The Returned—Season 1

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8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great looking series with a great ensemble cast

Feels like complete set-up for the next season with very few answers

 
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Welcome to a really weird town

Something is happening in a small, isolated town in the mountains of France.  The water level of the dam is falling for unknown reason and the dead are returning to their home.  It begins with Camille (Yara Pilartz) who died in a school bus crash, but Camille is soon joined by Simon (Pierre Perrier), Serge (Guillaume Gouix), and other of the dead from all different time periods.  Some of the dead’s loved ones hide their return where others refuse to believe it.  As the water level continues to fall, the reason behind the returning dead is questioned…but the dead keep coming and soon nothing may stop them!

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Batman is a lot shorter than I remember

The Returned—Season 1 was a French series titled Les Revenants.  The series originally aired from November 26, 2012 to December 17, 2012 and was based on the 2004 French film They Came Back.  The blend of horror, drama, and mystery received critical acclaim and became available on many streaming networks and also was available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

The Returned followed other horror series like The Walking Dead and American Horror Story but plays out more like LostThe Returned, like these series, has a large ensemble cast that slowly are brought together for the season finale.  I had heard lots of positive things about The Returned so I had to check it out.

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Cats: Can’t live with them…or they will eat you

The Returned was pretty impressive.  The story is full of mystery and intrigue and keeps you watching simply in the “what the hell is going on” path that instead of making you angry makes you want to see the next episode.  The season is a “first season” and that is good because by the end of the series, you are left with many unanswered questions as to the purpose of “the return” and what everything actually means.

The acting for the series also is of a high quality.  With an ensemble cast there can often be weak links and there are very few in The Returned.  The whole cast really stands out from the younger characters to the older characters.  It does take a couple of episodes to really get a lock on the relationships so it probably is worth a second viewing.

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If you meet a bunch of dead people in the woods…try to avoid getting their attention

The show also looks great.  The mountain setting is quite beautiful and makes you want to go there (though I was a bit confused about the size of the town which sometimes looked small and other times looked large).  The style of the show does lend itself to the horror and there is a lot of atmosphere built.  It does have a very European feel to it that just isn’t like American television and film.

The Returned is definitely worth seeking out if you are a fan of horror, but it also has wider appeal with a lot of mystery and suspense.  The second season of this series really needs to happen because it almost feels like you’ve been left hanging at the end, but there is enough resolution that you aren’t too upset (just a bit perplexed about what all occurred and why).  Seek out The Returned, and let yourself enjoy it.  An American version of the series is being made for A&E.

The Returned—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide:

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“Camille”

1.1       Camille Airdate:  11/26/12

In a small French town in the Alps, a school bus goes off a cliff on a fieldtrip and kills everyone inside including a girl named Camille (Yara Pilartz).  Four years later, Camille has mysterious and miraculously returned, un-aged and with no recollection of the accident.  As her separated parents Claire and Jérôme (Anne Cosigny and Frédéric Pierrot) question what has occurred and her now older twin sister Léna (Jenna Thiam) learns of her return, others are returning to the small town.  A mysterious boy who goes by the name of Victor (Swann Nambotin) haunts Julie (Céline Sallette) while a man calling himself Simon (Pierre Perrier) searches for a woman named Adèle (Clotilde Hesme).  A man named Mr. Costa (Claude Lévèque) discovers he’s had a loved one Viviane Costa (Laetitia de Fombelle) return and takes a drastic step and a girl named Lucy Clarsen (Ana Girardot) finds her destiny at the hands of a killer named Serge (Guillaume Gouix).  With mysterious occurrences at the dam, the reason behind the wreck is revealed.

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“Simon”

1.2       Simon Airdate:  11/26/12

Jérôme, Claire, Claire’s boyfriend Pierre (Jean-François Sivadier), and Léna question what to do about the return of Camille.  Julie searches for Victor’s identity and continues to keep him at her home.  The attack on Lucy leads police back to her boss Toni (Grégory Gadebois) at the bar, and Toni finds he’s under suspicion again for being a serial killer.  Adèle questions if she is going crazy again when she begins to see Simon and tries to put her past behind her for her marriage to Thomas (Samir Guesmi).  Thomas finds Simon in his holding cell and wonders if Adèle’s love could have really returned.  A trip to the bar leads Léna to the realization that Camille might not have been the only one to return from the dead.  Toni discovers his brother Serge has returned and is back with his killing ways.  The workers at the dam find that the reservoir is sinking for unexplained reasons.

