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Monday, 29 July 2013

The Returned reaches its conclusion




Hands up all those who were disappointed in last night’s finale of Channel 4’s French thriller? Hmm...a few of you I see.

Well, in fairness it was heavily trailed that there would be a second series and we would be left with questions. So I don’t think the lack of revelations in the final episode should be allowed to detract from the overall genius of the show.

Because it truly has been genius. Carefully drawn characters, a sumptuous soundtrack and a compelling plot have led to The Returned being the jewel in Channel 4’s schedule. The most devastating past of last night was knowing I’d have to wait a year to meet Lena, Adele, Camille etc again.

 Though will we meet them all? With the living (plus Serge and at-the-moment dead Toni) safely locked away in the Helping Hand, the dead, along with the police force, Julie and Claire appear to have been drowned in the town flood. Immediate speculation was that the Returned were back for revenge after their village flooded, which doesn’t quite explain Camille and Simon returning, they weren’t even alive at that point.

However, at 4am last night I had a revelation. The Returned appear gone but the living are still there. They were saved. Perhaps the Returned hounded them into the Helping Hand to ensure the living were safely locked away and not swept away by the flood. Are the drowned villagers saviours as opposed to avenging angels?

The epic confrontation, beautifully backlit and almost like a Hollywood blockbuster, was as anticipated, though again, The Returned’s writers reduced it down to an exploration of family relationships. The finale also set things up for the second series.

With Adele now pregnant by Simon (is there anything he can’t do? Apart from keep his clothes on for more than one scene) it would appear that the baby will be a focus for Series 2. The smart money is on Toni Returning, will this change the dynamic between him and Serge?

I am not convinced that we’ve seen the last of Mme Costa, Camille, Julie and Victor, n since the revelation that Julie does indeed look a lot like Victor’s fairy picture. Rather hoping we have seen the back of Lucy, even with his frankly murderous tendencies, Victor was less creepy than her. Pierre even started to seem reasonable in comparison.

Actually, I thought Pierre, the pantomime baddie from the start, came across very well in this episode. I’m still not sure whether he actually knows what is going on or he is massively delusional, but he certainly did the right thing in protecting Camille and that operating room proved prescient after Toni’s shooting.

Another surprise was Camille. I’d pretty much rejected the theory that she and Lena swapped identities but a cryptic conversation in the bathroom with Frederic, suggested that may be the case. Of course I can only go by the subtitles but I’m sure the conversation went something like this:

‘You called me Camille, even though you can see I’m not her....I really did love you’

I thought Frederic said he loved her as well. Now I can only assume that a man in love with Camille would not be having secret sex with Lena. But maybe I’m wrong.

To be brutally honest with you, I could be wrong about everything. Not since Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes have I been so doubtful of my predictive abilities. Still, I have over a year to ruminate on what we have seen. Maybe by November 2014 I’ll have it all figured out.

Contributed by Victoria Prior

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