'The Returned' recap: 'Julie'
Seven years ago, Julie was walking home from a Halloween party when someone attacked her in the tunnel—the same place where Lucy was murdered in the present day, and presumably by the same person who murdered Lucy in the present day.
We watch as he stabs her and whispers “It’s over,” and then the show cuts to the present—and that’s the extent of what we find out about Julie’s past in an episode titled after her.
The fact that the episode’s title is “Julie” is strange given that the previous two episode titles—”Camille” and “Simon”—were named after people who returned. But Julie hasn’t done anything to indicate that she’s a Returned: In the beginning of series, it was established that she was known around town by cashiers, patients, neighbors. None of the people she encountered in that first episode batted an eyelash when they saw her—which they certainly would have done had she been previously presumed dead.
Yet there’s still something suspicious about Julie. The only person who appears to know about the attack is a police officer who Julie made out with immediately before the attack. This becomes clear when, in the present day, the nosy neighbor approaches Julie to ask if she heard about Lucy’s murder. “She was stabbed in the tunnel,” the neighbor explains. “The attacker ate her stomach. Just like that woman seven years ago.” As we know, Julie was that woman.
It’s entirely likely that Julie’s identity was just concealed in the attack’s aftermath, or that the neighbor didn’t know Julie at that time and therefore doesn’t realize who she’s living next to now. But there’s also a part of me that thinks maybe Julie didn’t survive that attack, that maybe she made a quick return and changed her identity. That, of course, is far-fetched and doesn’t offer an explanation for why Julie’s kissing buddy knows, but it’s something.
Now onto the present day:
Julie freaks out a bit once she finds out about Lucy because it brings back memories of her own attack and signals that the attacker might be on the loose, looking for her. She goes home, where the police officer/makeout pal shows up to tell Julie about Lucy. Julie is not having it though: “You haven’t come to see me in seven years,” Julie tells her through the door, only opened slightly.
Later, the nosy neighbor asks Julie why a cop was around and proposes that the reason she’s being so secretive about Victor is because she adopted him illegally. Nosy Neighbor is the all-around worst—especially when she insists to Julie that she’s calling the cops (this is right after Julie calls her a crazy bitch though, so they’re kind of even at this point).
Julie apologizes to Victor for having to hear the spat, and soon after leaves him alone at the apartment so she can grab some food from the store for dinner. For a moment, it seems like he’s going to stay put and continue drawing. But then he leaves the apartment and shows up at Nosy Neighbor’s apartment, which he enters once she invites him in. Either Victor’s about to bond with her, or Nosy Neighbor’s going to suffer some consequences of her constant nagging. Seeing as Victor doesn’t seem to be one to gab, it’s most likely the latter.
The best part of Camille’s plotline this entire episode is when she smokes a cigarette with her dad and then gets all pouty while smoking the cigarette when he explains that he and her mom have been taking a break. Yes, that must be devastating news to a teenage girl who’s already dealing with some pretty heavy stuff—you know, being dead—but she just looks so damned ridiculous smoking that cigarette and putting on an exaggerated sulky expression.
The sulking doesn’t last for too long though: Camille ends up apologizing to Lena for destroying her room, and ends up noticing a strange mark on her sister’s back. It appears to be a deep wound, but Lena hasn’t noticed it before—and suddenly is confused about where it came from.
This scar grows throughout the episode, but—in typical The Returned fashion—isn’t explained, at all. I’m wondering if it has something to do with that supernatural connection between Lena and Camille the show hinted at back in the pilot when they both climaxed at the same time.
Camille doesn’t appear to have the same mark on her back though, and is busy shopping with her mom—who runs into a friend, someone whose daughter also died in the bus crash. This friend is shocked when Camille comes out of the dressing room, but Camille makes a quick save: “Hi, I’m Alice. Lena’s cousin,” she says while Claire looks on, also in shock.
Now she has her alter ego, and now she’s free to frolick around town—which she does, first making a stop at the bar and introducing herself to Ben. Lena’s also at the bar though and is pissed to see her sister there, so makes a scene and sends Camille running. Best Big Sister Award of the Year goes to… anyone but Lena.
