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


If this French zombie-drama wasn’t far enough out of the ordinary for you before, then you’ll be pleased when I remark how strange The Returned has managed to become over the last six weeks. There are sexual clairvoyants, coffins full of water, cults of the undead hiding out in the woods and more sex than we’re used to seeing on a Sunday night on Channel 4 (which, at one point in time, would have been saying something). Frustratingly, we’re still no closer to finding out any real answers, but the next two weeks should hopefully take care of that.

For now, we must be content with watching characters behaving strangely. Starting with Camille, she’s pimped out to the grieving parents of the coach crash by creepy stepfather Pierre, and coaxed into telling them comforting soundbites in order to offer them some semblance of peace. Of course, we already know that Camille has no memory of her death, let alone what happened afterwards, but she seems happy about finding a sense of purpose again. It’ll only last until she discovers the tragic consequences of her actions for one grieving couple, of course, as they commit suicide after hearing that their son was ‘waiting for them’.

None of the family seem overly concerned about Lena’s disappearance, which is odd, but then again so is the behaviour of Lena herself. Correct me if I’m wrong but, upon waking up in a strange, remote hut decorated with dead animals and a pretty extensive knife collection, I wouldn’t hang around for a chat. Even after she finds out that Serge is one of the returned and that she’s probably in a whole mess of danger, her solution is to sleep with her captor and only leave when he effectively pushes her out of the door. Running into the woods, Lena stumbles upon a gathering of what we can assume are other returnees, but what part will they play?

The secret is starting to spread around town, not helped by Camille’s revelations and the miraculous healing of Lucy. In the latter’s case, we still don’t really know what her story is and, if we don’t know after her episode, then I guess we never will. Her part in the series obviously just boils down to her special talents, as a flashback to sleeping with Jerome and seeing Camille is recreated when she sleeps with Simon and sees his apparent suicide. It’s interesting that he denies wanting to die, and I wonder whether the cause of Simon’s original death is everything we’ve heard. It’s handy we’ve got a clairvoyant prostitute to give us the answers.

Other moments of note include Victor’s decomposing arm, which he refuses to show Julie – suggesting that this could start happening to some of the others returnees, also – and Camille’s water-filled grave. Doing the smart thing on a show where everyone takes things at face value, Frederic’s weird encounter with Camille last week has spurred him on to find some solid facts about the phenomenon. He digs up her grave and discovers that the coffin is empty except for water. The power’s out and the water level is still rising, so could we be in for a full-scale apocalypse in two weeks?

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