The Missing series two came to an end tonight, after eight episodes that left us breathless – and, just occasionally, thoroughly confused.
After the stomach-churning final hunt through the woods, we thought the series finale had tied up every loose end – but it’s never quite that simple with The Missing.
With the series over, where does it leave all the characters? And, most importantly of all, what will happen to Julien Baptiste?
SPOILERS TO FOLLOW.
Kidnap. Rape. Murder. Blackmail. Adam Gettrick was finally tracked down and arrested by Julien Baptiste, Gemma and Sam Webster in Switzerland.
He admitted to taking the girls, admitted to sending Sophie to pose as Alice after she got sick. He revealed he had killed third missing girl Lena Garber – “one night I just shut her up” – and then put her body in the shed fire in place of Sophie Giroux.
He admitted to killing Jorn Lenhart, after the German detective discovered the truth about him. Sickeningly, during interrogation he compared his actions to protecting a loved one. “You’d do anything for the ones you love, wouldn’t you? To protect them. To keep them safe.”
Gettrick told how he framed Kristian Herz for the kidnappings as an act of revenge against his wife Nadia Herz; while she was an officer in Iraq, she had refused to send a search party when Gettrick went missing in 1991.
But there was one last, grim secret that Gettrick was not telling. When Julien asked him, “How many other girls were there, Mr Gettrick?”, Gettrick replied cryptically, “What makes you think there were any more?”
He is saying no more.
The real Alice Webster – the girl who had been locked up by Adam Gettrick all along, and had been taken to Switzerland in the car boot – has finally been reunited with her family.
But the reunion was bittersweet. In episode eight’s final showdown in the woods, Alice sees her mother and father for the first time in over a decade, only to watch her father being taken away on a stretcher. Sam had been shot by Gettrick as he attempted to rescue her.
He did not survive.
For so long, Sam had believed his daughter was dead. The belief had shattered his relationship with his wife Gemma, who was convinced the girl who came back to them was not Alice.
She was right. Sam was wrong – but for one brief moment, they were united again, united in their hunt for Gettrick.
It may have cost him his life, but at least he saw his daughter alive one last time. A consolation? Or one last painful goodbye.
Gemma must go on, for the sake of her son Matthew and returned daughter Alice. She’s stunned by her daughter’s strength, and, if anyone can be said to have a ‘happy’ ending in The Missing, it’s them. A strange thing to say after the funeral of her husband – but at least for the Websters, there’s hope.
Sophie was rescued from Gettrick too – but her future is much more uncertain.
When Julien chases her down, she about to throw herself off a cliff, screaming at him, “They’re my family! Without them I’m nothing!” She’s talking about Gettrick, her captor. Even after being found, she is still so lost.
The plan Sophie hatched with Gettrick – to pretend to be Alice – showed how close she had become to her kidnapper, motivated by her love for her daughter Lucy. After her rescue, she had the chance to speak to her father for the first time in years. She ignored him.
Will she rebuild her life? Or will her past haunt her forever?
Eve has finally learned the full truth of what her father did, and how he was complicit in Gettrick’s crimes. In 2014 he asked her to ‘remember him for the good things’. But how can she, knowing that her father had a chance to expose Gettrick’s crimes in 2014?
Instead, he helped Gettrick by faking the DNA results that made the Websters believe their daughter was dead.
Even forgetting her father for a moment, Eve is pregnant with a dead man’s child. She has Gemma’s blessing, but is that enough?
“I don’t know what I’m doing here. I don’t know where I am.”
Stone had a chance to do the right thing, and failed. He failed because he was blackmailed by Gettrick, and was too cowardly to face what he did in Iraq in 1991. Even when his friend Henry Reed paid the ultimate price for standing up to Gettrick, Stone stayed silent. He was the turtle who kept his mouth shut.
And, years later, when his daughter Eve challenges him, he doesn’t say anything. Perhaps he genuinely is suffering from Alzheimer’s, and cannot understand or remember. Perhaps he has feigned his diagnosis all along, in order to avoid facing up to uncomfortable truths. We’ll never know.
Henry Reed was murdered by Gettrick in 2014, when he tried to reveal what he had done. The military doctor had been brought in by Gettrick and Stone when Sophie was sick. Gettrick had a recording of them revealing what they had done in Iraq, but Reed, unlike Stone, was willing to face the consequences for the sake of the missing girl.
He tried to call the police, but Gettrick caught him, shooting him in the head and making it look like suicide.
It does explain, however, why Sophie Giroux made a point of putting flowers on his grave. She knew what he had done to try and help her. A parting gesture.
Nadia and Kristian Herz
Butcher Kristian was finally proven innocent, having been framed by Gettrick for the kidnapping of the missing girls. Getrtick admitted he had stolen Kristian’s camera, taking incriminating photos with it.
Nadia was there to meet him when he was released from prison. But Kristian walked away from her without a word. She had lost faith in him just when he needed her most – and he hadn’t forgotten it.
Laid out on the operating table, it feels too cruel to presume he does not make it through his brain surgery – but The Missing has never exactly been kind to its protagonists.
Series one left main character Tony Hughes (Jimmy Nesbitt) lost in his own mental wilderness, and while Julien has not lost his mental faculties, the brain tumour that has dogged him throughout the case could yet cost him his life.
It’s hard to think of a third series without Julien Baptiste – and actor Tcheky Karyo is adamant that there is more to come from the enigmatic French detective.
“The guy, you know, went through so many stories; I’m sure there are so many things to say,” Karyo said. “There was Hercule Poirot, and today we have Julien Baptiste.”
We’re praying he’s right, but perhaps we should prepare for the worst? Have your say on that final, bittersweet scene here.