The Returned ‘Lucy’ – Series 1, episode 6
For the first time in the series the titular character of the episode is the most interesting one. Where did Lucy come from? Why did she pick this town? Why was she travelling alone without any money? Was she a revenant before she arrived in town, and why is she so sexually driven? There is such a richness to her. She reminds me of a Miranda July character: obsessed by death, a sexual quirk, and a simple curiosity to allow room for thought.
But her characterisation points to something more universal about the show, and how it has elevated to stunning new heights. We have now arrived at a point where the revenants have developed far beyond the stock character, or even an amalgamation of stock characters. They are now commanding full personas.
As we have been scratching our heads throughout the series trying to work out whether she a demon or he a zombie, the show has arrived at a point where the characters have come into their own. Lucy, despite describing herself as a guardian angel appears more as someone thirsty for knowledge with a morbid fascination. Her mind turns to the occult, and she has left her past behind in another town. The show is able to convey these characteristics, as well as the fact she is undead, in brief, well paced scenes.
Camille who claimed to be a cousin and niece, is now lying to the town, offering comfort born out of fabrications. This deception takes us back to the idea that revenants return to torment the living. Camille, in her presence and her deceit extends the torture, albeit in a subtle, morally ambiguous way. Although her actions are masterminded by the overtly manipulative Pierre, it is Yara Pilartz who commands the scenes, portraying bravery, deceit and peace of mind in a single look, as Camille comforts the grieving parents. She may be a revenant but it’s hard to see the monster behind this wholly childlike image. When Claire affirms the familiar qualities of Camille I don’t see a mother amidst a breakdown suspending disbelief, rather a woman clear in thought.
Just as Camille is cultivating a greater sense of place Toni is struggling. It’s a smart turn when the police officer arrives at the bar to pass him a mocked up image of Serge. He is judged for hitting the whiskey and the condescending officer walks away, unconcerned of the motivations that drive Toni to drink. It’s the idea of an alcoholic’s loneliness, that you can never truly know what is taking place in their mind. A lovely invocation of Pinter, that results in the shooting of a police officer, a moment drenched in confusion and drunkenness.
Adèle has become unlikeable. Her character has turned away from her former love and has embraced his murderer Thomas. She seems to be playing off her inability to forgive Simon for taking his own life, against the murderous Thomas. For a moment this decision ostracises Adèle further as her daughter threatens to find solace in Thomas. Amusingly, it was Adèle’s lack of faith that drove her away. The priest’s advice that Adèle should listen to her ghosts was good. In order to establish why he took his own life, this sharp sequence ends with Adèle wishing for Simon’s return. This has been a very artful narrative arc and like the opening episode it is achieved with deadly ease.
Thomas is becoming a sad villain as he privately attempts to solve mysteries. In his arrogance and his neglect a threat is growing. From last week’s calm-before-the-storm/non-event, this week we are treated to a swarming navigation of the narrative. For Thomas, plot developments are delivered at a terrifying pace: in that Simon has returned, again, and Camille’s coffin is waterlogged with no sign of a corpse. Can this buffoon of a police captain overcome hubris and break through the isolation of the townspeople? Equally, fellow officer Chloe accidentally wields a pistol at Julie and Victor. Will she continue to be their protector? Chekhov’s gun, “One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it,” would suggest otherwise – I fear the worst for Julie, sweet fairy.
Unlike the segregation of the humans, the revenants are drawn to each other. In a magnetic scene Simon and Lucy come together as they awake, and take each other’s hands in the quiet corridors of a hospital. Last week’s uniting of Mrs. Costa and Victor seemed logical given that they are related, right? However this union asks much graver questions as to the revenants’ purpose. Speaking of unions, what of the bonfire meeting in the woods?Tagged in: The Returned
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