The Returned: Camille   First Watch 
July 15, 2014 5:00 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Camille, a teenager who was killed in a bus crash, returns home 4 years later.

In a small mountain community, two local people - Camille, a teenager, and Simon - who both died years earlier, suddenly re-appear at their homes. Lonely nurse Julie receives a visit from a very strange little boy. Seven years ago, the town was struck by a series of bloody murders. Now it seems the killings have started up again.
posted by gladly (7 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This was my favorite thing that I watched in the past year -- but I watched the series huddled over my laptop in two days, so I'm happy to rewatch it on a larger screen (streaming on Netflix and Amazon) in a more leisurely way.
posted by gladly at 5:15 PM on July 15, 2014

My favorite too (though Fargo was a close second). I've talked it up to everyone with whom I share even remotely overlapping TV-watching habits with and implore them to give it just 15 minutes (before which it will inevitably draw you in). Even the opening is the definition of haunting--my favorite shot is that couple in the field, which shifts horizontally to the two cross grave-markers. Happy someone finally did a FanFare post on this!
posted by lovableiago at 7:14 PM on July 15, 2014

I really liked this show too.

(I have to say I think the subtitling is a big part of it, at least for me, because it helps force me to pay attention.)
posted by dnash at 1:44 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's a great series, especially the early episodes. The end of the last episode feels like a japanese manga. (Everyone together in one place, nothing makes sense or is explained.)

I'm a pretty big Mogwai fan, and the soundtrack is great... until you start to realize that they seem to be playing the same music in what feels like the same order, episode after episode.

This series is a true breath of fresh air from most American fare though, and worth watching.
posted by Catblack at 4:33 PM on July 16, 2014

An intriguing series built around a fascinating central mystery: how do these people pay for these gorgeous houses?

I'm mostly joking, but watching the series I wondered if their magazine-worthy homes were part of the usual television handwaving or if it was an intentional attempt to distance us from the characters a bit. Probably a bit of both.
posted by Ian A.T. at 4:46 PM on July 16, 2014

The pacing of the first episode is really fast for a pilot. I didn't really remember that we got Simon's return, the first appearance of Victor, the first inkling about the dam and reservoir, and the attack on Lucy in the tunnel all in this episode. When Victor suddenly shows up behind the bus shelter where Julie's sitting, it sent shivers through me. But he's so adorable too. Sometimes within the same scene, I want Julie to run from him and hug him.

The casting of Camille and Lena is fantastic.

I'm mostly joking, but watching the series I wondered if their magazine-worthy homes were part of the usual television handwaving or if it was an intentional attempt to distance us from the characters a bit.

You know, I just chalked it up to "French," but I was realizing during this episode, I don't know if Adele's home with her police officer new beau is supposed to indicate something. It is kind of a gated community?
posted by gladly at 6:35 PM on July 16, 2014

I loved this show, though I've yet to watch the final episode.

What I most admired and loved about it, among other things I merely liked quite a bit, was how extraordinarily well it handled the shock and heartbreak of someone coming back from the dead.

I wrote elsewhere on FanFare that for the most part, it's necessary and acceptable for genre to unrealistically deal with things that are taken for granted as intrinsic to the genre and which, were they presented realistically, would become unwieldy and, ultimately, boring.

For example — and I've thought about this a lot — some of the most interesting things about murder and homicide investigations are the things that murder-related genres ignore.

So while acknowledging that, in general and in most contexts, it's difficult (at best) and impossible (at worst) for genre to directly explore the implications of the essential issues at the core of the genre, it's really interesting when someone manages to do this.

Normally, anything supernatural like this is going to be all about the mechanical implications of the supernatural elements. It's going to be primarily plot-driven. This is one reason why genre is usually so plot-driven and weak on characterization, because genre itself tends to explore well-understood ideas schematically, in a few typical configurations. In a way, one of the main enjoyments is that people understand exactly what kind of ride they'll be on, how it will go and how it will end. That's why genre is often denigrated — except that many of the same criticisms apply to more highly-regarded art, too.

Anyway, this is the show that something like The Leftovers is trying to be (but failing). Instead of being about the mystery of why people are coming back to life and what everyone is going to do about it, the bulk and the heart of this show is what it would mean to individual people were people to come back from the dead and exploring what that says about them independent of people coming back from the dead.

To be more specific, the scene between Camille and Claire is so amazing, so powerful, and so true ... even though it's about something that has never happened (religious and other beliefs aside) and that, in some sense, we can't know anything about. Yet we do know something about it, because that scene is built from things we do actually know and have lived. And so this is an example of genre dealing with the sort of thing it normally mostly glosses over. Generally, we'd get the sort of scene we'd expect that is all about the superficial stuff that's directly related to the supernatural event. We'd have dialogue like, oh my god, how can you be alive? And all sorts of things which seem normal to the audience because the audience is easily accepting something (it's the premise, right, it's the ride we got the ticket for) that would affect a real person in such a situation much more strongly, and differently, than as a mystery to be solved.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:16 PM on July 16, 2014 [4 favorites]

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