Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Returned, Season 1, Episode 8: Claire

Opening flashback – Claire photographing Peter then swimming with Peter, then kissing Peter then apparently having sex with him while she discusses how her life changed course when she met Jack, giving up her career as a photographer. She talks about her dreams becoming dreams for her children.

So Claire and Peter were having an affair before Camille died and she and Jack separated.

Despite her talk of her dreams changing, when she returns home she seems to visibly steel herself before going in.

In the present we have another reminder with Camille that the Returned are always hungry and Lena comes home. After a tense moment, the sisters hug and Lena cries. Claire watches and seems relieved

The next day, Lena tells Peter, Jack and Claire about Tony trying to hold her prisoner when she found Lucy’s necklace- implying that Tony kidnapped her in the first place. Jack storms off seeking revenge and certainly doesn’t listen to Peter when he tries to stop him (though he does have a territory-marking “that’s not your daughter, not your family” line.) Peter keeps following him

At the cabin Tony and Adam hear the cars coming and Tony tells his returned brother to leave. Jack attacks Tony and only stops when Peter smacks him with a branch – Peter seems rather bored by the whole thing

Back at the Winship house, Camille examines Lena’s wound and it’s reduced to a small, faded scar. Lena puts it down to a physical representation of her survivor’s guilt and it’s all gone because they’re reconciled and together. It’s a good moment to see the sisters together again

Over to Tommy and Rowan’s house as the emergency services cart out the body of Simon who Tommy just murdered. Together Tommy and Rowan lie about what happened to cover up Tommy’s murder.

Tommy decides the best way to commemorate murder cover up is with flowers, while Rowan has thrown out the carpet Simon bled all over. He has a brief moment of panic where he thinks Rowan has hurt herself – but she’s just resting and listening to music. Rowan helps Tommy justify murdering Simon – because Simon was suicidal it’s totally ok to murder him, apparently (and can we add how much worse this is since Rowan herself has tried to kill herself?). Now time for post-murder wedding planning and sex.

At the police station Nikki is doing her own digging – and finds the case in 1986 when Victor and his mother were murdered. With photographs clearly showing Victor. She hurries to Julie’s in the middle of the night to tell her about the zombie child she’s hosting. But Julie doesn’t want to know, she says whatever terrible thing happened to Victor is in the past (and yes we have a whole shed load of projecting here). She’s also decided she has been chosen by fate to take care of Victor.

But Nikki has another bombshell – 4 years ago another woman was in Julie’s position. She found Victor, silent and took him in. The woman was a teacher at Camille’s school and died in the bus crash – after it swerved to avoid Victor as we saw in the pilot.

Flashback to 4 years where said teacher decided the appropriate way to deal with Victor, or Zack as she called him, was to abandon him by the side of a rural road. Really, lady? That’s not appropriate with a dog, let alone a child! And this woman’s a teacher! Of course Victor stares creepily after her. Three days after she abandoned Victor, the bus crashed swerving to avoid him

In the present Nikki also adds that even if he wasn’t a zombie, Victor is the creepiest of creepy kids and he scares her. Julie doesn’t listen – and Victor overhears every word.

Tony is taking to the police station where he confesses to Nikki and Tommy to killing and attacking all the women Adam attacked (Nikki, doing a terrible job of questioning him, feeds him all their names).

Nikki calls Julie and tells her they have her attacker – telling her she’s sure they have the right man and that she needs Julie to go to the police station. She goes, taking Victor with her. Peter calls Claire to tell her what happened though they talk more about how Peter stopped Jack from killing Tony.

Julie goes to the police station but none of the jewellery found is hers – she didn’t lose any. The thought of seeing Tony sends her into a panic attack and Nikki has to help her stop hyperventilating.

Camille has been thinking about the Kratskis, another family who lost a child in the bus crash and despite the awful timing with everything else going on decides to take a trip over to them with Claire. They find the door open and when they go inside they find their bodies, hanging. Beneath them is a shrine to their dead son.

They go home because Claire doesn’t want Camille involved with the police and Peter offers to go over and pretend to find them and it’ll all be fine except, as Jack points out, Camille’s trauma which he blames on Peter. Peter pushed Camille to tell the Kratskis about their son in heaven, to lie to them, and they committed suicide on the strength of those lies. Claire agrees, knowing how desperate they were after losing Camille. Peter tries to squirm out of it – talking about his wish to help people and when Jack calls him out on it Peter decides to tear into Jack for getting drunk and having sex with Lucy rather than looking after his family. Classic deflection to dodge responsibility and Claire stomps on that and kicks Peter out.

Jack, of course, follows to rub his nose into the dirty – claiming Peter was a manipulator who preyed on Claire while she was grieving so he could have sex. Of course Peter hits back with the news that they were having sex before Camille died.

Lena concentrates on trying to comfort Camille, assuring her that the Kratskis weren’t handling their grief in a healthy way even before Camille spoke to them – but Camille is worried not just about them but how she’s changed, how she doesn’t sleep, how she’s always hungry. She fears what she’s becoming.

Tony returns to his cabin to find all his trophies missing. Stressed and sweaty he goes to the police station and asks to speak to a cop – distracting the woman watching Victor long enough for him to go wandering. He finds Tony and stares at him through the one way mirror. The lights in Tony’s room flicker and his mother appears yelling at him about how to keep the secret and to make it right. Tony slams his head into the table repeatedly. The police try to restrain him but he grabs one of their guns and shoots himself

All the while Victor looks on creepily. Julie hustles him out. Adam runs from the building

At Rowan’s, Chloe has a temper tantrum because she wants her dad back

And in the morgue, Simon wakes up.

I want to know what’s going on with child services in this world. A teacher decides to abandon a child by the side of the road. The police decide to put a silent child in an adult homeless shelter with no guardian, in a dorm full of adult strangers. What is wrong with these people? Lord of the Flies had more appropriate adult supervision than this town!

The Krakski’s suicide is tragic – but also a powerful exploration of unforeseen consequences, but really they should have been foreseen. If you have proof, hard concrete proof of an actual afterlife and a loved one you’re desperate to be reunited with (saying they hope to see you again) then suicide must become a foreseeable option. Peter’s defence is also hollow – he didn’t tell Camille to lie? No, but he shamed her and attacked her for not providing comfort. He manipulated her into lying; together this shows a side of Peter – no matter how good his intentions are or how much he hungers for redemption, his “end justifies the means” mentality is not only dubious but also arrogant and manipulative. He sees no problem in deceiving and using people to achieve what he considers to be the greater good.

Rowan and Tommy’s justifications of Simon’s murder are pretty repellent. Of course murder cover up is never pretty, but the moralising the idea that killing Simon was ok because he chose to die in the past is horrendous – this presents murdering people who have attempted suicide as justifiable. And from Rowan of all people – a woman who has tried to commit suicide before