French series “The Returned” (“Les Revenants”) serves up some serious chills

The Returned (Les Revenants) thrilled and terrified viewers when it aired last year in France, and the series recently concluded its first season airing on Channel 4 in the UK.  Some of our readers clued us in to this fantastic and chilling series that features lesbian couple, Julie and Laure.

**Spoilers ahead!**

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With the help of the show’s fans and some helpful translators, we were able to track it down and view it ourselves. (A special merci especially to Manousmile and WildThestral for your assistance.)  The highly anticipated second season of The Returned is set to air in 2014.  The show is an adaptation of the 2004 film by the same title.

Imagine if you woke up one day, and a person you had loved and lost was standing in your kitchen eating a sandwich, as if nothing had ever happened to them. That is exactly what happens in a sleepy mountain town in France. A handful of dead people reappear exactly as they were before they died, years or even decades before. Naturally it sends the town reeling, especially when a series of murders begin again baring the calling card of a dead serial killer, who is among the Returned. The series sets the old zombie trope on its head. Those who have returned don’t hunger for brains. They want their old lives back, which proves to be the emotional crux of the series. How do you fit back into a mold that was shattered with grief when you left?

Seven years prior to the returning, Julie and Laure were an item. Julie, a nurse and Laure, a police officer, are seen dressed as Batman and Catwoman for a festive costume party.

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They kiss and Laure implores Julie to stay, but Julie leaves on her own, much to Laure’s chagrin. Walking home, Julie is brutally attacked by a serial killer and left for dead. She survives but she and Laure grow apart. Years later when the Returned begin arriving in town, Laure and Julie become close again. Julie also becomes the accidental guardian of one of the Returned; a young boy named Victor who was murdered by thieves 30 years prior. Julie turns to Laure for help and the two reignite their romance.

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With odd, unexplainable occurrences happening around town, the focus remains on those who have returned.  Laure and Julie attempt to flee with Victor, but find they cannot escape. In fact, no one can leave the town.  More Returned begin showing up, and it becomes apparent that something sinister is afoot.

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Overall, The Returned has compelling characters and a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  If you are a fan of slow burning dramas, like The Killing and Top of the Lake, or sci-fi mysteries like The 4400, you will enjoy The Returned.  Julie and Laure are still very much alive by the finale, so hopefully Season Two will continue to flesh out their story.

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Have you watched The Returned (Les Revenants)? What did you think?

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