August 28, 2006

TV Review: Vanished - "The Tunnel"

Vanished, a show that layered on the plot threads in its premiere, but didn't really give me any characters to really grab on to. Tonight's episode is called "The Tunnel." The episode starts with the guy in the bar from the premiere who recognized Sara Collins as an ex-girlfriend, but she had a different name then, Nicky Johnson. He calls it in to the hotline, and we see a growing web of information being gathered on our missing wife.

We then cut back to the senator making a statement to the press, going on live TV and offering a reward for the return of his wife. This leads to the questioning of Max, who has been in contact with his mother, the senator's ex-wife over the past six months. This is suspicious as she was thought to have been overseas. Could she be involved in the disappearance? Why would she have changed her name? Why is our lead investigator seemingly constantly constipated?

The senator's other child, Mary, had left her boyfriend's house at the end of the premiere with a bloody sweater and a bag of money, a pair of items that Mary believes may be related to Sara's disappearance. After getting mugged in her car by somebody who apparently knew about the money, asks her if she really knows her boyfriend, and quickly leaves with the money.

Mary turns up at the station where she asks Agent Kelton to run the blood. Of course, it turns out to be a red herring, for now. It would not surprise me to see this come back later, they made too big a deal out of it to actually be nothing.

Kelton and is group find a discrepancy in cars entering and exiting a tunnel that the inital, now dead, suspect from the first episode had entered. In no time at all, Kelton has a hit squad in the tunnel and is elading a team into a crossway after finding some of Sara's blood, and what appears to be her dress. But before we get to far, an explosion rocks the passageway cutting off our hero.

I have to say that the series has not won me over yet. Sure, the layers of intrigue give you a lot to mull over, but it strikes me as being overly complex, and I have yet to find a connection with any of the characters that makes me want to care where this is going. It is fast turning into a dud for this viewer, and will mostly be excised from the viewing list in short order. That is, unless something turns around and grabs me by the eyeballs and forces my attention.

Back from the break, Kelton finds a warehouse like room on the other side. He is rescured in short order, and now it seems that a failed case from his past may have ties to this case. Perhaps someone seeking to have some revenge. We cut to a flashback showing the bar guy, named John Manning meeting who he knew as Nicky while working on his boat.

A dead woman, discovered in the premiere, was found to have been killed, frozen and then brought back as pawn in the ever growing power plays. The woman is the wife of a former city offical, who now runs an apple orchard. This man obviously knows more than he is letting on, and implies that the senator may be hiding something. This all before he takes a gun to his chin and blasts his gray matter all over his back seat.

Before we are allowed to forget, Rebecca Gayheart's spunky reporter is back in the picture. You see, she liked the now dead politician, and wants to know the connection between him, his suicide, and the Sara Collins case. This is closely followed by some more flashbacks of Manning and Nicky. Fluffy scenes to get the actress playing Sara a little bit of screentime. But what is the bigger picture here?

Everyone walks around acting so serious that it is, at times, painful to watch. Kelton is so good at antagonizing everyone around him, one has to wonder how he was able to hold the job. You would think he would have pissed off the wrong person by now. This is evidenced by a confrontaion between him and Collins over what the connection could be between this kidnapping, and the other politician's wide's kidnap, and subsequent suicide. Just add another layer.

I really believe they are trying to layer to many levels of conspiracy on top of this one. The whole thing with Manning finding his old love, married to a senator and victim of a kidnap hasn't gelled with me to well. This is where the reporter is searching, as it is connected to her last disappearance from 12 years ago, and with Sara's family who want her daughter's voice to be heard.

Kelton is dealt something of a blow as the investigation thus far is exposed on the evening news. This also serves as something of a recap, leading into the cliffhanger. Manning shows up offering to deliver an exclusive on the woman known as Sara Collins. This while Mary confronts her boyfriend, Ben, about the blood and the money. Just how does this fit?

I may give this another week, but I am not sure I care to spend much more time with these characters in this terribly overplotted show. It just strikes me as something that the writers are going to paint themselves into a corner with no way to resolve all of the threads that have been laid out.


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