Tuesday, November 28, 2023

REVIEW: 'Found' - Gabi Handles Ransom Negotiations While Sir Struggles Through an Illness in 'Missing While Scamming'

NBC's Found - Episode 1.09 "Missing While Scamming"

A social media influencer is kidnapped for ransom. As they search for clues, it becomes apparent the case is more complicated than anticipated. Lacey confronts Gabi about their faltering friendship. Sir remembers troubling moments from his past.

"Missing While Scamming" was written by Cameron Johnson and directed by Charissa Sanjarernsuithikul

Gabi wants to escape the darkness in the basement. She just doesn't know how. Sir insists that they are closer than ever. He makes that assertion simply because they are both sick at the same time. It's much more severe for him. He suffers from hallucinations of his childhood. Those are informative while providing a twist on the flashback structure from throughout the season. Meanwhile, Gabi is still capable of doing her job. She's hired to manage a kidnapping for ransom. She can't rely on any expertise Sir may have on the matter. Even then, he dismisses the victim because he disapproves of her "impure" lifestyle. Gabi has no judgment for her polyamorous relationship. She's more concerned about the lies her clients tell her. Those disrupt her ability to get Melissa home safely. She doesn't have the luxury of waiting for conditions to improve. Time is running out for Melissa. Gabi and her team have brought many people home. They can't save everyone though.

Gabi carries the burden of her work so personally. It's a celebration when they find missing people. They hang their photos on the wall. The team welcomes them home. Meanwhile, Gabi has a much more private ceremony when she fails. When it's impossible to save someone, she hangs their picture in a room in her house. Darkness isn't solely located in the basement. The weight of this responsibility lays on Gabi long after the case concludes. She provides resolution. She still doesn't believe that's good enough. The victim should be home with their loved ones. Instead, they were killed by people looking to exploit the situation. Life is a scam amongst the people who manage the career of this social media influencer. She presents one life onscreen while behaving completely differently at home. She created plenty of enemies willing to exploit her for money. People believe they deserve more than what they've received. Melissa was taken to court to hold her accountable for the false claims of her products. She has disdain for people who couldn't follow in her footsteps. That doesn't mean she deserved to be killed.

The work is meaningful for the entire team. It's one way in which they cope with their own traumas. Sure, the cases hit home a lot of the time. However, they have the expertise to know what to look for in these situations. The police can't be trusted because they are overwhelmed with so many additional crimes. Even the detectives who do care ultimately have to fall in line with whatever their superior officers order. Trent was expected to join the force. That was the legacy of his family. He had huge expectations he needed to live up to. He fears he has lost it all because of helping Gabi. In reality, his commanding officer is punishing him because of his frustrations for the criticisms Gabi often shares in public about the police. Law enforcement isn't doing an effective job. She aims to hold them accountable. Trent has grown inspired by her work. He has proven to be a crucial ally. That's forced him to reckon with his identity and what life he wants to live. But Gabi also pushes him away because his personal feelings have compromised his ability to do the job. That's the pattern for Gabi. She says she trusts her team completely. And yet, she has walled herself off with her secrets.

Lacey knows Gabi is keeping something a secret in the basement. Their friendship has changed over the last few months. Lacey was inspired by Gabi as well. The whole team has. They seek to honor what she has created. Now, they are challenged by the understanding that she makes mistakes too. Gabi isn't perfect. They idolized her. They changed their lives to be of service to her. She appreciated that. She didn't ask them to make those sacrifices. As such, it sounds perfectly healthy for Lacey to want to leave to clear her head. She knew Gabi would need a lawyer to help get her out of the legally murky situations she frequently finds herself in. She wants to make a difference. She does so by protecting her friend. Now, she doesn't know if Gabi continues to deserve that. The audience knows the truth. Gabi doesn't gain power by finally sharing her secret with someone. Instead, she uses the basement as a metaphor for her internal darkness. It's a way for her to empathize with the criminals and the actions they do. Lacey knows it isn't healthy. It motivates Gabi to destroy her confession. That isn't how this story will end. She's confident. She faltered while she was sick. She's afraid by what Sir could do if he escapes. That's not a possibility right now.

Sir was shaped by an abusive childhood. The story is not meant to produce sympathy for him. He's capable of murdering his mother. He's fueled by hatred towards her. He was offered a lifeline through literature. His private thoughts were invaded. As such, he seemingly responded with lethal force. That's where his mind goes to during this weakened state. He is no longer careful with personal details. Gabi receives only a small glimpse into that world. She knows he will remain a problem for her so long as he stays in the basement. He wants to lure her into a false sense of hope. He truly meant his threat against Lacey. Gabi can't forget that. She must remain focused on the task at hand. This relationship has come at the expense of everything else. As such, nothing can ever return to normal so long as it remains the same. Gabi and Sir aren't yet at that place where they can psychologically understand that. That's in contrast to Margaret who is willing to admit that her obsession with the bus station is preventing her from having fulfilling relationships with her other children. Therapy provides guidance for her to address her issues. She doesn't have to give up hope about Jamie one day returning to her. She simply must change her unhealthy behavior so that she can be of service to everyone who matters. She's willing to do that work which shows a lot of progress for her. Overall, her story has received the most nuance throughout its evolution this season so far.