Spring 2012 Review: Missing

27 Apr

Ashley Judd's son may or may not be missing

The pilot opens with main character Becca Winstone (Ashley Judd) finishing her run while her husband and young son are shown in Europe about to come home.  We know approximately when this is because, of all things, the kid has a Zinedine Zidane signed soccer ball, and calls Zidane the greatest player in the world, which puts us within a couple of years before or after 2000.  Becca speaks to her husband, and then son, on the phone, and as the husband starts the car to go to the airport, boom, explosion, he dies, and the son was just lucky to not have been in the car at the time.  Oh, and the husband’s played by Sean Bean.  Pretty cool.

We flash forward to the present day, 10 years later.  We know it’s the future because Becca’s hair is short; we’ll know we’re back in the past when her hair is long, and her son is 8 instead of 18.  Becca works at a flower shop and her son, after beating her for the first time ever on their daily run, lets his mom know that he got into an architecture program in Rome.  His mom clearly doesn’t want him to go, but relents, and says goodbye at the airport.  The son shows Becca a special code that will be his way of texting that he loves her; he doesn’t want to have to say “I love you, mom” in front of his friends (how embarrassing; they probably don’t love their moms).  This code, whose origins are explained in detail, will clearly never come back again in any way (sarcasm).

The son (what is his name?  Michael! We’ll use that from now on) calls his mom and texts and sends her pictures of his view.  Suddenly, however, he stops calling and texting, and gradually his mom becomes worried.  Time passes with no contact.  We know he’s getting missing-er because we see the action-packed process of Becca checking her phone and seeing “No New Messages” several times.  Eventually, she gets a call from her son’s school, saying he’s been kicked out because he missed three lectures (just three and kicked out?  rough).

“Something’s happened to my son,” Becca says alarmed.  Of course, what she’s supposed to say is “HE”S GONE MISSING”  We have a title to repeat here.

She’s soon on a plane to Italy to figure out what the fuck happened to Michael.  She checks out his apartment.  While she’s investigating,  she sees a gunman, and it turns out she has SUER NINJA FIGHTING SKILLS.  She kills the gunman, finding no information in the process, and then the hunt his on.  She calls an old Italian friend, apparently an old lover, to help and it turns out SHE WAS IN THE CIA.  Finally, by the way, we get a “My Son is Missing” –  could she have wasted the title with any less drama?  She and her Italian helper valiantly hunt for Michael’s kidnapper while the CIA hunts for her, because she’s been causing mayhem all over Rome.

Eventually, she finds some intelligence, and is on her way following a lead to France when she’s picked up by the CIA.   The agent with whom she speaks is sympathetic to her situation and lets her go for some reason I don’t understand even though he’s supposed to not let her go, though I don’t understand whether they’d have that power either.  She makes a mess in Paris, finding a new lead while the CIA are one step behind with the instructions to seriously not let her go when they grab her this time.  Oh, and then she gets randomly shot in the last minute on a bridge inParis.  I guess she’s dead.  End of series.  Sigh.

I was hoping for more nuanced multiple meanings of missing.  Like, maybe her sense of morality is also missing.  But not so much.  Serioulsy though, Missing is an action show.  I mean, there’s a story, and obviously the story is important, and the quality of the story could be a difference between whether it’s worth following or not.  But at it’s heart it’s an action show, and there really is a dearth of action TV series (there will be again once Missing is cancelled).  I’m not defending Missing here, but there should be a place for action on TV, and you could do worse.  You could do better.  But you could do worse.

I’m not particularly intrigued by the story.  I don’t care about the characters, certainly not after one episode, and it doesn’t seem like the premise lends itself to lasting multiple seasons (which the show won’t, but let’s pretend there was a chance it could be successful).  I’m trying to remember what grabbed me so quickly when I started watching the last action show I really cared about, 24, and I don’t exactly remember, but I don’t think this has it.  It’s good enough for my dad though, who is a big fan, and I can’t begrudge him that.  I wouldn’t turn away from watching an episode if it was on, though I could probably also have the new plot details explained to me in about a minute, but that’s not really the point.

Will I watch it again?

I’ve seen Taken, and you, sir, are no Taken.  That’s high standards of course.  If Missing was a 100 minute movie on TNT on a Saturday at 3:30, yeah, I’d probably stick around for the end.  A television series requires greater investment though, which I’m not really willing to give.

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One Response to “Spring 2012 Review: Missing”

  1. waldinho May 2, 2012 at 11:22 pm #

    is there such a thing as ninja fighting skills that aren’t super?

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