The Returned recap: Peter
Like Helen promised, bad things are happening.
Last week we found out Peter was also a Returned, and this episode begins with a scene from 29 years ago explaining how Peter died—and it’s not particularly exciting: He and Rich, the guy who killed Victor, get in a scuffle that ends in Rich accidentally (maybe?) shooting Peter dead.
Back in the present, Tommy’s more suspicious of Peter than ever. And so he does what any rational, professional cop would do with someone they’re suspicious of: Tommy arrests Peter.
Now that Tommy’s arrested him, Peter’s hanging out in jail, where Claire comes to get some answers. She threatens to leave if he doesn’t immediately tell her who he is, but her fury comes off as a bit out of place—her daughter is just like him. Why’s she suddenly acting so indignant? She’s seen how the people have been treating Camille since they found out about her, so I’d think she’d understand why Peter has kept this fun fact about him a secret. But apparently not.
He tells her his name was Andrew, and that he died in the flood (ugh, Peter, why did you have to lie?). “I just wanted to be the guy you thought I was,” he says when she asks why he never told her. This doesn’t make anything better though: She thinks he’s been hiding behind Camille, and she feels betrayed. Oh, Claire, always making everything about you.
Later on, a journalist from Chicago stops by his cell because she heard he and Camille have something in common. He says he doesn’t have a story to tell her, then she names some places. “All of them reported seeing people rise from the dead,” she tells him. And, apparently, all these places—and the people in them—suddenly ceased to exist one day. Caldwell isn’t alone.
Julie, who’s been on Victor’s side for no real reason ever since she found him, is finally mad at Victor for what he did to Nikki. Nikki, thank goodness, is okay after the nasty staircase fall though—well, mostly: She has a broken wrist and a concussion.
After Julie makes sure Nikki is going to be fine, she goes into the car with Victor and tries to interrogate him about who else he’s hurt. He doesn’t reply and just wears a creepy closed-mouth smile the entire time she angrily asks him questions. He also is very focused on turning the radio on, which she keeps turning off. Her results are futile though: Victor can turn on the radio with his mind—just like he caused Tony to go crazy and Nikki to fall with his mind. What do we think his IQ is?
Julie and Victor go to the house where he was killed, and she realizes something bad happened to him there. But despite the sympathy she might have for him, she can’t help him anymore. “The truth is, your mom isn’t coming back and the fairy doesn’t exist.” She tells him this gently, as if she’s speaking to a little child. And although Victor looks like a child, it’s clear that his mind is much more advanced.
Victor argues with her (yes, verbally), but she doesn’t budge: She’s breaking up with him. Their relationship has always been strange—he hasn’t spoken to her at all—but this “break-up” makes it even stranger. “I love you, and I’m so grateful that we met, but we can’t be together anymore,” she tells him. Watching a grown woman say “we can’t be together anymore” to a kid is undeniably weird.
As punishment, a hooded man chokes her as she has quick flashbacks of the tunnel attack. The man eventually disappears though, and she finds herself completely alone in the room where Victor was killed. At this point, I’m wondering if Victor is just really, really fast or if he has teleportation powers (wouldn’t put that past him at this point, honestly).
Julie returns to the hospital, where she tells Nikki “it’s over” (again with the romantic break-up language!) before they make out in the hospital hallway. Things are okay for them—for now.
NEXT: Helen’s got the dynamite.
Helen’s still set on blowing the town to bits, and she spends the whole episode trying to make that happen. She acquired the dynamite so now all she has to do is light it.
This gets interrupted though when she sees a man walking down the road as she’s driving. It’s Simon. She stops and picks him up, but their ride doesn’t last too long—her tire blows and sends the car in a spin that almost ends up with Simon, Helen, and the car falling off a cliff.
They both get out, and Simon sees the dynamite in the trunk. “I wish you hadn’t seen that,” Helen says before whacking him over the head, sending him falling to the ground. Poor Simon. His old girlfriend doesn’t want him, his old town doesn’t want him, and he can’t even hitch a ride out of town.
After fixing the tire, Helen heads to the diversion tunnel—sans Simon—where she plans to light the dynamite. But something else beats her to it.
Camille and Lena go to the swimming hole with a couple friends, who end up distributing some shrooms. Camille takes some, but, like the alcohol, they have no effect on her. The others, though, are having the times of their lives: making out, frolicking around, staring introspectively at their reflections.
Hunter gets a little weird though, and confronts Camille. “You’re not human,” he tells her. “I bet you don’t even bleed.” To test this, he slices her arm with the knife he’s been glaring at. Just a reminder: Hunter is the same guy who said mean things about Camille on Facebook (he apologized about that earlier in the episode, but it looks like he’s still a bad guy).
She does bleed, and she runs away. Ben chases after her, and they talk a bit about how he kissed her first but ended up having sex with Lena. “Lena was ready to hook up, you weren’t,” he says. “That’s all I cared about.” At least he’s honest?
Camille responds to that by having sex with him as Lena looks for her in the woods. Everything seems to go well, but when it’s over, she turns over and finds Ben unresponsive. Ben is dead.
Lucy still hears the voices, and she tells Jack they’re saying that something bad is going to happen—that they’ve been sending signs and no one’s been listening. These voices must be referring to the black water bubbling up in the sinks and the dead deer, which aren’t very helpful as far as signs go.
Rowan and Tommy end up getting married and having their reception at the bar, where Rowan asks Lucy if she needs any help. Right then, Lucy starts hearing more voices. “I’m supposed to give you a message,” she says to Rowan. “He’ll be here soon. When he comes you need to listen.” Rowan asks who, and Lucy responds by touching her stomach. “The man whose baby you’re carrying.” So apparently The Returned writers have watched Rosemary’s Baby.
The episode ends with the power going out all over town. Simon’s far above it, and he looks down to see a flood coming over all of Caldwell. He screams, but, of course, that does nothing—the flood does appear to freeze though, and that’s when Simon starts running (to where, I don’t know). Maybe Simon’s life doesn’t suck so bad, after all—at least he’s not drowning in flooded Caldwell.
Something bad happened, like Helen and Lucy predicted. This finale wasn’t one full of answers—in fact, it raised more questions than anything. What’s the deal with Rowan’s baby? How is Victor controlling everything with his mind? What happened in those other towns that disappeared?
But adding some more mysteries was a smart move. This episode wasn’t the strongest—there was a small part of me that expected the town to flood again, a suspicion that took away the possibility of experiencing any sort of that satisfying shock good finales often inspire—but at least the cliffhangers are ones that leave me wondering what the hell they’re going to do next.
In this way, The Returned is extremely similar to Les Revenants: The first season of the French show ended on a wildly different note (which I won’t say here—if you haven’t watched already, spend the time waiting for the potential second season of this show watching that one), and it was also one that inspired a, “How are they going to follow this?” reaction.
We still don’t have the answer to that question though—the finale of Les Revenants aired back in 2012 and a second season hasn’t yet premiered—so The Returned doesn’t have a guide map for what’s next. And that’s a good thing: The Returned has been more intriguing, more fascinating when it wasn’t copying Les Revenants scene-for-scene. By the end of the season, I started thinking of it as its own show and not just one that’s a carbon copy of that better French one—a huge improvement on my initial, mostly disappointed reaction to this premiere.
The Returned still has a ways to go if it wants to be a show that people want to keep watching—as it is now, it’s more of a show that you have to keep watching if you want to find out what’s going on (and even then, it’s rare that episodes actually provide answers). But whatever happens next, its first season was a good—if sometimes frustrating, occasionally too mysterious—start.
The Returned (A+E)