The Returned focuses on a small town that is turned upside down when several local people, who have been long presumed dead suddenly reappear, bringing with them both positive and detrimental consequences. As families are reunited, the lives of those who were left behind are challenged on a physical and emotional level. Interpersonal relationships are examined with intrigue and depth as strange phenomena begin to occur.
So reads the synopsis of this new show on A & E’s official website. This is a show that is based on a French series of the same name, and the very idea of it is something I would never have been interested in prior to this past summer. What changed? Well, let me briefly detail the history about my journey to this show.
As I have written in past reviews, Cedar Cove and Sebastian Spence (Cowboy Cliff Harting) transformed my life last summer in ways I never expected. And it was last fall when my good friend Sebastian let us know he was guest starring on this upcoming show. As I read about it, my heart sank at first. I NEVER watch shows like this, but somehow I convinced myself I had to be supportive in spite of that. And indeed I was. In fact, he probably wouldn’t be surprised now to know this was not my kind of show, but I never mentioned that to him. I was nothing but supportive.
During the filming of this appearance, he had a difficult first day (Oh I remember that so well), and it marked one of the first times he and I really began to connect. I’ve posted about my cyber bully issues in the past, and it was during this time period he and I were working through that situation as well. It’s a time I recall as though it were yesterday.
We, the fans, knew this was a recurring a guest spot, but we had no idea when (or if) the show would ever air. Another friend and I discussed it in-depth quite regularly, but there was never any information until early this year. One of my other friends noticed the trailer for the show, and our excitement began to build. Finally after all these months, we would get to see the fruits of our dear friend’s labor.
In truth, I attempted to keep the faith even though his name never appeared and there was no information available anywhere. I had my DVR set to record the show in the event that he was in it one of these days. But as the season went on, I began to wonder if maybe they cut his part. I know it can happen (it certainly has before), and no matter where I searched, there was no information. Oh, I longed to ask Sebastian, but he was swamped with work, so I put the situation in the rear portion of my brain.
That is, until last week! I was at my computer, and his tweet came across about guest starring on The Returned, and if you had been anywhere near the computer room of our house, the sound would have been deafening. I was so excited I could hardly type a response to any of my friends. Finally, Sebastian Spence was guest starring on The Returned!
Immediately, I stopped what I was doing. I was so grateful that I had been recording the show all along. And from the moment I turned on the show and his wonderful face appeared, I was riveted on his character. I heard his voice. For the three minutes or so he was on the screen, I was entranced.
His guest spot is a flashback, and his acting is immensely phenomenal! In fact, my friend took an incredible amount of screenshots (don’t worry, I will not post them all), and as I studied them, I was reminded of the absolutely unbelievable talent this man possesses.
Not only does he have absolutely perfect posture (his mother must have trained him well), but he always pays attention to minute detail. His facial expressions are always spot on and perfectly suited to the scene at hand, and his voice always exhibits the precise mood and emotion.
By way of a back story, he plays the character George who is married to a woman who has been declared “insane.” I won’t give away the details, but basically he visits his wife weekly (or so it would appear).
There is just something mesmerizing about him. Okay, yes, I know he’s handsome and all that–I could wax eloquent (sometimes that gets me in trouble) about his robust physical features. Yes, I found my breathing laborious for those moments he was on the screen. Notwithstanding, he is so incredibly more than “a hot body.” (Wait, did I really just type that? Oh well, my secret is out.)
This is one of my most cherished screenshots of that episode. I realize he’s been caught at an awkward moment, but just look at the intensity with which he acts! For those three minutes he is on the screen, he is noticed and will be remembered. And that prophecy of mine does come true in the next episode.
When it is time for George to leave, it is with sorrow that we bid this character goodbye. We have minimal backstory on him, but somehow we know he will be important. And indeed he is. I will not spoil it for you, but a sort of cataclysmic event occurs that defines this town as unexplained things begin to happen. You’ll see his wife again in the following episode, but it will be present day.
I was convinced that Sebastian would be in the finale since he said “recurring” guest role. And I knew he spent at least three days filming it (yes, one might call me a stalker, but it is with his best interest in mind only). And as Sebastian has been known to tell me, I was right as I always am. He was featured as George in the season one finale. (See why I like Sebastian? He has learned that timeless truth about women always being right.)
His guest spot on the finale was only about one or two minutes, but it was hauntingly memorable. I don’t know how my dear friend always seems to be able to immerse himself into any role he is given, but he has never failed to impress me in that regard. There are times when I don’t care for the work in which he appears, but his prowess is always displayed in clarity of detail.
If you haven’t guessed, dear reader, you know that I am a mildly biased reviewer when it comes to anything Sebastian Spence. It might be safe to say that I practically eat, sleep, and breathe him and his works. Quite seriously, he is rarely off my mind, and I have made it one of my missions in life to promote his works while still maintaining our delightful friendship.
In spite of my bias, my keen, analytical mind can see through my personal feelings to recognize, appreciate, and promote the talent of this man. Once in a while, an actor of such underrated but enormous talent comes along, and in everything he does, he delivers such exquisite performances that would stupefy the viewer if he/she allowed it. The issue is that Sebastian is so incredibly humble that he rarely considers what he should do to advance his carer or have others take notice of him–at least amongst his fans and the general public. For him, acting is a passion, but it is a job. While he always brings something of himself to his roles, his roles are just that–parts to portray. He is an actor by profession, and thankfully he is paid to do what he loves.
So why is this man overlooked by so many? His humility and gentle nature keep him from participating in much self-promotion (why do you think I take these reviews so seriously?). People are drawn to him because of his genuine and sincere caring spirit, but many don’t take notice of him because he is not flashy. Go the pages of the vast majority of well-known actors, and you will find many phtoographs and much information about the person and his/her career. Not so with Sebastian. Additionally, in most of his roles, his characters are not ostentatious either. Unfortunately, this means that many pass him over and even take him for granted. And in so doing, they miss one of the most remarkable actors (and people) alive.
I can only hope that if this series is renewed, the powers that be would be shrewd enough to ask him back. My friend and I were discussing this tonight, and the very fact that his wife calls out to him towards the end of the finale is enough reason to find a way for George to return.
In case you are wondering, I watched about half of the epsidoes in this season. There is a wealth of profanity, and there are some truly terrifying/violent scenes. Likewise, there many scenes with sexual content. For that reason, I caution my more sensitive viewers against viewing this show. It is intriguing enough that I plan on watching a second season whether Sebastian is in it or not. But I can guarantee my undying loyalty to this show if they bring him back for season two.
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