Absentia – Episode 9: Child’s Play

Emily (Stana Katic) looking for clues.

Starring: Stana Katic, Patrick Heusinger, Cara Theobold, Angel Bonanni, Neil Jackson
Director: Oded Ruskin
Writers: Antoinette Stella

Reviewed by Sidney Morgan


As a viewer, it’s nice to be able to sit on the other side of the television screen or whatever display device you may be using. Witnessing events and knowing more than any of the characters allows one to get more emotionally invested in them and their stories. We support them, cheer them on or even hate them. Having watched Emily for nine episodes now, it’s safe to say that she didn’t fake her own abduction, didn’t kill Harlow, Radford or Semerov, nor did she kidnap Alice and Flynn. So when Nick goes on television and claims that Emily is responsible for all the crimes committed so far, not only do I shake my head in disbelief, but I feel like yelling at the screen and reaching through it, hoping to shake some sense into him.

Emily barely escapes.

Meanwhile, Emily continues with dedication, skill, and success, to put together the clues. With the use of her brother’s help again, she finds another location to investigate and there finds the final clue. But when she arrives, Nick and Tommy are already there. It’s a well designed and suspenseful scene, with one exception. The writer has Nick make a stupid, facepalm, and absolutely dumb statement, telling Tommy that perhaps Emily was Harlow’s mentor! If this was meant to shock, it didn’t. Instead, I shook my head in disbelief. If there is one negative aspect to Absentia, it’s how terribly Nick was written. In any case, it does lead to some plot advancement, even if it feels contrived.

After finally catching up to Emily at the end of the last episode, the confrontation takes a serious turn as Emily shoots Nick. She didn’t have a choice given she’s the only one who can save both Alice and Flynn. Arresting her would have likely been their death sentence. So she took matters into her own hands. But the bulletproof vest, a standard requirement when in the field, something Emily would know having been an FBI agent herself, ensured he wasn’t seriously hurt. Tommy mentions this, even if only feebly. But stubborn Nick refuses to see that. He’d rather believe that Emily only injured him because it forced Tommy to stop and check up on him. Had he been dead, Tommy would have been free to pursue Emily and catch her. He’s lost all reason, and it only results in him looking inept.

Alice (Cara Theobold) wondering where she is.

Cara Theobold continues to get more screen time. Her Alice is courageous and smart. Unfortunately, she doesn’t manage to escape from their kidnapper. To be fair, she’s in a strange, tunnel-filled place making an escape very difficult. Nonetheless, her craftiness is commendable, and she does get Flynn out of the water tank. Meanwhile, Stana Katic continues to outperform all the others. Her Emily is scared, hurt and alone, yet her determination overrides all those emotions. With everything she’s had to endure, we can only hope she comes out of this alive, with Alice and Flynn. Katic certainly has done a great job at eliciting our sympathy for the character.

One little note of interest is that the director needs to be commended as well, for his attention to details. Even though the action is seamless and time flows smoothly on screen, behind the cameras, it’s actually the opposite. Often, this stop and go filming can lead to continuation mistakes. A character wears a watch in one scene, but it’s gone in the next. Something is in the right hand, then in the left. And though some may occur in Absentia, they aren’t noticeable. It seems attention is given to continuity. For example, Emily is shot in episode 5. During this episode, when she runs, she still grabs her side due to the fresh wound. It’s a small detail but shows the care that’s put into the show.

Verdict: Of course you should watch!

This penultimate episode ends with Emily going down into a dark hole. Her abduction, her subsequent return and everything that has happened since is a dark hole. Will there be light? Will the end be satisfactory? The show has built an exciting mystery, yet one where the main culprit remains unknown. Given the genre, it has to be someone we’ve already met. But the time for theorizing is over. Less than sixty minutes left for Emily to solve this and deal with the FBI, Nick, and Tommy.

Sidney Morgan

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