The Returned Finale: What Just Happened?

Channel 4
Channel 4

“T’inquiète pas…” should be the cue to have everyone run screaming from the room

“Don’t worry” has to be the most frequently uttered phrase in The Returned.

Scared because your child/wife/brother has returned from the dead? “T’inquiète pas.”

Tense because you want to know what it’s all about, how it will end, why the dead have returned? “T’inquiète pas,” because all would be revealed in the series finale, “The Horde.” Wouldn’t it?

Er, no. The final episode of what we now know is Series/Season 1 of The Returned ended with an epic cliff-hanger but no actual answers or revelations.

Who or what is Lucy Clarsen? Has Simon turned to the dark side? Is Adèle pregnant? Who’s in The Horde? Will Jérôme ever run out of cigarettes? Does anyone apart from the police officers and Toni have a job?

Why isn’t The Lake Pub called Le Bar Du Lac? … What the hell has been going on for the last eight weeks?

The Returned (a.k.a. Les Revenants) has been the stand-out drama series this summer. Understated, frightening and so very sad. It explores themes of grief, love and loyalty. What would you do if your loved ones came back from the dead? As themselves, not as comic book zombies or creatures of the night.

What would you do if a lonely, frightened boy asked you to protect him? Would you risk everything to keep him safe? Even if you suspected that he was a “revenant” who may have butchered your nosey neighbour?

The underlying theme of “The Horde” was that of familial love, specifically the bond linking mothers and children. Toni and Serge’s mother who apparently died of grief after one son killed the other. Claire and Julie who were willing to sacrifice everything for Camille and Victor. Sandrine mourning her lost teenager and baby. Lucy and Simon coming for Adèle’s child.

However, although “The Horde” was as tense and claustrophobic as the preceding seven episodes, it ultimately felt like just an elaborate set-up for Series/Season 2. What happened to Thomas and his officers? Will The Horde be back for Adèle? Will Toni be back behind the bar of The Lake Pub?

Now that US network ABC and international production company Fremantle Media are both reportedly prepping English-language adaptations/remakes of The Returned all may not be explained in Series 2 either. It would be hard for a US network to extend a taut French drama into 100 episodes of prime-time fare if the original gave the game away after only 16 episodes. Would anyone have watched Lost the first time around if they knew exactly how it would end?

But there is some good news. Fans of the haunting soundtrack need not mothball the xylophone just yet: Mogwai said they would consider scoring a US remake. In an interview with the NME, the Scottish rockers said, “We’d think about [it], but these things have a habit of not being so fantastic. We’re doing the second series [of Les Revenants] and are working on a new album, so that’s probably enough for now!”

The Returned Drinking Game

The Returned Series 2 will air in the UK on Channel 4 in 2014.


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