The Last of Us has had plenty of side-character-focused episodes so far in its first season, which means lots of fun guest actors popping up for just an hour at a time. This week’s episode focused on Ellie’s past and her friendship with a girl named Riley, which meant that it was guest actor Storm Reid’s time to shine.
In Reid’s hands, Riley is headstrong, capable, and smart, if not a little impulsive and maybe too quick to trust an organization she may not fully understand. Even more impressively for this episode, Reid is able to bring a kind of quiet, under-the-surface vulnerability that helps us better understand her relationship with Ellie, and more clearly see all the ways that Riley is in over her head, even if she only has an inkling of that truth herself. But that kind of layered and interesting performance isn’t a surprise, because Reid’s already had a pretty exciting career that includes A Wrinkle in Time, The Invisible Man, Euphoria, and even Missing, one of 2023’s best movies so far.
Missing is a spiritual successor to 2018’s Searching, but it isn’t a direct sequel; it’s more like an anthology series. The movie follows June (Reid), who discovers that her mother has gone missing after going on vacation in Colombia with her shady new boyfriend. June immediately launches into action and does everything she can to find her mom and uncover the larger conspiracy that could have led to her disappearance.
What makes Missing so unique is that it takes place almost entirely inside the confines of computer screens. Characters talk via FaceTime, conversations are caught on webcams, and June’s primary method of snooping involves very precise Google searches and some great social media investigation.
The format makes the movie’s mystery feel unique and completely upends the pacing you might expect from a traditional thriller, but it also presents a difficult challenge for Reid in that almost all of her acting is in voice-over or filtered through an extra screen. In a testament to just how compelling she can be as an actor, she handles the challenge deftly whether it’s a phone call with her mom’s questionably motivated lawyer or processing a slew of emotions via an errantly left-open photo-booth app.
Every bit of that same curiosity and competence is on display during Reid’s time as Riley in The Last of Us episode 7, as well. Reid makes it easy to push through the maze of complications in Riley’s character, like how she explored the mall to begin with, why she would join the Fireflies, and why it was so important to her to share this night with Ellie and invite her to join too, even if she couldn’t say any of that out loud or explain it herself. Reid gives the character a kind of preternatural confidence that both belies uncertainty and competence, making her feel like a perfect pairing for Ellie’s smarmier version of the same.
To say much more about the movie, or just how good and fun Reid is in it, would be to ruin the some of its best twists, but it’s safe to say if you enjoyed this week’s episode of The Last of Us, Missing is a silly and fun mystery that’s well worth your time.
Missing is currently in theaters and is likely to arrive on Netflix sometime later this year.