The Returned 1.05 "Serge And Toni" REVIEW

TV REVIEW The animals went in one by one...

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The Returned 1.05 “Serge & Toni” review.

THE ONE WHERE We discover that Toni killed his psycho brother Serge. And so does Serge….

VERDICT Finally, the dead start coming out of the shadows, talking to one another about their shared condition, and being quite open about it with the living. After watching Simon roaming about town for weeks being frustratingly closed-mouthed, it’s rather a relief to have Mrs Costa blabbing to anyone who’ll listen that she was born in 1943.

Though it doesn’t have anything on a par with episode four’s bombshell about little Victor’s death, this fifth instalment still has some satisfying surprises and new mysteries. Of them all, perhaps the most intriguing is the discovery, by water company divers, of the bodies of 36 drowned animals in the lake. One suspects that in the grand scheme of things this is probably not going to turn out to be all that significant (and, indeed, that it could turn out to be a red herring), but the moment when their corpses are found floating in the gloom is certainly a stunning, surreal sequence. As the camera glides around them, it’s as if Damien Hirst has taken up filmmaking.

Equally powerful is the scene where Victor confronts Pierre and accuses the one-time crim of being complicit in his death, with a baffling visitation by Pierre’s balaclavaed partner-in-crime providing a chance to right that wrong – if only in a symbolic sense. Did that tussle only occur in Pierre’s mind, or was it something concrete and tangible? Was it caused by Vincent? And is it the same phenomenon we saw before, when Julie imagined she was being attacked by Serge?

If there’s one story thread that seems like rather a waste of time, it’s Julie’s worry that maybe she’s dead herself; the fact that she’s alive never really seems to be in doubt. True, it’s pretty remarkable that she survived Serge’s vicious attack, but none of the other Returned came back bearing the marks of their manner of death, so if she was one of them then surely she wouldn’t have all those scars on her stomach.

UNINTENTIONALLY AMUSING SCENE OF THE WEEK The ever-so-slightly unsubtle one in which Adele fills us in on the back-story of the drowned village beneath the lake by telling a classful of kids all about it. To be fair, this does beat delivering an infodump to an adult character as if they were a seven-year-old child.

SPECULATION What happened to Toni and Serge’s mum – did she die of a broken heart, unable to forgive her son for killing his sibling? If all those animals were running from something, what could it be - another of the Returned, living a feral existence in the woods? And why are Lucy’s injuries miraculously healing? About the only other thing we know about her is that she’s been working as a medium – does that existence on the dividing line between life and death somehow explain it? Or could it be that (like Mrs Costa), she can survive any kind of physical trauma because she’s already dead ?

NITPICKS Why doesn’t Lena ask Serge what his name is? That’s the very least I’d expect before letting a stranger rub mashed-up nettles into my gaping wound. And why the hell does Laure let Julie take Victor home with her again? What kind of policing is that?! Is no-one looking for the kid’s parents?

FEATURED MUSIC “Dead Wrong” by Hanni El Khatib , (yet again) “Unclean” by Steeple Remove”, and “Invisible Lights” by Steeple Remove .

BEST LINE Camille: “Zombies have to stick together.”

Ian Berriman

Read all our The Returned series 1 reviews .

Deputy Editor, SFX

Ian Berriman has been working for SFX – the world's leading sci-fi, fantasy and horror magazine – since March 2002. He also writes for Total Film, Electronic Sound and Retro Pop; other publications he's contributed to include Horrorville, When Saturday Comes and What DVD. A life-long Doctor Who fan, he's also a supporter of Hull City, and live-tweets along to BBC Four's Top Of The Pops repeats from his @TOTPFacts account.