Each week we observe The Returned‘s serial progression by keeping track of the key overarching questions and explanations that are delivered along the way. Here’s how things stand after Episode 3 – “Julie”.
Note: the following is 100% spoiler-free, we’re going by Channel 4 episode pace.
1. How much time has past since Camille died? The flashback confirms that it’s been four years since Camille died. (1.01 “Camille”)
2. Why did the bus crash? As the bus turned a corner, the driver swerved to avoid Victor who was standing in the middle of the road, sending the bus over a cliff. (1.01 “Camille”)
3. Were all of the Returned on the bus? No, 38 students (plus the teacher and driver) were on the bus, but others, such as Simon (who died in 2002) and Mrs. Costa have also been resurrected. They’re from different times. (1.01 “Camille”)
4. Why was Adelle afraid of Simon? Adelle and Simon were madly in love and due to be married but he died hours before they were due to be married. She experienced visions of Simon following his death and believed they had returned to haunt her. (1.01 “Camille”, 1.02 “Simon”)
5. Camille and Lena – special twins? There seems to be enough evidence to say so. Camille sensed that Lena was having sex, which suggests they have some kind of sensory link that was triggered moments before Camille died (although we don’t know for sure whether this is the first time such a connection was experienced). Worth noting also that Lena asked her boyfriend “what if I’m Camille too?” (1.01 “Camille”)
6. Who is the man in the hood who attacked Lucy? His name is Serge, a serial killer whose modus operandi is to stab his victims repeatedly and eat their liver. He died 7 years ago and was never caught. Police suspected his brother, Toni (Lucy’s boss), as the killer but the case was dropped. It turns out Lucy is still alive. (1.02 “Simon”)
7. What happened to Mr. Costa’s wife? There was no sign of her body after Mr. Costa tried to kill her in the fire, but she’s appears at the diner the following day. She watches Simon attack the owner but doesn’t try to help nor does she seem at all shocked. She looks detached and seems to have a deeper understanding of what has become of herself, and possibly Simon. (1.02 “Simon”)
8. Is Simon the father of Adelle’s daughter? Yep. She told Simon she was pregnant with his child on the day of their wedding. Upon his resurrection, she takes him to meet her. (1.02 “Simon”, 1.03 “Julie”)
9. Humans only? No, Mr. Costa’s butterfly came back to life, as did the dog that Toni killed. (1.02 “Simon)
10. Why does Julie have scars on her stomach? Serge attacked and stabbed her seven years ago in the same underpass where he attacked Lucy. Unless it turns out ‘they are all dead’, both Julie and Lucy survived. (1.03 “Julie”)
11. How did Simon die? He was hit by a car. (1.03 “Julie”)
1. Why and how have they returned? Are we looking at the supernatural or a spiritual event? Perhaps a scientific experiment? Are they all going round the twist? Is it all a construct/are they all dead?
2. Where did the Returned go when they died? They have no memory of dying.
3. What is the nature of Jerome’s relationship with Lucy? She apologizes that “it” can’t work every time as he’s pulling up his trousers. He then pays her for whatever services she gave him. The implication is that he paid her for sex, but perhaps she’s a pelvic instructor?
4. What’s with the electricity? As the mystery begins, the town’s power system cuts out for a few seconds, then the gas station lights flicker as Camille walks past it on her way home. The lights also flicker when Simon exits the elevator to Lucy’s apartment. Presumably it’s linked to resurrection – but what does it all mean?
5. Did they really die? We see Simon’s grave, so at the very least they were buried/believed to have died. But do we have to redefine “death”.
6. Pierre claims to have witnessed a previous case of resurrection, what was that case?
7. Have the Returned come back in their original bodies? If so, why no injuries and how did they rise from their graves?
8. Who is Victor? He was standing in the middle of the road and was the prime cause of the bus ‘accident’. Four years later, he follows Julie home, though she doesn’t know who he is. Was he already dead when the bus crashed? Did he intentionally cause the crash? Is he a harbinger of some kind? Where has he been for the past four years? The episode “Simon” offers hints that Victor might be related to Julie, possibly her child.
9. Why don’t the Returned feel pain? Serge wasn’t affected when Lucy stabbed him and Victor leapt from Julie’s window unharmed.
10. What’s with the butterfly? Is it one of the Returned? It came to life like the human Returnees, smashing its way through Mr. Costa’s photo. Butterflies also have thematic context.
11. Why don’t the Returned seem to notice that their loved ones have aged? Mrs. Costa in particular should have been freaked out given that she apparently died quite some time ago.
12. Why did Mr. Costa set fire to his house with Mrs. Costa trapped inside, before killing himself? He seemed spooked by her return. Did he consider her ‘evil’? Why didn’t he kill himself in the fire instead of jumping from the dam? (aside from the obvious spiritual fire/water context, which might actually explain it to be fair).
