The Returned Series 1 (Channel 4) Review “Simon”

After last week’s premiere of The Returned introduced us to young Camille, the back-from-the-dead school girl killed in a bus crash, here we meet ‘Simon’, who died ten years ago the morning of his wedding to fiancé Adele. In a flashback, we see the happy couple learn of Adele’s pregnancy, which also explains the ten-year-old girl in Adele’s apartment.

Now that we’ve settled in to the atmosphere and suspense of the show, this second episode was much more devoted to setting up the mystery behind each of the characters. We learn via Simon’s violence against the restaurant worker that the returned are both ravenously hungry (see Being Human season three for the implications of this in zombie-lore) and prone to outbursts of anger. I guess anyone would be a bit tetchy after returning from the grave to a world that’s left you behind, but Camille’s similarly destructive tantrum in Lena’s bedroom could suggest this is something to look out for.

After the murder of Lucy in the first episode, this second episode is invaded by an element of police procedural. The show is smart enough to cast Adele’s new fiancé as the detective in charge of the murder investigation, thus pulling the drama and crime stories together, and he’s on hand when Simon is discovered. His reaction isn’t an easy one to read, but it’s clear he recognises the man as his partner’s ex and child’s father. Lena also spots him in the bar they both attended in her younger years, and tells Camille that she may have found someone like her.

Add to this the appearance of Mr Costa’s own returnee, who we had assumed was burned where he left her, and two things are suggested – we can expect all of these disparate stories to intertwine over the course of the series, and it’s probable that the returned cannot be killed. A murder mystery adds even more intrigue to the matter, as we discover Serge, Toni’s brother, had killed before he died and enacted the same crime all over again once he’d returned. Lucy is still alive, but is she also one of them? There’s also the matter of Julie, who it’s revealed has also been a victim of his, to ponder.

Speaking of Julie, she’s doing everything wrong when it comes to Victor. If a creepy child were to follow me home from a bus stop and refuse to speak, I’m not sure I would evade the police and adopt the mini-psychopath. She must know there’s something different about him, clearly creeped out by his antics herself, and still wants to keep him after watching him jump from a first story window and survive. Victor is a bit of an anomaly where the show’s rules are concerned, so I have my suspicions that all questions lead back to him.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know your thoughts and theories in the comments below.