The Missing may have an all-new cast, but if the first episode of series two is anything to go by, we better get used to the same false leads and plot twists that kept us guessing throughout series one.
At first glance it sounded like a scenario that had been explored many times before: missing girl returns to her family in mysterious circumstances after 11 years in captivity.
But don’t worry. The Missing has already taken us down a very different path. SPOILERS TO FOLLOW.
Alice Webster’s ‘return’ in 2014 after 11 years in captivity was just the beginning of the story – particularly when in the ‘present day’ (these time shifts will be tricky to hold on to, but we’ll do our best) we see her grave.
After just one episode, the questions are already mounting. But, as is the way with all good thrillers, the first hints in the story are often the one we return to at journey’s end. So, what do we need answers to now?
What happened to Alice Webster?
Already we have three conundrums to solve about just one missing girl: who took Alice in the first place, what happened to her in captivity, and why did she die just weeks after returning to her family?
After coming back in Christmas 2014, the episode later delivered the twist that she had died on 22 December. The gravestone we see is from the present day. What happened?
As for her captivity, her family and the police are understandably hesitant to probe into her time as a prisoner, although she did tell them that she was raped. “He told me he’d always be my first,” she says, before saying that she saw the other abducted girl Sophie. The doctors believe she gave birth or was pregnant at some point, although when her mother asks Alice about this, she clams up.
There is a bigger question we haven’t mentioned yet of course…
Is this girl really Alice?
Julien Baptiste threw everything we thought we knew about the case into doubt in the climax to episode one.
“That girl who came back, after all those years kept in a basement… she wasn’t free when she left that place. She was still a prisoner. But, most importantly I believe, that girl was not Alice Webster.”
Are these the words of an enigmatic French detective, trying to explain the psychological consequences of abduction? Or does he genuinely believe that the person who walked back into the Websters’ lives in 2014 wasn’t who she says she was? If so, that spider tattoo must have been copied by someone…
Who is Sophie Giroux?
The reason Julien is involved in this case at all is because he was the investigator in the disappearance of French girl Sophie Giroux, abducted around the same time as Alice. In fact, Alice says that Sophie was a prisoner before she arrived.
“She was so weak,” she says in the hospital. “He hadn’t fed her in ages. I promised that I’d come back for her.”
Later we see Julien searching through his case files. Did you spot the yellow VW campervan, the same one we saw during Alice’s kidnapping?
Meanwhile, in the present day, Julien is looking for a way into Iraq to follow a lead in the case of the missing girl. Which brings us to…
Who is Daniel Reed?
The short answer? Daniel is a soldier at the same Army camp as the Websters, who in episode one goes to the funeral of his father (and fellow military man) Henry after he apparently commits suicide.
Long answer? Daniel clearly knows something very important. Why else would Julien Baptiste risk his life in Iraq to try to find him?
It seems that since the events of 2014, Daniel has disappeared and is AWOL in Iraq. Julien is trying to track him down – but what does this have to do with the disappearance of Alice and/or Sophie?
Couple of clues to remember for later episodes. We’re first introduced to Daniel in 2014, where he’s trying to wash away a bloodstain. Later, he attends his father’s funeral.
Another date of death, clearly displayed: 14 December 2014. Just over a week before Alice’s death.
Perhaps Daniel knows his father had something to do with the missing girls, and is covering for him? Perhaps he killed his father after discovering the truth? On the other hand, Daniel himself could be the guilty man – except that Alice claims her kidnapper spoke in a German accent…
Final puzzle: who is the woman Daniel stares at during the funeral? Well, that we do have something to go on – we’re pretty sure it’s the same woman who was screamed at by Alice’s brother Matthew in the supermarket car park.
What happened to Sam’s face?
David Morrissey’s character sports what looks like quite a nasty burn on his face and back in the present day, but he doesn’t have it in the scenes set in 2014.
Clearly something bad happens to him, but to be honest it’s probably just a useful plot device to help keep track of the shifts in time. Before Scolding, and After Dramatic Event…
While we’re at it, we’ll add his affair with Sergeant Stone on the ‘to be explained’ pile too.
Why is Gemma looking through rollercoaster ride photos?
Keeley Hawes’ character Gemma meanwhile has her own secrets to hide. She and Julien are clearly in on the case together, with Julien calling her from near Iraq to let her know what’s happening.
“If my family knew what I was doing they’d think I’d lost my mind,” Gemma tells Julien. At the moment, all she’s doing is scrolling through ‘Der Werwolf’ rollercoaster photos of seemingly random people. We didn’t spot anyone we recognised on first watch, but perhaps we missed someone?
How long does Julien have left?
Our favourite French detective is running out of time. He has a brain tumour, which presumably explains his cavalier attitude to personal safety in a war zone. His new bald look is also another convenient visual clue for keeping us in the correct time frame.
Will he find Daniel Reed in time? Will he solve one last case before he kicks the bucket? Will he stop twirling that obviously significant credit card?
We’ve got a long way to go, but this case already has us hooked.