New leads and more questions as we finish the first half of the gripping miniseries.
The Missing
Credit: Starz
  • Movie

“Gone Fishing” is watchable and does the fundamental job of advancing the story, but it’s the least gripping hour of the series so far. To some extent that’s unavoidable in a show of this sort—if every episode included significant new developments, we’d have solved the mystery by now. But further working against this particular episode is the absence of the taut pacing found in earlier episodes, as well as the many jarring switches between locations, timelines, and characters. It’s difficult to stay immersed when you’re constantly having to think about whether the action is happening in the past or present.

Having learned from my subject’s mistakes, I skipped a number of the smaller, less significant scenes to make this a less confusing recap.

Episode 4 opens in a classroom in present-day France, where a young blond teacher is reading Alice in Wonderland to her students. She jumps at the sound of a sharp noise, but one of the kids tells her it was just a door slamming. She is somewhere else, though, clearly reliving a traumatic memory.

Next, we see Baptiste coming to meet Tony in his room at Hotel L’Eden in Chalons du Bois to discuss the disturbing video footage we saw in the final scene last week: a man grabbing Ollie away from the window in the house where he was being held. “What you’ve seen, no father should ever see,” he says, despite the irony that the footage is also the most promising sign of his son that Tony’s seen. “But I thought you should know we found something else on that tape.”

Now back to 2006, where the police are investigating the other big shocker from last week: the bloody murder, at the train station where he was meeting Baptiste, of an undercover police officer with important information about the crime ring he had infiltrated. (The police know the ring is involved in human sex trafficking and suspect they’re involved in Ollie’s disappearance.)

The good news is that Baptiste has begun to suspect Detective Zaine of being the press leak. The revelations about Tony’s violent past somehow made it into the papers, and Baptiste tells Laurence that he thinks, correctly, that Zaine is the mole. So he sends Zaine back to canvass the area surrounding the crime scene—which he’s already done, thoroughly—in order to keep him away from the real investigation.

Mark, Emily’s future hubby, informs Baptiste he’s been called back to London. He also asks a grim but very reasonable question: “So if Oliver Hughes is the victim of some sort of trafficking gang after five days, what are the chances of finding him alive?” Before he gets an answer, Laurence whisks him away to the pool complex where Ollie disappeared. There he finds Emily, keeled over on the ground by the pool, sobbing. She crawls into Mark’s arms and he hugs her.

We follow Mark home to London. While waiting in line for a cab home from the station, he sees Malik Suri and decides to confront the journalist for trashing the Hughes in the papers when they’re already so devastated by the loss of their child. Good question. But Suri couldn’t care less about the morality of his actions, and doesn’t try to hide his apathy, either—he gleefully informs Mark that the stories he’s written about the case have helped land him a job at The Telegraph. Suri all but confirms that he’s not just a ruthless reporter but a straight up sociopath: “It may be that the worst day in that family’s life could turn out to be the best day of mine.” He chalks up his profiting from the Hughes’ tragedy to a cold, perverse kind of karma, Newton’s law of motion—for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

(I believe the law he means to cite is the one that says: for every horrific tragedy there is a bloodsucking journalist standing by to exploit it for a story. Entertainment journalists notwithstanding, of course.)

NEXT: Tony and Baptiste hunt down a lead in Paris

In Lille, France, Tony is visiting Ian Garrett’s business headquarters. Garrett wants to make Tony a signatory on the $100k reward money account, which Tony reluctantly agrees to. Garrett notices Tony’s hand, still wrapped from when he cut it breaking into Bourg’s apartment. Garrett already told Tony to stay away from Bourg—and so have the police, for that matter. Tony hesitates for a moment, and when he answers we’re thrown off to hear him tell the truth. Garrett looks like he’s pissed but trying to hide it. We still don’t know exactly what his shady connection with Vincent Bourg is, but he can’t have Tony poking around. So he tells Tony, yet again, to lay off Bourg and let the police handle it. Then a quietly creepy moment: When Tony looks down to sign the bank papers, the typically warm expression Garrett wears around Tony devolves into a menacing frown.

Tony leaves and buys a newspaper from a stand on the street. The man in front of him is buying cigarettes, and Tony hears something alarming in his exchange with the salesman—a French phrase that means “I will not say anything.” What significance could that phrase have? Did somebody say it to him?

Tony and Baptiste decide to follow a lead to Paris to track down the girlfriend of the undercover officer, Antoin, that was killed. They knock on the door and are greeted by a young woman strung out on drugs. (It’s difficult to discern, but she is the teacher we saw in the present day at the start of the episode.) The girl, named Rini, doesn’t seem to comprehend that her boyfriend has died—and she had no idea he was an undercover cop. But her brother is in the crime ring, and she says she’ll tell them what she knows about it if they get her another fix. Baptiste agrees.

Back in present day, we learn what Baptiste found in the footage he brought to Tony’s hotel room: The camera was left on overnight, and the next morning it captured an image of a cleaning company’s van parked on the curb. What was it doing there on a Sunday morning? Baptiste confirmed that none of the neighbors had anything to do with that van. He looked up the cleaning company and found the boss, whose record is clean but who hangs around with a shady character that has been on the police’s radar for years. This is the first legitimate suspect after the false lead on Bourg, but it doesn’t feel like much of a revelation. Neither Baptiste or Tony seem too psyched, and, again, due to the pacing of the episode, the information doesn’t feel hard-won or satisfying because the suspense is so lacking. Womp.

Tony and Baptiste hop in the car to go track down Rini eight years after the first time they found her, in order to find out if she recognizes the man who owns the cleaning company or his coconspirator. While driving, Baptiste warns Tony, “All too often for the right reasons, we can make the greatest of mistakes.” It’s not even foreshadowing at this point. We’re pretty sure Tony’s going to do something awful to piss everyone off, and maybe Baptiste senses this too and is warning him.

