When people hear that The Returned is about a group of people who’ve returned to live among the living after their deaths, they usually respond by assuming the French drama is about zombies. They’re wrong. Despite it being anything from a run-of-the-mill zombie-centric drama, it is a horror though — a subtle, emotional, heartbreaking horror, but a horror. And that is hugely apparent in the first episode of its second season.
Last season ended with the so-called horde trying to take back all its undead members. Camille (and her living mother, Claire), Victor (and his living caretaker, Julie), and Simon all go, but the horde’s not satisfied: They’re missing Adèle’s unborn child, who the dead Simon happens to be the father of. Grey’s Anatomy‘s characters aren’t the only ones in the world of television having sex with the dead, apparently.
The new season picks up six months after this event, which happened the night a flood wrecked the whole town. Adèle and Chloé — along with a small group of other locals, including the Helping Hand crew — are still there, and Adèle is still pregnant. But she doesn’t want to be. Each scene of the pregnant Adèle plays like a European version of Rosemary’s Baby, except unlike in Rosemary’s Baby, Adèle has long known that something is definitely not right with her baby.
For example, the few times we see Adèle’s bare stomach, the baby is trying to punch its way out. Something else strange: Adèle assumed she was six months pregnant, as that was when she had sex with Simon, but a doctor tells her the fetus looks more like it’s eight months old.
She spends most of the episode in a dim hospital, where the staff is insisting they need to force a delivery as soon as possible. Adèle, weak and afraid, tells Father Jean-François she wants to go home, she doesn’t want the baby — and then admits that Simon is the father, and that she’s tried to abort this baby several times. One of those times was earlier in this episode, assumedly: She’s rushed to the hospital after falling down the stairs, which her own daughter thinks she did on purpose. Her horrified, teary-eyed look following Jean-François’ pronouncement that the baby is fine doesn’t help her case that the fall was accidental.
Despite her efforts, Adèle is stuck with the baby — and stuck in the town. The ambulance tried to take her to a hospital on the other side of the valley, as theirs is closed except for the emergency department, but something wouldn’t let them. The same thing happens later in the episode when cops are trying to take a new bus victim named Audrey home. The car inexplicably starts turning toward a dirt road and then goes farther and farther down this road as the driving cop grapples with the fact that his car just developed a mind of its own.
This seems like a strategy for the horde to get the dearly departed back on their side, which is strange because in both instances, the driver fails to get to that other side. Both the ambulance and the police car either stop themselves or the driver stops them — it’s not clear which one. But if the car is indeed possessed by the horde, why would they give the drivers the control to stop?
NEXT: The horde gets a new member