Disparue/The Disappearance Episodes 5 and 6 – Analysis

For the recap of episodes 7 and 8 click here.

Episode 5

Well, now we know. Poor Rose Morel is the one who has to discover Lea’s corpse in the water. And boy is it a grim sight. I must applaud her for her environmental consciousness though. Molina and Camille’s superior orders them to prioritise documents for the prosecutor, disparue-24however, Molina asserts that informing the Morel family is more important, and Camille confirms that with a glare for their superior’s lack of sensitivity. I don’t
know if that’s trying to suggest that all higher-ups in any industry are chiefly concerned with paper pushing and number work; it certainly is the case here. The real professionalism is led by the leaders on the ground; Molina and Camille are the disparue-25real leaders here. Molina’s put in a strange position where he has to have both policeman and father hats on. He comforts a traumatised Rose, offering to take her home. Camille steps in and says that she can both take her home and watch over her.

Molina only has to appear at the door and Julien knows Lea’s been found dead. His reaction and the score make this and the following scenes difficult to watch. Little Zoe is forced to witness her parents break down. There is no dialogue, just soundtrack. It’s truly sad. There is a montage of others finding out about her death and we find ourselves peering for any sign that one of them is the murderer. All are upset; doesn’t mean that they are upset about her death but the circumstances around it. Regret. We can only wait. If you think the news is hard to watch, Lea’s parents at the morgue is the most emotionally-scarring scene. Camille and Molina are really struggling to hold it together. Julien asks to spend some time alone with his daughter. He is clearly distraught by her body, but is it to mourn her properly or ask for secret forgiveness? Later on the immediate family convenes in the kitchen and all of them just collapse into shared grief. Again, the most sympathy goes towards Zoe who is too young to be able to witness and handle this. As soon as the news hits, where does Chris go? That’s right: straight to Romain. It smacks of suspicion. Girl your cousin has just been found in the most gruesome circumstances and you’re sniffing around her ex again? Hm.

Meanwhile, Molina’s ex-wife turns up in light of what happens to her daughter, and her reasoning is rather annoying (it also gives away why they separated). She blames Molina himself for Rose being exposed to the darker undercurrents of society – don’t they live in Lyon too? So even if she weren’t with her father, chances are she still could’ve encountered Lea or at least been affected by her from afar. I’m not convinced, former Mrs Molina. Luckily Rose fires back that she had no problem dumping her on her own father when she pleased. Molina defends his ex lightly, to do the right thing obviously, but also because he secretly wants Rose to stay. They’ve just started bonding. With the discovery of the body, our favourite forensic scientist with a monster crush on Molina. There’s a strange silent communication between her and Camille. Is Camille egging her on to flirt with Molina or giving her another warning? Oh God it’s like secondary school: Molina puts a hand on forensic lady’s shoulder and you just know she’s falling hard.

Now her form tutor/French teacher Mathias Tellier comes under the light. This proves another moral tale: even if you’re telling the truth and you are passionate about your subjects, don’t have access to the pupils outside of the school environment. His reasoning behind using an alias is suspicious as well. He apparently uses on so that the pupils don’t feel that they’re talking to a teacher. Yeah . . . no. That’s complete – you get the picture. Tellier heaps praise on the woman that Lea became. That goes beyond discussing literature. As it turns out, Lea was not the first pupil he developed a relationship with; Molina and Camille visit one of his previous schools and the headteacher informs him that they had to fire him to avoid a statutory rape prosecution.  Well that explains everything. He ended up marrying the last student he seduced. Her parents are oddly fine with it all. This region is extremely bizarre.

Molina and Camille receive news that can only solidify Lea in the Wild Child Hall of Fame. She was pregnant at the time of death. All the men in her life are DNA tested to find out who the father was and whether they were the cause of her death-by-brick. Molina is explicit in his wish for none of them to find out these bits of information. Knowledge of a pregnancy would change the game and not for the better. They need to monitor all suspects for slip-ups. Especially where the brick is concerned. Whoever did it wouldn’t know that they police now have this specific information and accidentally mention it. Molina’s scan of everyone at the wake confirms that one or two of them are excellent actors. Jean’s hurry to get rid of Nick before he tells Julien something basically means Jean stinks of fish. Nick’s moves are going to cost him dearly.


