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Monday, 24 June 2013

The Returned Episode 3: Julie's Story

This week was Julie the Doctor’s story, though as usual it only nominally focussed on her. I have begun to learn people’s names but I think, ironically for a show about people returning from the dead, we are going to have quite a high body count by the end of the series. So maybe I won’t bother.

We learnt a lot this episode, while cleverly managing to have several new mysteries thrown at us. Never a dull moment in this French town. In fact, I was entertaining a dream of living in France one day, but after watching this I have been severely put off. I also may start screaming if I see small dark haired boys in the street. More on that later.

Let’s deal with Simon and Adele first, because they are the least weird storyline. Simon’s out of jail and sent off to Pierre, who runs the local shelter. Pierre quickly cottons on that Simon is one of the Returned and promises to help him. Simon was hit by a car on his wedding day. He pretends to be a ghost to Adele who takes him to see their daughter. But when Lena pitches up and starts asking where Simon is, Adele realises he is back from the dead. When he visits the house that evening she kisses him passionately, unaware that new fiancé Thomas is watching on the town’s CCTV.

Which brings me to the true mystery of this show: 7 years ago, a madman stalked the streets of FrenchTown (yeah, ok, I don’t know the name yet) brutally stabbing women to death in the underpass. 7 years later, even quiet residential areas are covered in bright lights and CCTV except...the underpass! What the is going on? How thick are the French police?

To cut said police a bit of slack, they do appear to be chasing a phantom. Super scary Victor, potential causer of bus crash, is drawing pictures of all the Returnees. Then he goes into Nosy Neighbour’s apartment while Julie is out with that creepy smile (seriously, there are actors all over the world trying to work out how a kid can pull off that look). Julie, who was a victim of the serial killer, and is now known charmingly as ‘The Appetiser’ because she survived, has an encounter with the serial killer in the lobby of her apartment. But at the crucial moment she comes to and it is Victor standing over her. Two things could have happened, either she was hallucinating and Victor rescued her (which is what she thinks) or Victor is a shape shifter who can imitate the other Returnees. I immediately began wondering whether he has always been the serial killer, and lo, I appear to be proved right as we discover that Nosy Neighbour has met a grizzly end, having been repeatedly stabbed in the stomach and left as cat food.


My only hope for Julie’s safety is that her former girlfriend is the police officer that had a highly unprofessional reaction to the news that the killer was on the loose again. She has a valid reason for having a personal grudge against the murderer, she and Julie split up after the attack. But she’s clearly looking for a way back so this could be Julie’s rescuer.

Not to be outdone, the twins are weaving a mystery of their own. Camille is acting older than her years and posing as Alice, Lena’s cousin so she can try and hook up with Frederic. Now, you might remember that at the time of the crash, Lena, despite promising otherwise, was losing her virginity to young Fred, who clearly wishes they were still together. Have just realised that all the Returnees are part of a partnership that ended when they died. Could this be significant or a red herring? Fred’s luck is nearly in when a distraught Lena gets frisky in the pub toilets (classy), but the mysterious scar that has appeared on her back is getting bigger and this puts her off. Is Lena beginning to suffer Camille’s injuries?

This drama is utterly superb but I may need therapy by the end. The water is still playing up and the toilets are overflowing with brown muck. Cockroaches are crawling up the sink and a very dead bunny was left in Camille and Lena’s garbage. The gore factor has been slowly upped over the first three episodes and I think it is only going to get worse. It also looks like I’ve got to rewatch the episodes. The Channel 4 announcer suggested going back and seeing how much we missed first time round...so what clues were there from the beginning?

Contributed by Victoria Prior 

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