I stumbled upon Absentia while searching Amazon Prime Video for another production. I stopped on the title once during my search, read the description, and thought, “That sounds like something I’d be interested in.” Then I kept scrolling.
It popped up again down screen, and since I wasn’t having any luck finding what I was actually looking for, I turned it on.
There is no way to discuss this show without revealing spoilers. You’ve been warned; proceed with caution!*******************************
Here is the premise:
Girl meets boy. Girl and boy fall madly in love. They get a dog. Have a baby. Buy a house. It’s the friggin’ carte blanche of upper-middle-class living. That is until the girl is kidnapped.
The police collar a suspected serial killer who taunts the police but refuses to release any information about the bodies. He’s tried and convicted of 1st-degree murder. Life in prison. Case closed.
After an appropriate amount of time, the husband starts dating again. He has a young child to think of, after all. He meets another person. Falls moderately in love, etc.
Meanwhile, the woman who is in confinement is experiencing inconceivable torture. Waterboarding, beatings, and attempted drownings are daily occurrences. 6 years go by, and no one is looking. Everybody thinks she’s dead.
While riding the blissful waves of early matrimony, the free spouse gets a phone call from an anonymous person who sounds an awful lot like the serial killer serving life. He says the long-lost spouse is still alive and provides a roadmap of where she can be found.
That is what happens to Emily Byrne (Stana Katic) and Nick Durant (Patrick Heusinger) in the Amazon series Absentia. FBI agent Burns lived happily with Nick and their son Fynn until she was abducted by a very methodical, and very patient serial murderer called The Eyelid Killer. Now she’s back, and she wants to find the man that stole her life.
Talk about drama! Shuuu doggy!
Oh, and by the way, I’m four episodes in. All that plot in a few bitesize episodes. I love it. All that rich plot reminds me of garlic mashed potatoes with extra gravy.
But, too much of a good thing can be bad. I’m four episodes in, and I’m exhausted! The intensity of the show is overwhelming. Four was all I could handle before I had to shut it off and go to bed.
I’ll be honest, this show has some flaws. Stana Katic’s hair, for one. She always looks like she’s on the second day of a $100 blowout, and it’s unrealistic. A small detail, I know, but it caught my eye in every scene.
The second issue I have is with Alice, Nick’s second wife, and stepmother to his child with Emily. At first, she is the soul of support, a little weary, I suppose, but ultimately kind and nurturing during a nightmare of a situation. But her understanding demeanor changes over the course of just a few episodes. She becomes jealous at the drop of a hat and begins to treat Emily like some mentally unstable woman her husband divorced rather than a woman desperate to get her life back after six years in captivity. I tried to shut down my judgments by looking at the situation from her point of view, but Cara Theobolt just isn’t likable enough in the role to force me to give her the benefit of the doubt.
Absentia starts off with a doozy of a plot introduction. It held me in suspense, and I experienced a minor brain hemorrhage over the tragedy of Nick and Emily’s relationship. The plot and pacing of that first episode are fantastic.
Things slow down after that, and a series of unfortunate events occur. I found it resembled The Following with Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy, in the sense that you know there is some major scheme running behind the scenes. The show has tension, that’s for sure.
Stana Katic does a fabulous job portraying Emily Byrne. The flashback sequences and her reactions to them are particularly powerful. I never watched Castle, but based on what I’ve read, her role as Emily Byrne is a stark departure from what her fans are used to. I like it, and based on her performance in Absentia, I am inclined to check out her other work.
After just four episodes, I feel I know all I need to about Absentia, but I will keep watching because I am hoping the show will loop back and show some of that fabulous suspense that grabbed me in the first episode.
It hooked me immediately but lost its hold just as quick. The show is emotionally taxing, and hard to stomach at some points, but it makes for an interesting viewing experience when you can’t find what you’re really looking for.
Rating: 2 out of 4 stars.
Thank you for reading! What are your thoughts on Absentia? Tell me in the comments below!
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