Episode 6

So creepy obsessed Nick offed himself apparently, leaving a suicide note typed into his iPad. A new age of crime. It seems like Molina and Camille are going along with this.  The writers are throwing us off again. Louvin, their overlord, turns up (as does Rose) to talk to Molina; Camille’s expression when he’s there is worthy of being a display picture/gif on OhNoTheyDidn’t. She doesn’t have to say a word to express her dislike of Louvin. She isn’t wrong. Their supervisor is pushing for this case to close before any loose ends are tied up. How did this man get this job, again? Was probably given the promotion after a table and a glass of wine. Rose is basically our middlewoman regarding what is going on with the characters of Camille and Molina. She decides to observe Camille whilst stuffing her face with a sandwich. Questions begin with: how long have you been in the force? 7 years. Do you have a boyfriend? I haven’t had one for 3 months ex calls her mobile. Are you sleeping with my dad? Wait – WHAT?? Did she actually just go there? YES. Because not only is Rose a teenager, she’s direct – takes after her father. Tastily delivered, might I add; Rose delivers that particular question like the cat with the cream. Camille is understandably flustered. She tells Rose: even if she were, she wouldn’t tell her. They’re bonding already.

The Molina family has already accepted the outcome. Florence curses him, and then decides to press on with Zoe’s birthday party. Which is a good idea, because focusing on the one daughter they have left will both help them come to terms with Lea’s death and protect her innocence as well. Chris is still taking care of her and acting as surrogate sister. Speaking of Chris, girl has finally managed to get Romain to show something towards her. When they meet in the cemetery, they express each other’s loss before passionately kissing. Well, they do a lot more than that if you catch my drift. Romain can’t quite . . . finish, for picturing Lea. Freud would be extremely pleased by this.

Anddd we’re back to the flirting. Enter girl-with-a-crush, Miss Forensic Scientist who’s been making eyes at Molina throughout the whole series. Camille (not bitchily nor welcomingly) points out that she could’ve emailed the results of the Morel case rather than turn up. The exchange only proves that there are holes in the case, what with the credit card being found far away from the body, especially as they aren’t able to find Dead Nick’s fingerprints anywhere but his tablet. Molina thanks her, and forensic lady casts a satisfactory/smug look at Camille. Camille looks at her back. Oh it’s ON. After the lady leaves, the look screams that she’ll murder her. There could be a Dexteresque spin-off in the making here. The best added layer of humour is Molina’s lack of awareness that both ladies are fighting over him. Or, he does know, and is merely choosing to remain focused on the case in front of him. Oh wait a minute, his eyes flicker up to hers in a “what are you doing?” Some fanservice is going on here, and I for one am cackling like a Disney villain. We’re given another morsel with Molina giving Camille a questioning look when she responds rather flustered to her phone buzzing (it’s the ex again). Because let’s be honest: we need something to drag Molina’s attention away from his brooding. Flags clearly aren’t doing the trick. Let’s throw an actual ex-boyfriend in there. As if by magic, said ex is conjured! He appears like a lovelorn stalker in the parking area of the police station, calling out to her before she gets in the car with Molina. Camille’s look says: now? Why now? Why did you pick this particular moment when I’ve been calling you all those times to get your s***. Fan service shot of Molina looking on with interest. Camille gives the ex the line ‘Did you think I’d come running?’ to make us all punch the air. Girl’s got standards. Ex’s parting shot? Giving the threat in the form of Molina, a threatening stare. Where has this happened before . . . ? Molina gets all cheeky and asks if Camille wanted to get rid of him or the bags, when she says she should’ve gotten rid ages ago. Oh Molina, you rascal.

