Tuesday, October 17, 2023

REVIEW: 'Found' - Margaret Provides Her Family With the Only Thing She's Been Capable of Giving in 'Missing While Widowed'

NBC's Found - Episode 1.03 "Missing While Widowed"

The team launches an investigation for widower Reggie Moore at Cliff's request, the doorman at Reggie's building. Gabi comes to a realization about her time with Lacey. Margaret hopes to repair her relationship with someone important from her past.

"Missing While Widowed" was written by Cameron Johnson and directed by Nikhil Paniz

Margaret endures the same trauma every night. She feels compelled to be at the bus station no matter what. It's compulsive behavior where she's convinced she'll remember some crucial detail that she's overlooked for the past thirteen years. She has never moved past the grief of losing her son. She is capable of functioning as a human being. Gabi met everyone on her team at the darkest moment of their lives. She saved them. That's what inspired each of them to come work for her. Margaret's skills of perception are crucial for every case. She notices the details that are easy to miss. She carries her secrets as well. So much of her story is defined by the son she lost. She also has two daughters who lived. One shows up wanting emancipation. That's possibly the greatest gift Margaret can offer. She refuses to let her grief consume her family and destroy their lives too. Instead, it's her burden to carry all the time.

Margaret freaks out when her daughter shows up at the bus station. She doesn't want her there. She is at her most vulnerable in that location. It's where she lost her son. She can't move on from that moment. She's grateful that her co-workers are understanding. They don't think it's strange or crazy. It's simply the way she needs to cope. For the rest of the family, the grieving has stopped more or less. For Margaret, it never has. That needs to be understood. She is willing to sign the papers. Her daughter is so gracious by striving to know why her mother behaves like this. It's an invitation back into her world. It may not foster a better relationship in the future. Margaret has been away from her family for a decade. They lost two family members through this tragedy. It was seemingly the right decision for everyone involved too. Margaret couldn't be the mother her daughters needed anymore. As time has passed, the family has the willingness to see the full complexity of the decision and how the tragedy continually shapes their lives.

Gabi and her team have personal histories with abductions. That trauma compelled them to this work. It defines their behaviors in so many ways. They are all paranoid because they never want to lose that power ever again. They bring hope and answers to their clients. They find people. The trauma still endures. They also ensure the best possible outcomes. Reggie only has three days without his medication before his heart fails. Everyone must move with urgency. They have to be suspicious of everyone. Someone sought to exploit this man. He discovered the fraud and confronted the bank manager responsible. That very easily could have led to his death. Instead, it reveals the ways in which people see each other in the world. The best moments of Reggie and Cliff's days are when they briefly interact with each other. They see the other as humans. They aren't just ghosts the world looks past. When that's missing, it's absolutely devastating. It took this trauma for them to realize just how special their bond is. They must cherish it. They have to see things clearly now. That perspective is refreshing. It's needed for many of the characters across the ensemble too.

Sir convinces Gabi that she asked for a friend. That's why he took Bella. Gabi doesn't believe that's true. She remembers every agonizing detail of the year she spent as Sir's prisoner. He wanted stimulating conversation with a willing participant. He saw Gabi as distracted. In reality, she was terrified. She never knew what would happen next during this ordeal. She never wanted to inflict this horror on another person. And yet, she questions if she did made that request. She behaves differently towards Lacey with that ambiguity. They bonded over the shared trauma. Gabi has always been protective of Lacey. She now fears that she's responsible for the darkness that swept over her. She gains her power back. She calls Sir out for his deceit. He no longer has that power over her. Her memory is the correct telling of events. It's not the stories she concocted in order to cope with the horrors she endured. It's not a more tolerable version of events. It's what actually happened. She battles that every day. She at least has some peace knowing Sir isn't causing more harm to others just like her.

Gabi still carries a massive secret though. No one knows she has Sir imprisoned in her basement. She confronts her trauma every single day. She's similar to Margaret in that way. However, her trauma develops over time. The dynamic with Sir now is different than it was twenty years ago. The past is still relevant. It's weaponized in order to deceive the other person. Gabi must remain strong and resilient. She carries that burden alone. The rest of the firm doesn't know Sir's insights are helping them on their cases. He views himself as a crucial member of the team. He doesn't share in the camaraderie or celebration with everyone else. He doesn't deserve that because of the pain he caused others. He's a demented individual who deserves whatever justice Gabi sees fit. Of course, the legality of her actions are questionable every single episode. The narrative still wants to breeze past those concerns. It's crucial to provide better context to the limits and struggles to this job. Gabi feels emboldened. She's empowered to take action. She encourages others to do the same. Her cause is righteous. Her tactics are questionable. Right now, the show builds her up without doubting any of it. More nuance is still needed. That would help the show reach the next level creatively.