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The Returned – Mme. Costa Review

"Suitably creepy with some key revelations"

The Returned continued its streak of slowly providing answers to the show’s largest questions with “Mme. Costa.” We now know how Victor gets his foreknowledge of dire events (just not why he seems to be able to predict horrible ends to those in the town) and we have definitive proof that Pierre is pretty much the worst person currently alive in the entire town.

As is becoming more and more the case each week, the storyline I feel most connected with is that of Victor and Julie. It’s just so easy to root for these two lonely people to stick together in this strange world- and while Victor claims he doesn’t need Julie now that he has his family, I don’t buy it for a second. I am terribly worried about Julie now that Victor has dreamt that she is about to jump to her death. Considering she really is the show’s heart and soul (as one of the few living humans who accepts the Returned for what they are and isn’t trying to gather some greater understanding regarding the how and why of the situation), I can’t see the show actually going forward with her death. But it is a strong way to draw Victor and Julie together once more- particularly now that Victor’s father has woken from his coma.

Laetitia de Fombelle in the SundanceTV original series The Returned
Laetitia de Fombelle in the SundanceTV original series The Returned

On the other side of the coin, the Pierre/Helping Hand storyline has really gotten creepy. Torturing Toni was one thing- while it was reprehensible, the town does still think that he had something to do with the rapes and murders of the girls in the underpass. But Audrey? That’s going to be incredibly hard to take. We know that he has a deep fear of the Returned and doesn’t see them as human. And that really is the major question to be answered: are the Returned human? We have seen that they don’t appear to be able to die a second time (as evidenced by Milan repeatedly coming back to life time and again over the past two episodes. But several of the Returned appear to possess human emotions. I say “appear to” as we have seen that some of the less enlightened Returned will simply ape human emotions that they know they are supposed to possess when the situation calls for it (see Simon’s parents in last week’s outing with baby Nathan). It’s an interesting question to keep in mind as the show moves forward. But it still doesn’t make what Pierre is doing (and how he is mentally controlling those people at The Helping Hand) anything other than horrific.

The one person whose agenda I still haven’t quite figured out is Lucy. We know she’s the de facto leader of the Returned, but so little is known about their goals. It’s the one area of character development I would like to see fleshed out a bit more during The Returned‘s final set of episodes. Lucy is a classic example of a show slow playing their hand with a character. In season one, she was presented as nothing more than the pretty girl who slept around. But, in reality, she’s been orchestrating everything in terms of the Returned since day one. I hope there’s more to come regarding her.

Finally, I just want to comment on how gorgeous the show continues to be. Despite the darker tone, both on screen and in terms of story, this season maintains a beautifully deft touch when it comes to showing off the sweeping setting. The mountains, the lake, and the natural woods all lend key elements to ground some of the more supernatural aspects of the series. The color palette of the show’s costumes clearly designates our central characters from those of the background (the dull earth tones worn by the silent and forgotten Returned add to their chilling presence). These little touches help create the air of mystery and darkness throughout the series.

Ana Girardot in the SundanceTV original series The Returned
Ana Girardot in the SundanceTV original series The Returned

Final Thoughts:

— It was pretty creepy to see all the women Serge killed show up at their house. But it was also harrowing to see how much destruction that one man caused during his life.

— The Virgil-Camille relationship cannot end well, right?

— I have to admit, while I love Victor and Julie, Madame Costa is probably my favorite character.

Rating
8.5
Pros
  • Good forward plot movement
  • Beautiful choice in color palette
Cons
  • Need to know more about Pierre's motivations

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About / Bio
TV critic based in Chicago. When not watching and writing about awesome television shows, I can be found lamenting over the latest disappointing performance by any of the various Chicago sports teams or my beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Follow me @JeaniusIsMe on Twitter.

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