The Returned: Milan

The hills are alive!
"It was mainly the little boy who had problems."

The Returned brings back the family member with the most menace so far when the show takes a turn for the patriarchal in 'Milan'. There's also the mother of all flashbacks -- to a house visit gone horribly wrong 35 years ago. And not coincidentally, the discovery of a huge hole in this town's essential reservoir.

Let's start with the flashback that bookends the episode. The revelation of those details these people have been living with, even as few of them as we were treated to, shifted this entire series in my mind. Holy hell, the only thing creepier than a family secret in a supernatural thriller is a whole town's secret in a supernatural thriller! And the town secret underlying this community is as sinister as it is cruel. There doesn't appear to be a crime that the Lewanskis could have committed worthy of this type of home invasion. The insinuation that it's Victor's sixth sense gift that cannot and will not be held as a treasure by his community holds much intrigue! One can imagine how his drawings, prescient and revealing, might shine the light on the wrong people.

Speaking of the wrong people, 'Milan' gave us a peek into how the living are regarded over in le subdivision across the water. While it continues to be opaque as to what the goal(s), hopes and dreams are of the returned, one thing is clear -- Camille, Esteban and Audrey never appear to be in real peril when they leave their safe haven. But Claire gets knocked around quite a bit for the same indiscretion. Somehow, Julie may be the one exceptional living being there. She appears to fit seamlessly in both worlds. And she really always has.

Serge and Toni's dad has reappeared, oozing danger like a block of concrete strung up haphazardly over your head. His presence is so daunting, he actually dwarfs his twitchy terrifying serial killer son in every way imaginable. God only knows the dynamics of that family. And they're all dead now and, save for their mom, returned. I still have no idea why they took that walk in the forest with shotguns in hand except to ratchet up the tension to 11. There's an awful lot of taxidermy in their house.

Speaking of dads behaving badly (well, in their children's eyes), Léna experiences the proverbial last straw when she discovers what her dad's really been doing for these months in reclusion. In what I found to be the episode's most fascinating scene, Jérôme confides in her that he might just be onto some kind of organization of the madness, as well as the whereabouts of his beloved Claire and Camille, by mapping out the deaths and returns in the town. When he referred to places as entry and exit points, I almost fell off my couch in excitement. YES! PLEASE! 100 more scenes like this one!

Berg's tour of the eeriest tunnel on the planet, followed by his stumbling onto the biggest hole in the bedrock under a dam ever, was perhaps the best way to follow up Jérôme's hyper-vigilante wall of clippings. And then(!) to follow that with all the flashlights, casting shaky pinpoints of light in the foggy soggy forest, only to reveal a most terrible message to local law enforcement about how obsolete their existence is in this new world -- well, c'est fantastique!

Little pieces of dread and intrigue: Adèle's baby boy, the 'passing' acknowledgement that the bite marks in the stag were human, the man who moved Claire from someone's yard to her home, "Audrey's always terrified." And big ones: Toni now residing at The Helping Hand, Victor has a brother, Victor is scared of his mom, Victor is forbidden from drawing anything.


*Let me just get this out of the way now, Julie is my favorite female character and Léna is a close second. I'm specifically smitten with both actresses, though I'm pretty obsessed with the entire cast, generally.

*The way everyone says the French word for dam -- barrage -- cue the emoji with hearts in its eyes.

*The Sabitinis -- especially the mom. Loved her last season, too.

*Hey, do you think this show's trying to say something about isolation?


Médecin: "There aren't many people in the hospital."

Madame Costa: "But what goes on behind closed doors..."

Milan: "Serge, you're not alone anymore."

Virgil: "You know the rules, do you?"

Jérôme: "I'm looking for some meaning -- an explanation, a reason."


Billie Doux said...

Terrific review, Heather, and I thought this one was super creepy. Milan gave me the shudders, and suddenly I understand Serge and Toni much better now. Jerome's wall of weird as he is trying to figure out what is causing it all was very cool, along with the thing about Victor/Louis' drawings, because there really needs to be a cause if they're ever going to stop it. I like rules in my fantasy universes.

Julie and Lena are my two favorite characters, too.

The photography with the street lamps in the water was just amazing.

Heather said...

Ahhh! Did Victor draw the fate of this town before it happened?! I have chills! I like rules, too. And I hope since that came up so overtly in 'Milan', they are going to reveal them.

FlopHairedWuss said...

Love The Returned. So glad you're reviewing it.

Unlike something like Lost, this show made it clear from the start that it was less about the mystery and more about the characters (and thank god for that). Having said that I do understand why some people were disappointed regarding the lack of pretty much any answers (as I was myself) at the end of the first season. Especially considering that they did seem to be building up to something.

This season seems to be correcting that somewhat, while still keeping the focus on the characters. Can't wait to see where it's going with this.

Agree about Julie and Lena. Most of the male characters on this show don't come off too well do they?

I'm actually slightly above you as it airs earlier in the UK. You've got good stuff to come.

Heather said...

So glad you're watching this show, too. :) Thanks for letting us know there's good stuff to come! I'm enjoying the first three episodes even more than I expected. As for the male characters, your comment made me realize that while the lot of them are pretty damaged, the men do wear it differently than the women. Good point!