NEXT: Why Tony is stuck on Vincent Bourg

Back in 2006 now, Tony has tracked down Vincent Bourg yet again, not ready to give up on the idea that this is the guy who kidnapped Ollie. It turns out that the phrase that caught Tony’s attention at the newsstand, “I will not say anything,” is something he heard Bourg say when he came home to find his apartment broken into, before Tony revealed himself. Who did he think it was? Bourg says he was just telling whoever the intruder was that if they left him alone he wouldn’t call the cops, which sounds pretty believable. Bourg says he is innocent, and still feels regret for bad things he’s done in the past. “Guilt is like a cancer,” he says. “You can treat the symptoms, but never the cause.” But Tony is convinced Bourg knows something. Maybe Bourg thought Garrett was the one who broke into his apartment for some reason?

Meanwhile, Baptiste stayed in Lille to deal with Rini; it turns out he was lying when he said he’d get her drugs. Instead, he’s locked her in his hotel bathroom while she kicks and screams. As cruel as it seems, Baptiste is trying to rehab the girl, using the bathroom as a sort of isolation chamber while she detoxes, puking and sweating and moaning in pain.

We flash eight years forward to Rini’s present day home, where she lets Baptiste and Tony in to talk about the new lead on the case. While Tony, Baptiste, Emily and Bourg haven’t been able to extricate themselves from the past, Rini is one person who’s managed to completely turned her life around. She’s a schoolteacher with a nice boyfriend and a beautiful home. She doesn’t recognize the photo of their new suspect, but knows someone from her past that might. But given how much she has to lose now, we understand why she’s so hesitant to revisit her darker days.

In London, Emily confronts Mark about a lie she’s caught him in: He said he was being promoted, but she found out that he actually quit his job. Why? His career isn’t going anywhere because he’s with Emily—instead of finding the woman’s son, he ended up getting engaged to her. “I’m the man who swooped down on a victim,” he explains, saying he tarnished his professional reputation and in effect sacrificed his career for her—and she “never even noticed.” It reminds us just how strange it is that their relationship arose out of Ollie’s disappearance. She gave up—or maybe gladly gave away—her husband, and he gave up his career.

Over in Chalons du Bois, Tony and Baptiste are getting a drink at the hotel bar. They’re talking about how they’ve changed, or haven’t, since the last time they were at the hotel eight years ago. Tony remarks that while he’s given up a lot, he doesn’t regret anything. (Uh, are you sure you don’t regret terrifying Bourg, who now seems more innocent than ever?) Baptiste presses Tony, “You’re so sure there’s nothing you’ve done that you regret?”—hinting again at the havoc Tony wreaks at some point between 2006 and the present. “What do you think I’ve done, Julian?” Tony asks, and Baptiste tactfully dodges by deciding it’s time for bed.

Back to London. Vincent is getting another hormone suppressant shot, and telling the doctor how he feels like a new man: cured, and ready to tackle some unresolved business from his past. “I’m going to seen old friend. And then my journey can truly begin.”

NEXT: Tony realizes Ian Garrett isn’t all good

In Lille, France, Rini is grabbing lunch at her school cafeteria, pondering her bowl of green soup when she comes to some kind of internal realization and gets up to leave in a hurry. Has she remembered something that could be of use in the investigation? Upon flashing back to 2006 in the hotel room where Baptiste was forcing her to detox, we see him bring her … a bowl of green soup. Her present-day meal served as a reminder that Baptiste helped salvage her life.

In Chalons du Bois, the man who owns the cleaning company is sitting in his van with binoculars, watching Zaine as he sweeps the area around the crime scene. He’s alarmed to see Zaine find something, but he can’t tell what it is—and neither can we.

Tony visits Garrett at his apartment, six-pack in hand, to ask him to talk to his friend who is an influential judge—he is still obsessed with pinning Bourg down, even though Garrett has told him to back off several times now. Garrett agrees, but he’s just saying that to appease Tony. Tony notices paintings of a little girl all over Garrett’s apartment, and figures out why Garrett is so intent on helping him and Emily find Ollie. Garrett tells him the story of how his daughter disappeared one night a long time ago—he paints her to keep her memory alive. “We’re not that dissimilar, me and you Tony,” he says. “Carrying all that guilt [over losing a child], it’s something that’s out of our control.” Then, the kicker: “Guilt is like a cancer. You can treat the symptoms, but never the cause.” The exact words that Bourg used! Tony looks like he just ate something rotten, and excuses himself right away.

Back at the hotel, he tells Emily about the uncanny connection between Bourg and Garrett, begging her to believe him. “If we keep shutting each other out, we’re going to lose each other.” It’s pretty heart wrenching to see Tony try to keep his marriage intact, when we know that in the future their relationship is going to shatter beyond repair.

Though The Missing has seemingly established a pattern of going out with a bang, this week’s revelation was interesting but comparatively underwhelming: present-day Bourg goes to visit Garrett at his construction company’s office after not having seen him for years. There, Bourg is told that Garrett has been gone for years—presumed dead. We’ve been going back and forth on just what kind of a guy Garrett is, and this throws us off yet again. Whoever kidnapped Ollie in 2006 definitely wasn’t happy to see such a large sum of money being offered for tips about the crime—maybe they offed Garrett. (We don’t know if the Hughes know he’s missing or not.) Or, maybe someone’s getting revenge for whatever unseemly endeavors he had with Bourg in the past. All we can be sure of is that we have a lot left to learn about Ian Garrett—he’s quickly become the most fascinating character on the show.

Episode Recaps

The Missing
This limited series on Starz explores the lives of people who are affected by a boy’s disappearance eight years later.
  • Movie
  • 130 minutes
  • Ron Howard