The first season of Channel 4′s provocative French mystery serial The Returned has been televised. Plenty of questions were answered across the show’s 8-episode first chapter, but its open-ended nature means that almost as many questions remain unanswered, giving fans plenty to chew on until Season 2.
Throughout the season Seriable has kept a close eye on the mysteries of The Returned, and now that the first chapter has aired in full, we’ve compiled a handy list of the 89 unanswered and answered questions to help you keep track of the show’s serial progression.
So, how much did we actually learn in Season 1? Find out below..
Warning: Full spoilers if you’ve yet to watch all eight Season 1 episodes
1. How have the dead returned? Are we looking at a ‘purgatory-type construct’, or is there a more scientific or supernatural answer to be had?
2. Afterlife? The dead have no memory of dying, so are conveniently unable to account for the passage of time between their deaths and resurrections. Did their ‘souls’ travel to an afterlife of sorts? Are they in limbo?
3. What’s with the electricity? What’s the connection between the Revenants and electricity? Is it linked to their emotions and/or the flooded power station?
4. Pierre claimed to have witnessed a previous case of resurrection, what was that case? He’s a man of mystery that Pierre, but it’s clear that he has a greater knowledge of this phenomenon than most of his fellow undead.
5. Victor? Where has the little chap been since contributing to the bus crash four years ago? Did he wander the dam in search of fairies all this time? Why does he evoke sometimes fatal (Payet, Toni) hallucinations in people?
6. What’s with the butterfly? Butterflies are a recurring motif in Season 1 – and it all started with Butterfly 0 which returned to life before smashing its way through Mr. Costa’s imprisoning photo. A butterfly is also seen in the “Serge and Toni” centric episode and then in the Season 1 finale, where it flies through a broken window as if to parallel Butterfly 0. Is there a particular reason for the butterfly references or do they just add thematic context?
7. Why did Mr. Costa try to kill Mrs. Costa? Why did he commit suicide? Perhaps he thought he was losing his mind when she reappeared, but why didn’t he kill himself in the fire instead of jumping from the dam? Mrs Costa suggests that maybe he thought she was too young for him, but might she be covering up the truth about her husband – did he have some involvement in the original flood, or perhaps her eventual death? That might explain his ultimate plummet back into the depths of the scene of the crime.
8. What’s with the falling water levels? We know the original dam had a crack which eventually led to a flood killing many of the townsfolk, which thematically fits the concept of the past resurfacing. But we still don’t know the mechanics of the whole thing.
9. Have the dead returned indefinitely or is there a time-limit? The Horde did seem to be rather in a hurry for Victor and Co. to join them. Then there’s the ever worsening scars on several of our Revenants (and Lena, for a while!) which might suggest that time is of a certain essence. But we can still only speculate at this point.
10. Why don’t the dead remember dying? One of the most significant moments of their..’lives’, and they don’t remember it? What gives?
11. Why are the dead always hungry? Well, Simon eventually loses his appetite after reviving for the second time, but can their hunger be put down to some kind of natural response? Metabolism playing ‘catch-up’? I guess the rules are pretty open on this.
12. Why do the returned have explosions of anger? Each of the Revenants have their moments of wrath. Even Mrs. Costa idly sat by as Simon pummeled the diner owner. And then there’s the Horde (who, granted, may have a method to their menace). Has dying put our Revenant crew more on edge with life?
13. Was Julie pregnant when she was stabbed? Initially this was a big theory given her relationship with Victor (something the writers surely invited). While it seemed less likely as the season went on, it hasn’t been completely confirmed one way or the other.
14. What’s with all the visions/dreams? Adele saw visions of Simon; Julie hallucinated Serge attacking her; Thomas imagined himself as Simon while watching Adele and Simon sexing it out on a spy cam; Pierre saw his former partner when Victor confronted him about his death. What gives? Apparently Bad Victor can induce visions in people (as confirmed with the sinister Chloe and Toni visions), but that doesn’t explain the non-Victor-related incidents.
15. What was Victor’s involvement in Miss Payet’s death and why did it resemble the work of Serge? While the post-mortem suggests the nosy neighbor killed herself, there’s no denying that Victor was one of the last souls to see her ‘alive’. Did Victor force her to kill herself (ala Toni), perhaps to cover his tracks, or is there something else at play here?
16. Why did the priest keep the truth about Simon’s suicide from Adele? Was he protecting Adele or is he implicated in some way?
17. Pierre’s past? Former home invader/accomplice, now he’s a shady ‘spiritual guru’ who runs a haven for the resurrected. Could he have been involved in the original dam conspiracy or was he trying to avenge those who were killed in the flood? Is the ‘Helping Hand’ his quest for redemption for past sins (his involvement in Victor’s death among them) or did the idea come to him..in a dream?
