Julie’s little friend Victor notched his creepiness up to 11 this episode, stumbling his way into his neighbour’s apartment and leaving a dead body for the cats to enjoy. The episode unravelled a little of Julie’s backstory with a flashback to her run-in with serial killer Serge, and revealed that she’d had a relationship with Laure the policewoman.
Julie’s scenes were the scariest, culminating in a nice little shock-horror moment as the lights in her apartment lobby went out, only for Serge to appear as they were flicked back on. I’m not really sure what happened though, as Serge disappeared mid-attack to be replaced with Victor taking some scissors out of Julie’s hands. That’s the problem with a show with so many supernatural elements to it; it’s hard to tell if some strange scene is a stylised version of reality – a post-traumatic stress induced hallucination, say – or a genuinely fantastical moment – like appearing and disappearing killers.
Camille meanwhile tried to rebuild her life, to her sister’s guilt-induced annoyance. There were some little details in this storyline that suggested we still don’t know the full nature of the returned, for instance, Camille’s mother finding a dead animal in the bin. Maybe Lena is right to be cautious of her sister. I’m not sure it’s believable though that her friend Frederick would fail to recognise Camille, someone who looks exactly like the girl he lost his virginity to.
The bulk of the rest of the episode followed Simon and Adele, and Adele’s new fiancé Thomas. The last of those three followed Simon around all day on CCTV, watching as Adele embraced her dead ex having finally learned that other people can also see him. We also had a few scene of the religious Pierre who seems to think he can control (or shepherd) the returned in some way, and some enjoyably tense scenes of Toni and Serge.
The Returned has a little bit of a problem with pace and is moving really slowly. It’s starting to use this lack of speed as a crutch; keeping the show intriguing and tense by holding back information. I find it problematic and annoying that by episode three very few people know about the returned and the ones that do are unaware of the full picture and the existence of others. If the audience gets too far ahead of the characters in any narrative then it becomes frustrating, as viewers wait for the characters to catch up and learn information that has been clear and obvious for a while. The Returned really needs to pick up the pace and flesh things out.
Despite this, the show has created an interesting little world, populated by captivating characters living in a claustrophobic town where everyone knows each other and which is seemingly blanketed in CCTV. It should be fun to see what happens when the knowledge of the returned starts to spread, and all the little plot details start to pay-off.
- The reviewer at The Independent reckons that Serge’s attack on Julie was real, and that Victor somehow took control of it and directed it at Julie’s neighbour instead. Den of Geek suggests the possession angle as well and The Guardian is as confused as me.
- Lena has a scar on her back, one that is presumably new seeing as Frederick doesn’t recognise it, and growing too.
- Mrs Costa shows up at her husband’s funeral. So, the returned can’t be killed? Or maybe she just escaped somehow. Or came back a second time? She certainly didn’t look malicious in that scene, and appeared mournful at her husband’s death.
- Cool looking scene of the week: Camille walking through the darkness, as Frederick smoked a cigarette at the edge of the frame.
- Here are two screenshots of Victor’s creepy drawings; I’ve seen some suggestion online that he may be drawing characters from the show.