The Returned has a habit of starting and ending strongly but filling the rest of each episode with slow, meandering content, and this episode was no exception. Just as I was starting to get a little bored, the hour ended with a one-two punch that grabbed my attention back.
Episode six opened with the backstory on Lucy, the waitress who has just awoken from her coma. She turned up in the town a year before her attack, immediately charmed her way into a job in the pub, and wasted no time in starting her sex/psychic business. It’s kind of mental this storyline. Why does having sex allow Lucy to see the dead relatives of the person she’s fucking? It’s a little absurd.
Back in the present, Lucy passed a sketch of her attacker to the police, and used her non-descript ‘powers’ to hook-up with Simon, who was back from the dead a second time. She dragged Simon back to the pub – Simon tagging along for no discernable reason with this woman he doesn’t know – and had sex with him, except instead of seeing dead people this time she saw Simon’s suicide, sort off. Maybe. It’s all a little muddled.
Lena had her own sexy times this episode, with Serge the serial killer, who she inexplicably is still living with, without question. She also found out this episode that Serge is a returned, and that he attacked Lucy, which she apparently has no problem with considering she had sex with him five minutes after finding out. There’s a lot of unrealistic plotting in this episode, and I think the show is starting to creak a little under the weight of all its mysteries and set-ups.
Serge’s brother Toni acted a little more realistically, buckling under his feelings of guilt, taking to drink and finally deciding to protect his brother at all costs. As the police showed up to search his farm, he shot one officer in the leg and forced them of the property. Other small advances in this week’s plot were Julie and Victor moving in with Laure, and Adele having a heart-to-heart with her daughter, in some nice scenes discussing Simon’s death. It’s not though very realistic that Adele would be so completely okay with Thomas killing Simon, her lover back from the dead; ‘Oh, you killed my daughter’s father? My former fiancé? No problem, don’t worry about it.’
Thomas was too busy to deal with Adele much this episode. He discovered the existence of another returned after Frederick and friend were caught digging up Camille’s grave and opening her now empty coffin, filled only with water. He arrived at Camille’s house demanding answers, only to be turned away.
Camille was being introduced to the parents of the other children who died in the bus crash. Treated at first with horror, Pierre suggested she give them the hope they craved, and in doing so Camille was given a purpose, something she’s lacked since returning. As her parents remarked, she seemed happier than she’d been for weeks. And then there was the heart-wrenching ending, as two of the parents Camille had spoken to hung themselves, in an attempt to be reunited with the child Camille assured them was waiting in the afterlife. It’s a really powerful development, and sad to think how it will affect Camille, knowing that she is unintentionally responsible for the couple’s suicide.
With darkness falling on the town, the result of the flooded power plant giving out completely, and news of the returned spreading, Lena stumbled across a group of people gathered ominously in the woods. More returned? Or something else entirely? Things are starting to come to a head as we move towards The Returned’s penultimate episode.
- A commenter on The Guardian’s review suggests a link between the falling dam level and the returned. All that water going missing, and Camille’s grave filled with the stuff.
- I’ve seen some speculation online that the whole town might be dead, or in some sort of purgatory. I really hope the show doesn’t use such a massive cliché. The only thing worse would be if it all turned out to be a dream.