The Returned: 107 “Adèle” Review
Reviewed by David Selby
Ooh, be afraid… be very afraid…
Yes, it’s all starting to become very tense and atmospheric over in the peculiar little alpine village that has played host to The Returned (or, if you’re feeling French, Les Revenants) for the last seven weeks. Not only are there inhuman figures waiting patiently to strike in the local pub, but you now can’t leave the settlement: all of these are well-used, ingenious plot devices that seem to be paving the way for the biggest zombie apocalypse in years.
Very little seemed to happen this week, but The Returned is clever at distracting the audience from the fact that it’s often an incredibly non-eventful series. You could argue that the last seven weeks could very easily be compacted into three or four – but, if this were the case, would the episodes have been so brimming with tension, emotion, and actual substance? If you want drama, sometimes you have to dull it down a bit.
The series is still rife with unanswered questions. Why are there marks all over the bodies of the revenants? Why is the dam losing water? What do the different events (the flooded village, the coach crash) have to do with each other? And why are the dead really back? (I’m also perplexed by Victor. If he really is a normal child – albeit a resurrected one – what was he doing in the middle of the road when the coach crashed? Just a coincidence, or more…?)
I’d theorise that the revenants in the pub are the deceased of the flooded village; thus accounting for the substantial numbers. I’d hazard a guess that the wounds are the dead ‘dying again’, but I can’t be sure. Either way, I’m extremely confident that the revenants’ violent, zombie-like tendencies will become more apparent than ever as the series concludes.
It came as more than a surprise that the ‘Cat Woman’-duo have suddenly begun a hugely intimate relationship (I remember some references before, but it’s all very sudden). Luckily, this wasn’t off-putting at all. Having the characters turn to each other in this time of need shows exactly how significant the situation has become.
It’s hard to judge this week’s episode, which is why I’ve kept the review short. Essentially, to settle for an exact score, I’d have to demand an advanced copy of the finale: for how I’d rate the content in this episode depends wholly on the denouement in the next (i.e. was the suspense for nothing, or does it have its value?).
Something I can pinpoint about this week, though, was how quite simply chilling it was. Pierre’s deranged ideas about the end approaching and how to prepare, and the bar scene (however short it was, it scared the hell out of me), as well as foreshadowing events to come, elicited a sensation of mystical terror.
I can’t wait to see how The Returned resolves itself. One thing’s for sure: it will either be really good, or really bad…