So off we went on series two of The Missing last week – another emotional rollercoaster ride, this time featuring the Webster family, who were coming to terms with the reappearance of their lost daughter, Alice Webster. But that wasn’t all. That was in 2014, and now, in the present day, Julien Baptiste was in Iraq Kurdistan on the hunt for the man who he thought had abducted Alice and her fellow abductee, Sophie Giroux. We also saw that, two years after her disappearance in 2014, Alice Webster was lying in the ground. So, following two timelines, we were on our way to find out what happened to Alice and her fractured family, and follow Baptiste as he travelled the world tracking down the bad guy.
It’s been quite a busy few days, so apologies for this late review.
In short, I enjoyed this episode a lot. I felt it was elegantly constructed, and the barrage of information that hit us full in the face in the first episode subsided and the story began to settle down.
But let’s talk about the construction a little bit. There were quite a few people who thought the dual timeline approach in episode one was wilfully confusing and overly complicated. But I thought the balance was just about right, something that the Williams brothers failed to maintain consistently in the first series (as good as it was). That’s the problem with two or more timelines – you flit from one to other and sometimes the connection with the story and the characters can be impaired.
Still, there we were in episode two and, with doubt already in our minds about whether Alice Webster was indeed who she said she was, this played out further. Baptiste made his first appearance in the Webster’s 2014 timeline, and already he was ruffling feathers – he was allowed to question her, against the wishes of her parents, Sam and Gemma. After convincing her to take the army police on a search for the bunker in which she and Sophie Giroux were kept in, he came away with a nagging feeling – this was not Alice Webster (who’s being very well played by Abigail Hardingham). Indeed, Gemma herself was beginning to suspect something wasn’t quite right – she handed her daughter a scarf, asking Alice if she remembered the teacher who gave it to her. The daughter corrected her and said it was a different teacher.
But then, throughout the episode we were given plenty of reason to believe that she was THE Alice Webster, and the full emotional impact of being kept prisoner in a bunker for so long was beginning to take its toll. She asked her brother (who she called ‘midget’) to unlock the shed, so she could sleep on the floor and in the dark, replicating the conditions she had been kept in. It was understandable and psychologically credible, but also heartbreaking.
By the end of the episode, we saw Brigadier Stone question her in the back garden after she was asked to identify a suspect whose receipt for some clothing was found in the bunker (this was butcher Kristian Herz, married to Nadia Hertz, who, in turn, was ex-army and had been seen at Daniel Reed’s father’s funeral. Nadia Hertz and Daniel Reed were shown having a confrontation in the 2014 timeline in this episode. Anyway, it’s interesting to note that Kristian Hertz was played by Filip Peeters, well known to this site as Paul Gerardi in Belgian series Salamander. With Peeters and Trapped’s Ólafur Darri Ólafsson this series is shaping up to be a veritable who’s who of international crime actors). Stone recited a story to Alice in the back garden, which contained vivid, menacing imagery of a turtle who flew too high and crashed to the ground. Alice asked him how he could live with what he had done. These two know each other; these two have previous, and not good previous, I’m betting.
We also saw in the 2016 timeline that Stone had lost his marbles, the onset of dementia ravaging his mind.
With the involvement of Nadia Hertz and Stone, and Daniel Reed’s father, everything points (so far) to some sort of paedophile ring or trafficking gang within the army. That’s the road we’re being led down at the moment. It will change, it’s bound to.
As for Baptiste, we saw him in 2016 in Iraq Kurdistan with Stefan Anderson searching for Daniel Reed. He was still clutching the same battered driving license that is obviously significant, and recounting to Anderson that he had mistakes in the Giroux case that needed to be redressed. At the end of the episode we saw the two captured by Peshmergas, the same man who had been following Baptiste in the first episode emerging from the desert wind.
Much to ponder, six episodes to go.
For our episode one review, go here