I like ‘The Returned’ and generally think the show has been ironing out some of the kinks in its premise and formula. However, one issue continues to frustrate me. How is it possible that all of the characters think they can keep the resurrection of the dead a secret?
Honestly, if you knew that someone had returned from the dead, wouldn’t you tell someone about it? This is potentially the most important thing to ever happen in human history, and we have several groups of characters who know about it at this point, yet nobody has tried to go public with the news? No one has contacted the media (if for no other reason than to make themselves famous) or even so much as asked a doctor (or a priest) how this could be possible? I have a hard time buying that.
Anyway, here’s what we learned in the latest episode:
Tony and Adam
We open with a flashback to seven years ago. Bartender Tony and his mother secretly discuss Tony’s younger brother Adam, who has snuck out of the house again to go murdering. You see, Adam’s a full-blown psycho. He has a compulsion to stab women to death and eat their stomachs. Ick. Ma has had enough and tells Tony that he needs to put an end to this wickedness. Permanently.
Tony drives through town at night searching for his brother. He finally spots him and chases him into the Tunnel o’ Death, but not before Adam attacks and stabs Julie. Tony clocks his brother on the head with a crowbar and hauls him out of there, leaving Julie just barely alive.
Tony drags Adam out to the woods and starts the process of burying him alive. Adam wakes up and begs his brother not to kill him, promising that he’ll never murder anyone again. Knowing full well that Adam won’t be able to control himself, Tony smashes his head with a shovel and finishes the job.
In the present day, Adam has no memory of how he died. Burdened with guilt, Tony admits what he did and begs Adam’s forgiveness. He says that killing him was a mistake. Doesn’t seem like one to me. Tony needs to man up and put his brother down again. Regardless, Adam is pissed.
Later, while he’s at work at the bar, Tony spots Adam in the parking lot crossing paths with Lena. That can’t end well.
Peter and Victor
Creepy mute boy Victor finally speaks up. He tells Peter, “I know who you are. You killed my mom. You killed me.” Then he runs off into the night. Shocked and terrified, Peter chases after him but loses the boy.
The next day, Deputy Nikki stops by the community center to check up on Victor. A four-year-old missing persons report about a boy who sounds just like Victor has made her curious and confused. Peter tells her that the boy has wandered off, but brushes it off as a simple case of a kid off exploring. He promises to let her know if Victor doesn’t turn up soon.
Worried that the police will be back and start snooping around, Peter tells Simon that he can’t stay there anymore, but he has an idea. He brings Simon to the Winships’ house and introduces him to Camille. They have a lot in common.
Tommy, Rowan and Simon
Sheriff Tommy tells his fiancée Rowan that he’s willing to forgive her for cheating on him with her dead boyfriend, but warns her that Simon is dangerous. Well, duh, most zombies are.
Simon asks Camille for a favor, and sends the girl to deliver a message to Rowan, asking her to meet him at the train station so they can run off together. Rowan asks Camille if she’s like Simon, also returned from the dead. Camille doesn’t try to hide it.
For reasons not explained, Rowan collects all of Simon’s old things from the attic and tosses them in the trash. She stands Simon up and tells a very relieved Tommy that their wedding is back on. I guess she realized that necrophilia is kind of creepy.
Still annoyed at her situation, Helen (Michelle Forbes) takes a walk and comes to a river, which she has a strange compulsion to wade into like she’s trying to baptize herself or something. Suddenly, a dead deer floats by her. Then another, and a lot more after that. Weird.
(After some fishermen find the deer, Sherriff Tommy has his men haul them out of the river. They appear to have come from the direction of the Rollins Dam. None of them exhibits any signs of being shot. The coroner tells him that they drowned, and his only guess is that this was a mass suicide event. He of course has no idea why deer would commit suicide.)
Helen next wanders through town trying to get accustomed to modern life. She comes across a mural devoted to the victims of the Rollins Dam Tragedy (yes, the same dam, an obvious connection), in which a terrible flood killed 28 people. One of the images in the mural is a depiction of her, confirming how she died. Helen is not impressed.
Helen spots Victor in town and runs up to him. She calls him “Henry” and asks if he remembers her. She says she knew his mother. The boy is back to being mute again. Helen takes him to lunch and muses about how she thinks the town is cursed, and that the return of the dead is some sort of reckoning for the wicked.
Camille and Lena
With her sister still in the hospital, Camille (pretending to be “Alice”) goes out drinking with all of Lena’s friends, including her boyfriend Ben. Death has apparently granted Camille a high alcohol tolerance. She downs shot after shot unfazed. After winning a drinking contest, Camille uses her victory as an excuse to kiss Ben.
In her hospital bed, Lena feels a psychic connection to her dead sister and isn’t happy about it. She climbs out of bed and sneaks out of the hospital, making her way to the bar. As soon as she gets there, she slaps Camille and announces to everyone that there is no Alice, and that Camille is an evil ghost trying to kill her. Acting uncharacteristically cool and collected for a teenage girl, Camille tells everyone that Lena must be confused due to the pain meds she’s on. While most of the others seem to buy that story, Ben looks like he has doubts.
Lena storms out of the bar across the parking lot and into the woods, where she stumbles and passes out. Adam the psycho killer, who’s obviously been stalking her, hovers over the body. Uh oh.
Despite my frustrations with aspects of it, this is generally a decent episode. That image of the deer in the river is spooky and haunting, and the connections between the various storylines are starting to come together. I just don’t think it’s very believable that none of the characters would have leaked the secret yet. Of course, believability in a show about people returning from the dead is very subjective by nature.