Not every kidnapping provides closure. The merged realities resulting from years of searching for a loved one – is the victim dead, living under a new identity, an unwilling participant in a dreadful ongoing scenario, or all of these? – is the substance of “The Missing,” a miniseries on Starz which broadcast its Season 1 finale Saturday.
An economically and carefully plotted thriller written by Jack and Harry Williams, and directed by Tom Shankland, “The Missing” runs a brisk crisp narrative which contrasts sharply with the sudden Neptunian murkiness of the lives of the parents whose child has just been abducted
The tragedy occurs in 2006, when Tony and Emily Hughes (James Nesbitt and Frances O’Connor) are on a short holiday in bucolic France with their son Oliver (Oliver Hunt), who’s five. As Tony is distracted watching a football game, Ollie disappears from sight. Over eight episodes that jump from past to present to reveal clues and twists, Tony aggressively embraces the Neptunian seduction that he lives in a world with Ollie somewhere still in it.
The series abounds with that planet’s archetypal ties to art (Ollie’s drawing), video (a critical piece of evidence), disintegration (the Hughes’ marriage falls apart), addictions (alcohol and drug abuse and pedophilia, as well as Tony’s new metaphorical marriage to his narcoticized pursuit of Ollie ), and deceit, notable in many shady characters, including underhanded journalist Malik Suri (Arsher Ali). A sympathetic French investigator (Tcheky Karyo) is the grounding force that tries to keep Tony from going unhinged, but will the distraught father listen?
The finale stays archetypally true to what has come before, and manages to up the ante by depicting one character’s not totally unexpected jump into an even more entrenched Neptunian fantasy world. There the character, having experienced a reality disconnect, seems to have permanently taken abode in a realm where his son still lives in potentiality and, at the very least, in the imagination. As Julien says, “If you cannot find a way to live with your doubts, they will destroy you.”
Archetype: Seducer. Deceiver. Addict. Distorted reality. Lack of boundaries.
Astrology Archetype: ♆(Neptune)