Time is cruel and when history repeats itself the wounds are reopened like it was just yesterday; sitting in her local, drowning her sorrows like every other day, Charlie Glass glances up at the television and sees a report that teenage Elodie Carmichael is missing, only daughter of the “Mama’s Whiskey” dynasty, no witnesses and no suspects, exactly the way Charlie’s own daughter Lily vanished.
Demanding of Sheriff Walker if there is a connection with the earlier investigation, he is at first indifferent and unhelpful then hostile – Lily’s disappearance at Lake Elrod never solved, could Charlie herself have staged this new abduction to draw attention, raise the profile of her still missing daughter by tying it with a higher profile case?
Elrod a small town of traditional values, Charlie is far from Miss Popularity, living openly with her girlfriend Angela, and only one person seems interested in her side of the story, reporter Amy, equally an outsider with the colour of her skin clashing with the Confederate flag, but for now their goals align, one wanting a story and the other closure, but both needing the truth no matter where it leads them.
A hazy maelstrom of the things that happened and wishes that might have been a happier ending, Charlie’s nightmares and hopes mixed together in another cocktail of late night oblivion, Disappearance at Lake Elrod (originally Through the Glass Darkly) is directed by Lauren Nash from a script co-written with Susan Graham, starring one-time competitor in the Miss Twin Peaks pageant Robyn Lively as Charlie, distraught and distrustful but determined.
A tenuous chain of evidence, much of it hearsay and all of it to be denied should it ever be repeated, fuelled by booze and pills it is little wonder that Charlie’s life is disjointed, that her imagined fantasies make her an unreliable witness and an easy scapegoat, easy to blame as a bad mother, but despite being the newcomer Amy (Shameless’ Shanola Hampton) has the advantage of inside knowledge of the town full of secrets beholden to a single family.
Focused on Charlie, Amy and the women who help them piece together the murky past, lapdancers and trailer trash whores, Disappearance at Lake Elrod is filled with survivors making the best of what they have, beaten but unbroken, but in a reversal of the shortcomings of thrillers of an earlier generation the men are only half-sketched presence, Trip Carmichael (Battlestar Galactica’s Michael Trucco) barely present despite his significance, nor do the circumstances of the investigation always stand up to scrutiny, the happenstance “discovery” of crucial damning evidence previously overlooked less than would convince any jury.
Disappearance at Lake Elrod will be available on DVD and digital download from Monday 1st November