Grief is a process, not a state.
A central theme begins on The Returned Season 1 Episode 1: How does someone process their grief if their loved one has returned?
This, plus a whole set of questions and mysteries was presented.
The Returned is an adaptation of the critically acclaimed French series, Les Revenants. It has been developed for American audiences by Carlton Cuse of Lost and Bates Motel fame.
The pilot did a terrific job of setting up the atmosphere of the series and introducing us to the people in this small mountain town. Going forward, I worry the show is going to have the difficult job of balancing a lot of characters and storylines.
We were introduced to Camille, who's been dead for four years after dying in a bus crash.
I loved watching the people of the town react to seeing their loved ones return from the dead. Camille's parents, now divorced, reacted differently. Claire seemed shocked, but happy to see her daughter back. Jack seemed more confused, and unsure how to process this news.
Claire: Camille is back. Why are you trying to ruin this?
Jack: I'm not trying to ruin anything, Claire. I can't think of anything I wanted more. There has not been an hour that I have not thought about her, about seeing her. And here she is, in our house, and she has absolutely no idea what she's returned to.
Camille's sister, Lena, freaked out. This is a reaction I relate to the most. I would not be calm if someone I thought was dead appeared in front of me.
I loved how the end of the episode revealed that Camille and Lena are identical twins. Lena was supposed to be on the bus, too, but pretended to be sick in order to hook up with the boy she and Camille has a crush on. This will open up a whole other side to grief. Lena has probably been living with a tremendous amount of guilt over her sister dying, and not her, as well.
Elsewhere, we were introduced to a little boy named Victor. Well, Julie named him Victor. That may not be his real name, but we'll go along with it for now.
This kid is creepy already. We know the bus driver crashed because he saw him standing in the middle of the road. Was Victor already dead at this point? Did he make the bus crash on purpose? I'm sure these questions will be answered in time, and I'm already anxious to get answers.
We also met a man named Simon, who returned to see the love of his life trying on a veil for her wedding. Her reaction was extreme, but she seems to have a history of imagining Simon. She thinks she's seeing things again. I'll be interested to see what she does when she realizes Simon is not a vision, but has returned from the grave.
Rowan: It started happening again.
Tommy: The Simon stuff?
Rowan: I thought it was over.
I don't think her future husband will like this.
The most intriguing return belongs to a woman played by Michelle Forbes. She returned to a home where an old man lives. The man was stunned seeing her lying in bed next to him. I can only assume this woman was his wife. There was a picture of her in a wedding gown on his nightstand.
What took me by surprise was his response. Instead of asking her a bunch of questions or screaming, he left the house and jumped off a bridge. What!?
It's only been one episode, and I'm already hooked. Why have these people returned? Are there more people coming back? Do any of them remember being dead?
There's also apparently a killer lurking about. Is he one of the returned? Has he done this before?
I'll admit that I did watch the French version of the show, so I am aware of certain plot points to come. I'll be interested to see if the American version deviates from the original show. I promise I will speculate, but not reveal any spoilers.
So over to you guys! What did you think of the premiere? Why do you think the deceased can't remember being dead? Is the killer someone who was dead and now back? How do you think you would react if you saw a loved one return? What are your predictions for The Returned Season 1 Episode 2?
Sound off below, and don't forget you can catch up on the premiere when you watch The Returned online via TV Fanatic!
Amanda Steinmetz was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She went into retirement in June of 2027. Follow her on Twitter.