Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Summer Travel Through TV: Les Revenants (The Returned) 1.05: "Serge et Toni"

“Zombies have to stick together.”

We’ve entered the second half of the first season of “Les Revenants,” and it is the moodiest episode yet. All of the returned are finding adjusting to their new lives more difficult than they could have imagined. Their return has stirred up all sorts of emotional turmoil in their loved ones and even other acquaintances. This episode saw a series of confrontations related to that turmoil. For some of the returned, the confrontations are due to the fact that they hoped they could just slip back into their old lives (or maybe, more accurately, what they wished their old lives had been), and for others it’s about confronting people who may have been involved in their deaths. We also, as you can guess from the title, learn more about Serge and Toni. I was glad to see that despite his predilection for gnawing on people, Serge doesn’t seem to actually be a werewolf, like the episode where he first appeared might have suggested. There is plenty of supernatural interest in this show without throwing werewolves into the mix, too!

Given the name of the episode, we open with a flashback to Serge and Toni seven years ago when Julie was attacked. Toni catches Serge essentially gnawing on Julie’s abdomen. He pulls Serge off of Julie, drops Julie off at the emergency room door, and drives Serge to the family farm, where he proceeds to bury him alive. In the present day, Léna is sleeping in the bedroom of that same farm house because Serge, for some reason (I guess the nasty open wound on her back), decided to try and nurse her back to health instead of eat her. Serge is tempted to touch Léna’s wound, but he keeps getting distracted, first by a phone call to Léna’s cell from Frédéric. Serge’s response to that is to chop of Léna’s cell phone with an ax. Then Toni comes to visit and gets suspicious when he hears noises coming from the bedroom. Serge lies and says their mother has returned from the dead and is in the bedroom, and she also doesn’t want to talk to Toni right now. Toni believes it, probably because he believes his mother hasn’t forgiven him for killing Serge.

Camille and Simon kind of find themselves in similar situations where the people they loved (or puppy loved as a teenager in Camille’s case) in their previous lives are cutting them off in their returned life. Camille wants to walk home from school with Frédéric again, but this time he blows her off, presumably in response to Léna’s rather violent reaction to their hanging out in the previous episode. At the library, Adèle gives a good info-dump presentation on the history of the lake to a group of kids. There is a whole village underneath the lake’s surface, the result of a huge flood in the past. When she gets home from work, Adèle is still very upset about the recent revelation that Simon committed suicide, and she goes right to bed. Thomas asks Chloé to let him know if immediately if Simon appears again.

Victor and Mrs. Costa have both left the Helping Hand, and they have a meal together at the diner. Victor mentions being able to hurt people in his returned form, and Mrs. Costa asks him who he might want to hurt. Victor doesn’t say anything in response, but it’s obvious that he’d like to hurt his killer (and he currently believes that is Pierre). Back at the Helping Hand, Pierre tells Simon he has to leave because the police are going to be stopping by to investigate the disappearance of Victor and Mrs. Costa, and Simon can’t be seen there. As part of the investigation, Laure stops by Julie’s apartment to ask if she has seen Victor. Julie is disgusted that Victor has gone missing so quickly, and she shuts the door on Laure.

Since Simon has to leave the shelter for now, Pierre takes him to stay with Claire and Camille. Camille is pretty excited to have another returned person to talk to, and she peppers Simon with questions. He’s not rude to her, but he doesn’t really say much, either. I think being aloof is kind of his style. He does, however, tell her about Adéle and their daughter. Camille, sympathizing with Simon’s plight due to her own feelings of rejection by Frédéric, agrees to deliver a message to Adèle. She tells Adèle that Simon wants her and Chloé to meet him at the bus stop that evening so they can leave town and start their lives together. Camille highly recommends Adèle take him up on the offer, although Adèle understandably seems skeptical.

Camille, continuing to unapologetically pursue Frédéric, goes to the Lake Pub and shows Frédéric and his friends photos of Simon, saying he is her twenty-six-year-old ex. Presumably, she’s trying to make Frédéric jealous. The group, including Camille, then starts downing shots with abandon. Meanwhile, Jérôme pays a visit to Lucy in the hospital, where she is mysteriously making a miraculous recovery. She’s still unconscious, but her lacerations have begun healing significantly. After that visit, he goes to the Lake Pub to continue searching for Léna, who is still missing. At the Lake Pub, Frédéric loses a drinking game to Camille, the penalty for which is that Camille gets to do whatever she wants to him. Of course she kisses him, and that is exactly when Jérôme arrives at the bar. Understandably, he breaks up the make-out session and drags Camille home.

Léna is awake, and Serge puts nettle paste on the wound on her back, swearing it’s an old remedy of his mother’s that works wonders. He has to really fight the urge to pry open that wound, but he manages to keep his self-control. He decides to get out of the house and go deer hunting. It is definitely very interesting to watch Serge try to be nurturing, although kind of stomach-churning, too. Meanwhile, the divers for the company running the dam have made a rather gruesome discovery in the lake. There are a large number of what seem to be recently dead animals floating beneath the water’s surface. Thomas is investigating this, although he doesn’t learn much other than how the animals died.

At Laure’s invitation, Julie goes to the police station and is able to talk to Mrs. Costa. She recognizes Mrs. Costa from the pictures she would see all around the house when she would visit Mr. Costa for his medical needs. They talk about how she (Mrs. Costa) and Victor both died long ago, and Julie says that sometimes she wonders if she died too. Her recovery from the attack, like Lucy’s, was rather miraculous. Mrs. Costa says there is only one way to know for sure. Back at her apartment, Julie decides to take Mrs. Costa’s advice, and she starts positioning herself to jump out of the window. Luckily Laure is still acting kind of stalkerish and manages to find Julie before she actually jumps. She gets Julie to come back inside by telling her she loves her.

The rest of the episode, like that previous scene with Laure and Julie, is a series of confrontations between the returned and people they knew in their past lives. First, we see Frederic sneak into Camille’s bedroom. They start making out again, but when Camille confirms her true identity, Frédéric completely freaks out and leaves. Meanwhile, Victor returns to the Helping Hand, where he confronts Pierre about killing him. Pierre says he didn’t kill him, and he actually tried to stop his partner from killing him. Victor’s not having it though, and he somehow manifests Pierre’s old burglary partner, who seems about ready to shoot Pierre. Pierre is cowed against the wall in the dark when the police arrive in a completely bizarre scene. Laure eventually lets Victor just go home with Julie.

In other confrontations, Toni finds Serge by road, bloody from hunting. Serge says it was just a deer, not a person. Toni seems a little skeptical, but ultimately believes his brother. He then asks Serge’s forgiveness for killing him. To say Serge is not amused by this revelation would be an understatement. Meanwhile, Adèle doesn’t show up at the bus station, so Simon pays her a visit. She tells him to go away. Chloé makes a quick phone call to Thomas then joins in on the request for Simon to leave. She’s upset that he voluntarily chose to leave them by committing suicide. Simon leaves the house, devastated, and as he’s walking down the driveway, he encounters Thomas, who immediately shoots him. Simon appears to be in pretty bad shape, although I have a feeling he’ll recover, since as we see in the final scene of the episode, Lucy regains consciousness at the hospital.

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