Let's Discuss: 'Absentia' Season 1, Emily's Husband, And That Ending

Absentia Season 1 Nick Durand Patrick Heusinger Alice Durand Cara Theobold Flynn Durand Patrick McAuley Emily Burne Stana Katic
It has been a long time since the treatment of a character in either a movie or a TV show got under my skin to the extent it did watching "Absentia." The last time was the movie “Warrior,” but that is a discussion for another day. For now, the Amazon series holds the record. It is a testament to the visceral experience the show creates. For those who have not watched and may be reading out of curiosity, let’s set the stage.

“Absentia” is about a wife, mother, and FBI agent, who disappeared six years before the story begins. In the present day, Emily is drowning in a tank, which she is rescued from by her husband in the opening episode. She then returns to her life, which she learns has been relatively scrubbed clean of her existence. Her husband has remarried, and everyone else has pretty much moved on.


Except for her father, Emily is met with disappointed faces when she returns to her life. They seem to wish she would have stayed dead because it made their lives less complicated. Emily is left to wade through inexplicable disdain and worse yet, false accusations that put her in hot water. Let’s hit the big spots that made “Absentia” a rough ride for those rooting for the heroine because a review cannot delve into it deeply enough.

Caution: Spoilers for “Absentia” Season 1, including the ending are beyond this point.

Emily’s husband

Has there been a worse TV husband? No. Nick Durand is the worst. This man claims he believes Emily, sleeps with her and then returns to his second wife. As one ridiculous piece of evidence, after another points to Emily as a serial killer, he becomes a believer. Then his infuriating wife Alice and his and Emily's son Flynn are both kidnapped.
He claims Emily is the kidnapper and even accuses Emily to her face, at one point. She denies it and has to shoot him to get away because he is trying to arrest her. He is wearing a vest, which we know from earlier, he never goes out without. When his partner on the case asks if Emily knew he was wearing one, he acts like she could have never had a clue.

Attacking Emily

While this disgusting excuse for a character does numerous, horrible things, one of Nick’s worst crimes come in the finale. Having become disturbingly convinced that his estranged wife and the mother of his child, has kidnapped her own son, he holds her at gunpoint again. She begs him to let them save Flynn, who has been put in a water tank by the real culprit.

Alice leads them to where Flynn is, and Emily rushes to her son in an attempt to get him out before he drowns. As she is trying to open the tank, Nick aggressively throws her to the ground and tells her she is trying to kill their son. What?


Now, Emily is beaten up throughout the entire show, so her evil husband getting the upper hand on her when she has been injured is not the issue. It is that she is forced to lay on the ground helplessly as Alice and her disgusting spouse “save” Flynn.

As the climax unfolds, Emily sets out to the woods for a final confrontation with the villain. Nick heads back with a shotgun to presumably kill Emily. He is then shot by the real killer, and Emily and the real killer face-off, with Emily killing them. She returns to Nick, and he acts like he is still considering shooting her, although he decides against it. What. A. Guy.

Choosing Alice

At the hospital, Nick softly apologizes for not believing Emily. To which, she readily accepts his weak apology. He then wastes no time telling her that he and Alice are having a baby, so fill in the blank. Emily says they are a good couple and wishes them well.

There is not a drop of insincere emotion in her voice, despite the heartbreaking implications of what he is declaring. Emily has been denied her life, again. The gall of her husband is just jaw-dropping, and personal disdain for the character is quite frankly beyond words.

The show ends by setting Emily up with a new love interest in the form of the Boston detective, who didn’t believe her either. On what planet, would Emily want to go down that road again? It is salt in a gaping wound.

Even when the killer's motives are revealed, the sense that Emily in any way earned the retribution they had in store for her does not resonate. Nor does Emily register as having ever been capable of being the monster so many ready and willing to believe she is.

Deadline has reported on the potential of a second season. If it happens, Season 2 needs to rein Nick and Alice in, big time. Watching Emily be mistreated by them and the rest of the world for ten more episodes isn't going to work.

“Absentia” Season 1 is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

The new season has arrived! Check out the review of the Season 2 premiere of “Absentia” here.

[Featured Image by Sony Pictures Television/AXN]

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