The Returned: Les Revenants

"We are as you want to see us."

All's well that ends well. Well, kind of. Well, actually did it? Uhhh, must be the season finale of The Returned.

The series ended with a riveting extra-long episode and a killer fourth act though! I really did feel uplifted by the general mood of the outcomes for most. Also of note, there was loads of daylight, a good bit of smiling and even those who I didn't think had time for redemption managed to fulfill some kind of compensatory arc by the episode's end. And I'm not surprised that this whole concept is held together by one boy beginning to understand the astonishing power he holds.

Victor moving from bystander of an extraordinary gift, to commanding it, is an example of a wonderful outcome. Add to that, an architect telling him he can change the construct of his world -- a truly lovely touch. The fact that said architect held guilt of a whole town's destruction lavishes good on top of great. Needless to say, this would have been in my j'adore list had it not been so important to the series. Julie and Victor on the beach was a perfect button for this character, even with its certain nod to future dread!

Julie was a huge focal point of The Returned since day one, too. With her uncertainty about life and near-death and life again running as a literal current through a show about the same ideas (though in the context of the series, more ethereally), we could only root for her and her happiness. Over time, she dropped any passivity or ambiguity she once possessed, in favor for taking a huge chance on what she knew she needed. Bien fait.

Hands down, Adéle and Simon have the most French ending of anyone in this show. You knew it was going there when they had that tussle over her suicide attempts on the door threshold in le subdivision. The Drama! The Devotion! Okay, they were careening towards a holy unholy holy cave union, well, more than any other couple on this show. What a weird odd beautiful last moment they had on screen. I'm quite okay with them saying fuck it all to hell, let's just be together for an eternity. All told, I loved it.

One of my favorite moments was Berg and his father saying goodbye. Not anything like the sadness that seeing Léna and Camille say goodbye elicited, it was very sweet nonetheless. Etienne was a very good representative for the revs, peaceful and succinct, and Berg, a strong symbol of what the living are able to reconcile.

And though The Helping Hand dissolved (devolved?) quickly over the course of the finale, miraculously, I had compassion for Pierre in his last moments as a living being. Audrey didn't weather as well, in my own estimation, (although Etienne's eerie truth that the revs were just projections of everyone's feelings about the dead, dying and death rings in my ears here) nor did Frédéric, whose paranoia ultimately cost him his own life, but it was encouraging that Gobert's worldview that fear is just not a sustainable model came through loud and clear.

That brings me to the Ségurets. Their story within the larger story (of both the season and the series) was equal parts lovely and sad. I loved how the biggest heartbreak was not between father or mother saying goodbye to their daughter but two sisters having to part ways. It made me realize how much of this show has hinged on the sisterhood, as it were. It was nothing less than a stroke of genius to make Léna and Camille twins. As the Ségurets and Chloé drove out of this town to start anew (I hope), one gets the sense that they have the best shot at forging ahead to a less complicated life. Please!

Little pieces of dread and intrigue: The Helping Hand and some faction of the army were in cahoots, Mogwai's music in the 4th act (so good!), Serge and Audrey were not in the big group of the returned. And big ones: where, what and how with Nathan, "Don't worry, I'll return" and Victor's face on the beach at the sound of a baby crying.


*Esteban walking through the police station with the other returned was a nice move.

*Two words: True Romance.

Loved this scene with the passion of 10,000 suns

The only thing better than this...

* this!

J'adore: The Loose Ends Edition

*Lucy's role in all of this was never really clear.

*The cave dweller -- deteriorated physically because he was alone?

*Did the eternal call the returned home once and for all?


Etienne: "You should forget me."

(sniff) We might not be able to, The Returned. We might not be able to.


Billie Doux said...

I honestly didn't think they would explain and resolve things, but it pretty much worked. It made sense that it all went back to Victor, who sort of sent the dead back to the cornfield in the end, didn't he? Although they left open the possibility of a Victor versus Nathan situation in a third season, this did feel like an actual end. I was so happy that Victor's love for Julie was genuine and that he saved her so that the two of them could lounge on the beach eating ice cream with Ophelie. My other favorite character Lena made it, too. Camille leaving her family made me cry. The Simon/Adele ending was a bit strange.

Such an interesting, complicated show. I kept humming the theme song for days after I saw each episode. Thanks so much for reviewing this show, Heather. I probably wouldn't have tried it if you hadn't.

Anonymous said...

The end of season two was only just aired in Australia - just wanted to say I loved your commentary, by far the best ive seen online. Lerge!!!!!!!