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'The Returned' recap: 'Etienne'

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The Returned

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Pierre Perrier, Yara Pilartz
Sundance Channel

Milan: murderer, all-around bad person, and… cult leader?

In a flashback from 10 months after the dam burst the first time, Milan leads the circle — that mysterious circle Simon’s parents referred to in a recent episode — in prayer and ultimately murder-suicide after telling them that they’ll soon be joining their dead loved ones in a place where death exists. Simon’s parents are there, and so is Etienne, Berg’s father and the creator of the dam. 

When it finally gets to Milan’s turn, he hands the gun to a young Pierre and asks him to join them. Pierre kills Milan, but chooses to reject Milan’s invitation: He puts the gun to his head and after a few moments of seemingly tortured contemplation, decides against it. Pierre, the one that got away, apparently. Oh, and by the way, our resident voyeur Victor is watching the entire time. 

Back in the present, Virgil’s also trying to get someone to join them: Camille, who ultimately goes with the rest of her family back to the other side, where they are put under military surveillance. This was slightly unexpected, as Camille’s really been going all in on the teenager-in-reckless-love thing ever since meeting Virgil, so it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see her abandon her family for him.

But maybe Camille should have followed her young heart. Baby Nathan’s skin is beginning to rot due to being separated from the others, and it’s likely going to begin happening to Camille again. Virgil might be one of the others, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what he’s talking bout when he tells Camille they’d end up “like the cave people” if they leave the rest of the dead behind.

Over at the Helping Hand, Julie’s looking for Victor when Pierre captures her and tries to get some information out of her. She plays dumb — and by “plays dumb,” I mean she tries and fails to play dumb — and ends up getting locked up with Sandrine and Audrey in the downstairs lair. 

Pierre should know that Julie, someone who decided to join a horde of dead people to protect a kid she hasn’t known for long, isn’t about to give up her loyalty just because she’s asked to — even if he tries to sweeten the deal by saying her suffering will end if she joins Pierre and company in their effort to defeat the others.

Defeating them might not be as hard as we think though, because Lucy apparently has no idea what she’s doing. Virgil realizes this when she’s leading the rest of the others out of their old stomping grounds and through a forest, and the crowd subsequently breaks up once they all discover that their fearless leader is also an aimless leader. Oh, how the mighty fall.

NEXT: Lucy is lost [pagebreak]

Things are a bit tenser over at the military headquarters, where Camille’s family reunites with Adèle and Chloé before Adèle heads off to look for Baby Nathan (who Alcide stole because he couldn’t resist the charms of Lucy). The military eventually figure out that Camille has been declared dead, and Jérôme responds by begging them to let her stay with them. Jérôme has been one of the quietest characters this season, but also one of the more powerful to watch: His desperation is so apparent in everything from his voice to his sad, sad eyes that it’s hard not to feel empathy for him as he tries to piece together his broken family.

He and his family eventually escape the headquarters once a power outage sends the building into slight chaos. And little Victor is probably the cause: In the episode’s final minutes, Milan has a fairly one-sided argument with Victor that involves Milan saying Victor has the power to decide everything and Victor denying these statements. An officer eventually makes his way into the room, and questions Milan about the circle cult. That’s when the power goes out. Thanks, Victor.

Another officer goes down to Milan’s room only to find his colleague standing in the same position he was when he was talking to Milan… But Milan isn’t actually there, and the last thing we saw was the captain pointing a gun into Milan’s chest. Did Milan disappear? Did he shoot Milan? Was Milan ever really there?

The officer who was talking to Milan shoots the other officer, a move probably orchestrated by Victor, and he again tries to shoot his colleagues when a group of them approach him a few moments later. We get to see a few seconds from his perspective, which shows us that his colleagues’ faces are morphing before his very eyes: They go from looking, well, normal, to being sunken-in and zombie-like. Right as he tries to shoot, another officer kills him.

From what I can remember, this is the first time we’ve seen faces do that on this show — something that’s especially curious given that there is only one episode left of this season and it seems strange to introduce yet another mystery. Then again, The Returned’s specialty is mystery, and it wouldn’t be the same show — and certainly not as intriguing of a show — without copious, occasionally frustrating amounts of it.