REVIEW Baptiste (S2 E2/6)

After last week’s intriguing and rather gripping first part of the story, I think it’s safe to say that Baptiste is well and truly back.

Which is a good thing, because this second series really has the feel of series one of The Missing, where Julien Baptiste was first introduced and where we saw parent Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) become obsessed with finding his child and walked a path of solitude and madness.

For Tony Hughes read Emma Chambers.

In that first episode we saw how her husband and her two teenage boys disappeared, and later how her husband were found dead. That was 14 months ago, but in the present day we saw Chambers – now in a wheelchair – and a completely broken Baptiste now a drink and a failure.

In this episode, the two-timeline technique was once again used but I couldn’t help thinking that creators Harry and Jack Williams had really nailed the device – adequate time was spent in each one so you really got a feel for what was going on, and each one ended with a sort of cliffhanger.

In this episode – and in each timeline – we got plenty of action and information.

In the flashback timeline we got to see the fall-out from the murder and the disappearances, namely Emma’s desperation to do something, anything, to help the investigation. Andras Juszt had been captured shortly after his encounter with Baptiste, and shortly after a ransom video was sent to the police, apparently by a radical Islamic cell who, apparently, shot Chambers’ oldest son in the head. This timeline ended when Chambers helped to free Juszt after it was promised her remaining son, Will, would be released.

We know from the present-day timeline that this was not to be the case.

Having persuaded a down-and-out Baptiste to have another crack at finding Will, they used Juszt to get to a terrorist organisation called Gamorrah. At this stage it wasn’t clear whether if this was indeed a radical Islamic cell or a right-wing cell posing an Jihadists. And this is the beauty of the dual-timeline approach – you can drop little nuggets of information and foreshadowing in the present day while you go back and watch the flashback timeline after being warned that something awful will going to happen.

We kept hearing about something terrible that was going to happen at the police station and, of course, we know that Chambers is still in a wheelchair but don’t know how or why.

To get Juszt to do their bidding in the present-day timeline they re-hire Zsofia Arslan, now a security guard (so she must have lost her job at some point in the recent past).

Episode two of Baptiste was gripping with plenty of well-constructed segments – high on action but also some neat characterisation, especially when we saw Julien and his wife find his daughter dead.

In among the action, this reflection and contemplation was very welcome and only made me like Baptiste as a character even more. And joining him in my affections was Emma Chambers, almost a carbon copy of her new partner-in-investigation. It only remains to be seen if this case will break them or make them.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 4 out of 5.


7 Comments Add yours

  1. malerogue says:

    Suspend reality…British ambassador walks though security with a knife at police station straight to the cells… rubbish, not a patch on The Missing(1)


  2. Zeke says:

    This Season is far better than the previous.
    Credit to Fiona Shaw.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Terry I. says:

    I wish Tchéky Karyo was a better actor. The way he delivers his lines is so mechanical.


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