Published on November 9th, 2015 | by Michael0
The Returned Season Two Episode Four – Virgil
‘Virgil’ marks the halfway point of The Returned’s second season and on the evidence so far it is shaping up to be every bit as good as the first. This episode begins with the now traditional flashback to 35 years ago and the dam burst that has cast such a long shadow over the town ever since. The Virgil of the title is the boy that has been helping Camille these past two weeks but it turns out (shock) that he has secrets. It transpires that in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, Milan organised crews to discourage break-ins and other crimes that might be expected after a huge flood. Teen troublemaker Virgil was one such who ran afoul of the gang and was chased across the countryside, finally caught and imprisoned in Milan’s basement. In the present day, more of Virgil’s story is filled in when he talks with Camille. Virgil has the ability to sense people’s secrets: he divines Camille’s name and that Lena is her sister. He encourages Camille to do the same to him – she discovers the gruesome manner of his death. 35 years ago, little Serge let Virgil out of the basement, but Virgil got caught up in a bear trap while making his escape. Milan takes little Serge to see the result of his actions and shoots poor Virgil, putting him out of his misery (I was convinced Milan would make Serge shoot him, to be honest).
‘Virgil’ is one of the scariest episodes the show has served up yet. As well as Virgil’s (half eaten?) corpse, Berg’s investigation into the giant whole reveals a cave full of animal skeletons, though fortunately no sighting of the white humanoid figure from last week. Julie, back from her dip at the end of ‘Morgane’ (and presumably still alive) wanders around a house while an old axe wielding woman sneaks up on here, though thankfully the lady proves to be a help once each gets over their initial shock. The single scariest moment though perhaps belongs to Claire. Searching for medical aid Lena, she opens a door into a room to be met by the faces of a dozen dead, who merely stare blankly. Almost as creepy in the man currently living in the house. Yes, he’s the one who saved Claire in ‘Milan’ and yes he gives her bandages for her daughter, but there’s definitely something off about him. Like about half the cast, I suspect he knows a lot more than he is letting on.
Speaking of knowing things, the old axe wielding lady imparts so nice backstory to Julie. Apparently Milan organised the raid on Louis/Victor’s house because he thought that Louis was behind the dam bursting. It’s not an entirely preposterous view that Louis might be the devil – I think many viewers will have suspected since the little bugger’s first appearance – but it’s terrifying to see how quickly the town reverted to middle ages terror tactics in the wake of the flood. In other Louis/Victor news, Jerome and Berg, teaming up to investigate, find a stash of his drawings which seem to depict major events in the town, including several murders and the bus crash. What’s the betting that he drew them before the events in question?
Brothers Serge and Toni continue to be put through it, although for once Serge has the upper hand in his own particular confrontation. Having shot Milan last week, he now keeps the poor bastard in the same cellar that Milan locked up his own victims. Milan’s pleas to be let out fall on deaf ears and he is shot once more for good measure. Toni meanwhile is also a prisoner, though his captor, Pierre, is actually more sinister than Serge the serial killer. Toni sports a nasty wound on his neck, spotted by Sandrine, the most sympathetic of his jailers. She brings Toni food, in defiance of Serge’s orders, partly so she can grill him about Audrey’s whereabouts, though the oft confused Toni isn’t particularly helpful. Salvation comes in the form of Serge, who brains Toni’s guard with a Fire Extinguisher. Going to hit him again, Serge is stopped by a calm ‘non’ from Toni. Toni has looked a little pathetic, understandably so of course, during this season but it’s nice to see he can command the respect of his brother (whom he had previously killed) and prevent him from killing unnecessarily.
Toni is out of Pierre’s clutches for now then, but another character might inadvertently end up in his place. Audrey has had enough of the Village of The Dead and decides to cut out to find her parents. As her Mum is one of Pierre’s goons, she could find herself in trouble if she turns up at The Helping Hand. One detail I noticed this episode is that when Camille went past the room Audrey and Esteban were in, Audrey looked up but Esteban didn’t. I wonder if this is because Audrey is retaining her humanity as her parents are waiting for her, but Esteban doesn’t have anyone, and so is becoming more like the horde. On her trip across the lake, Audrey joins Simon, who has decided that, on reflection, he’d rather Adele have the baby. Lucy had set the wee baby Seamus us with a returned couple who had a newborn of their own before they died but Simon is shocked to discover that the young couple are in fact his parents and believe the baby to be him. He has hallucinations of them killing themselves, and their dialogue ‘we made the circle, we found the path’ perhaps suggests that they were part of a cult before they died. So he takes the wee baby back to Adele and all is forgiven.
No such redemption for Milan, though. In another of the series’ hallmark chilling endings, he awakes to find Lucy standing in judgement over him for his many crimes. The camera pulls back to reveal that he has been shanghaied to the middle of the lake and his is unceremoniously tossed in, weighted down and doomed to dwell beneath the waves. It’s a grim fate to be sure but I’m betting the tough old bastard won’t stay down for long.
‘Virgil’ is yet another superb episode for this series which has barely put a foot wrong in the twelve episodes so far. This one in particular brings the scares to the fore, which the show has neatly balanced with the relationships between characters and the over-arching mystery. It’s to the series’ credit that I’m more concerned about the characters’ fates than I am about how and why the dead have returned.