NOTE: Spoilers for the first episode of The Missing, series 2
There's something missing (excuse the pun) from the new second series of The Missing. The cast has predominantly changed, sure, but aside from that the story here feels lacking. Two years ago, I lashed a ton of praise on the show for managing to make me feel genuinely sick, sat at home on the sofa. This time though it left me feeling cold.
We're immediately thrown into the case of kidnapped schoolgirl Alice Webster, who's taken on a school day in plain sight, bundled into a van and abused for many years to come. We also find out right away however that Alice escapes from her captor many years later, a changed woman but one that is still very much alive, in the literal sense - at least upon her escape.
Flitting between 2014 - the year Alice found her way back home - and the present day in which familiar face Julien Baptiste (Tcheky Karyo) has crossed the border of Iraq to find the man responsible for kidnapping both Alice and another young girl whose case has haunted him for some time, the story isn't as hard to keep up with as you might suspect, but certainly means you're all over the place whilst watching.
Karyo is as he was last year - a master of the art of acting and somebody who gives a stellar performance every time he's on screen. The writers made a good decision here keeping him involved in the series, but with his character suffering from a brain tumour he suggests isn't curable, this could be his last hurrah.
Of course, with these stories comes the horrible moments that made me and the majority of those watching wince, for example when victim Alice (Abigail Hardingham) was detailing how she was kidnapped and the rape and chaos that ensued. She's a great little actress and made the scene utterly believable and compelling. It's unfortunate for her that the writing around her acting feels so sloppy.
There are a smattering of smaller storylines that I'm sure will become more important as the episodes progress, but for now they feel flimsy and almost like filler.
It's almost as if the creators of The Missing have attempted to go above and beyond the call this time round. There's a saying - 'Don't try and fix what isn't broken' - and it's something I feel they should have kept saying to themselves this time around.
I'm disappointed. Two years in the making and I wanted to be as gripped as I was back in October 2014. I'll keep up with the series for sure to see where it goes, as I'm sure there are some major twists to come, but if I happened to miss a couple, it wouldn't be top of my catch-up list. A real shame, but the episode was saved by its final moment - is Alice really Alice?
The Missing continues Wednesday nights at 9pm on BBC One.