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Lucoid 29th Jul 2013 13:44

The Returned/Les Revenants (possible spoilers!)
Somewhere in the French Alps, an isolated village finds some of its dead are returning, apparently in rude health and with no recollection of their deaths. So began The Returned eight weeks ago on Channel 4. Entirely in French with English subtitles, this seems a brave choice for their 9pm Sunday night slot, but it seems to have been accepted just as well as the subtitled European dramas BBC4 is so fond of broadcasting.

A proper mystery, The Returned (or Les Revenants, to give it it's original French title) is full of creepy happenings and an array of characters, living and returned, who seem pretty much split between the sinister and the bewildered, each increasing in their sinisterness or bewilderment week by week.

The final episode was shown last night, at about the time I was watching the penultimate one, so I won't be watching till tonight. I still have an awful lot of unanswered questions and I'll be amazed if they can be answered in an hour.

What horrors await in the drowned town at the bottom of the slowly draining reservoir?
Why is the burglar-turned-refuge-manager so scary and weird?
What on earth happened to Lena's back and how was it so easily cured by a would-be murderer with a way with nettles?
Why did already-dead Victor come back a few years previously to cause a bus crash?
Are all the deaths of the returned linked?
Did anyone die when the dam broke before, and if so, were the villagers to blame, and are they now being punished for it in some bizarre, slow-build way?
Who is the mysterious sex psychic, why did she come to the village and why is she so delighted that crowd of scary people turned up at The Lake Pub?
Does The Lake Pub have an English name to imply there's something a bit wrong with it?
Are the policeman and the priest trying to cover up something bad they did or protecting the town from some evil only they know about?
Why have the village boundaries become a bit like the impenetrable mist that surrounds the house in The Others?

And so on.

Having watched it just before I went to bed, I obsessed about it all night, in dreamland and wakeful moments, so I'm quite concerned I'm going to feel very let down by the eighth part when the end credits roll, as happened with The Fall.

Now all I have to do is avoid this thread and Twitter till I've seen it.

ono no komachi 3rd Aug 2013 15:28

Re: The Returned/Les Revenants (possible spoilers!)
I must admit, that penultimate episode chilled me to the bone.

The last episode, whilst by no means answering most of the questions the audience had been asking, was effectively climactic. It does seem that the role of 'the mysterious sex psychic' (brilliant!) Lucy, was to lead the main group of 'outsider' revenants to the contemporary residents, that they might claim back their more recently returned fellows. I interpreted the group that Lucy led back to 'The Helping Hand' (goodness me, but that expression seems sinister now) as being the people who had been drowned when the old dam burst.

But Victor is an older revenant, isn't he? And there are hints that Mrs Costa has been through several 'lives' as she has given several different accounts of how she originally died. Or is she simply lying?

There are still question marks over whether Julie and Lena are actually revenants, or alive. Is anyone alive? Is it Lost all over again (and should I therefore give up now?)

It may have left a lot unresolved, but I've not been so gripped by a TV series since probably The Bridge.

Lucoid 4th Aug 2013 17:28

Re: The Returned/Les Revenants (possible spoilers!)

Originally Posted by ono no komachi (Post 133593)
The last episode, whilst by no means answering most of the questions the audience had been asking, was effectively climactic.

I'm not so sure about that. Just like The Fall a few weeks ago, I felt that The Returned ended with exactly the right level of tension to lead into a concluding episode. There was definitely too much left unresolved for me to feel satisified with it as the end of the series. With programmes like this, I want to be told a complete story. Like you, I don't want another Lost (which, incidentally, I tired of early in the second series, so much so I was glad when it was no longer available on channels I could received).

Though I'm more than happy for there not to be an 'and they all lived happily ever after', riding off into the sunset, type finish, ending an absorbing drama with too much of a cliffhanger is a very good way to make me lose interest, whereas if there's a 'proper' ending I'm eager to return for another series. I want to see more of The Bridge, but I now can't get excited about The Fall or The Returned, though I loved both of them right up until the disappointing non-end of both of them.

Essentially, I feel cheated, jerked back to the reality of the need to keep advertising revenue coming in. That's the only reason I can see for it to be done this way - a money-spinning angle put ahead of viewers' pleasure in well-made, well-told, challenging dramas.

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