While their kids are off being teenage brats, Jack and Claire are trying to figure out what to do next. Jack wants to move; Claire thinks Camille is getting her bearings and doesn’t want to yank her away. Because living under a fake identity and constantly fighting with your moody sister really sounds like what happens when you get your bearings. Parents, right?
NEXT: Simon tries to say goodbye to Rowan.
This is a strange town. Case in point: Peter goes to the jail and tells someone who seems like a receptionist to let Simon go, that he’ll just take him to the Caldwell Community Center. No bail, no nothing. Just a, “Hey, I’ll take this guy off your hands!”
Apparently this is something Peter does a lot though, which is why the receptionist lets him take Simon, who he has an especially revealing conversation with. We find out that Simon was hit by a car on his wedding day, and that Peter’s seen someone return before. “A long time ago, I knew someone else,” he says. “Like you.” He doesn’t specify who this someone is, but maybe it’s someone among them—or maybe it’s Peter himself.
Simon doesn’t last long in the car though and eventually orders that Peter stop so he can get out. Peter obeys, and Simon heads straight to the library on foot to see Rowan—or more specifically, to say goodbye to Rowan.
“You don’t need me,” he tells her. “You have Tommy now.” Rowan’s surprisingly calm about the whole situation now that she’s convinced he’s a figment of her imagination, and they have a peaceful conversation. Rowan even takes him to a soccer game so he can “meet” (a.k.a. stare at from a distance) their little girl. It’s sweet, but also weird: How doesn’t anyone recognize him? Or, at the very least, how does Rowan escape the soccer game without even just one person coming up and asking who the fella next to her is?
While Rowan’s running around town with her dead ex-lover, Tommy’s being creepy. It turns out he has security cameras installed in every room of his and Rowan’s house, and he looks at their footage frequently. And later, this vigilance (or, more accurately, stalking) results in seeing something he probably didn’t want to see: Rowan making out with Simon outside their front door.
Last week, the police brought in Bartender Tony to question him about Lucy’s murder. A female police officer was insistent that Tony did it, while Tommy doesn’t think Tony’s guilty. And Tony doesn’t think he’s guilty, either: As they showed him photos of the victims, he muttered that it was “impossible.” He never gets a chance to explain why the latest murder would be impossible, but from that moment, it’s clear he knows something we don’t.
What that something is becomes a bit more apparent this episode when he encounters a younger man who seems to be from his past. Tony greets him by knocking him over the head with a shovel before hiding inside a beaten-down house. This man is bad news, apparently.
And he wakes up, only to now knock Tony over the head with a shovel. Then, as if that’s not enough, he also points a gun at Tony while questioning him: “Why is the house locked up? And where’s Ma?” This man is one of the Returned too, apparently. “Ma is dead, she died two years ago,” Tony answers. When the man asks, “Where the hell was I?” Tony answers simply: “With her.”
Could this be the mystery tunnel killer? Probably. Tony obviously thought whoever this man is was gone forever, and is obviously frightened by his seeming return. Julie should be frightened, too: If this man is the killer, he might be looking to finish what he started seven years ago.
Although no mysteries are outright solved in this episode, some possible clues do pop up: For example, we find out that the man who jumped off the dam was named George and that his wife, Helen, died 29 years ago when the town’s dam burst. She was one of many who died, but seems to be the only one from the dam to have returned—and returned, she has: Helen watches George’s entire funeral from behind a tree at the cemetery.
To recap: Helen died when the dam burst, Simon got hit by a car, and Camille died in a car crash. They all died in different ways on different dates, and there’s no apparent connection between them—at least not yet.
And while, at first, it seemed like The Returned might be the only strange ones, now it’s become clear that no one in this town is safe from crazy. Lena has the mysterious growing scar, Julie was the victim of a violent attack, and Peter’s encountered the Returned before. Everyone’s got secrets, and they’re all bound to come out sooner or later. Let’s just hope they do by the end of this season (if only for curiosity’s sake).
The Returned (A+E)