Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Summer Travel Through TV: Les Revenants (The Returned) 1.03: "Julie"

“Maybe you’re not just anyone. Simon, don’t worry. I’m certain things will become clearer. I won’t leave you on your own.”

While the third episode of “Les Revenants” focused a bit more on Julie, including a flashback to the night of her attack, it provided satisfying progression for all of the ongoing plots (except maybe what the heck is going on with the ever-diminishing lake). I think what makes the show really work is both the strong atmosphere throughout and the focus on character. We’re watching the emotional havoc wreaked by people long dead coming back to life. It is tough both for the returned and their loved ones. Watching that dynamic play out can be riveting, albeit painfully so. I think I find Adèle and Simon’s story to be the most compelling and emotional, so I was glad that we got to see more of that story play out in this episode. Adèle has finally realized that Simon is tangible, not a ghost, and that realization could have a significant impact on her about-to-be formed family with Thomas and Chloé.

The episode opens with a flashback that shows a rather different Julie than the person we know now (not completely different, but significantly different). It is seven years before the present-day action, and Julie, dressed as Catwoman, is leaving a costume party. Outside, she flirts with (and kisses) a woman in a Batman costume, who happens to be Laure, Thomas’ lieutenant at the police station. Julie has an early shift the next morning, so she goes home despite Laure’s protests. Unfortunately for Julie, the route home takes her through the infamous tunnel, and she is stabbed in the abdomen, almost exactly as Lucy was in the pilot.

In the present day, most of the town, including Julie, is at Mr. Costa’s funeral. Julie’s nosy neighbor sees her and starts babbling about how Lucy has been attacked just like the attack seven years ago. Understandably, the idea that her attacker has returned really upsets Julie, and she leaves the funeral. Claire and Lena are also at the funeral, and Claire starts chatting with Pierre. She tells him about how Lena thinks she has met another returned person, named Simon. Back at home, Camille and Jérôme bond over lunch. This leads Jérôme to suggest to Claire that he and Camille should move away so that Camille can start over. Camille, meanwhile, asks Lena about her interaction with Frédéric and notices a mysterious scar on Lena’s back. Lena gets uncomfortable at the mention of scar and shoos Camille away.

Meanwhile, at the police station, Simon is about to be released, but since he’s just recently resurrected and all, he doesn’t have anywhere to go. The police officer coordinating his release calls Pierre, who works at what seems like a homeless shelter, to pick Simon up. Next, Thomas has a meeting with his officers working on Lucy’s case. Laure wants to talk to Julie while Thomas is going to look into other leads. At her apartment, Julie is in the bath, listening to music and trying to calm down from the shock of the funeral. Victor creepily sneaks in and gets her attention, and she is not thrilled to see Laure at the door. She is understandably upset that Laure hasn’t tried to talk to her after the attack until now, and she refuses to speak with her.

Pierre picks up Simon at the police station, and suspecting that he is the other returned person Lena saw, he starts questioning Simon about his past and his history in town. This naturally, makes Simon uncomfortable, and he decides not to go to the shelter after all. He asks to be let out of the car, and he goes back to the library to see Adèle again. Encouraged by her pastor’s words in the previous episode, Adèle takes Simon to the local school to see their daughter, who is a participating in a memorial for the kids who died in the bus accident. Back at the police station, Thomas is super pissed that Simon has been set free. He thinks he might have been the person who attacked Lucy, probably because he’s irrationally jealous of him. Thomas pays a visit to Pierre and threatens to charge Pierre as an accessory if he doesn’t let him know immediately if Simon shows up again. Simon does indeed show up at the shelter again, but Pierre doesn’t call Thomas about it.

At Julie’s apartment, the nosy neighbor knocks on the door and wants to know why a police officer was there earlier in the day. She says she thinks it’s because Victor is staying there illegally, and she threatens to report the illegal adoption of Victor. Julie basically tells her to fuck off, and Victor hears this whole conversation. Julie leaves Victor alone while she goes to work, and he goes to nosy neighbor’s apartment. This can’t possibly end well. When Julie is on the bus home, she thinks she sees her attacker. When she does get home, she can’t find Victor. She can hear strange noises, and she goes downstairs to investigate, armed with scissors. Serge appears to attack her in the lobby, but all of a sudden we instead see Victor hovering over her, not at all attacking. It’s hard to tell what is really going on. Later, Julie and Victor curl up on the couch, and across the hall, cats lick the nosy neighbor’s bloody corpse.

Camille’s family continues to be in turmoil in this episode. Claire sees a dead animal covered in flies in the kitchen trashcan, but she doesn’t do anything about it right away. Instead, she goes to talk to Camille, who asks if they can go clothes shopping. They do, and Camille picks out some very Lena-like clothes. Another parent of a bus accident victim sees Claire at the store, and they start talking. This other mom is, naturally, shocked to see Camille. Camille says she’s Lena’s cousin Alice. Speaking of Lena, she’s in gym class and not feeling well, so she goes to the locker room and we see her scar has gotten worse. She then goes to the Lake Pub, and she talks to Serge, who is sitting at the bar, before asking Toni what he knows about Simon. Since Toni doesn’t know much, she then goes to Adèle’s house to ask about Simon, and a very troubled Adèle asks her to leave.

At the shelter, Pierre shows Simon the dormitory where he will be staying. In the course of the conversation, he implies that he knows Simon died and that he isn’t the only returned person. Meanwhile, Thomas has been keeping an eye on the town security cameras, and he sees the footage of Adèle and Simon leaving the library to go to Chloé’s school. Later that night, Simon stands outside Adèle’s house, watching her and Chloé. Adèle eventually notices him, and she goes outside. Since she got the tip-off from Lena that Simon isn’t just a figment of her imagination, they start making out. Thomas sees this on the town security camera’s too, and I’d guess he’s not too happy about it.

Back at Camille’s house, Claire and Jérôme kind of reconnect and have a moment, but the moment is spoiled by a roach making an appearance in the bathroom sink drain. Combine that with the files in the kitchen, and I think the returned aren’t as benign as they currently seem. Camille herself sneaks out and goes to the Lake Pub. She sees Frédéric outside and tells him she’s Cousin Alice. They go inside, and Lena gets very protective and tells Camille to go home. Frédéric is very surprised to find out that “Alice” is only 15. After Camille leaves, Lena seems very upset. Frédéric follows her in to a storage room, where they start making out and taking of their clothes, but the mood is ruined when Frédéric notices and asks about Lena’s scar.

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