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“Julie”

1.3       Julie Airdate:  12/03/12

Camille’s mother and father consider moving to restart a new life with Camille and Léna, but Camille has other plans when she begins to introduce herself as Léna’s cousin Alice.  Simon finds his return has attracted the interest of Pierre who sees his return as a religious event and tries to reconnect with Adèle who begins to suspect that she isn’t crazy.  Julie remembers the attack on her by the killer seven years before and finds herself having flashbacks to the events.  When Julie’s neighbor Mademoiselle Payet begins to question Julie’s new ward Victor, a threat of going to the police has fatal results.

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“Victor”

1.4       Victor Airdate:  12/03/12

The police investigate the death of Mademoiselle Payet and discover shocking results as Julie questions if Victor has something to do with it.  Victor’s death thirty-five years ago at the hands of a home invasion is revealed as Julie’s former lover Laure (Alix Poisson) is forced to take him into custody…leading him to discover one of the men responsible.  Thomas monitors Adèle with hidden cameras and uncovers Adèle’s newly hidden affair with Simon which forces Thomas to reveal the truth about Simon’s death.  Léna finds the growing sore on her back has become infected and is rushed to the hospital as Camille continues to move on Frédéric (Matila Malliarakis).  The dam’s water continues to fall as investigators struggle to find the cause.  Léna’s confrontation with Camille leads to an encounter with Serge.

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“Serge & Toni”

1.5       Serge & Toni Airdate:  12/10/12

Serge’s attack on Julie is revealed, and Toni recalls ending his life.  Animals are found floating in the dam lake, and scientists try to determine the reason.  Léna finds herself in Serge’s home and discovers Serge tending to her.  Victor leaves the home with Viviane and is convinced to return to confront Pierre about his murder.  The search for Victor brings Julie and Laure together and has Julie considering suicide.  Camille continues to try to seduce Frédéric but a slip-up by her father leads Frédéric to the truth.  Simon’s decision to leave town leaves Adèle and her daughter with a decision to make about their future.  Lucy continues to show a strange recovery from her wounds to the doctor’s surprise.

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“Lucy”

1.6       Lucy Airdate:  12/10/13

Simon is dead again, but the dead won’t stay dead as he escapes the morgue putting Adèle and Thomas on alert.  Lucy finds herself among the living once again and discovers herself drawn to Simon…and her psychic abilities see into his past. Frédéric searches Camille’s grave to find no body and reveals the truth to Thomas.  Knowledge of the returned begins to grow and Pierre puts the group on the defensive when he suspects danger is coming for them.  Victor hides growing injuries to his body, and Victor and Julie move in with Laure when the town is struck by a power outage due to the growing problem with the dam.  The police begin to search for Serge as they suspect him in the attack on Lucy, and Léna is forced to flee into the woods.

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“Adèle”

1.7       Adèle Airdate:  12/17/12

An encounter between Victor and Adèle’s daughter Chloé (Brune Martin) causes Chloé to question why the dead have returned and sends Victor, Julie, and Laure on the run.  Serge and Toni flee into the woods after Toni’s encounter with the police but an attempt to cross the reservoir lake leads to a shocking disappearance.  Simon’s attempts to reach out to his former priest Father Jean-François (Jérôme Kircher) and finds himself under arrest.  Camille learns her actions have consequences after the bodies of her former classmate’s parents are found and Pierre reveals his bigger plans to protected the returning dead to Claire.  Léna makes her way back to civilization and discovers Camille along with others of the returning dead are starting to rot.  Laure and Julie’s attempt to leave the town with Victor reveals a shocking truth.

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“The Horde”

1.8       The Horde Airdate:  12/17/12

The other returnees are on the move and returning to the town.  As Laure, Julie, and Victor discover they cannot leave, they also find Toni contemplating suicide.  Simon has escaped prison and is after his daughter Chloé…forcing a difficult decision from Thomas and the other refugees at the center.  With the dead massing on the shelter, decisions must be made and simply surviving the night might not be possible.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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