Loss, death, The Great Void, emptiness: it all hangs over “Not Found.” An appropriate title, as our heroes wander in the night, their Christmas Eves hardly a time for celebration, but rather a rumination on the meaninglessness of, well, everything. What even matters anymore? The Dark Army is winning. Our heroes are losing. And everyone is running out of time. What’s the point of even trying anymore?
The Dark Army has been in control for a long time, but the end of last week’s episode all but sealed their victory over Elliot, Darlene, and Tyrell. In a moment of excitement, Tyrell spilled everything about their plan while the Dark Army listened in from a van outside Elliot’s apartment. A stroke of luck though: the logs weren’t sent back to the Dark Army yet. A stroke of a hammer and Tyrell has killed the man (or so he thinks) in the van, setting in motion a wild, gloomy, wandering night.
Nothing is turning out like it should. Darlene successfully gets into Olivia’s Cyprus National account, but it’s not enough. She doesn’t have the access they need, which means they’re going to have to break into a physical building to try and access the system. Things are getting out of hand, and everyone is spinning out of control. Darlene leaves Elliot an angry voicemail where she says he’s a shitty brother and she hopes he dies, only to delete it and record a different message. Lashing out then reining back in is a common practice in “Not Found.” Everyone’s at the end of their rope, and they feel like swinging.
With the logs not going back to the Dark Army, Tyrell and Elliot just need to get rid of the body and the van. They stop at a gas station in the middle of nowhere to buy fuel and a lighter. The woman behind the counter, friendly to the point of being overbearing, thinks she recognizes Tyrell from somewhere, maybe the show Big Brother. They’re eager to leave, but when they head back outside the van is gone. The driver wasn’t dead, and he’s left with all the evidence he needs. The friendly cashier says they can get to a town with cell service by taking a shortcut through the woods. Things get strange and existential; very “Pine Barrens” meets Mulholland Drive.
The feeling of loss and the feeling of being lost; it’s all overwhelming. Darlene offers to drive a very drunk Santa home if she can just borrow his car after. He agrees, and the ride is peppered with bleak emotional revelations. Thoughts of suicide, death, the meaninglessness of existence. Or at least that’s what Darlene thinks. She’s projecting her own fears about Elliot, whom she hasn’t heard from in a few hours. She’s scared and thinks he might really be dead this time, and she transfers that misery to this drunken Santa, who really just wants to get home so he can take care of his wife who’s thrown out her back. It’s all a matter of perspective.
The same goes for Tyrell and Elliot. Tyrell begins to unravel when they walk for hours only to end up right back where they started. “I actually care,” he says. “That’s why I’m a failure.” Everything he worked for, everything he cared about, has vanished from his life. It’s all been taken from him. That’s what Darlene’s worried about too. But Elliot doesn’t care. He seems above it all. That’s another projection though. Elliot does care. He hates being an outsider, hates being near death at every moment. But he’s decided to just keep pushing, to hopefully warn his sister about the logs and that the Dark Army will be coming after them. It always comes back to that human connection. There’s nothing else to latch on to.
That’s why Dom is dreaming of steamy hookups that turn deadly. How can you make a personal connection when you’re meant to distrust every person you come across? Dom dies in her dream, and awakes to splash some water on her face. Is living better? Is the constant dread worth it, just to chase a glimmer of hope that life might get better?
It’s hard to say. As Tobias the Santa says, “goodbye is short and final.” He’s quoting Steinbeck. The full quote is “Good-by is short and final, a word with teeth sharp to bite through the string that ties past to the future.” Tyrell is ready to bite that string, to say goodbye. He’s lost everything, and he’s ready to move on, to accept the death that’s chasing them through the woods. They stumble upon a dead deer, and around the bend is the van, crashed into a snowbank. The driver gets off a few shots before turning the gun on himself. The Dark Army has always accepted death; everyone else is just catching up.
Tyrell is shot. He tells Elliot to erase the logs and burn the van. He’s done. He walks into the night, stumbles through the woods, and wanders towards the ringing death knell. He gazes into the purple light like Vincent Vega seeing God in a briefcase. Then the dark vanishes, taken over by a blinding white light. Perhaps there truly is a light at the end of this dark tunnel after all; or perhaps it’s just death.
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