The Returned: 103 & 104 Review
Reviewed by David Selby.
I have my concerns about The Returned. I’m not a big fan of clichéd zombie-thrillers, which was my initial impression of the show when I read the premise. But, it was an intriguing synopsis too; a fascinating idea, if developed properly. So far, the series has been engaging, suspenseful and shocking – let’s hope it continues that way.
The focal point of the series thus far has been Camille, and her sister, Lena; their dynamic, and how Camille’s return has had an effect. Adam took the time last week to explore the psychological consequences of the resurrection (that Lena is actually scared of her sister, and in many respects resents her; calling her a cousin to detach her personal feelings), but in the last two episodes, we’ve begun to explore some of the physical complications (presently a mystery). Lena has begun to find unexplained markings on her back, apparently stemming from a previous incident of supposed abuse from Jerome (a character I’d never suspected of violence, but perhaps, after going overboard and serving time, he’s ‘changed his ways’ so to speak – but was he the man who broke into Victor’s house?). My personal theory would be that, as Camille strengthens and pulls herself back into the land of the living, Lena would take her place as the dead.
The most surprising turn of events was Victor, who has continued to spook me with his dark, knowing smile, and his somewhat macabre outing as he murders Julie’s neighbour. It was revealed, in the superb opening to the fourth episode, that Victor had been living a pleasant life as a normal French boy when two men broke into his house as shot him dead. The scene was dramatic and nail-biting; providing a resolution to an unexplained question, whilst implicitly suggesting other answers: could it be that he doesn’t talk because the last thing said about him is that he doesn’t talk? Could it be that he is violent because he died in such circumstances? Either way, I found myself feeling oddly sorry for him this week; a refreshing perspective on the character.
The Adele/Simon/Thomas predicament is riveting; raising numerous moral questions. Simon’s spur-of-the-moment depiction of heaven was idyllic, but he seemed to know things that he couldn’t possibly know – could he have actually been there? His conversation with his daughter, at a level of childlike innocence, pulled at the heartstrings, and brought a new dimension to the character. Thomas, however, has become creepy. Who puts a camera in their step-daughter’s bedroom? He seems like an obsessively abnormal man to me; one who has never truly trusted his family.
The resolution to Episode 4 was beguiling, and left many more questions to be answered. I’m impressed with The Returned so far; it has a unique flair that sets it apart from other dramas, and the fact that it is in a completely different language hardly seems to even bother me – if anything, it keeps me glued to the TV, lest I miss a line.
Episode 3 “Julie” Verdict: 7/10
Episode 4 “Victor” Verdict: 8.5/10