Wednesday December 7th 2016 was a bad day all-round for me. Firstly, I woke up and remembered that it was my fortieth birthday(I still feel only twenty), then the double whammy was realising that the outstanding BBC One abduction thriller The Missing(series 2) had finished the previous Wednesday. I am still not over this series no longer being on. You see, a brilliant drama gets you like this. It was totally enthralling, it was full of suspense and it had more clever twists than you’ll ever get to see in a cracking game of Twister.
Some disagree with this I know but the final episode of series 1 of The Missing badly let the overall first series down. It was the one where the cocky smug copper ended up marrying the former wife of Tony Hughes(James Nesbitt) and we discovered that Oliver Hughes was out somewhere in Russia. The latter especially felt like one manipulation too far by the writers Jack and Harry Williams. Thankfully, the series finale second time around ended much more satisfactorily. In fact, I would go so far to say that the second series of The Missing was undoubtedly one of the best UK dramas of 2016.
A criticism of series two that I both heard and read about several times, was that it was ‘too complicated’. This made me despair every time in disbelief because a challenging watch which granted it was, does not though then automatically equate itself to being an incomprehensible one. Granted it did require concentration and you might have got a bit lost if you tried doing a jigsaw at the same time as viewing it, but I just don’t accept that it was too complex to ruin your enjoyment of it. After all, being challenged and kept on your toes by a TV show makes so much more of an intriguing watch, compared to being spoon fed by an unoriginal show that has a simple lame plot.
This final episode was very cleverly written because we saw all the seemingly different disconnected story strands of the series come together and get resolved. For example, we discovered how Henry Reed(Brian Bovell) died and that it was murder that was made to look like a suicide. We saw how Sophie Giroux(Abigail Hardingham) came to need surgery upon her sudden reappearance and why she pretended to be Alice Webster. We also yet again discovered the relevance of that red campervan that first appeared in the very first episode when the abduction took place. Was I alone in thinking to myself as I marvelled at the superb writing, how I wished I was capable of writing such a fantastic story?
We got the happy ending of sorts that I desperately craved for as psychopath Adam Gettrick(Derek Riddell) was chased down by retired detective extraordinaire Julien Baptiste(Tcheky Karyo) and Alice’s parents, and the captured girls were finally let free, I had just not bargained on Alice’s dad, Captain Sam Webster(David Morrissey), going for a right Burton in the process though. It was brilliant writing that fooled me to think for a brief second that the funeral at the end was cancer stricken Julien’s rather than Sam Webster’s. No offence to the very talented actor David Morrissey but OOH LA LA my friends, a world without the majestic Julien Baptiste anymore just isn’t worth thinking about, it’s too unimaginable given his greatness.
Tcheky Karyo as Julien Baptiste gave an absolutely spellbinding performance in every episode, indeed in every scene he acted. The best scenes were the ones with him in them. He undoubtedly deserves to win a major award or two for his sublime acting in this drama. It would be remiss of me also not to mention the fine acting that actress Keeley Hawes gave as Alice’s mother Gemma Webster. She was brilliant as a mother bereft with grief and in utter total turmoil as her life was seemingly collapsing all around her. Her character also had this very likeable steely determination about her though, to get to the truth about what had happened to her daughter.
My only slight criticism of the series and of this final episode was to do with how quickly Adam Gettrick and Sophie Giroux were tracked down by Baptiste and Alice’s parents. It went from Julien guessing they were in Vaaren, Switzerland, just by going off a photograph in Gettrick’s hallway, to then within minutes they just happened to be drinking at this same bar/cafe where Sophie had been seen just days before. Then, solely by a bartender glancing at a photo of Sophie by chance(as he collected their glasses), Julien then got out of him that this man knew Sophie and this thus was their lead into finding out where they were all held up. Do not get me wrong here, I love Baptiste but I found his Mystic Meg impression a bit of an unbelievable stretch. This series of convenient narrative coincidences was no doubt due to there only being about twenty minutes left of series 2 to go at that point.
Overall, a brilliant series which was far superior than the first one. The acting was great, the writing was superb and throughout I loved the European Cinema style feel to it all. Job done I’d say and I just hope we get to see a third series and more of the best detective on TV right now, namely the ONE AND ONLY MR JULIEN BAPTISTE!! 5/5.