Tuesday, October 24, 2023

REVIEW: 'Found' - Gabi Agonizes Over a Cold Case While Lacey Sees the Lies Her Colleagues Tell in 'Missing While a Pawn'

NBC's Found - Episode 1.04 "Missing While a Pawn"

When 13-year-old Matthew disappears from church, the team springs into action. Gabi endeavors to keep the divorced parents focused on the search. Gabi is forced to make a devastating choice. Lacey makes a keen observation about Gabi.

"Missing While a Pawn" was written by Zoe Marshall and directed by Eif Rivera

Tragedies brought every member of the team to Gabi. They unite to find missing people. However, their lives don't need to be consumed by the grim details of their work. It's just as inspiring to see them bonding as a family. Lacey organizes a karaoke night that's even accommodating to Zeke. That provides some levity and camaraderie. It's not long before their latest case emerges. The show has already developed a formula. The viewer knows what to expect in each episode. The season is still exploring its individual cases. The main cases provide the bulk of material. Enough details pop to further reveal what makes each of these characters tick. That's crucial for the show to build longevity. And now, the season introduces a few more serialized elements. They are just brief teases. They also provide the series with a story engine to tell more complicated plots across a longer stretch of time. That's seemingly required in modern television storytelling. This show at least established itself first before delving into a grand mystery Gabi must solve.

Moreover, the show has already provided Gabi with a complicated dynamic that goes from episode to episode. She has Sir in her basement. She is lying to her team. Trent is actively trying to come over to her house all the time. The moments that suggest sexual chemistry between them have quickly become one note. Lacey views it as inevitable. It's something Gabi should be encouraged to pursue. And yet, she can't risk it. She can't invite a detective to her home. Sir is chained up downstairs. He yells to make his presence known. He still projects a sick and twisted sense of ownership over Gabi. He cares about her. When she breaks down, he's powerless to do anything about it. She doesn't need anything from him either. She simply needs a release of emotions. She finds a way to center herself once more. She has a closet full of cold cases. The most significant is Alice, who Sir took before Gabi. She has no idea what happened to her. She only has a note and a few possessions. That's enough to keep hope enough. It's the latest way Sir can tease her. He isn't forthcoming with details. Gabi doesn't need him to do this job. She can handle it on her own even though that deprives her of immediate answers.

The lies are starting to catch up to Gabi. Dhan acknowledges that everyone has secrets. He's not going to judge anyone. He struggled extending that empathy to Zeke previously. But now, they are good friends. It just took an honest conversation between them. Again, everyone makes an effort to include Zeke. He is a member of the team despite his agoraphobia. The latest case has the potential to trigger him just like Gabi and Lacey. They were all taken as children. They've dealt with far-reaching consequences. It still affects them to this day. Lacey wonders if Sir will ever get caught. Because of a law school lesson, she suddenly becomes an expert on when people are lying. It helps Zeke when he doesn't feel like sharing his struggle. It also makes Lacey realize the person she loves the most is lying to her. She doesn't know why Gabi is behaving that way about Sir. Lacey even senses some uncertainty from Dhan. The family should have a strong bond. That helps them make a difference in the cases they investigate. Lacey now realizes these secrets persist and hit directly at her own source of trauma.

Every episode serves as a constant reminder of what these characters have gone through. It's more pronounced in some instances. Margaret always has to share the story of her missing son to connect with the families worried about their loved ones. Gabi needs the personal insight from her past to be of service in the present. Sir helps her realize that Michael was encouraged to get in a car by a kid. He never would have trusted an adult to make that decision. The urgency increases the moment Trent confirms human traffickers are possibly involved. Gabi knows the statistics. She knows how quickly her team must act. That too serves as a foundational plot device. It allows tension to build. That could grow repetitive and boring after awhile. Right now, the narrative remains grounded in the raw emotions of these stories. Divorced parents are trying their best. And yet, their arguing has taken a toil on their son. That made him vulnerable to coercion by a slightly older teen. That kid is just as much a victim as Michael is. Gabi notes that. He's still shot. That's seemingly the consequence of his actions. Gabi chose which of the victims to protect. She exerted her bias even though the accusation levied against her isn't as legitimate as the crusade she often pursues in the media.

The search for Michael escalates in a number of ways. It's overwhelming too. First, it's the confirmation that he ran away through the torn shirt and hole in the fence. Then, it's the parents being unable to stop fighting long enough to focus on the search. They developed bad will with the police because they've reported so many past instances of abductions due to their mistrust. And then, the mother has a stress-induced cardiac event. If she continues to carry the emotional burden, she could easily die. And then, it all grows more personal through the exploration of the depraved world in which adults seek to take advantage of kids. That's true long before the human trafficking twist. It's just as damning when it's simply a lame video game streamer projecting a better life than he actually has. He's inspiring to a young audience even though he's a creep. The final twist provides a more organized sense of the stakes of the conflicts Gabi's team must face. Criminal networks operate with sophistication and organization. Gabi and the police must work in unison. She can't constantly be arguing with Trent for who should take the lead. Their tactics differ. They have the same goal in mind. Everything works out for Michael. However, the true mastermind remains at large. That's a focus for the team now. The individual cases matter. They must also do something to address the organized channels in which these crimes occur. That has to be a focus of theirs as they carry the pressure of this work.