Is Emily Byrne a murderer? Has she always been a murderer? Consider these questions important over the course of Absentia episode 7, an episode that made us intentionally very nervous when it comes to the future of Stana Katic’s character on the series.
Take, for example, that closing message that we saw with Emily’s message for Nick Durand — or the capture of Alice Durand. What’s going on there? Obviously we’re binge-reviewing the entire season and we’ll know soon; yet, this is still a very crazy ending that seems to feature Emily with a certain part of her history unlocked. Her anguish and torment seems to date back to her childhood, when she was experimented on as an orphan to undergo varying degrees of suffering. That is where some of her violent tendencies seem to stem from.
Every episode of Absentia has functioned well as a journey through a certain part of Emily’s mind, and we would say that, for the most part, was the most revealing of all. She was able to find the brother of the doctor who had originally spent so much time at the orphanage, and that brought her closer to the storage locker where some of the clues from the past were hidden.
If Emily Byrne is in fact the killer, what Absentia episode 7 showed more so than anything else is a motive … and it’s possible that many of those bodies out there in the woods are some of the people who tormented her at an early age. How much was Conrad Harlow a red herring? Was he at all?
Jack Byrne’s spotlight
For the second straight episode Neil Jackson was huge in this episode. He started things off as the person responsible for saving Emily’s life after the shooting; by the end of it, he stone-cold in the interrogation room as Tommy and Nick did what they could to press him for information on his time with Emily. He didn’t budge? This may look like he’s in stark contrast with the angry, alcoholic Jack we saw earlier this season — or even the guy with zero chill who yelled at Emily in the early going this episode.
Yet, the series did a great job of setting up some of the reasoning behind Jack’s desire to protect Emily: He owed her his own life. After he operated on her and saved her, it awakened something within him and a passion to be a doctor again. That’s a drive and a motive that he hasn’t had in a really long time and it’s incredibly significant to him. There are still questions about Jack that need to be answered (those videos), but we’re starting to get the sense that he is not the criminal we’re looking for.
Absentia remains super-dark and super-mysterious as we get closer to the finale, and we’ve got a feeling that things will remain firmly in that vein the rest of the season. This was one of those episodes that we do wish was about five or six minutes longer, just so we could dive more into the orphanage and also Jack’s interrogation.
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