13. What happens to the Returned if/when they die again? That’s assuming they can die again and aren’t still dead or in a state of limbo. Interestingly, Mrs. Costa appears to have ‘survived’ the fire, yet the revived dog was killed again by Toni. Makes you wonder about the rules of resurrection. In “Julie,” Mrs. Costa attends her husband’s funeral and looks horrified. It would seem they have not been reunited since his death, nor has he ‘returned’.
14. Why have the water levels lowered? The dam workers notice that the water levels have lowered, which is presumably connected to the resurrection. The opening credits reveal a crack in the dam. Hmm, what lies beneath?
15. Have the Returned returned indefinitely or is there a time-limit?
16. Why don’t the Returned remember dying?
17. How did Serge and his mother die? Toni tells Serge they were buried together..
18. Has Serge and Toni’s mother also Returned?
19. Do the returned sleep? Must say, very little sleeping going on amongst our band of returnees so far.
20. Why are the Returned so hungry? There’s an obvious answer there, but given that Camille, Mrs. Costa, Simon and even little Victor have made light work of their various meals, it’s a mystery not to be scoffed at.
21. Why do the returned have explosions of anger? Surely no coincidence – from Camille trashing Lena’s room to Simon banging wildly on Adelle’s door/attacking the diner owner, to the dog pouncing for Toni. And we don’t even have to mention Serge, do we? Heck, even the butterfly smashed its way back into the land of the living. So far, the only returnee who hasn’t displayed significant anger outbursts is Mrs Costa, but even she didn’t flinch at Simon assaulting the diner owner. As for Victor, it’s debatable, but he’s been involved in acts of violence.
22. Was Julie pregnant when she was stabbed? Because this would clear up some other things. We know she was in a relationship with the police officer Laure, but that wouldn’t rule it out.
23. Why is Pierre pretending not to know who Simon is? We know that he mentioned a previous case of resurrection (though he may be speaking Biblically) – is he trying to shepherd Simon into his new existence gently, or does he know even more than he’s letting on?
24. Who was driving the car that killed Simon? Could it have been Pierre, or perhaps even Thomas?
25. What’s up with Claire seeing the dead animal/flies in the bin and insect in the sink? Is it her imagination or a sign of some kind (ala they’re all dead)? She stops short of blaming Camille for the dead animal (not sure what animal is was – a cat?) but then the returned twin did trash Lena’s room – or did she?
26. Who was Pierre speaking to when Thomas came to see him about Simon? Bruno, that you?
27. What do Victor’s creepy drawings depict? Real-life experiences or the work of his imagination? The two figures on the left catch the eye; one is holding a shotgun and the other a knife – could this be Toni and Serge? This might add more credence to the idea that Victor is Julie’s unborn child.
28. Did Lucy imagine Serge attacking her? ‘Serge’ whispers “It’s over”, the same thing he said before stabbing her seven years earlier, before he ‘transformed’ into Victor. Did the stress of knowing Serge could be back trigger this hallucination or is Victor somehow responsible? Indeed, what to make of the Serge/Victor parallel? Does this further support the possibility that Victor is a representation of Julie’s unborn child, or is he something else altogether? Is this Julie’s subconscious trying to heal itself, standing at odds with her physical scars? Or is it more a case of Victor, her ‘guardian angel’, protecting her from all who may pose a threat to Julie - herself, her mind, included?
29. What’s with the scar on Lena’s back? First Camille noticed it, then Frederic. Seems Lena was unaware of the scar before it was pointed out, that or she had forgotten about it. It also seems to be getting progressively worse. Are we looking at some kind of bleed-through between realms, possibly suggesting that Lena is also dead? OR, is the scar a physical offset of the revenants (ala the water levels, insects)? Could the scar have been suffered through abuse (Lena did possibly imply in “Simon” that her father had previously hit her ). Another possibility, given the apparent telepathic connection that the twins share, is that Camille is somehow (perhaps subconsciously?) causing it out of jealousy/anger over her death and Lena’s reaction to her resurrection.
30. Why did Victor kill Mrs. Payet? Did VICTOR Kill her? Earlier that day she threatened to report Julie to the authorities for keeping Victor illegally, so can we assume he killed Payet to protect himself and Julie from being separated? Also, it appears he cut out her stomach ala Serge – does this link him to Serge or is he trying to pin the murder on the hooded serial killer? Alternatively, maybe Serge killed her, but that would be a bit random and possibly invalidate Victor’s reason for paying her visit (unless he ran out of rice and biscuits) from a story POV. Probably a better second bet is that Victor contrived Payet into killing herself, in the way that Julie almost did – and in the way that the bus driver swerved to avoid him.
Episode Rating: 8.7/10 Seriable Stars
What do you think of The Returned‘s questions/mysteries so far? Have we missed any? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below and check back next week as we continue to put the pieces together.