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Well, I think “Milan” went a long way to assuage any worries I might have about the pacing, story, or characters within this second season of The Returned. What a tightly plotted hour of tense character interactions and mysterious happenings. I’m even starting to warm a bit to Berg, the new investigator of the dam, who certainly appears to know more than it looked like in the season premiere.
What makes The Returned a spectacular series is the show’s ability to dole out just enough new information to make viewers come back for more. With “Milan,” we were given a few more answers, although those also came with a whole new host of questions. To begin, we now know where the missing cops are: dead and tied to trees in the woods. A hell of a way to end an episode. While it appears they won’t be joining the land of the undead anytime soon, I do wonder if Victor’s mention of Laure in last week’s episode might foreshadow her eventual return. After all, now that Victor’s (creepy) mother is back on the scene, Julie has the potential to become more of a background player to the strained mother-son dynamic than the lead she was last season.
We also found out a bit more about the night Victor and his family were attacked. It was a scare tactic gone wrong. Also, we still don’t know why Milan wanted the family terrified into leaving. Is it because of Victor’s strange drawings? Is there something sinister going on with them? Also, what happened to Victor’s father after the shooting? Has he been on life support this whole time, or is this a recent development? Getting one answer on this show only launches a slew of additional questions. But when a show works as well as this, I don’t even mind.
And then there’s Milan. I didn’t think there could be someone as awful as Serge out there, but, boy, does it look like daddy is a horrible man. Things are not looking up for poor Lena. My assumption is that Milan was some sort of crime boss, or at least gang leader, within the town prior to his death. And, since his return has put even Lucy on edge, it’s a clear sign things are about to get worse before they get better.
Outside of the well balanced plot developments within the episode, I was particularly struck by the strong performances from the show’s younger cast members. Swann Nambotin (Victor) was excellent in handling some tough emotional scenes. While last season, Victor was the clear break out character, Nambotin was not called on to really do a great deal of heavy lifting. Now, navigating Victor’s emotional turmoil in choosing between the mother he once knew (but doesn’t trust) and Julie, Nambotin has shown his strengths lie beyond opening his eyes wide and freaking out adults with his silences. Yara Pilartz (Camille) was also exceptional this week, giving new layers to a character who could easily come off as a spoiled brat (I will admit to calling her just that while watching her tantrum in the kitchen at the episode’s start). But, seeing this young girl who lost so much finally come to terms with her death and understand that she’s not the only one confused and hurting was truly moving.
— The stuff with Adele’s baby was particularly interesting in light of Victor’s comments to Julie. Apparently, the Returned children need love to continue growing, which would explain why the baby was in distress until Adele opted to acknowledge it. An interesting plot point.
— I really want to know what is eating the animals. I presume it is the strange pale guy out in the woods from last week, but I want to know more about what’s happening there.
— Those Returned thugs are pretty awful.