Absentia Episode 4, “Me You Him Me”- All’s Fair in Love & War

Absentia episode 4 - Emily Byrne

Absentia episode 4 – “Me You Him Me” is as twisted as its title suggests.  While it starts out a little choppy, it quickly settles in and speeds up.  After viewing Absentia episode 4, there will be several sayings bouncing around in your mind.  “Desperate times call for desperate measures,” “crime doesn’t pay,” “looks can be deceiving” – these are sentiments appropriate to various actions that occur! 

There is though one quote that specifically covers the actions of former FBI agent Emily Byrne (Stana Katic).  It’s from Emily Dickinson.

When the Best is gone – I know that other things are not of consequence – The Heart wants what it wants – or else it does not care.

It’s usually just “the heart wants what it wants” that we’re used to hearing quoted, but the full quote adds a context of loss and despair that fits Emily best.  The best of Emily’s life, her husband and child were taken with her kidnapping.  She wants this back- and she’ll do just about anything to get it.  In Absentia episode 4, that anything we see Emily willing to do includes sleeping with her husband, special agent Nick Durant.

Absentia Episode 4: All’s Fair in Love and War

That Nick and Emily would end up having sex was inevitable.  After going through the first three episodes it’s apparent that Emily is who brought fire and instinct to Nick’s cooler logic.  Back in Absentia episode 2, as soon as they started discussing the issue of Emily being framed, the sparks from their former relationship started up again.

Further solidifying the idea of Emily as the more stubborn one, in that same episode Detective Tommy told Emily that he’d looked up her work history and saw that she was stubborn and dogged when pursuing cases. In episode 3 it’s Emily that convinces Nick to break rules and go to Harlow’s house to look at evidence.  Sorry, Alice (Cara Theobold), you’re a lovely wife number 2, but Emily makes Nick feel more…alive.  

The twist though is this.  Although Emily has hinted to her therapist, and to Nick, that she grieves the loss not only of seeing Flynn grow up, but of her relationship with Nick, that’s not entirely what drives her to their encounter.

When Did Emily Decide to Run?

Did Emily made the decision to be with Nick before she stepped into the hotel room?  Did she ever plan on turning herself in?  That’s a question I’d love other viewers to weigh in on! Granted, only Katic and the writers can really know, but here are a couple of thoughts about it.

The Flynn Factor

Nick’s words about Flynn seeing her arrested seemed to make an impression – she didn’t want that. Was she then resigned to being taken in?  Maybe. Then Nick overrode Alice on seeing the sleeping Flynn, and she went to see her son. This image was such an inspired visual. It says so much about the change in Emily and Flynn’s relationship.

Absentia episode 4 - Emily and Flynn

In Absentia episode 1, Flynn didn’t even want to visit Emily’s grave. Then he was very standoffish with her in episode two.  At that time Alice said Emily made Flynn uncomfortable.  

During episode 3 that all changed.  There is something about the gokarting that changes his thoughts about Emily.  It could be that the excitement of speed and risk sparks some primal memories of exploring new things with Emily.   After all, it was Emily that had him in the water as a baby and who he held onto out in the snow.  Those early memories are something he doesn’t have with Alice. Instead those early encounters fostered the adventuring spirit he shares with Emily.

Of course, there’s no way to say all of that – this is television, not a novel.  Instead, the idea of this connection between them is shown. It started in episode three.  After the first race he asks about what happened to her.  Then later it’s Emily he looks for upon waking up in the hospital.

Now we have this image of Flynn playing with his mother’s hair as she strokes his head.  The picture creates a circular connection that mirrors the planets pulled together by gravity that are in the poster behind them.  It’s that kind of deep, unbreakable bonding that Absentia is suggesting between Emily and Flynn.  It’s a major motivator for her deciding to run.

Emily and Nick

If Emily had in fact decided to turn herself in before, it’s the former scene with her and Flynn that makes me think she’d changed her mind by the time she got to the car.  Sure, asking to stop by the hotel to get a few things seems innocuous, but why would you need things if you’re just going to be in jail?  Don’t they take everything anyway?

Even if it’s not her plan just yet, Flynn is clearly on Emily’s mind.  As she shoves things in a bag she tells Nick to not let Flynn believe the things people will be saying about her.  Nick doesn’t answer that.  Instead he says he’ll have the rest of her things sent to her dad’s.

This feels like the absolute turning point.  Not getting that assurance from Nick brings everything to a boil. What if Flynn thinks she’s a murderer? Will she lose everything again? Can she trust Nick? There are so many emotions flying around in this scene, it’s no wonder Emily’s shaking.  

Emily’s Choice

What I can’t quite decide about is this: is some of her trembling about Emily knowing what she’s about to try?  It could be. There is of course the overwhelming reality of being with the love of her life after six years of being away and tortured.  Regardless or her planning it or not, that fact absolutely is a factor.

Still, Emily, is a former agent. On one hand it seems dishonest and calculated to use a physical connection with Nick to escape.  I’d like to think that her call to him afterwards saying she couldn’t “bear to be a captive again,” indicated she decided to run after the fact, but that seems too impulsive for her.  When you factor in what she has planned for Adam it feels like she had to have been thinking and planning beforehand.  She wouldn’t just run, to run.

