The Returned review – Episode Four – Channel 4

The Returned Episode FourI think I’m starting to get a little frustrated with this show. Episode four had a strong opening and a gripping hook at its conclusion, but inbetween the episode was filled with little flaws and was at times a little too slow and uneventful.

The opening though was good, revealing via flashback the moment of Victor’s death. Two masked burglars broke into his house and killed his family, with one of them trying unsuccessfully to hide Victor from his more violent partner.

Back in the present, the murder of Julie’s neighbour had brought the police to her apartment, where her ex-girlfriend Laure discovered Victor and took him away to Pierre’s Helping Hand refuge. Julie wasn’t too resistant, having seen Victor’s drawings of her neighbour’s murder, an apparent suicide by multiple stab wounds. That’s an annoying thing supernatural shows do; ancillary characters have to accept ridiculously unbelievable explanations for things in order for the mystery to continue unexposed. It’s unrealistic and could become a problem if such dumb scenarios begin to pile up in the show.

Camille spent the episode trying to hook up with her old crush, while her sister was admitted to the hospital. Lena’s back wound had grown, and it was revealed that the scar was a complication from an old injury, sustained after her father pushed or hit her in some way.

I’m really not sure I care about this storyline. Lena’s parents might be getting back together, but then they aren’t because of the revelations about the father’s abuse, but why should I care either way? I don’t know these people and have little interest in them so far. It’s a storyline that is unrelated to Camille, or the returned, or the supernatural elements. It’s borderline melodrama. Lena’s wound I can see as interesting a little, but not the parent’s relationship. And to be honest, the stuff with Camille and Frederick is a little boring too.

The Returned Camille Lena

Simon and Adele meanwhile were rekindling their relationship, while Thomas watched on via his network of cameras installed in the family home. Thomas has gone way off the rails since his first appearance in the show, which I suppose is understandable considering his wife’s fiancé has returned from the dead.

‘I’m an officer,’ Thomas tells his priest at one point, ‘not an intellectual.’ I think that is really bad dialogue. It’s hard to tell though, when it’s in French. I’ve always thought that the recent European imports get quite an easy ride in the UK, because we are less capable of watching them critically. The Killing for instance was full of ludicrous red herrings and plot twists which went uncommented on. And then the American’s remade that show, and suddenly, in English, the flaws were glaringly obvious. I wonder if we overlook problems with The Returned in the same way. Maybe the dialogue is actually awful in places and we just scan over it.

Thomas revealed to Adele that Simon’s death wasn’t an accident, and that he’d actually killed himself. Distraught, Adele retreated to Thomas’ comforting shoulder (and his pills) while her daughter joined Victor in the creepy drawing competition. Simon had left the house by this point, away to Pierre’s helping hand.

Here, he will be joined by Mrs Costa, and little Victor, the returned all coming together under one roof. Victor was looking nervous, so Pierre tried to comfort him, and in the process used words identical to those used by the masked burglar who killed his family. Victor did not look happy at this realisation. Looks like Laure might soon have another improbable suicide to investigate.

The episode could really have ended on this strong note, but instead had a final scene, of Lena collapsing in the town’s underpass, with Serge looming in the background. People in this town really need to learn to stay the fuck away from that underpass. Also, the police should set-up some CCTV in there. Maybe Thomas can help.

Random notes:

  • I liked Brune Martin, the little kid playing Adele’s daughter Chloe. I liked her weary suspicion in asking why the door was locked upon coming home from school, and her disapproving, dead-eyed stare into Thomas’ hidden camera.
  • Gathering the returned all in one place is a nice idea. I’m interested in seeing how that unfolds.
  • The water in the town reservoir is still all crazy and shit. Absolutely no movement on this mystery whatsoever.

The Returned Reviews: Episode One, Episode Two, Episode Three, Episode Five, …………………………..Episode Six, Episode Seven, Episode Eight

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3 thoughts on “The Returned review – Episode Four – Channel 4

  1. “People in this town really need to learn to stay the fuck away from that underpass. ” This is why I like your reviews.They should, at the very least, put a CCTV camera down there. Maybe they should contract Thomas, as he did a pretty good job of his own house!

    The opening was excellent, incredibly strong. Suddenly, Victor isn’t such a creepy little ghoul anymore BUT we still know he had something to do the Bus crash that killed Camille and the more recent death of the Neighbour, which was apparently a suicide. I wonder if last weeks episode was a clue; Julie was struggling AGAINST the underpass killer, then the lights flickered, and it was Victor stopping her from stabbing herself. As you pointed out, is this supernatural or is this post traumatic stress hallucination? Did Victor pull a similar stunt on the nosy neighbour and follow through?

    What is up with the damn. Everyone watches those trucks go buy but what are they pumping – is it concrete – not clear.

    And Lena’s wound is an annoying side track but I have to assume it has relevance. We don’t know how she originally hurt her back as both her Jérôme and Lena won’t explain, even though everyone now thinks Jérôme is a child abuser! There must be more to that than meets the eye.

    However, no more weird plumbing problems this week at least.

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