After a jarring first episode, all those flashbacks are starting to pay off in episode 2 of The Cry as the BBC drama begins to reveal its secrets.
*Spoilers to follow*
Joanna (Jenna Coleman) is a mother reeling with shock and horror following the “disappearance” of her baby boy Noah on a trip to Australia with her husband Alistair (Ewen Leslie). But what really happened to Noah?
Starting with the big reveal at the end of episode two: Noah wasn’t actually in the back of the car! His car seat was empty! His “disappearance” was staged by Alistair and Joanna – and they fooled us all.
Like the police and the media, we accepted it as fact that the baby went missing from the back seat of the rental car outside the convenience store while both his parents were in the store for a couple of minutes. BUT it now emerges that Noah was gone long before.
That opens up a whole range of possibilities about when exactly Noah “disappeared”. So when was the last time we actually saw him?
He was sitting on Alistair’s lap, blinking but finally quiet, when Joanna woke up on the plane…
And he was presumably in the pram on the way out of the airport. But we never saw OR heard him during the drive from the airport.
We did then see Joanna holding him asleep in her arms at the cottage when the housekeeper popped by with milk, but come to think of it we never caught a glimpse of Noah’s face: he was wrapped in blankets and covered in a hat…
And it was pretty weird that Joanna sombrely gave his age as exactly “three months and 17 days,” and then went and vomited over the railing.
So really, the last time we saw (or heard) Noah was on the plane. How long has he actually been missing or dead?
Alistair and Joanna are conspiring to hide the truth
It’s crystal clear at this point that Alistair and Joanna both know what happened to Noah, and that one – or both – of them is involved with his disappearance, as well as the cover-up.
In a secret conversation in the garden, Joanna asked her husband: “If we could go back, would we have done anything differently?”
“We’ve done the right thing,” he said. “The only thing that makes sense.”
“Chloe, Alexandra – they don’t deserve this,” she responded.
But he insisted: “We just need to let this play out. They can’t ever find this [the missing bib]. These cops are smart – but we’re smarter.”
It seems Alistair is willing to pin this all on Alexandra (Asher Keddie), which would serve two purposes: shifting blame and helping him get custody of Chloe. But Joanna has her reservations about framing an innocent woman.
And while Joanna was secretly browsing social media as her alter-ego Luke Holt, another flashback revealed some more information: a witness had seen her and Alistair “going at it hammer and tongs” on the side of the road on the drive from the airport. The witness has now passed that sighting onto the police.
So what does Alistair mean by “the only thing that makes sense?” What happened on that long drive to cause such an intense argument? And why is Joanna now hanging on to the “missing” yellow bib her baby must have been wearing when he disappeared?
Then there’s the matter of the staged disappearance. Alistair went in to the shop to grab some groceries, and Joanna nipped in to join him after apparently forgetting that she needed tampons (although it’s unusual– but not impossible – to menstruate while still breastfeeding).
But now the flashback has revealed that Alistair told her to follow him into the shop and leave “Noah” alone in the car. The whole plan was to convince the cops that Noah had been taken by somebody else.
Alexandra looks guilty – but probably isn’t
As far as the police and the media are concerned, Alexandra is the obvious suspect. Her behaviour in the run-up to her ex’s arrival and in the first few hours of his visit looks hugely suspicious.
As the police pointed out when they arrested Alexandra, her distinctive red car was seen at Elizabeth’s house, and at Alistair and Joanna’s holiday cottage. She had created a fake Facebook profile under the name of Daniel Falcon, purely to stalk Joanna on social media for three years. The housekeeper found her loitering inside the holiday cottage before Alistair and Joanna’s arrival, and her late-night running route took her extremely near the spot where Noah (supposedly) disappeared, at exactly the moment he was supposed to have been taken. That’s a whole load of circumstantial evidence.
Added to this, she called Joanna a couple of weeks before the trip to Australia to talk about the custody battle, telling her she didn’t know how it felt to have a child taken away from her. That provides a potential motive. She also tried to plead with Alistair to drop the custody case in the wake of Noah’s disappearance, which also looks like she’s trying to use this incident as a way to keep her child.
Of course, we know now that Alistair and Joanna are involved in a cover-up and have been hiding the truth about Noah’s disappearance. So it’s more likely that Alexandra is an innocent woman with an extreme (even obsessive) curiosity about her ex-husband and his new wife – a curiosity that has now landed her in serious trouble.
The one weird detail is that Chloe had Noah’s bootie in her room. Did Alistair plant it? Or is something else going on?
Joanna’s best friend Kirsty clearly hates him, too, which is a reliable indicator of his personality. And while Joanna is the one getting called “cold” on social media, it’s her husband Alistair who seems most calculating.
A political advisor by trade, Alistair quickly began thinking about public image and how he and Joanna were coming over in the press: were they behaving enough like the grieving victims of a child kidnapping? He even made a short film of clips to demonstrate to his fragile wife how she had been messing up, and coached her to cry during the press conference. And without telling her, he got in touch with a sympathetic journalist to strike a deal and sell the story.
From what we’ve seen so far, Alistair has crushed Joanna’s spirit and is verging on being emotionally – or even physically – abusive. Manipulative and authoritative, he is in control of their relationship and makes sure she knows it – which might explain the bruises on her arm, noticed but unremarked by mother Elizabeth (Stella Gonet).
Speaking to a court-appointed therapist, Joanna observed that her husband was both “rescuer” and “persecutor” and commented: “I’d forgotten that I used to be strong.” Did Alistair do something and manipulate Joanna into going along with it?
This article was originally published on 7 October 2018
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