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Published on November 23rd, 2015 | by Michael

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The Returned – Esther

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‘Esther’ thrusts the viewer back ten years at the beginning of the episode, rather than the customary 35. Rather than deal with the flood and its aftermath, it starts with a young woman, Esther, about to go into the tunnel of death. Young Victor/Louis tries to warn Esther off, again showing a concern for others that we’re unused to. Alas his concern comes to naught, as Serge emerges from the tunnel to murder the poor woman anyway.

Returned Esther Victor

Yes, Esther was one of the woman who turned up at Maison Toni/Serge (do these guys have a surname that we know of?). Toni’s plan, back in the present day, is for Serge to take the girl back to her family. God bless Toni, he’s such a trier. Can you imagine how that conversation would go down? ‘Hi, here’s your undead daughter who has been missing for a decade. My brother has something to say, don’t you Serge?’ Unfortunately for the pair some unwitting army frogmen ‘rescue’ Milan from the bottom of the lake. He was tied down there – how do the soldiers possibly account for the fact that he is still alive given that they would have seen anyone leave him there if it had been in the last couple of minutes? Coupled with the stories they have already heard about the returned, surely this incident will sent some bells a’ringing. Upon regaining consciousness, Milan says ‘I lost her. I love her. I never told her’. To whom does he refer? Serge and Toni’s mother? Lucy? Who knows.

Victor/Louis and Madame Costa continue in their search to find Julie, with the young lad having another nightmare in which Julie throws herself off the dam. In the same dream, Lucy turns to Victor and tells him ‘you must help us’. In fact, Victor is beset by both mad cult leaders this week, albeit indirectly. While Lucy invades his dreams, he and Madame Costa fall foul of Pierre’s goons, one of whom shoots Madame Costa through the chest. Poor Madame Costa, she’s content with shrugging and smoking and yet seems doomed to be murdered over and over again. Of course, killing a friend of Victor’s seems very unwise and indeed Lucho, the gunman, soon throws himself out of the window. Lucho’s companion, incidentally, is the weasely rat bastard who backs up Pierre’s every move. It only clicked this week that he’s Frederic, the twins’ old friend.

Returned Pierre Esther

Back at the Helping Hand, the depths are Pierre’s madness become even more apparent as he keeps Audrey chained up and away from Sandrine. Audrey also has wounds on her neck and face, possibly inflicted by Pierre who is trying to find ‘their weak point’. But they could also be the wounds that the other dead have started manifesting.

It is Julie who discovers the big revelation of ‘Esther’ when she finally speaks to Mr Lewanski. It turns out Victor/Louis is not his son at all, the boy merely turned on the Lewanski doorstep 35 years ago, much as he did to Julie in the first series. So how old is he? Where does he come from originally? It also makes Julie far more significant in his story – he said that he had grown because Julie loved him when previously he hadn’t changed for at least 35 years, probably much longer. Of course, that line might have been added because Swann Nambotin was clearly bigger than when the first series was filmed but it still might have some importance.

This week in missing gendarme news – he’s been found! Big ups to your reviewer on that front, because it was Thomas who was unaccounted for. However he’s just as dead as all his colleagues, but that doesn’t stop him appearing to Adele to warn her away from Simon, whom he implies had a hand in his death. It is unclear whether these apparitions are just in Adele’s head or not, but Thomas certainly hasn’t ‘returned’ like others have. Everyone is out to run Simon down this episode, actually, with Lucy telling him (craftily in front of Chloe) that if he loved Adele so much he wouldn’t have killed himself, would he? Simon’s death remains largely unexplored – does he just think he killed himself because that’s what everyone has told him?

Returned Claire Esther

Also seeing things that aren’t there this week is Claire, who nearly guts herself when she mistakenly believes Virgil has pulled a knife on her. If not for the twins’ intervention, Claire might well have joined the dead. Camille also claims that when Claire was beaten up by the horde, she actually did it herself, like a French Tyler Durden. Victor, so adept at putting images into people’s heads, was nowhere near either incident. Is Claire going mad or is someone out to get her? ‘Esther’ finishes with a touching family reunion as Jerome makes his way across the lake and joins his ex-wife and daughters in a big hug (Berg standing awkwardly off to the side, of course). Since Claire shacked up with mad bastard Pierre and isn’t likely to be going back to him any time soon maybe this reassembled nuclear family might stay together? The spanner in the works could be Camille who has hinted she might stay with the dead rather than leave with her family, though Lena has thus far given that idea short shrift.

‘Esther’ was a low key episode by recent standards, albeit one with a huge revelation at its core. There are now just two episodes remaining, perhaps at all and while things are moving apace there is still an awful lot of ground to cover, assuming it doesn’t end in such a frustrating (though brilliant) way as the first series.

Michael

Michael comes from the middle ground between light and shadow, between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. He will write on comics, TV and film, plus anything else that might occur to him.

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