Seducing Nick fulfils a number of things for Emily.  Yes, there’s the fact she desperately wants that part of her life with Nick back. This encounter gives her the connection she’s wanted with him since her return.

Absentia episode 4 Nick and Emily get togother

At the same time, what she told Nick on the phone is also true.  She would do anything to not be held captive again.  As such her decision to run gives her a chance to prove her innocence for good – and punish the man she believes responsible for her disappearance and now setup.


However, the choice is also about Flynn, Recall that later she tells Flynn to listen to his father – because she trusts him. Their encounter let’s her know that the man she loved is still there. In her thinking, this means he will protect her memory with Flynn. 

The importance of this plays out when Emily risks everything for a chance to talk to Flynn at his swim practice.  

Absentia episode 4 - Emily with Flynn

This is the first time Flynn calls Emily “Mom,” which fits with the earlier picture of him asleep when she’s there.  Here, Emily gets the chance to tell him to trust his father when it comes to her.  

Nick’s Choice

In episode two Nick told Alice when he was with either her or Emily, he felt like he was betraying the other. Faced with the possibility of losing her yet again, he realizes that most of all he can’t betray himself and his love for Emily. He needs to comfort her and let her know that his love for her hasn’t changed – even though he’s taking her in.

Adding to the poignancy of this encounter is the moment when seeing the scars all across Emily’s back threatens to wreck him.  

Absentia episode 4 - Nick and Emily

It’s Emily that turns him away from that sight with a touch.  It also serves another purpose: The idea that Emily put herself in the tank was suggested by Detective Tommy Gibbs (Angel Bonanni) at one point.  (It’s a nonsense idea, but it comes up again later.)  Those scars are more proof for him – and the audience – that something awful happened to Emily. 

The problem is that after Nick choses Emily, she betrays his trust.  Thus far this hasn’t changed his belief in her innocence.  Of course, the way that this episode ends could change that.

About That Absentia Episode 4 Ending….

So, the reason Nick and Emily’s FBI boss Adam Radford (Ralph Ineson) had that diary was out of guilt and the literal bleeding eye memory is actually a symbol for a place?  In a way it makes sense, Emily’s memory of the flowers was actually about the women in the case she’d been working.  Still, the serial killer’s signature is cutting off his victim’s eyelids.  Even if it is a physical place, there has to be more to it than that.  Unfortunately, someone has made sure Emily won’t be able to explore that idea more with him.   I sincerely hope that all that stuff Emily bought for recording Adam was on while she torturing the truth out of him!

We all know Emily didn’t kill Adam, right?  She’d have been nuts to do so.   He’d just admitted to setting her up on the sex trafficker killing when she came back!  (He was the dirty agent.)  Furthermore, he explained actually believing Emily had: lost her mind, possibly kidnapped herself, and killed Harlowe!  However, because of his time with Emily he’d come to understand that he was wrong about that.  She needed him alive to admit this to the FBI.  That would have gone a long way in gaining Emily’s freedom. 

There’s also the fact that Adam is her only lead on the bleeding eye mystery.  Emily is not stupid.  She did not kill him.

Why Emily Had to Run

Absentia episode 4 - Emily

It wasn’t foolish for Emily to run.  Even though she now knew that Adam wasn’t responsible for her kidnapping and wasn’t the killer of  Semerov or Harlowe, he was still a dirty agent.  She had no way of knowing if he’d just turn her in and continue to frame her.

This sadly suggests she didn’t tape him confessing.  I suppose if she didn’t it’s because she was waiting to get a formal statement on record, not just one from her near-drowning him repeatedly in a barrel of water.  Nick and Tommy then interrupted her before she could get that formal statement.

Emily’s logic in running is that while Adam might, or might not tell some of the truth while she’s gone, she could use his information to catch the real killer.  Once she had that proof, she could come in and Adam would have incentive to strike a deal, back her up, and plead out.   Whomever killed Adam, he or she knew that.  That person wants Emily framed.  As for Adam, well, crime certainly did not pay.

The Wrap Up – Suspects

We now know who didn’t kill Adam, but who did is another story.  Knowing that Adam was the dirty agent at the FBI doesn’t mean another agent could have been involved with her kidnapping and setting her up. Then there’s Emily’s brother Jack (Neil Jackson).  In “The Emily Show” we know he’s always been jealous of Emily – to the point of seeming hatred – and that he has a drinking problem.  Now we know he’s got a problem with prostitutes that bring “surprises.”  (What was in that huge case?!)

There also may be more than one person involved.  What if these murders weren’t all done by the same person? That would be one heck of a twist!  While it’s far-fetched, Alice’s words to Emily about Flynn, that Emily “didn’t deserve” Flynn, bugged me.  We don’t know anything about Alice.  How did she meet and hook up with Nick?  I don’t think she’s a serial killer, but she may not be completely innocent either.  Someone had to figure out where Emily was and all of Nick’s work to figure that out was on his computer – at his house.

The biggest question is how this murder of Adam will effect Nick’s faith in Emily.  She’s already betrayed his trust.  If he believes she killed Adam he may start to think she’s gone off the deep end.  Especially since we know Alice will be egging that idea on.

What did you think of Absentia episode 4?  Based on the information up through episode 4 did you feel Emily made the right choices? How do you think Nick will deal with her going forward?  (No spoilers past Absentia episode 4!) Leave your thoughts in the comments!


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