Vanished is a show with layered plot threads in its premiere. However, it didn't give me any characters to really grab on to. Tonight's episode was called "The Tunnel" and it started 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 Mary believes may be related to Sara's disappearance. She gets 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 bag of cash.
Mary turns up at the station where she asks Agent Kelton to run the blood through the lab. Of course, it turns out to be a red herring, for now. It would not surprise me to see this come back later, as they made too big a deal out of it for it to actually be nothing.
Kelton and his group find a discrepancy between cars entering and exiting a tunnel 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 leading a team into a crossway after finding some of Sara's blood, and what appears to be her dress. But before we get too far, an explosion rocks the passageway, cutting off our hero.
I have to say the series has not yet won me over. 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 me to pay attention.
Back from the break, Kelton finds a warehouse-like room on the other side of the tunnel. He is rescued in short order, and now it seems that a failed case from his past may be relevant to this one. Perhaps someone seeking revenge? We cut to a flashback showing the bar guy, John Manning, meeting the woman 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 a pawn in an ever-growing power play. 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 he implies 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 more flashbacks of Manning and Nicky. Fluffy scenes to get the actress playing Sara a little bit of screen time. 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 his job for so long. You would think he would have pissed off the wrong person by now. This is evidenced by a confrontation between him and Collins over what the connection could be between this kidnapping and the other politician's wife's kidnapping, and subsequent suicide – just add another layer.
I really believe they are trying to layer too 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 kidnapping hasn't gone over too well with me. This is where the reporter is searching, as it is connected to her last disappearance from twelve years ago, and with Sara's family who want their 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 to a 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 over-plotted show. It just strikes me as though the writers are going to paint themselves into a corner with no way to resolve all of the threads that have been laid out.