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‘Missing’ Review: “Ice Queen”

Missing
ABC

When we last left renegade mother Becca Winstone, she was watching her son Michael get dragged away on a private plane. But Michael’s captors have pulled one over on Becca, and when the authorities detain the plane, he’s nowhere to be found.

This week, ‘Missing‘ gets off to a refreshing start by providing us with Michael’s perspective, as he wakes up on a large estate, confused and pleading to be set free. When he encounters a beautiful, mysterious young woman, she assures him that his captors did not kidnap the wrong person, and maybe he should  think of his parents as a reason why he was taken.

Giancarlo arrives to rescue Becca from the CIA by taking her into the custody of Interpol, allowing her to confront the woman who owns the aircraft that was used to transport Michael. The woman, a lawyer named Sloane (Victoria Smurfit), is working with Azimoff (Karel Roden), a shady criminal somehow connected to the abduction of Michael.

Meanwhile, Becca’s best friend Mary is complicating things by showing up in Rome to do some meddling. Mary is unaware of Becca’s CIA past, and it’s unclear how she afforded a trip to Rome on a florist’s salary. The plot gets watered down when Mary reveals that she’s getting a divorce and this sub-plot becomes a Lifetime movie; it’s these faux female-empowerment aspects that cripple the show the most. The integration of Mary feels like tepid sisterhood posturing, confirmed by Becca saying that Mary is like a sister to her.

When Becca and Giancarlo hatch a plan to attend a party where they can further investigate Sloane, Becca decides to tell Mary she should go back home because Giancarlo is her lover. This whole sequence is filled with terrible, generic dialogue, like the hurt Mary saying, “You’re a cold person, Becca Winstone.”

Back at the estate, Michael keeps trying to escape, but his lovely new female friend warns him of the snipers hiding around the grounds, waiting to shoot him if he tries to leave. The mystery of the estate is compelling, and giving us Michael’s perspective is not only unexpected, but it’s providing the plot with an extra dimension that is much needed with all the bloodless bickering between Becca and Mary.

Michael uses his architecture knowledge to figure out that he’s not in Italy, but Russia. Giving us Michael and Becca’s side of things without revealing too much from the bad guys is a smart move, and while ‘Missing’ has yet to elicit the strong sense of empathy (see the Becca and Mary scenes) needed to fully invest in the characters, it’s making positive steps in this direction.

Of course Mary isn’t done meddling, so she shows up at the private auction party where Becca and Giancarlo are trying to dig up dirt on Sloane. Becca sneaks onto a boat where she finds a bag of gemstones, but no clues leading to Michael. She takes the gems and leaves a phone for Sloane to contact her so they can set up a meeting, but there’s a problem: Mary has, predictably, discovered that Becca isn’t exactly who she says she is.

Giancarlo and Becca send Mary back home, but the agent they’ve tasked with ensuring her safety is killed and replaced by an evil henchman, who brings her to Sloane to use as leverage against Becca, but Mary proves to be feistier than anyone guessed and distracts Sloane by pushing her and jumping off the boat, resulting in a ridiculous (in the best way) speedboat chase/shoot-out.

In the end, with a sniper trained at the back of Becca’s head, Sloane reveals that the man who killed Becca’s husband Paul is also the man that has Michael. In a twist, the sniper shoots Sloane instead. Michael’s new lady friend (we discover her name is Oksana) revealing herself to also be a prisoner when she clumsily tries to seduce him — or does she know what she’s doing?

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