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The Returned recap: Esther

Posted on

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

Forgiveness is tough, especially when it comes to forgiving a guy who attacked you in a tunnel and ate your insides. This is something Serge discovers when Toni makes him face and apologize to Esther, one of his old victims whom Victor tried to warn. (Obviously, his attempt was futile.)

Toni thinks Serge got a second chance and should use it to redeem himself, which is actually a pretty nice way to look at this whole returning thing: “Would you have done anything differently?” is a common question for those closer to death, and here, the chosen get to die and, according to Toni’s perspective, start again. The flaw in that romantic idea though is that returning doesn’t erase what they did in their first life. Serge can apologize, but that’s not going to void all the trauma he caused multiple women. In fact, the reunion might cause even more trauma. 

While Toni forces Serge and Esther to reconcile, Jérôme arrives on the other side right as Léna is attempting to leave to go find him and bring him back. It is shockingly good timing, a rarity in a show built on things going wrong. Léna brings Jérôme — and constant third wheel Berg — back to their current home, where Camille is sitting with a scarily dazed Claire, who pulled some scissors on Virgil earlier in the episode when she caught him on top of her daughter. Jérôme’s presence wakes her up, and they embrace in a beautifully subtle moment that sees Jérôme hugging his wife and daughter for the first time in half a year.

Back to Claire: She pulled the scissors on Virgil and then hallucinated that he grabbed a knife and lunged toward her. In reality, he scrambled toward the window to leave, and she went to stab herself in the stomach with the scissors — just like last season when Toni saw Victor shooting him but it was really Toni holding the gun the entire time. Camille provides more context for this bizareness later on in the episode when she explains that, despite what Claire said, the others never attacked her. She believed they did, but it was really her hitting herself before Camille had to intervene and stop her before she killed herself. Claire is, quite simply, not OK.

And how would she be? Let’s recap her past year or so: Her dead daughter came back from the dead with no explanation. Cool, but unsettling. Then her dead daughter was taken away by a creepy horde of people who came in the night, and she made the difficult choice to go with her so she wouldn’t be all alone. Not cool, at all. So now, she’s been stuck in a terribly strange and seemingly unsafe place, separated from her family, and fighting with the rebellious teenage daughter she came to protect. To add to this all, there’s probably some supernatural thing happening to her that’s causing her to unknowingly self-harm.

NEXT: Lucy makes a visit [pagebreak]

Speaking of self-harm, Lucy reveals that Simon did indeed die by suicide. It’s been implied that that was how he died, but I am fairly certain this was the first time we heard someone say the words out loud — and it wasn’t pretty: Lucy crashes Simon and Adèle’s makeshift church home, where Simon attacks her and demands she stay away from Adèle because he loves her. Lucy replies by coldly saying that if he loved her, he wouldn’t have killed himself. Cue deep breaths.

Here’s the thing, Lucy. Love and suicide don’t really have anything to do with each other, and it’s insanely insensitive to act like they do. If the show is trying to get us to turn against her, it’s working: Basically everything that comes out of Lucy’s mouth anymore is a) disgustingly mean or b) creepily delusional. 

She’s there to nab Nathan back, but Adèle’s at the police station with him because they finally found Thomas’ body. It was by the water, decomposing, and Adèle wants to have one last look. She sees the ghost of him right before the priest tells her the news of his discovery, and again when she’s alone in a room with his dead body. There, Ghost Thomas says that Simon is who killed him. Apparently Claire and Toni aren’t the only ones seeing things.

Or maybe everyone’s seeing things. Pierre tries to tell Sandrine that Audrey isn’t Audrey, that she’s something or someone identical to Audrey trying to deceive Sandrine and everyone else. He’s not the most convincing, but he’s also a returned himself. What if he’s right? What if no one is who they claim to be? 

Like Victor, a character with no real identity. He’s not Mr. and Mrs. Lewanski’s biological son, as a nurse discovers when she looks at Papa Lewankski’s medical records and finds that he only has one son, Paul. Turns out he showed up at their house years ago and silently sat down at the table, similar to how his relationship with Julie began. And the mere memory of him is enough to send Mr. Lewanski into cardiac arrest, which is exactly what happens when Julie finally gets to speak with him and informs him that his wife, Paul, and Victor — er, Louis — are all together again.

So there’s that bomb, and then Julie gets another one dropped on her when the nurse accidentally reveals that Julie was pregnant when she was stabbed. Just like Simon’s cause of death, this information was implied fairly recently when Victor made a comment to Julie about having been with child during her attack. Once again though, Julie reacts with shock and claims she didn’t know this before. Is she lying? Was she supposed to be the carrier of a Nathan-like magical and/or demonic baby before Serge destroyed her body?

In the week’s other big mysteries, Jérôme and Berg stumble on what looks like a man-made cliff on their journey to the other side and get distracted when they notice an unidentified man walking through the woods behind him. Berg points out that he’s seen another cliff like this nearby, and they think it might be from “them.” Of course, them. Thanks for being super-specific as always, Returned.

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