'The Returned' recap: 'Helen'
Helen finds some dynamite.
Helen’s been very vocal about how she thinks Caldwell needs to be destroyed, and she makes some progress in this episode—but first, we find out that her destructive tendencies aren’t anything new. Twenty-nine years ago, she was in a mental hospital receiving treatment as a consequence for burning City Hall to the ground.
Unsurprisingly, Helen isn’t exactly remorseful, and she’s still hung up on how everything is doomed. “Terrible, terrible things are going to happen in this town,” she tells George. Soon after he leaves, an alarm goes off: The dam has burst. The nurses try to lead everyone to the roof, but Helen decides to make a detour and goes outside. Bad move though—the black water rushes toward the building right when she goes outside.
Back in the present, she’s trying to do something much more extreme than burn down a building: She’s trying to blow up the dam.
A couple episodes ago, that one dam worker told Helen that she could destroy the town by putting a bomb in one of the dam’s diversion tunnels. So now all she has to do is get into one of the diversion tunnels and secure some dynamite… and she sets out to do this by sleeping with someone who works for the dam and getting his keys (not before bashing his head in with a rock, though—we’ve gotta work on your bedside manner, Helen).
While he was still conscious, this worker revealed they had a bunch of dynamite locked away. By the end of the episode, Helen has found that dynamite—and has found her key to tearing apart the city.
Last time we saw Simon, he was breaking out of his cold chamber at the morgue. Now, he’s fully clothed and talking with Peter. Sidenote: How did he get to Peter’s unnoticed while completely naked? That seems like something people would notice…
Anyway, Simon asks Peter for help, but he can’t give it to him. He’s already lied to Tommy once, and he doesn’t want to screw up his relationship with him any more. But he’s not about to let Simon go away without giving him even a little bit of help. He hands him the keys to a van—after calling him “son,” which is adorable—that was donated to the center, and tells him he can leave and be whoever he wants to be. Those words of encouragement do nothing for Simon though, and he heads to Rowan’s to pick up Chloe for an adventure.
Rowan, who’s on the phone trying to square away some things for her wedding the next day, doesn’t notice Chloe’s gone until she’s getting in Simon’s van. But instead of running out there and, you know, grabbing her daughter, she watches in horror from inside. She doesn’t grab her own keys until they’re driving away, and by that time, she’s behind.
She trails them for a bit, but crashes into a telephone pole while she’s fumbling to grab her phone. Luckily though, she’s fine—or at least fine enough to get out of the car and start running while screaming Chloe’s name.
The next time we see Rowan, she’s ordering Tommy to do whatever it takes to get Chloe back. Turns out Tommy doesn’t have to do anything though: Simon calls Rowan and tells her to meet him where he left her—a.k.a. the altar. How sweet!
She finds him and Chloe in the church, and Rowan spends some time hitting Simon out of anger. But she eventually lets him speak, and he seems to be coming around to how hard all this is for them: He acknowledges that he’s been trying to find something that’s already gone. I can see where Rowan’s coming from completely, but Simon’s also in a heartbreaking place. As he says to Pastor Wright before Rowan arrives, “Now I have to watch everyone I love move on without me.” That straight-up sucks.
His monologue gets interrupted though when Chloe, who was hanging out with Pastor Wright, runs out for one last visit with her dad. He tells her that she was right, that he’s an angel. And then he’s gone. But, let’s be real: Simon’s never really gone.
NEXT: Peter has a secret.
The families of those who died in the bus crash are having a memorial event, but they don’t want Camille—or her family—anywhere near it. Their rejection of Camille is pretty rude, but it’s also not too hard to understand why they’re having such a hard time accepting her because, a) It doesn’t make sense that she’s back and b) Why aren’t their kids back, too?
Camille’s already having a rough time though, because everyone thinks she’s the reason Oliver’s parents killed themselves. She goes to Peter to talk about this, and he admits that he failed her. Although he’s thinking the solution might just be for her family to skip town, she’s intent on staying. “If we just keep running and hiding, they’ll never accept us.” Girl’s got a point, but I’m not sure that asking them to accept her on the day they’re supposed to be honoring their dead children is the greatest time.
But instead of giving all the grieving parents some more time to heal, Camille shows up at the memorial and Peter once again pushes her on the rest of the families. “One of our lost children has come home from a place none of us felt possible,” he says. “And instead of embracing her, you have shunned her. What if she was your child?”
One parent replies from the audience, “No, she’s not.” Great observation! She goes on to claim that this girl isn’t Camille, but Peter corrects her—and reveals something about himself: “I know because I’m like her. I died 29 years ago.” That means Peter must have also died the day the dam burst, just like Helen.
This isn’t all that surprising, because Peter’s said before that he knows someone like Simon. But it’s intriguing that he took this long to reveal that about himself—and that he’s been able to have played such a public role in Caldwell’s community without anyone noticing that, hey, this guy is supposed to be dead.
Nikki’s still feeling suspicious of Victor—because, okay, who isn’t suspicious of that little creep?—so she goes and talks to a woman whose neighbor’s house burned down years ago. According to the police report, the neighbor and an unidentified boy died in the fire—also according to the police report, this woman said the fire wasn’t accidental. She said the little boy did it; the police said it was caused by a gas leak. Obviously, this little boy is Victor.
Nikki goes over to Julie’s to tell her what she’s found, and she’s greeted by Victor as she’s coming up the stairs. The lights are flickering as Victor glares at her, and then Julie comes out. The strange thing is, we just saw a shot of Julie in the shower. Now there are two Julies, apparently.
This Julie is not the one we know. This Julie is pretty mean. “It’s your fault what happened to me,” she tells Nikki. “I want you gone. For good.” With that, Nikki’s tumbling down the stairs. First Tony, now Nikki—Victor’s the worst.
The real Julie is still in the shower, but she hears the tumble and rushes out to find Nikki unconscious at the bottom of the stairs. So do you still think Victor’s a good kid, Julie?
There’s one episode left of the season, and there are still plenty of unsolved mysteries floating around. For one, Lucy made her return this week and started hearing those whispers once again after she had sex with Jack. The last time she heard them was when she was in the hospital—and also with Jack. This time, they lead her to the sink where the black water is bubbling up. After this week’s flashback, we know that the black water is from the dam—but why does it keep coming up through the pipes?
I could attempt to explain that, and I could attempt to explain why there are suddenly two Julies—but, honestly, I have absolutely no idea how to even start. There are so few clues that it’s hard to think about even out-there, wild theories, and that’s part of the fun of watching. The point of watching The Returned isn’t to solve its mysteries, after all; it’s to be fascinated by them. And, at this point, I’m enjoying each new twist (and also starving for some explanations).
The Returned (A+E)