18. Scars? Lena, Camille, Simon and Victor each develop mysterious scars on their bodies. While Lena’s scar has been ‘medically’ described as a “spontaneous keloid”, do they perhaps suggest that, dead or alive, everyone in the town is really dead?
19. How did the school kid know about the animals under water? Was it a lucky guess? Coincidence? A subconscious memory of a past life? ..Or just narrative foreshadowing?
20. What or who were the animals running from when they chose to drown? Were they legging it from the Horde? Did the Horde (or Victor) make them do it for some reason?
21. Lena’s healing? Did the nettles really heal Lena or does Serge have healing *vomit* fingers?
22. What’s with Lucy’s miraculous healing? Having been stabbed to within an inch of her life by Serge, the magical sex clairvoyant makes a speedy recovery before taking her position as Horde Guru. Was she already dead when she came to town? Did she actually die during the Serge attack? Is she a living, breathing afterlife conduit?
23. What “work” did Victor have to tend to prior to revealing his identity to Pierre? It’s unclear whether confronting Pierre was the “work” itself or whether Victor had to do something beforehand.
24. Why is there water in Camille’s coffin? Frederic and Frederic II investigate Camille’s grave and find only a pool of water where her body should be. Clearly this is connected to the lowering water levels at the dam and seems to confirm that they’ve returned in their original bodies, but what’s the specific connection between the water and the dead, especially those who weren’t killed in the flood?
25. How did the dead escape their graves? Given that they’ve returned in their original bodies.. did they morph into water and reform?
26. Why did Lucy mistake her sex-vision of Esteban’s parents suicide for Simon’s? Is there a connection between Simon and Esteban’s parents that we don’t know about, or are Lucy’s apparent powers recalibrating/prone to error?
27. Why can nobody leave the town? Serge/Toni try to escape via the woods and reservoir only to fail, while Laure, Julie and Victor try to escape via road but end up circling back on themselves. The dam appears to act as a cyclical nexus – is the town a form of purgatory?
28. Has Serge and Toni’s mother also Returned? Toni sees her roaming in the woods (“Adele”) before she resurfaces moments after his death (“The Horde”), but it’s unclear whether she’s an apparition or a Revenant.
29. What or who dragged Serge underwater while trying to leave the town? Did ‘the town’ actively prevent him from leaving by killing him again, or did his foot just get caught on some seaweed?
30. How did Mrs. Costa really die? She tells Camille a pack of lies about the nature of her death, but we know that she died at some point after the town was flooded 30 to 40 years ago. She was upset with the officials for the incident, did her outspoken nature get her killed?
31. What was the deal with the death of Sandrine’s unborn child? Did it die of natural circumstances or is there a deeper mystery to this event?
32. Why does Julie look like the fairy in Victor’s book? This (and Mama Victor’s words) certainly explains why he was drawn to Julie, but is there an actual reason behind the fact that she resembles the fictional fairy?
33. Did the dam officials know the village would flood 30-40 years ago? Mrs Costa labelled them “Murderers”, implying that they were aware that the dam was leaking and purposefully didn’t clear the village.
34. What’s the difference between the dead and the previously-unseen Horde Others? Presumably, the Horde are the victims of the original flood 30 or so years ago. Does this, as Mrs. Costa implied, make them more vengeful?
35. Why didn’t the Horde take Victor when Laure and Julie were asleep in the car? Instead they pawed the car window and retreated until daylight. Considering they have supernatural abilities and can get past locked doors, does there have to be some kind of willingness to join them (coerced or otherwise) on the part of the subject?
36. Zombies? Thomas encounters a member of the Horde at the diner eating something very unpleasant from the toilet before lunging at him in zombie-like fashion. Why was he more ‘feral’ than the Others?
37. Why does the Horde want other dead folk to join them? They’re very keen for Victor, Camile, Mrs Costa, and even Simon/Adele’s unborn baby (which may or may not have been Simon’s request) to join them — but why? And why didn’t they ask for Serge?
38. What is the Horde’s ultimate goal? They apparently seek revenge for their deaths, yet they mostly just want other dead people to join them. What’s their ultimate goal and how far will they go to achieve it?
39. What happened to the Horde/Thomas and the Gendarme? They engaged in a nighttime scuffle in which shots were popped, but come morning they had all disappeared. Where did they go and will we ever see Hypocritical Thomas again?
40. Why has the town flooded? The season closes with Pierre’s prophecy realized: the remaining residents look down from the Helping Hand upon their town which is now flooded. Did the dam break again? Also, since the town was completely flooded in Pierre’s dream, does this hint at more rising tides to come? Just how thin is the fabric between the land of the living and the sea of the dead?
Next: Answers to Season 1 Mysteries…