Catch Up//The Returned Series 1, Episode 2: Simon

Warning! Contains spoilers from the start!

The story this week: Simon finally faces Adèle, who thinks he’s a ghostly manifestation of her grief, but her police chief fiancé Thomas suspects more. Newly returned Camille’s family struggles to adjust to their circumstances, and it appears that there are more “returned” than we know of.

There’s no messing about in this week’s packed story as episode 2 of The Returned starts off with a flashback to the night before Simon and Adèle’s wedding. The couple are total rock and roll; young, gorgeous and sexy as hell. We discover that Adèle is pregnant before seeing an image of her alone in church waiting for a groom who never arrives. Ten years on and Adèle is planning her wedding to new fiancé Thomas, the town’s Head of Police.

Teenager Camille’s family, restructured and awkwardly reunited since her return, feels as though it is set to implode any second. Like Simon, Camille appears to be unravelling before our eyes and her now older twin sister Lèna is clearly a single shredded nerve away from screaming at the inconceivable situation they face. Mum Claire’s madness seems the worst as she lives in terror of losing her child again.

Meanwhile at the creepiest cabin this side of Ed Gein’s homestead, Toni, the manager of the only bar in town is revealed to be the brother of serial killer Serge, who stabbed and cannibalised Lucy in a dank subway in episode one. With a fair share of shovels to the head, the brothers quite literally struggle as they face the fact that Serge has been dead, along with their mother, for the last three years.

To say that the return of a bunch of dead people has so far failed to ignite the kind of shock and horror you’d expect in this small town would be to flirt ridiculously with understatement. The local priest reassures Adèle that another woman’s long dead husband has appeared to her and he tells Adèle to accept Simon if he comes to her again, leaving Adèle believing that Simon is a ghost and telling him she’s happy for him to knock around for as long as he likes.

And that is nothing compared to the reaction of Clare’s partner and World’s Weirdest Psychiatrist ™ Pierre, who appears to know a lot more about the undead than the rest of the village, as he tells Camille, “You’re not the first, it’s happened before.”

Which leaves us with Doctor Julie and the eerily silent, biscuit-munching child Victor, who shows no sign of wanting to leave her. Even Victor chucking himself out of a window and appearing again unharmed fails to make Julie run for the hills. Telling him she’ll look after him, Julie heads for the bathroom in tears and reveals shocking scars on her stomach that mirror those on Lucy. Cue end credits and much jaw dropping.

The production team on The Returned are clearly fans of their own business as we see cult film posters dotted about the place and references to other films and shows. There’s the Tarantino-esque diner and a wall of pictures in the bar that Lèna focuses in on that seems to be an homage to the ending of The Shining. And episode 2 has more than a little feel of Lost about it through the use of flashbacks and an inexplicable present.

We can only see how these things develop in next week’s episode, Julie, as Camille tries to live an ordinary life and Julie’s past comes back to haunt her.

First use of the “Z” word: Camille “Am I some kind of zombie?”

Did you spot?: Mrs Costa eating chips in the diner

Unanswered question 1: Why has Julie not carried out a physical examination of Victor?

Unanswered question 2: Is Julie one of the undead? Would that explain the scars and the reason she’s so unafraid of Victor?

Unanswered question 3: How the hell can Lucy be alive? Is she now an undead, too?

The Homes & Garden Award for interior design: A dead dog and a bunch of meat hooks in Toni’s secluded cabin. Charming.

The Randle P McMurphy Award for being the only sane person in the asylum: “My sister died. Do you understand that? She’s dead.” Lèna.

Reviewed by Andrea McGuire.

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