Ollie IS dead.
I’ve said it.
I’ve said it specifically to those people on Social Media who have been re-tweeting (and re-tweeting) an image of the Russian boy’s face alongside the mock-up front page of the Daily Express (shown in Episode 6) with a photo-fit (or “E-fit”) of what Ollie might look like 8 years after he went missing.
I have no idea why twitter is abuzz with the photo-fit picture alongside a still of the Russian boy saying “See... Ollie IS alive.... it’s HIM!
Look…Ollie’s e-fit photo in the paper is a photo-fit of what he MIGHT look like now based on computer software. It doesn't make the boy in Russia Ollie (even if the TV producers used a photo of the actor playing the Russian boy to actually make Ollie's front-page photo-fit for the TV series). Isn't that obvious?
Tony was clearly driven mad, chasing ghosts around Eastern Europe (and Russia), bothering kids who looked like that photo-fit. Even the Russian rozzers told “us” that Tony had been warned before about this obsession and had been caught many times bothering looky-likey kids in the forlorn hope that one of them might be his dead son.
It’s a horrible twist of fate to discover (as we did last night) that the paedophilic “ring” that the writers told us about in some detail seemed relevant at the end only in the sense that Tony himself was fated to chase boys around for the rest of his life, on a fruitless search for his dead son.
But what about the “Daddy Big Ears” drawing in the snowy car window? Ollie must have drawn that – so he is alive then!
Do you really think a 13 year old boy would continue to draw the same stick-man he was drawing aged 5? Of course not.
Tony was a dab-hand at those drawings. Even in the final flings of the final episode, he was portrayed drawing a stick-man when on the phone to Baptiste (the French detective) who advised him that Ollie WAS killed – and he should try to get rid of his doubts or they would “destroy him”.
No... Tony spent months (if not years perhaps – it wasn’t made clear last night) chasing ghosts and drawing Daddy-Big Ears everywhere.
The brief look of (supposed) son-to-father recognition that the Russian boy gave to Tony and the picture of Daddy big ears that Tony handed him was nothing of the sort. It might have been a look of “I’ve seen these weird stick-man drawings everywhere – even on car windows by our playground – it must be this bearded weirdo who drew them all then”. Nothing more.
If the Russian boy WAS Ollie, there would have been waaaay more of a recognition from son to father. There wasn’t any obvious, clear recognition. None at all. Not surprising really – the Russian boy wasn’t Ollie and Tony was not therefore his father!
There is no reason to suspect that dying Alain didn’t come completely clean when he confessed.
There is no reason to suspect that George (the mayor) hadn’t SEEN Ollie’s “dead” body in Romanian hired help Costel’s van after demanding (of Costel) to know why the boy wasn’t taken to hospital when he regained consciousness. Costel told Georges that he “had to kill him [Ollie] as he had seen his [Costel’s] face”. There is no reason to suspect that Costel didn’t kill Ollie but sedated him instead, to use him as “goods” in the Romanian child trafficking operation.
Do you think Georges would have blown his head off if he didn’t know (for sure) that his called-in-help actually murdered Ollie? The Romanians weren’t known for killings that didn’t produce a lot of blood (see below). It would have been and was obvious to Georges that Costel had killed Ollie.
Every bit of televised flashback of Sieg’s was accurate. Costel was the masked man. Costel had already slit Rini’s throat. The mayor walked past Sieg as he arrived to clean up. There was a huge pool of blood by the drawing of “Daddy Big Ears” under the stairs – which clearly was not produced by Ollie getting bumped by a car by the pool. Costel told Georges that he’d “had to kill the boy”, but even that wasn’t enough for Georges. He even was shown Ollie’s body. And you still don’t believe it?
So there was no body shown on TV. I don’t think the Beeb could have got away with showing images of a murdered five-year old with his throat slashed – even after the ‘watershed’.
Perhaps you’d have preferred a (poetic anyway) scene (right at the end?) of Ollie’s bones being unearthed by .... oh I don’t know... a fox perhaps? Would that have given you closure?
Emily (the mother) had closure, if not acceptance. She had to move on with her life, marry Mark and get on with things after 8 years. (She even tried to do so beforehand, without any closure). Her son was dead. Killed by Costel, who was hired by Georges (to call in a favour) to get rid of Ollie’s supposedly already-dead body, run over by his drunk hotelier brother Alain, who confessed everything on his death bed.
Tony (on the other hand) couldn’t move past the fact that his son’s body had never been discovered, and turned instead to the trafficking “packages” that had been moved by the Romanians across Europe – maybe one of those “packages” was his son. His son that was clearly dead to everyone else (Emily, Julien, Mark, Laurence, everyone) but him it seems.
So he travels across Europe and Russia engaged in a futile quest for his (still) “Missing” son. The final shots of the final programme show a man deranged by obsession, not maddened by actually finally finding his son and being dragged away by the Russian rozzers.
No... sad though it is... Tony has been driven insane by his obsession to find his son.... who is a ghost to everyone else.
I disagree with the huge majority of people on twitter (and other online forums) who were disappointed (to put it mildly) by the ending to the series. These people seemed to have more questions put in their heads than answers. I don’t really understand why.
I think this was a quite brilliant screenplay by the writers and producer. They have shot the ending with perhaps just a teensy weensy sliver of ambiguity for some, to confuse or get people talking around the water-cooler in the office today.
For me personally, I don’t get any ambiguity in the ending though. The writers have gone on record to say that there “would be closure” to this, the first series, as they didn’t want to be “lynched”. I think they’ve managed that just fine.
If you’re reading this and not got “closure” from the last episode, then you’re in Tony’s camp – your questions will never be answered. Not unless you are banking on someone eventually catching up with Costel (I have no idea how that didn’t happen – surely it would be possible eventually – the French Police had him on file, at least in part) and getting the awful, sad truth that way – perhaps even the location of Ollie’s (now skeletal) corpse.
Don’t get me wrong – if I was Tony and it was my boy “missing” (with no body found), I’d probably spend the rest of my life looking for him too. I’d have gone insane, grown a beard and tramped round snowy Russia looking for him and chasing ghosts. But fortunately it wasn’t me that this happened to, nor my son, so I can watch dispassionately and accept what has happened – unlike poor Tony – consumed with grief, rage, confusion and hope.
Yes….if you’re in Tony’s camp and you still have questions after the ending of this TV series - these will never be answered – not now nor in the next series either – which is clearly unrelated (despite the voiceover suggesting that “finding them [the missing] after so much time has passed is harder [than losing them in the first place]”. If you really are hoping for more on Ollie, Tony and even perhaps Baptiste in series 2 then prepare to be very disappointed.
But - if like me, you got “closure” from the ending – you’re in Emily’s camp. A bleak, bleak, bleak place where you know Ollie died, almost by accident you could say – certainly the result of at least two horrible mistakes by Alain – there was no need for him to die, but dead he is.
One of the saddest TV dramas I’ve ever seen.
But a quite brilliant drama nonetheless, brilliant writing, brilliant screenplay and brilliant acting (especially from Nesbitt (Tony))... which has gripped the viewing public not only in the UK but across the pond I hear too – and for some at least... (for some unfathomable reasons to me), continues to ask questions and continues to maintain a grip.