The Returned: ‘Julie’ – Series 1, episode 3
SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen series 1, episode 3 of ‘The Returned’
The idea that revenants return to bother the living has become fully realised in this latest episode, with many of the human characters now traumatised. Well, not Pierre, but I’ll get to that. As each episode develops the shadow line between one world and the next is increasingly blurred as the psychological frailties resurface.
By now we know what links Julie’s stomach to the incident with the barmaid, something more assiduous viewers will have recognised last week. That Serge has returned to continue his brutal campaign feeding on others. Fortunately Julie has acquired a protector in Victor, who manipulates Serge and sacrifices neighbour Mme Payet in order to save her.
As with every supernatural moment to date the incident is muddled by the fragile psyche of the subject. In this case Julie was amidst a sequence of emotional stress, fleeing the funeral of Mr. Costa while trying to hold back her emotions. Heading home she catches Serge’s profile and panic onsets, so too does doubt. For Julie, how she will deal with her attacker’s return will be caught up in her apprehensive maternalism for Victor.
However the young boy makes for a macabre hero. When Serge attacks, Victor’s heroic performance sees a lonely women sacrificed, with her guts mangled and fed upon. If anything the set up to this was a little one dimensional. Mme Payet may not have many redeeming features, she spies on her neighbours, she is competitive, and she has a profound love for gruesome gossip and drama, but she is a person. Instantly unlikeable her character is ruthlessly disposed of, with myself applauding the attack. It’s a nice piece of catharsis but I can’t help but feel the tone lacked the sophistication the show commands.
Elsewhere Camille, who fought a heartbreaking battle to understand her nature has concocted a lie. She is now a cousin and niece, not a sister nor daughter; satisfied she has found some permanence even if it is no closer to addressing the real problem of who she is.
In order to deal with the problem Jérôme brilliantly suggests that the family should move, extending the idea that he reacts to a crisis by fleeing. He fled the home after the accident, and now he’s back he wants everyone to bougez with him. A long term smoker and hairbrush dodger, he wears a tired expression as if he can’t be bothered to confront his problems. In these characteristics I’m lead to think that he is playing the auguste clown, ostensibly tragic but secretly manipulative. It’s touching when Camille questions her father and he answers with sweet sincerity.
Comparatively, Pierre is interesting but hard to pin down. It’s unclear as to whether he’s a community or spiritual leader, a councillor, scientist or other. Or even whether he’s a local; my suspicion is that he’s not. Indeed his part in the drama is just as uncertain as his professional role, which I believe to be intentional, to make him as intangible as any of the revenants and to add to the show’s tone. What can be said is that in his wry smile, his superiority and his arrogance there’s something of the clown blanc about him, in contrast with love rival Jérôme’s auguste. That Pierre’s haughty aspirations will fall short while Jérôme will be the hero as unlikely as it seems.
Something happened between the twins before the accident – this is speculative territory and I invite any ideas you have on this – in that their dialogue doesn’t fit with what we know. Indeed the dialogue doesn’t fit in both codes, with the nuanced conversations throwing up a few transpositional challenges. Or at least the translator has been a little creative.
It’s my understanding that unbeknownst to Camille, Léna was skipping school to be with Frederic, whom Camille thought she had exclusivity to pursue. It’s not until the roll call on the bus that Camille realises her twin’s betrayal, which explains why she flips out. There’s also the mystery of Léna’s scar which I couldn’t even begin to guess what’s going on.
Another theory I’m brewing is that Victor is related to Mr Costa, with his wife named Viviane, and the escaped butterfly in his home Victorius Stelenes. The theory would explain why Victor has taken Julie under his protection, seeming that she was dutiful to Michel’s needs, but it’s inconclusive.Tagged in: Julie The Returned, The Returned
Recent Posts on Arts
- Children’s book blog – the last post!
- Children’s books for December: Herman’s Letter, The Yeti Files, Greenglass House and Winter Damage
- Friday Book Design Blog: The Ariel Poems, and other seasonal pamphlets
- Children’s book blog – Ask the illustrator: Rebecca Cobb
- Piggott's post: Jacobson, Heller and reflections on "real life"
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter