The Missing series 2 episode 7 review: 1991

As the revelations finally start to pour in, The Missing’s penultimate episode is equal parts satisfying and sickening…

This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

This review contains spoilers.

2.7 1991

Sophie Giroux to take her revenge against Adam Gettrick. The real Alice Webster to be reunited with her family (and it all to go swimmingly this time). Daniel Reed to have survived his wounds and learn that his father was a good man who didn’t kill himself. Julien to return home with Celia and have that potentially life-saving operation. The Websters to move back to England and live happily ever after. Jorn Lennart to magically come back to life and live out his days composing pretty guitar lullabies for Eve and her half-David Morrissey baby.

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That’s my wish-list for next week’s finale. Granted, it may tip over into fantasy on one of those counts, but the rest are do-able, if optimistic.

I suppose we should add the exoneration of wrongly imprisoned twitcher Kristian Herz, but unjust as his situation is, it’s low on my list of fan priorities. That’s not to say actor Lia Williams didn’t hold her own against the might of Hawes and Morrissey in her star scene as Nadia Herz this week. Relating the traumatic events of twenty-five years ago, Williams gave a truly moving performance, specifically at the world-shaking moment she was confronted by Julien’s belief in her husband’s innocence.

Dramatising Nadia’s Colonel Kurtz confession and the 1991 timeline was a very smart move from the show’s creators. The contrasts between the static shots of her drab, brown living room and the action in Iraq created a pleasing variety of pace in the opening fifteen minutes. It allowed for episode seven to open with a tense mini-action thriller before embarking on a series of slower two-hander conversations that were no less intense for their relative lack of gunshots and fire.

Tcheky Karyo led that charge with a row of still yet gripping scenes. We had Julien vs Nadia, Julien vs Gettrick, Julien vs (German cop) Engel, and finally, Julien vs wife Celia in a beautifully acted reunion scene between Karyo and Anastasia Hille. 

Celia was absolutely right; Julien may be a brilliant detective but he is a selfish child. Choosing to confront Gettrick for his own satisfaction without the evidence required to bring him in could only be excused had Julien known, as the audience does, that he was in the penultimate episode of a series. Note the question he asked Gettrick: not ‘where are the girls?’ but ‘why did you make Sophie pretend to be Alice?’ Julien wanted to satisfy his curiosity about the one part of the puzzle he couldn’t solve more than he wanted to find Gettrick’s victims.

(That said, Julien’s deteriorating health currently makes him think he’s in the closing moments of a finale. Again and again this episode he reiterated that the clock was ticking—“time is against me”; we don’t have long”. If you thought you were minutes away from the final credits rolling, you might well be in a hurry to get some answers too. In his eyes, Julien isn’t only running against time, but also against eternal damnation. “I can’t just sit and wait for the devil to take me” he told Celia, the promise he made to Sophie Giroux’s parents evidently weighing heavily on his soul.)

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That was ‘Gettrick’s victims’ plural, by the way. We finally had confirmation that Alice Webster is alive, if not exactly well. That revelation was made at the perfect point. Just as Julien and Gemma discovered the basement in Eckhausen, (locked by the souvenir padlock from his days of torture in Iraq), we were shown Alice, kept in an almost feral state and talked to like an animal. We learn that, unlike Sophie, Alice failed to meet Gettrick’s sickening standard of what it is to be a “good girl” and is being punished for it.

Another item to add to the finale wish-list is some insight into the relationship between Sophie and Alice. Do they see each other as compatriots, rivals, friends or sisters? How much did Alice know about Sophie’s time in the Webster house?

While we’re asking questions, what caused Gettrick (if that’s what happened) to murder Henry Reed days before Sophie’s return to the world? We learned this week that Reed was an army medic. Might Gettrick have tried to engage his help with Sophie’s ruptured appendix before enacting his convoluted plan? Did Reed help to deliver baby Lucy? If Gettrick knew about Reed’s secret relationship with Ilsa, that could have provided the blackmail material required to ensure his medical assistance…

Alongside the functional questions we hope to have answers to next week, this episode picked up a pertinent theme also explored in the BBC’s Line Of Duty: the institutional loyalty that protects criminals like Gettrick. When faced with the accusation that “one of [their] own” had had sex with a thirteen-year-old, Stone’s first response was to disbelieve the accuser, and then to participate in a cover-up. The army’s self-protection appeased Gettrick’s crimes and allowed them to continue. 

Their actions were repeated in miniature by the Websters’ treatment of Matthew. To protect him and the family, Sam took the blame for his joyriding. When Matthew went on to attack Brigadier Stone, Gemma had to convince her army-trained husband that closing ranks and covering it up wouldn’t help their son, it would only lead to something worse. With these parallels, The Missing seems to suggest that had Stone and Reed shown the same strength as Gemma, and gone against army protocol to report Gettrick as a paedophile all those years ago, he could have been stopped in his tracks. 

Read Louisa’s review of the previous episode, Saint John, here.

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