Absentia and the conflicted heroism of Stana Katic’s Emily Byrne

Absentia episode 5We’re back today with another edition of our ongoing TV Heroes article series, and for this one we’re diving deep into a show in Absentia that is one of our favorites from 2018 to date. It’s gripping, intense, and psychological in a way few others are. It also forces you to ask tough questions, with one of the biggest ones being this: Is Emily Byrne a hero?

You can certainly argue that, in a traditional sense, she doesn’t fit the mold. This is someone who disobeyed law enforcement, at one point shot her former husband Nick, and has a haunted history that is making her question what she fully knows about herself. (For some more evidence of that subject, take a look at the cliffhanger at the end of season 1.) Yet, you also look at some of Emily’s results at the end of the season — she was able to put a stop to the grisly murders taking place; while her methods were unconventional, the end result of them produced success. She was able to get the job done, while making a tremendous number of sacrifices in the process.

If you want to break down some of Emily’s heroic qualities further, many of them start with her sheer determination. We are speaking here about someone who has shown, time and time again, that she will stop at nothing in order to ensure that she gets justice. That can include clearing her name, but it also includes doing everything within her power in order to lock up bad guys that she truly finds deserving. She’s willing to risk her own life and, judging from the first season, her freedom in order to make that happen. What’s more heroic than making that sort of sacrifice? Clearly, Emily is not someone operating for the sake of glory, for acclaim, or even for likability. She has her own desired end goal and is willing to do just about everything that she can in order to ensure that she achieves it.

When you think about true heroes, they’re not often the ones who live to see themselves celebrated. They are the ones who see others in danger and do virtually anything in their power to help them. At times, that does mean accepting the fact that you have to go against the grain or what other perceived heroes would do. Over the course of Absentia season 1, we saw Emily risk it all for the sake of the victims, for the sake of her son Flynn, and for the sake of her future. She took some risks and dived head-first past some moral gray areas to make it happen; yet, the results do speak for themselves and we hope to see more of her unique brand of heroism moving into season 2. The same goes for Katic’s gripping, nuanced, and Emmy-worthy performance that challenged us as viewers from start to finish. You saw the depths of her pain and the sense of her relief when the case appeared to be resolved.

Related Be sure to get some other insight right now when it comes to this series, including our season 2 renewal hopes

What do you want to see from Stana Katic as Emily Byrne when it comes to Absentia season 2? Share below!

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