Warning: This is not an episode to watch while you’re eating. Or thinking about eating. Basically, just avoid the idea of eating—some parts get nasty.
We’ve already had a taste of how gross The Returned can get in previous episodes, and the show reminds us that it’s not afraid to get graphic once again with some flashback scenes of Adam, the stomach-eater (gag).
Seven years ago, Tony and Adam’s mom wakes up and realizes that Adam is gone. Adam is a grown man, sure, but he’s also a grown man whose interests include killing women and noshing on their insides—so it’s not too surprising when his mom reacts to him missing by freaking out. “Your brother is sick, and no matter how hard we try to help, he’ll never get better,” she tells Tony, clearly at her wit’s end. So Tony tries to save the day and goes out looking for him.
He finds him—and this is the gross part—bent over Julie’s body, devouring her. It’s one thing to see a cat eating a person, as we did last week with the neighbor, but to see a human dining on another human? Chills.
Tony hits him over the head and carries him home, where he starts to bury his brother. But turns out Adam isn’t dead: He wakes up, says he’ll stop, and calls their mom for help. Tony, also at his wit’s end, hits him over the head with a shovel though. With that, Adam is dead for good (or rather, for seven years).
In the present day though, Adam doesn’t realize Tony’s the one who killed him—and he doesn’t realize why his brother killed him, either.
Last time we saw the brothers, they were taking turns hitting each other with shovels. Brotherhood, right? Now, though, they’re a bit more civilized, eating dinner together at a table. Adam’s being very attentive, making sure the meat he cooked isn’t too rare for Tony—but Tony’s dumbfounded. How the hell is his brother back, and what does he do about it now?
Tony uses their meal as an opportunity to ask what kind of sickness he had before he died. Tony doesn’t give him a response though: “You know what you were sick with,” he says coldly. With that, Adam’s gone.
Later, Tony comes home to find Adam covered in blood up to his elbows. He initially assumes the worst, but luckily, no women were harmed: Adam was just gutting a deer. But Tony doesn’t know that, and Adam figures out that his own brother was his killer. He reacts by first kicking him in the stomach (no shovel was involved this time though) and then putting a knife to his throat.
The whole time, Tony’s begging for Adam’s forgiveness and blaming it all on their mom. “Mom said you were sick,” he wails. “She said there was no way to help you.” Adam doesn’t buy it, but instead of slitting his brother’s throat, he runs off. Probably to eat someone’s stomach. Welcome back, Adam!
Rowan just found out that her fiancé’s been spying on her and that her one-time fiancé killed himself right before their wedding, so she’s drowning her sorrows in wine—lots of it. Tommy, though, thinks this is a good time to offer that he wants to move past everything—the lies, the spying, the fact that he saw Rowan having sex with Simon. Spoiler: It’s not.
He still tries to convince Rowan that Simon is dangerous though—not with any evidence, just by saying he’s dangerous. Not very convincing, Tommy. Especially because Simon spends most of the episode being a (mostly) good guy, bonding with Camille over being dead and going on about how happy he was the day of their wedding—but how, at the same time, he felt like he didn’t deserve all the joy he was experiencing.
I say mostly a good guy though because he does enlist Camille to deliver a message to Rowan, which is a bit strange. The message itself makes it all the stranger: Simon wants Rowan and Chloe to meet him at the train station at 6 o’clock so they can get out of there. Do your dirty work yourself, man.
Meanwhile, Rowan’s sorting through Simon’s things and finds a mixtape he made her titled For Rowan, Forever (a nod to Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago?). She puts it on, then throws his belongings in the trash. Is she done with him?
This question becomes even more pressing once Tommy gets home. Instead of downing a bottle of wine and scowling, she greets him with a smile and asks which flowers he prefers for their wedding. Tommy’s shocked by her apparent change of heart, but he goes along with it anyway. She chose him.
NEXT: Rowan might be up to something.
Or did she? Rowan throwing out Simon’s belongings seems like she’s definitely trying to get rid of him, but at the same time, it’s hard to believe it just took her a few glasses of wine and some crying to feel ready to marry Tommy. Maybe she knows that if she left at 6 o’clock on bad terms, Tommy would go searching for her and would know exactly where she was—with Simon somewhere. But if she leaves on good terms, smiling and happy, her disappearance could come off as a kidnapping or something of the like. Tommy would still search for her, but at least the narrative would be a little different: His fiancée was planning their wedding when she went missing—not “his fiancée was mad at him when she went missing.”
Either way, Simon told Camille earlier in the episode that he and Rowan are meant to be together. It seems like he’ll try his hardest to make Rowan believe the same—even if she is currently Team Tommy.
VICTOR AND HELEN
Victor, now at the Caldwell Community Center, goes missing after he tells Peter he knows his secret. If you’ve forgotten, I’ll let Victor remind you: “You killed my mom. You killed me.” (Actually, it seems like Peter’s accomplice killed them—not Peter himself. Minor details though.)
Helen spots Victor later while they’re both wandering around town, and she calls out his name—his real name: Henry. Apparently Helen knew his mom and knew him when he was a littler boy. She takes him to lunch, and he continues to remain silent—which is fine, because Helen has plenty to say. “This town is cursed,” she proposes before comparing Caldwell to the state of the world when God flooded it. “All the people had become so wicked,” she says. “And that’s exactly what happened here 29 years ago.”
She’s referring to when the dam burst, and, as a result, to when she died. The rant itself comes off as more manic and paranoid than rational, especially when she claims they should have just left the town underwater and that all the people who perished were “wicked.” Does she realize she’s calling herself wicked?
Victor somehow escapes Helen and later turns up on the side of the road, where Peter finds him. “Hello, Henry,” he says. Awkward.
As mentioned earlier, Camille spends some quality time with Simon this episode—and she also spends some quality time with alcohol.
She plays some weird drinking games at the bar, one that includes drinking four shots in a row. Really, that’s the entire game: One player tries to drink four shots in a row and so does another player. And they do it at different times, so it’s not even a race. It’s literally just drinking liquor.
Camille wins the dumb drinking game and punishes the loser by making out with him. This also punishes Lena though—she’s in the hospital and she suddenly feels something on her lips. This infuriates her, so she stumbles out of the hospital and to the bar (how small is this town?) where she confronts Camille—or, as their friends know her, Lena’s cousin Alice.
Lena, though, is here to tell them that Alice is actually her dead sister. She also wants them to know that Camille is trying to kill her, and that’s why she’s been in the hospital. She even turns around and shows off her gash to prove it. Camille responds to this with amazing calm—amazing, because she’s at least four shots in right now and, at her size, should be straight-up wasted at this point—and blames Lena’s claims on her medication. It’s not very convincing, but then again, saying your dead sister came back isn’t very convincing either.
Lena responds by running into the woods and eventually trips… only for Adam to find her, facedown in the dirt. Where’s Tony when you need him?
The black liquid doesn’t make a return this week, but a new mystery replaces it: dead deer.
Helen comes across the dead deer when she’s dipping her toes in the river, and the police later attempt to figure out what happened to them. According to the coroner though, there’s no sign of trauma to the bodies and he can’t find any toxins—meaning the deer weren’t killed with force and weren’t poisoned. He thinks they drowned themselves, which Tommy finds suspicious: Deer are great swimmers. How could a huge group of them all drown?
Their deaths likely have something to do with the dam burst, but what that something is is harder to tell. Perhaps Helen is on to something—perhaps another flood is coming to Caldwell. If so, maybe Simon’s onto something with his plan to ditch town. And maybe Rowan needs to ditch Tommy for good to join him.