TV Club: On The Returned, there’s nothing scarier than being alone

The Returned understands the intoxicating allure of the easy explanation. It would have to, given the way it treats conclusions and answers like narrative pollutants. In this world, as in our own, such explanations can calm the mind, but they can also boil the blood: When the dam burst for the first time, the frightened, mourning villagers sought to make sense of the seemingly random disaster. Surely there was a cause to be found; certainly there was blame to be laid. But because nature is mysterious and structural engineering depends too much on math, science, and multi-year training programs at institutes of higher learning, the situation turned from “what to blame” to “who to blame.”

Contemplating the loss of her husband, the woman Julie meets in “Virgil” points the finger at herself. If she hadn’t been sick that day, if he hadn’t gone to mass to pray for …

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