They finally do a u-bend on the suspicion of Nick after the coroner’s report. Someone wanted him out of the way because he knew who killed Lea. Well duh. But that’s not the big reveal. Florence aborted her child when she found out about Julien’s affair. This family’s getting more and more unhinged. After revealing this hefty information, Florence descends even further into self-destruct mode. She goes on a sort-of date with a colleague. Rose did a Lea and went behind her parents’ back, getting her belly pierced without either knowing. Great job, Rose. It’s infected now. The naughty girl also used her dad’s credit card to pay for it. Molina’s really getting to understand Lea at the moment.

The Morel family are finally waking up to the idea of Chris replacing Lea. Thomas is exceptionally offended that she’s wearing Lea’s top. Florence tries her best to be diplomatic. The only person who’s pleased by the void being filled is Zoe. They’re not going to tell her “no” because she’s a child and it’s her birthday.

Disparue/The Disappearance – Review (No Spoilers)

Disparue (2015) is the French adaptation of the original Spanish version Desaparecida, so the trail expands. I haven’t yet seen the original Spanish version; I can’t comment on the similarities and differences. Hopefully, though, BBC 4 will continue to gift us European dramas that rival our own in terms of acting and production values.

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Lea Morel

Just-turned 17-year-old Léa Morel has disappeared on her birthday in her home city of Lyon, having attended a concert. Her brother Thomas (Maxime Taffanel) and cousin Chris (Zoé Marchal) left with her yet neither claim to know what transpired. At first Léa’s absence is dismissed as just teenage antics: she’ll return after she’s enjoyed herself, family and friends rationalise. Her mother Florence (Alix Poisson), as most mothers are, is beyond such thinking as her maternal instinct is buzzing. She knows something terrible has happened and seems the only one willing to accept it. Léa’s father Julien (Pierre-François Martin-Laval) is strangely blasé when Florence first notices that Léa hasn’t returned in the early hours of the morning. Granted, some of us are extremely groggy/like our sleep, but still. It’s rather suspicious. They both embark on a mission to locate her, following tidbits from the youngsters as to where Léa might be. “Oh, by the way, Léa has a secret boyfriend”. That’s the gist of how it’s presented during Chris’ questioning. The beginning of many “oh by the ways” to come regarding their daughter. It’s only when Léa completely misses her birthday celebrations at home, does the family realise that Florence’s worrying is justified.

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Commandant Bertrand Molina

Enter our detective: Bertrand Molina (François-Xavier Demaison). New in town. Blunt. Serious. One must be to be in charge of such operations in the police force. When asked how he’s finding Lyons, he replies rather unenthusiastically ‘It’s ok’. Regardless of his distant nature: he has arrived just in time to save the day. He also drives a motorbike and wears black which instantly makes him cooler, naturally. Molina only lightens up his stern demeanor as he awaits his daughter’s exit from her school, only to watch her reject his phone call. Lyon’s teenagers are not presenting themselves in such a good light – accurate, yes – but they sure have their parents dangling on tenterhooks for some communication.

Molina’s questioning of Léa’s relatives subjects the audience to a merry-go-round of potential suspects. Everyone looks equally guilty and suspicious of having something to do with her disappearance. This is an excellent device by writers to maintain the pace and suspicion throughout the entire series. Is it the father? Is it her brother? Uncle? Cousin? Secret-now-not-a-secret boyfriend? Teacher? An unseen enemy? As we and the police officers place the suspects under intense scrutiny, Léa’s little sister Zoé reminds us all of innocence lost through this incident. The family cushioning her throughout the investigation is difficult to watch at times, especially as she constantly wonders where her sister is. The little sister is arguably the one who will be most affected by the disappearance.

Special mention goes to supporting character Camille Guérin (Alice Pol), Molina’s second-in-command. She offers a variation in comparison to the other characters; a bit of relief without the laugh-out-loud comedy. Her compulsion to eat during anxious moments endears us to her. Additionally, she balances out Molina: both offer objective perspectives to each other’s respective suspicions during the investigations.

Disparue does well to introduce you to the character of Léa before the suspects are lined up. As the police probe more into Léa’s life, her parents discover that they knew more about her after the disappearance than before. Disparue doesn’t pretend to be anything but itself. It doesn’t try to compete with the more famous dramas, but that’s the beauty of it: it focuses on remaining consistent rather than trying to be gimmicky.