When The Missing first began, a lot of people likened it to Broadchurch, primarily as it focused on the impact a devastating event had on a seemingly normal couple. But, over the past few weeks, it has morphed into something a lot darker, and last week’s episode completely changed our perception of grieving father Tony Hughes when he beat creepy Ian Garrett to death.
Whist Ian was certainly a bad man, he wasn’t Oliver’s abductor, and therefore Tony’s focus on both he and Vincent Borg was ultimately pointless. However, Tony’s murder of Ian dominates both the scenes in 2006 and the present day.
It’s clear that both Laurence and Julien suspect that Tony had something to do with Ian’s disappearance, and both feel that he was capable of murder. The particularly vigilant Julien noted that a certain part of Ian’s newly concreted build didn’t look like it had set and therefore saw it as a potential hiding place for evidence. However, just as the police were about to swoop in, an embargo was put in meaning that Ian’s property had to be left untouched.
One narrative contrivance of this episode that bugged me a little was the fact that this embargo was lifted at the same time that Tony had to returned to France. With Julien eventually having his suspicions confirmed in the present, he surprised Tony and yours truly by deciding not to take the matter any further. Julien’s motivations for this decision are explained in a small side plot in which he had his drug dealing daughter arrested believing it be for her own good. However, his decision was ultimately the wrong one and it appears as if he’d decided to put the Ian Garrett business to bed once and for all.
As suspected last week, Tony’s murder of Ian was the event that drove a wedge between he and Emily, who initially arrives back in France none the wiser. It’s only when Tony asks her to provide a false alibi for his whereabouts that she finally wises up to what he’s done. Jack and Harry Williams have certainly put Emily through the ringer here as she’s had to juggle losing her son whilst also being confronted by Tony’s angry side. So it’s completely understandable when she starts to lose her mind and sees Oliver everywhere she looks. These incredibly emotional scenes were bolstered by a fantastic performance from Frances O’Connor, who perfectly captured Emily’s fragile state. Emily’s issues got to the point where she almost jumped from a bridge until she was rescued by Mark who held her in his arms for a little too long. Eventually realising they had to leave France, Tony and Emily have seemingly decided to return to England and let the investigation continue without them.
But, in the present day, they are reunited after the ruthless Karl Sieg demands 15,000 Euros to reveal what he knows about the night that Oliver went missing. Sieg was initially painted as somewhat of a clichéd bad guy, but was later revealed to be nothing more than a cleaner for the big criminal gangs. After he’d been paid, his information amounted to very little other than there was a lot of blood in the house where Oliver had been kept. The only real lead he gave the investigation was the fact that he saw Zane remove evidence from the pool when he visited the next day. Although Sieg basically extorted money from grieving parents, he did reveal that it was he who left Oliver’s drawing on the wall and therefore was responsible for the investigation restarting in the first place.
Meanwhile, the Williams brothers have let the audience in on the fact that Zane gave this mysterious evidence to Malik Suri in 2006, who then refused to return. But it does appear as if everybody will soon learn about Malik’s theory as he is finally able to lure Vincent Borg into confirm facts for the book he is writing about the Oliver Hughes case.
Ever since Malik told Zane that he knew what happened to Oliver Hughes, I felt that he held one of the biggest pieces to solving the puzzle. He’s also insinuated that he knew about Tony and Emily’s involvement in Ian Garrett’s murder, and I’m sure all of these revelations will see the light of day in the final two episodes. The biggest question now is what is this vital piece of evidence, and more importantly, why has Malik Suri kept it hidden for the past eight years?
I’m sure these questions will frustrate a lot of the people who have been complaining about The Missing’s slow pace, but I still feel that the Williams brothers are creating enough tension to keep me hooked on a weekly basis. Praise must also go to Arsher Ali for making Suri one of the series’ most unlikeable characters, and the actor is able to make me feel uncomfortable every time his slimy journalist appears on screen. In fact, this episode, like most that have come before it, featured some fantastic turns, most notably from Tcheky Karyo and the ever-consistent James Nesbitt.
Director Tom Shankland also continues to do a sterling job in constructing some edge-of-your-seat set pieces as well as beautifully crafting many of the episode’s more emotional moments. The closing scene, in which Julien is attacked by a masked Zane, is made all the more gripping by the way the camera closes in on the brawl. Meanwhile Emily’s emotional turmoil is brilliantly realised by Shankland who perfectly uses the image of Oliver to haunt her as she leaves France in 2006.
As we look forward to the final two episodes of The Missing, I have to say that I’ve still got no idea where the story will ultimately lead. Going back to the Broadchurch comparison, I would contest that, by this point in the story, Chris Chibnall had eliminated the majority of the suspects and was more or less on the home straight. But the same cannot be said for The Missing, which I feel is a drama that is reluctant to show its hand and is all the better for doing so.
What did you think of tonight’s episode of The Missing? Do you think you know what happened to Oliver Hughes?
Leave your comments below.