‘The Missing’ finale review: ‘Till Death’

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The Missing’s finale of brings us to Russia, children being accosted by a hooded figure and a glimpse of that stick drawing with big ears.

It’s a tantalising opener in an episode that, depending on which side of the fence you reside, either gives enough resolution to be satisfactory or delivers one twist too many and is far too open ended.

For answers we need to go back to the beginning and that fateful day at the swimming pool in Chalons du Bois. Hotel owner Alain has had blood on his hands this whole time after he hit Olly with his car and pulled some strings with his brother in government to make it all disappear.

The scenes in the hospital room are excruciatingly tense. Alain’s explanation seems rather unlikely but some sterling work from James Nesbitt and Frances O’Connor papers over these cracks as Tony and Emily’s grief is ripped open and the former can barely contain his violent tendencies in the face of the guilty party. The deathbed confession is a well-worn narrative device and felt a little too cliché for a series that hasn’t been afraid to subvert audience expectation but, as often demonstrated in The Missing, the strength on the cast pulled it through.

The Missing 6

As mentioned last week, Vincent Bourg’s storyline is still there, like a tracksuit at the opera, feeling completely out of place. Titus De Voogdt has been truly compelling to watch, but his scenes since Episode 5 have been nothing but padding. His suicide is a poignant moment, yet it makes no narrative impact save for a brief mention from Emily at the very end.

Emily’s final speech about bravery and having other people in your life to support you was terribly moving and, for this viewer, the episode should have ended there. Tony’s trip to Russia and his clear descent into madness was intended as a sad insight into the life of a man and his obsession but it played out like a writing team over egging the cake.

It depends how you look at this series. If you’re coming at it from the point of view of a TV drama with the primary aim to entertain, it’s understandable that you’d be a bit peeved. The alternative (the view to which I subscribe) is that this series was a lesson in empathy. The absence of a body is sadly characteristic of many missing persons cases and the frustration viewers are feeling is the painful reality of those who live their lives never getting full closure.

The Missing

The Missing has been an excellent series; baggy in places and maybe suffering from a lack of focus at times, but it definitely had the best intentions at heart.  Some of the shine came off after later episodes failed to live up to the high of Episode 5, but there’s still been a lot to like here.

A second season has been confirmed and hopefully it’ll iron out the kinks from the first. Seemingly helmed by Julien Baptiste, the hints that Season 2 is focusing on the aftermath of finding a missing person puts an interesting twist on a show that’s laid some excellent groundwork with a great first run.


Aired at 9pm on Tuesday 16 December 2014 on BBC One.

> Order The Missing on DVD on Amazon.

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