Tuesday, October 31, 2023

REVIEW: 'Found' - Distractions Hinder the Team's Ability to Handle Their Latest Case in 'Missing While Undocumented'

NBC's Found - Episode 1.05 "Missing While Undocumented"

The M&A team mobilizes to trace the last steps of Satcha Moncado before she disappeared, knowing her undocumented status makes her more vulnerable. Their search uncovers a greater threat that nearly claims the life of one or their own.

"Missing While Undocumented" was written by Michael G. Peterson and directed by Jessika Borsiczky

Is the team still capable of finding people when several of them are distracted? Gabi is reminded to spread her late father's ashes. Margaret obsesses over someone grabbing a tab from Jamie's missing person poster. Dhan is left alone at home while his husband attends a conference. These personal developments weigh heavily on their minds. They also indicate what the audience should be interested in about them as well. The amount of time spent on the search for Jamie suggests some big development will happen before the season concludes. Otherwise, it's too repetitive and one-note. Margaret can't move on. It's proven impossible despite her ability to function at her job. That's in contrast to the relatively small details from Dhan and Zeke's pasts. Their backstories don't have much complexity. As such, they aren't likely to have some big developments in their respective cases that take over the narrative. Meanwhile, Lacey's tragedy is an extension of Gabi's. Gabi remains at the forefront. Every episode features flashbacks of her time in the cabin with Sir. Lacey's story as Bella has already been completely shared. Now, the true twist comes from not knowing what lurks in Gabi's basement.

Sir is constantly trying to analyze Gabi. He believes he created the remarkable woman she has become. She counters that she was smart long before he took her. He insists that he helped unlock her full potential. No one else was given an opportunity to help her thrive. Moreover, she constantly fought to reunite with her father. Even after she escaped, this tragedy defined their relationship. They each blamed themselves for what happened. The true guilt should be placed squarely on Sir. He's the monster who disrupted their lives. That left scars that lingered even beyond death. Gabi inherited so much compassion and willingness to serve from her father. She found her calling from him. He's no longer alive to see what she has accomplished. She finds people who would otherwise go missing. She has revealed herself as someone who cares. She exploits Sir's psychology to better understand the mind of a criminal. She has plenty of insights herself. In this moment, she's willing to give up on a case for the first time. That's prompted by the distraction. Sir isn't the source of that drama. Instead, it's rooted elsewhere. That allows her to be more vulnerable with Trent even though she's not ready to say goodbye to her father just yet.

Elsewhere, Margaret only has false hope pertaining to the tear on her poster. She believes someone out there knows the truth. She spends her nights at the bus station believing the revelation will be found there. She has refused to move past that moment. The poster is meant to provide her number for anyone who has information about the case. She instead flips the investigation to find who took the tab. She can't wait for the call. She must be busy. That's what keeps hope alive. The truth is tragic and depressing. Someone just needed the paper to discard his gum in the trash. It's a completely nonchalant action. It's devastating for Margaret. The team scans through hours of footage for any clues. Jamie's case remains open. No one wants to give up hope either. They believe Margaret deserves clarity. She has supported them all through their traumas. She provides keen insights on every case. And yet, she too beats herself up for allowing mistakes to be made because she was distracted. That's way too much pressure. The team already feels that because they are the only people looking for these missing people. The team is their only hope of being found alive. They can't afford to get distracted. They are humans who make mistakes though. It's crucial to remember their humanity and ask for help when it's needed.

Early on, Dhan refused to see the similarities he has with Zeke. It only takes a few hours after his husband leaves for Dhan to completely unravel. His physical appearance changes. Everyone takes notice. He's afraid to be alone. That only reminds him of his past captivity. He was held for three years. Plenty of people have helped him come out of his shell and engage with society again. The loneliness is still absolutely terrifying. He reaches out to Zeke because it will help him too. They can lean on each other. That way neither one of them needs to be alone. Zeke can't leave his house. Lacey sees the appreciation of simply coming over to help with the caseload. Nothing more needs to be read into that dynamic. It allows Zeke to have a full and enriching life despite his limitations. Nothing is holding him back from having friends and maintaining a job. Dhan and Zeke are reluctant to talk about the past. Right now, it's simply soothing to be with other people. That's what helps them survive the night. It's only a momentary issue for Dhan. His husband will be back soon. Dhan just can't be alone. He can't focus solely on work either. He just needs to extend a hand in understanding how debilitating loneliness can be.

This character work is crucial for helping the overall season develop. The individual cases provide the core function for each episode. Some are more effective than others in drawing out parallels to the character dynamics. Moreover, a lot is still carried by the uncertainty of what will happen next between Gabi and Sir. He insists he isn't the monster she makes him out to be. He has never wanted to harm her. He tried conditioning her into compliance. She resisted for an entire year. She saved Bella. She now needs Sir's expertise. She finds him valuable in that way. Here though, he inspires her not to give up. He holds answers to the secrets of the past. Everything he says has to be treated with suspicion. Gabi relies on his insights. However, so much is possible when the team openly communicates about everything. Trent's boss is furious by him wasting time on cases that aren't assigned to him. That's not doing the job. However, the murder he's investigating directly ties to Satcha. No one realizes that because abstract divisions were created. She is still saved. She and her brother will be protected in the immigration system because they are now witnesses who must testify in a criminal case. That protection is promised. It's another victory. But it's more hollow because so many mistakes occur because of the team's distractions. They can't be on all the time. Yet the show doesn't have to be so blatant in how they've been deceived either. That doesn't come across as genuine either.