Absentia season 2 episode 2 review: Who is Emily’s mother, really?

AbsentiaAbsentia season 2 episode 2 served as another great reminder that within this world, no mystery is clear-cut. They’re almost the Russian nesting dolls of mysteries instead, where within one is another mystery that needs to be unlocked. Maybe you eventually get to the center and reveal some sort of dire truth but by the time in which that happens, the world doesn’t look anything like you thought it was. Maybe the truth is so far from your guess that down is up and up is down.

At the end of tonight’s new episode, we saw one Emily Byrne get a chance to meet, once and for all, her mother Valerie Chandris. What she came to realize, though, was that this was not a mother carrying with her happiness and hot cocoa. She’s a demented person with a history of mental illness and a lengthy rap sheet behind bars. She’s dangerous and doesn’t appear as though she’s got a habit of telling the truth.

Yet, Emily does believe at the moment that Valerie is her mother, and that was confirmed even further by a rather-angry Papa Byrne when he was told that she was back in her daughter’s life. His advice? Steer clear of her or get out of his home. He knows that she’s bad news and because of that, he doesn’t want her around to tamper with Emily’s mind and poison her soul. We’re not sure that Emily really wants a lot of mother-daughter bonding time either, but she recognizes that there is something larger going on here at the same time. That’s why she infiltrated the hospital and tried to get some of Valerie’s medical records in the first place. What she found was that her information didn’t quite line up with everything that she was told.

At the conclusion of this episode, we saw that someone is really out for Emily’s mother — she was found and captured in the closing seconds! Whatever mystery is underneath the nesting doll, maybe it’s something that we’ll learn more about next week.

The investigation continues…

What’s going on with the FBI? We’re still not at the point yet where we can fully connect what’s happening with Nick and the Bureau to anyone else, though they are still trying to figure out the reasoning for the gas attack and its massive loss of life.

While there is a physical toll that this case is taking on everyone, there’s also an emotional toll that Alice and Jack in particular are dealing with — because of what victims are going through, they’re in this uncomfortable position to try and advance their careers.  That scene with these two characters, while brief, carried with it a good bit of poignance.

CarterMatt Verdict

One of the most fascinating things about Absentia season 2 episode 2 is that in some ways, we’ve got characters fighting for a way to escape. For Emily, that was hooking up with Tommy rather than dealing with what’s going on with her mother or getting into an argument with her father. Meanwhile, with Alice and Nick we’re seeing them themselves be put in an unfortunate position where they have to escape normalcy and alter themselves in a way that they weren’t expecting. This is throwing off their routine and also throwing out Flynn, and that’s the sort of thing that could rear its head and have some significant consequences down the line.

At the moment, we think that Absentia season 2 is largely about a boat that is trying to stay afloat, but is slowly taking on water. We’re looking forward to that point where some of these characters start swimming and swimming to the point where they’re grabbing onto the boat for dear life. We think that there are seeds being planted and connections that will turn out to be obvious … even if they’re not so much tonight.

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