Several main characters are gone, the town’s under water and my blood pressure still hasn’t returned to a normal level. Over the last eight weeks, The Returned, the supernatural drama from Haut et Court which has been showing on Channel 4, has kept me on the edge of my sofa. Every time that I’ve thought the show must have exhausted its supply of twists and turns, I’ve been proven wrong and the final episode was no exception.
Although still excellent, last week’s episode was my least favourite of the series so I was particularly glad that this week’s offering was so well thought-out and clever. The characters of The Returned are all beautifully rounded – each week, the story has focussed on different individuals and I really think that this technique has made it easier for viewers to care about the families that they have been watching. Few of the town’s residents are particularly likeable but they more than make up for this by being interesting.
Every week, I’ve been grateful that the decision was taken not to dub the show. The subtitles are great – they offer enough detail to support the audience but never steal attention away from the drama unfolding onscreen. For those who speak French, the original audio adds a whole other layer of detail and richness which could never have been carried through the translation process. The show has been consistent in its ratings, silencing those who said that the subtitling could turn away viewers as the weeks went on.
One of the things I found particularly exciting about the series was its cliffhanger ending. I honestly didn’t feel at all short-changed by the season’s last instalment. It was full of drama and intrigue from start to finish and I absolutely loved it. That said, the list of questions which I want answered is only getting longer. What is the scar appearing on the characters’ bodies? Who on earth is Lucy Clarsen? Will the horde return? Why does Pierre’s face creep me out more than anything else in the entire show? I’d like responses to all of these queries and more, and I’m confident that I will get them… eventually. The Returned has offered us a masterclass in sustained tension – answers are given when they are needed, not just to placate viewers or to fill time. The series is truly plot-driven and it is this which I appreciate above all else.
The makers of The Returned have me exactly where they want me. They know I’ll be back for more and so do I.
The Returned is scheduled to be back on our screens late in 2014, and the finale is available on 4oD.