With twists and turns galore, you can never find your feet in The Missing; which makes it all the more brilliant.
The new series of The Missing has been an absolute rollercoaster, throwing us red herrings left right and centre, thrusting previously insignificant characters into the limelight, and leaving us with a thousand and one questions. As we near the end of this brilliant, time-twisting mystery, we feel equally and contradictorily no closer to finding out the truth of what happened to Alice Webster, yet also inches away.
The primary trio of David Morrissey, Keeley Hawes and Tchéky Karyo all shine in their roles, acting their socks in week in week out. Karyo springs back from a rather forgettable performance as French detective Julien Baptiste in Series 1, where he was basically your generic cop, to become a multi-layered, emotionally-invested character, with a very human problem of hurting those he loves in his pursuit of justice. The unhinged Baptiste is on the verge of becoming an unreliable narrator, a very different man he was on The Missing‘s first outing and even to the one seen in the 2014 timeline of this series. Episode 6 ends on a shocking note as he threatens a woman with a knife in his pursuit of answers about Alice Webster and Sophie Giroux.
While David Morrissey’s Sam Webster is frustrating in what seems like a never ending determination to destruct and do the wrong thing, his wife Gemma is extremely believable as the bereft mother with a guilt complex. Keeley Hawes has been one of my favourite actresses since her breakthrough performance in Line of Duty, and her acting here surpasses even the skill she showed in that. Gemma’s story arc is one of The Missing‘s most compelling, moving from the woman trying to pick up the pieces of her family, only to have them shattered by the return of her ‘daughter’, and then the death of that child leaving her bereft and guilt-stricken over their troubled time together.
Special credit should also go to Abigail Hardingham, a young actress who is haunting as Alice Webster/Sophie Giroux/who the fuck knows. Her hollow eyes give you the feeling of falling into her inner darkness, and my sympathy for her switches to hatred every ten minutes or so. Let’s hope she goes far. Laura Fraser springs out of a rather dry and bizarre performance in fellow Harry and Jack Williams’ One of Us into a far more fleshed out role as Eve Stone. The relationship between Eve and Gemma is another fascinating aspect to the power-play constantly occurring.
Harry and Jack Williams have shown their caliber as writers in the past, with the first series of The Missing being undeniably great, and One of Us having some really fantastic moments, but this is by far their standout show as of yet. The dual timeline format has never been used so effectively yet frustratingly; just as you get invested in what’s happening in 2014, it hurls us back into 2016, and vise versa, meaning you can never quite find your feet. It makes the experience all the more adrenaline inducing.
The Missing airs on Wednesday nights, 9pm on BBC One. There are two episodes of the current run remaining, but you can catch up via the BBC iPlayer.