Review: The Missing (S2 E7/8), Wednesday 23rd November, BBC1

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 15/11/2016 - Programme Name: The Missing series 2 - TX: 23/11/2016 - Episode: n/a (No. 7) - Picture Shows: Julien Baptiste (TCHEKY KARYO) - (C) New Pictures - Photographer: New Pictures
(C) New Pictures – Photographer: New Pictures

So last week I posted a review where I stated everything seemed to point to the women who said she was Alice Webster being Alice Webster. Some readers pointed out that I got this wrong. But surely this is all part of the game – the Williams brothers pulling us this way and that, injecting subterfuge and obfuscation at every opportunity to throw us off the scent. To lead us down avenues, and then take us down others. To establish suspects and then present us with others. But back to it. Adam Gettrick – the man who had killed our young German police friend – had been earmarked as the kidnapper, and with this we knew the chase was on to not only expose him and explain why he had done what he had done, but to catch him. And, of course, to finally find out the true identity of the young woman who had presented herself as Alice Webster…

NB: Spoilers ahoy!

We left Julien Baptiste on the run from the police, his tumour eating his brain and quite obviously reaching a denouement, both in his life and the case. A desperate man often calls on desperate measures to get what he wants, and he had cornered Nadia Herz at knifepoint, demanding to know what had happened in Iraq. She cracked and let her secret out, and we launched into a 20-minute flashback sequence where we saw what happened: Gettrick, Stone and Reid were part of Herz’s platoon. Gettrick had gone AWOL, with Stone and Reid wanting to go and look for him. Herz refused (a cause of guilt in the present day) but the two men did so anyway, refusing her orders and driving into the night to find their colleague. What they found terrified them – they had found Gettrick chained up in the basement of a house having been subjected to torture and abuse, the owner taking enormous exception to the fact that Gettrick had slept with his 13-year-old daughter. In the ensuing chaos, Stone and Reid busted Gettrick from his imprisonment, shot the owner and torched the place, killing a young girl in the process (the man’s other daughter who they didn’t know was sleeping in the upstairs bedroom).

So we now, finally, had the full story of what happened in Iraq. Did I buy it? I’m not sure. All the story strand based in Iraq feels like such a shift in tone and pace I’m still not sure whether it all fits. Seeing Gettrick, Stone and Reid’s story play out in the desert was certainly tense and well done, but it didn’t feel satisfying, somehow.

And there were questions: if Stone knew who Alice Webster was or is (remember their little chat in the Webster’s back garden?) has he been shielding Gettrick for all this time? And what did happen to Henry Reid? Did he shoot himself, and if so why did he shoot himself? Was he shot by someone else? Gettrick?

Anyway, that was the first 20 minutes of this episode. There were more confrontations. Baptiste and Gettrick. Gemma and Sam, in turmoil and facing the end of their marriage. In fact, Gemma was showing a touch of the Tony Hughes about her (Hughes was referenced in this episode as a signifier for madness and obsession) as she had started to become obsessed with the fate of the young woman who claimed to have been her daughter. She found some answers. As Gemma and Sam’s marriage looked to be over (she wanted to investigate with Baptiste, he didn’t) she went with Baptiste to Gettrick’s house and found the evidence they were looking for.

But Gettrick was long gone, off to Switzerland with his young daughter Lucy to meet with Alice/Sophie. He picked up a monkey toy (didn’t we see one of those earlier in the series?) and took it to the cabin in the woods to meet with Alice/Sophie. But the toy wasn’t for Alice/Sophie or Lucy… no, it was for the woman locked up in a back area of the cabin. A dark, unforgiving place more suited for an animal. Alice Webster emerged from the darkness, feral and broken. Her hair was matted and dirt darkened her face. She looked in a desperate state.

As she crawled out of the dark space, and as Gettrick asking her if was going to be good, we knew with that she was alive. Alive and well? We’ll see, but certainly alive.

In an episode that was quite heavy on exposition but still managed to keep me enthralled thanks to its well-staged and written set pieces (the Williams brothers really do know how to hit those beats), we still have plenty to tie up in next week’s series finale. I can’t wait!

Paul Hirons

For all our reviews of The Missing, go here



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