Absentia – Episode 8: Brave Boy
Starring: Stana Katic, Patrick Heusinger, Cara Theobold, Angel Bonanni, Neil Jackson
Director: Oded Ruskin
Writers: Antoinette Stella
Reviewed by Sidney Morgan
This review CONTAINS SPOILERS.
Woah! At the end of last episode, Alice and Flynn had been kidnapped. Meanwhile, after Emily’s own kidnapping and subsequent escape, she returned to Dr. Chen’s storage unit to retrieve a recording from Dr. Chen’s experiments that took place when she was a child. In it, a young boy only known as ‘A,’ is heard being forced to choose whether to inflict torture on himself or someone else, known as ‘B’. Just in case you may have missed the dialogue from the recording as the voices were faint, it’s something about being placed in a water tank. Sound familiar right? It all points to someone from Emily’s past, someone who seems to have quite a grudge. But who?
In this episode, Brave Boy, Emily is fully aware she’s running out of time. Given the clues at hand, Dr. Chen, Barret House (Emily’s orphanage), Charles (the boy’s name on the tape), and the conversation on that tape, she enlists the help of her father. Agreeing without hesitation (hey Nick! See how this works?), he quickly finds out where Charles is. With this new lead, she heads to the psychiatric hospital and confronts him who, interestingly enough, recognizes her. But can he really be involved in the abductions, as Emily believes, while locked inside the hospital? Meanwhile, Tommy and Nick are ever closer on her heels. They also find Chen’s brother which leads them to the storage unit. With all that manpower looking through evidence, they also find Charles’ location.
It is beyond frustrating how Nick has been portrayed. The man, who after Warren, probably knew Emily best, is now obsessed with capturing her. He’s absolutely convinced that she’s behind Alice’s and Flynn’s kidnapping. Now just pause for a moment and let that sink in. (Crickets chirping…) Yes, if this doesn’t make any sense to you either, you’re not alone. Emily cares deeply for her son. There’s plenty of evidence in the show to support this. She’s incapable of harming him. So it isn’t surprising to see her deeply hurt when she hears Nick publicly state the opposite. But there’s no undoing the accusation and subsequent damage now. Nonetheless, this turn of event puts more pressure on Emily to solve the mystery.
There was an interesting shift in this episode. Until now, Emily was motivated by the need to find her abductors, to have them pay for what was done to her. As events escalated, so did her urgency. But now, there’s a new and more powerful motivator: finding Flynn. She still wants to solve her case and believes it’s linked to Alice and Flynn, but the safe return of her son supersedes all else. Anyone who stands in her way does so at their own risk. There is nothing that can make the situation more urgent, and more dire.
Stana Katic’s performance is outstanding once more. From her disbelief that Nick believes her capable of those crimes, to her firm and detached resolve to remove anyone standing in her way, it’s edge of your seat viewing. Cara Theobold finally gets more deserved screen time. As with Katic, she’s single-minded in purpose, wanting only the safety of Flynn. She exhibits strength, fear and courage in the face of the situation. Whether Nick married her as a consolation prize or not, she’s now an integral part of Emily’s story and her performance makes me wish she’d have a bigger role.
Verdict: Continue to watch!
Brave Boy, a reference to both Flynn and Charles, feels like the beginning of the end of a fireworks show. Less time between bangs, and nicer and bigger ones. Here we are, almost the end, yet no clear indication as to who is behind the curtain. And unlike most of the season, there’s no new suspect being singled out. Events are escalating, putting not only Emily’s life in danger, but Alice’s and Flynn’s too. Paths are converging. Emily is getting closer to the culprit, while Nick and Tommy are catching up to Emily. It’s a race against time with lives at stake. Will Emily be able to save them and herself? We’ll soon find out!