I have to say I was rather disappointed last week when I read that some people feel that The Missing is boring due to its slow pace. I would disagree with this assertion and instead would argue that The Missing’s slow pacing is one of its strengths. For example I totally brought into the fact that Tony and Julien struggled to re-open Oliver’s case and similarly this week I felt it was utterly believable that the police would spend so long focusing on Tony in the original investigation. Just like last week, the investigation itself opened even wider as we were given another possible line of enquiry in the form of an undercover operation led by Julien and his field-operative Antoine Ahmed.
It is Antoine, who is working under the pseudonym of Leon, who we follow in the episodes opening scenes, unaware at the time of his true identity. I feel it’s brave of writers Jack and Harry Williams, to once again begin their drama with a character we are yet to become familiar with. This is especially true of Antoine who only appears in this episode albeit in two of the instalment’s most thrilling scenes. His first is an opening chase sequence in which he is pinned down by the police and demands to speak to Julien immediately. His second, which comes towards the end of the episode, sees him step off a train and make eye contact with Julien on the other platform. However, by the time Julien has arrived, Antoine has been fatally wounded; an event which is the catalyst for another chase which is ultimately the reason that Julien now walks with a limp. However, Antoine’s main purpose, as far as the story is concerned, is to bring up the fact that the group he is investigating may be involved in people trafficking. The Williams brothers are yet to link Antoine’s investigation to Oliver’s disappearance but they’ve certainly suggested that the youngster could have been abducted by this underworld organisation.
However, this week’s 2006 scenes primarily focus on the fact that the police now believe Tony is the prime suspect. As we saw last week, Julien hinted at Tony’s violent past and this theme was further explored in tonight’s instalment. The identity of the injured man in the photos was revealed as Greg Halpern; a co-worker of Emily’s, who Tony assaulted some years ago presumably believing that his wife was conducting an affair. With the police also having evidence of Oliver being rushed to hospital with a broken ankle, Tony’s whereabouts at the time of Oliver’s disappearance are called into question. As we previously witnessed Tony’s frantic search for Oliver, we as an audience sympathise with him as he is interrogated over and over again by a suspicious police force. Meanwhile, Emily finally learns of Tony’s attack on Greg after Malik writes an article on Tony being questioned by the police. At the time the matter had been dealt with by Emily’s respected lawyer father but, upon learning that the attack was based on jealousy, Emily chastises her husband for constantly obsessing over every little detail. I found this to be a great line of dialogue as we’ve experienced just how obsessed Tony has been in getting to the bottom of Oliver’s disappearance, a fact which is evident once again in the modern day scenes.
After several weeks of wondering what Tony has been up to, Emily finally touches down in France to learn just what her ex-husband has found. After having seen them together in the 2006 part of the story, it was interesting to see how different the interactions between Emily and Tony are now they’re divorced. Emily is particularly keen to keep her distance from Tony as we learn that this isn’t the first time that he’s believed that Oliver has reappeared. However, while Emily doesn’t want to believe in this new evidence, it appears as if Julien is at least convinced after finding that the basement in which the drawing was found has been professionally cleaned. Later, Julien arranges a town meeting hoping to gather information from anybody who lived near the house where Oliver’s drawing was found. However, Julien’s tactics are criticised by the mayor who once again is fearful that another Oliver Hughes investigation will have an adverse effect on his town. As with the past couple of weeks, The Missing ended with a shocking scene; as Tony sees video footage of what appears to be Oliver peering out of the window of the house that the police are investigating.
After three episodes it was encouraging to see that The Missing was moving forward as both the 2006 and 2014 scenes offer up significant clues to what happened to Oliver. My only issue is that, now we’ve seen the video in the present day, it sort of negates the impact of the original investigation. Going forward, I’d personally like to see the 2006 scenes focus more on the relationships between the characters and in particular how Emily and Mark got together. This episode of The Missing is so packed full of story that I haven’t even mentioned Malik Suri’s own investigation and how he believes he knows what happened to Oliver. From the suggestions he’s dropped so far, it appears as if he believes Tony and Emily did something to their son and have yet to own up to it. There’s also the question of Ian Garrett’s involvement in the case as a whole and what his true motivations are behind putting up the reward for any information about Oliver.
Although I didn’t find this episode of The Missing as gripping as last week’s, the final ten minutes were incredibly engaging as they featured a death, a high speed car chase and the airing of the aforementioned video. The chase scene allowed director Tom Shankland to create a sense of peril as the camera followed Julien around the tight streets of the French town. Meanwhile, the cast continues to shine with Frances O’Connor being a particular highlight this week both in the scenes in which Emily snaps at Tony in 2006 and when she reunites with him in the present day. But The Missing has so far been James Nesbiitt’s show and he has given a tour-de-force performance as the obsessive father determined that he will one day find his lost son.
What did you think to tonight’s episode of The Missing? Do you know what happened to Oliver?
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