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'The Returned' recap: 'Milan'

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Jean-Claude Lother/SundanceTV

The Returned

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
tvpgr:
TV-MA
seasons:
2
run date:
10/31/13
performer:
Pierre Perrier, Yara Pilartz
broadcaster:
Sundance Channel
genre:
Drama

At one point in this episode, Léna discovers that her father has been busy trying to figure out why some people returned and why some didn’t. He has an entire room in his house devoted to the investigation, which involves newspaper clippings, drawings, Post-it notes, anything he can get his hands on that will maybe, just maybe, point him in the direction of an explanation, and, as a result, a hint as to where Camille and Claire are now. It’s bold, this investigation — especially because the mystery of the returned only keeps getting more and more complicated.

Last week, Claire and Camille urged the screaming Audrey to shush for fear that the zombie-like horde would crowd around their house. This week, that horde came back in full force: Audrey spots Esteban, another casualty of the bus accident, from inside her room, and runs to the door to let him in. Claire does, but then Audrey and Esteban immediately leave the house despite Claire’s passionate protests. Camille joins them, sending Claire running after the trio of rebellious teens. 

Camille ends up telling the other two the news that they’re dead, something they unsurprisingly don’t take it too well. Actually, they just refuse to believe her, leading Camille to take a broken glass and come close to slicing her own neck to prove that she’s immortal. After a few completely cringe-worthy moments spent bracing for some season 1-level grossness, a particularly young horde member comes up and stops her, reminding her that she knows “the rules.” And those are?

Because this show doesn’t like us knowing anything at all, he doesn’t do her or us the favor of repeating said rules — but he does take the three to the site of the bus crash in an attempt to make them realize that they are, indeed, dead. There, they get to see how they’ve been grieved: Esteban’s memorial includes pictures, Audrey’s a teddy bear, and Camille’s a heartfelt letter from Léna. 

Some people narcissistically lament that they will never to get to attend their own funerals, to see the ways people will remember and miss them. But this scene suddenly makes that fantasy of sorts sound more nightmarish than enlightening, a harsh reminder of the effect death has on the lives left behind. It doesn’t help that this whole activity is showing these three young people that they are dead, an inevitability most breathing humans fear.

During this time, Claire is wandering around looking for them and eventually finds herself cornered by the horde. We don’t see her again until she’s lying injured on the ground, seemingly unconscious. A man approaches her and gently touches her face, and assumedly takes her back home: Camille, Esteban, and Audrey later find her, still unconscious, in the house. She wakes up and hugs Camille with a look of disorienated, dismayed shock on her face. Now it’s starting to make sense why Claire was so insistent that the kids not leave the house.

NEXT: Victor’s mom doesn’t want him to draw[pagebreak]

Also in that area, Julie’s trying to get Victor to bond with his real mom. A flashback to 35 years ago tells us that Mr. Costa — the wife of the woman now living with Julie and Victor — knew Victor’s mom and had something to do with the robbery that ended in the death of Victor’s entire (or what we assume is his entire) family. So that’s awkward.

Victor doesn’t seem to like his mom too much, and tells Julie that his dad was the nicer one. Oh, also? His dad is still alive. We get to see the less-nice side of his mom at the end of the episode when she catches him drawing and immediately makes him stop. Apparently she doesn’t approve of his drawing habits, and hasn’t for a long time.

When Julie scolds her for scolding him, she tells Julie she has “no idea what my husband and I did for him.” This all brought me back to one of the first times (or maybe the first time) we saw Victor drawing, in the beginning of the first season: He was drawing the deaths of the returned, and it seems he might be doing that again — although it’s not clear because, as always, his drawings are a bit… abstract. 

For theorizing purposes, here are some from the first season:

 

And some from the first episode of the current season:

 

Something is definitely not right with Victor, a truth we’ve known since basically the beginning. And now’s also a good time to remember that he did stab nosy neighbor Mrs. Payet back in the first season, simply because that might or might not be (but probably is) connected to these drawings.

What’s strange though is that Julie identifies a woman in his most recent drawings as Laure, her ex-flame and the cop who spent some time with Victor. As far as we know, Laure is still alive — unless she died in the flood, but that seems too ordinary of an explanation for a show like this. Does this drawing say that she’s also one of the returned? Or do his drawings mean something entirely different than what we previously thought?

Speaking of killers, Serge is back and discovers his returned father in his house. His father, Milan, was the one who first killed Lucy and the one who, as we found out in the flashback, helped organize the robbery. Serge, obviously afraid of his aggressive dad, first lies and tells him that Toni and his mom are simply gone, but Milan finds out the truth later on when he spots two crosses indicating their graves in the yard. And he is not happy. (And that is not good news for Léna, who Milan and Serge find sleeping in their house once they return from their impromptu hunting trip.)

Also not happy? Lucy, who Simon finds mostly naked and looking shocked in the corner of a room. All she tells him is that Milan has returned. Simon’s having a rough time, too: His child with Adèle — who, for most of the episode, kept insisting she wanted to just go home without seeing the baby — is dying. It’s not until Adèle finally goes and sees the baby that his pulse starts up again, hinting that her touch has some magical power.

This week’s biggest mystery, though, comes at the very end when the police department find dead people tied to trees in the forest during their search for Audrey. Only one face got a relatively close-up shot, but it wasn’t immediately recognizable. This must be a statement, likely from the horde — and it must not be a positive one. 

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