet with her brother and his ne’er do well friends to gather information about Oliver Hughes. That ended with her throat being viciously slashed. In the present day, Julien and Tony asked – in Tony’s case pleaded – for her to do the same, but this time the outcome was very different. Meeting her brother once again, Julien heard screams through his earpiece. When they entered Rini’s brother’s apartment, instead of finding Rini under attack again she had turned the tables and held her brother at knifepoint, screaming invective and the raw anger of vengeance she had stored up over the years exploding out of her like a geyser. Make no mistake, Rini uncompromisingly purloined the whereabouts Karl Zieg.

But this episode was really about Tony and Ian Garrett. Armed with the knowledge that Ian had paid off Vincent Bourg to keep quiet, the pair came face to face on three occasions. The first was in a crowded bar, where Ian had the upper hand and had Tony carted off to the police station. One nil to Ian. The second powwow was in a police cell. Score draw on that one. The third and most crucial meeting was on Garrett’s boat. Tony had found his stash of videos of sexual abuse. Ian, knowing his game was up, revealed all – he had been sexually abused by his grandfather as a child, and he, in turn, sexually assaulted his daughter and countless others (but not Oliver). He then goaded Tony, smiling, filling his head with with horrid images and thoughts. Tony’s anger spilled over and he did what Ian wanted him to do – he bashed his head against a wooden shelf until he freed him from his evil. Who was the winner? Perhaps Tony. What would most people do confronted with a paedophile in full confession mode after his own son had been kidnapped and could have been one of his victims? Tony meted out swift and, some would argue, necessary vigilante justice. But perhaps Ian was the winner. He manipulated Tony into doing exactly what he wanted him to do.

Like Seven and the end of the first series of The Killing, Tony took the easy way out instead of leaving it to the police.

Ken Stott was sensational in this scene – desperate to cover up his actions, then letting go, accepting his evil and longing for sweet release. Tony’s murderous actions added a layer of moral ambiguity to a story that was beginning to go around in circles, looking for a way out.

We’re no closer to finding out the fate of young Oliver, but the story has exploded in a way we perhaps saw coming. But now we’re asking the question: would we have done the same in that situation?

Paul Hirons

For our episode one review, go here

For our episode two review, go here

For our episode three review, go here

For our episode four review, go here

 

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