Tuesday, October 10, 2023

REVIEW: 'Found' - Gabi Needs to Prove She's Better Than Sir While Also Relying on His Insights in 'Missing While Sinning'

NBC's Found - Episode 1.02 "Missing While Sinning"

The team mobilizes to search for Jinny Cole, a personal escort who disappeared near her apartment. News anchor Joy-Ann Reid launches a nationwide search for Sir, who abducted Gabi and Bella when they were young. Dhan makes a breakthrough with Zeke.

"Missing While Sinning" was written by Nkechi Okoro Carroll and directed by DeMane Davis

Sir held Gabi captive for just over a year. He claims he never abused her. He prides himself on never physically or sexually assaulting her. And yet, he inflicted a ton of emotional trauma onto her. That's just as valid. The scars linger just as much. He is a monster. He sought out a young girl he could control. He has his vision of order. He wanted someone in that cabin with him. He sought compromises to appease Gabi. She never lost her spirit to fight back. She called him out on his inherent contradictions. He still punished her. He didn't like being disrespected. He thought she would be grateful having Bella around. That would provide her with her own outlet to control someone more innocent and vulnerable than her. It had the opposite effect. Gabi fights for others more than herself. That's admirable. It's also her attempt to prove she is nothing like the man who kidnapped her.

Gabi enjoys the irony of depriving Sir of food when he doesn't provide her with the help she demands. She uses his power against him. He agonizes over the lack of freedom. She has held him in her basement for seven months. She no longer lives in the world with uncertainty about his presence. She knows precisely where he is. She controls that narrative. And yet, everyone tries to be compassionate with her about him never getting caught. Joy Reid launches a tip line for anyone to call in with clues. She wants to get justice for Gabi who she spotlights on her show for the good work she's doing. Trent reassures Gabi that the quest for Sir is just as crucial as the work she does every day helping find people who've gone missing. Even Lacey is curious as to what happened to this monster. She's always looking over her shoulder in case he might be there to take her again. In a way, Gabi prevents others from having the same clarity. She prioritizes her pain because it was more extensive.

Sir refuses to help with the latest case because he deems the victim as impure. He can't abide by her profession as a sex worker. That makes her dirty. He needs everything to be a particular way. Gabi knows that clean presentation matters to Sir. As such, she bargains with that appeal. Sir provides insight that shifts the direction of the investigation. The team knows Jinny's stalker is likely responsible for her disappearance. They just need to identify who could grow increasingly obsessed with Jinny in this way. Gabi can't comprehend the mindset. Trent tells her that's because she isn't a monster. The narrative places doubts on those assurances. Gabi keeps Sir fed. And yet, she sees this imprisonment as punishment. She enacts her sense of justice. She already had immense disregard for the criminal justice system. It's simply too overwhelmed and underworked to prioritize so many cases that matter. Trent isn't perfect. Cases slip through the cracks on his watch as well. He prioritizes Jinny's case once he knows Gabi is interested. He sees the value in her work even though the story is frequently presented as her essentially doing his job for him.

It doesn't matter who gets the credit though. Gabi fundamentally believes that every person deserves to be found no matter what. She shouldn't have to detail Jinny's many good qualities during the press conference asking the community for help. That's the way to get people to pay attention. Jinny has a strained relationship with her mother because of her job. They still embrace afterwards knowing they could have lost each other for good. Jinny disappeared in the hopes of starting a new life because she was afraid of her stalker. No one was helping her. It took this massive action to get attention on her case. With Gabi at the helm, the stalker is found. Sure, it shouldn't be a massive declaration once the stalker is revealed as a woman. Growing obsessed over a fantasy isn't gender specific. The show draws attention to it as if it is some big twist. It mostly highlights how untrustworthy people can be when sharing stories from their perspectives. They only want to share the parts that flatter their actions. The truth is always more complicated than that. Gabi and her team get to that honesty. They require it from their clients. They also demand it from the system that has failed so many people and ultimately produces these dangerous demonstrations of monstrosity over and over again.

The trauma lingers even after a person is found and brought to safety. Gabi has pushed for Dhan and Zeke to become friends. She wants them to work together. Dhan doesn't like Zeke because he deems him weak for not fighting harder to overcome his agoraphobia. It's pointed out to Dhan that he relates to Zeke because he too felt weak for not escaping his own traumatic past. The show isn't exactly forthcoming with the details about how their stories are similar. It would rather live in the moment as they reflect on each other's humanity. It's also somehow not a big deal that Zeke hits his head and loses consciousness when he steps outside to retrieve a package. He's back to work immediately. Plus, the sentimental connection to the delivery highlights how the sacrifice was ultimately worth it. It helps bring him closer to his family. In turn, that allows Dhan to be more empathetic to his colleague. He allows himself to treat others with kindness as a way to help with his own healing journey. This doesn't have to be spelled out so bluntly for the point to get across. It's a rather clunky subplot. It provides a way for the two to work together and be friendly without disrupting the serious nature of their jobs. They are committed to the mission Gabi has laid out. Their problems limit them in some ways. The show is basically just testing the boundaries so the viewer knows what they can and cannot do.