DEADtime TV: The Returned ‘Lucy’

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For a large stretch of The Returned – well, mostly all of it so far – Lucy was not an important character. Hell, she was barely even around for the first episode; she was a waitress at the Dog Star that was boning Jack for money (pretending she could talk to Camille in the afterlife while having sex), and then the victim of a vicious attack that left her in critical condition and a coma. She dropped out of the show for the most part, but “Lucy” returns to her with more importance than ever, documenting what appears to be a major step for The Returned and one that could change the course of the plot considerably.

It helps that in a flashback sequence, “Lucy” returns to those moments where Jack was at his lowest. It’s not just to show Lucy in those situations, but to show Jack as well – he was looking for an escape after Camille’s death, and despite the ridiculousness of Lucy’s pretend sex-ouijaing, he wanted to believe her. It’s an important moment for the Winship family, because Claire is having a difficult time dealing with her mourning and then non-mourning. Without something to grieve, she’s left with an emptiness, and Jack can’t fill it (not in a sexual connotation, either). They’re both struggling to overcome the return of Camille in different ways, and happiness is undercut by a weird sense that things shouldn’t be this way.

It’s a more poignant moment that The Returned has shown so far, and it’s nice to see that the series can take advantage of how stressful it must be for the people around the returned. “Lucy” returns to this again when Camille reveals her true identity to Ben; instead of continuing their sexual escapades, he makes a quick getaway out the window, unable to accept that the girl he once knew is now back from the dead.

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“Lucy” makes strides in other areas, too, by explicitly referencing past flashbacks. It returns to Victor’s (nee Henry) death in a scene where both he and Peter visit a cemetery where the man who killed Victor and his family is buried. It’s meant as a way for Peter show repentance to Victor, but at the same time it brings back fresh memories. But Victor has a much more sinister approach to things rather than just being able to forgive, and he creates a vision where Peter’s partner comes back from the grave to hold a gun to his head. Then it’s revealed he’s doing it to himself. It’s a solid approach to Victor that makes him a lot spookier than the show has revealed thus far, another effective method for allowing the past to return to the present.

Peter thinks the returned are a punishment to the living, but that doesn’t necessarily seem to be the case. Lucy died and then returns, and instead of punishing Jack, she gives him a warning. Now she really can speak to spirits, and during a particularly effective moment in the finale of the episode, she speaks to Jack’s father, leaving a stoic message: he’s worried for Jack. What does that mean, and why Jack specifically? Those are questions that won’t be answered until later this season, but The Returned looks to be branching off from its adaptation with this event.

“Lucy” is another pleasant surprise from The Returned, an episode that again manages to mix a lot of different characters together in a jumble of relationships. At the same time it creates a few very interesting twists for the characters. This feels like an important episode, moreso than the previous ones, and I hope the show continues on this tack.

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