This was an episode of Resurrection that started with a small, intimate drama, and ended with explosive happenings for everyone. But there's absolutely no way next week's season finale will provide any answers. Spoilers ahead...
SO MANY DEAD PEOPLE. That's how this episode ended: with hundreds of Returned all showing up at once, from all sorts of time periods. And the preview for next week made clear that the rest of the world can't be kept out of Arcadia now. (Granted, the continual problem with this show has been that you really had to suspend your disbelief that they made it this long without outsiders showing up.)
The first three quarters of last night's episode mainly dealt with the fallout from Rachael's kidnapping. Gary, it turns out, started drinking once Caleb killed his cousin. His rage and drunkenness have been fueling a religious righteousness that has him believing that Rachael is the devil. He's waving the Bible around, but it's not too clear that he really believes it any more than he just wants vengeance for his cousin's death. And with Caleb gone, he's generalized his hatred to the Returned as a whole, transferring his anger by means of scripture.
The confusion between Caleb's specific crimes and the more general disruption of the Returned is reinforced by the fact that Gary alternates between wanting Racheal to tell him where Caleb is and, when she refuses, general ranting about how she's not human. His deputy allies bail on him when it becomes clear that the plan isn't just to scare her into leading them to Caleb.
I honestly expected Gary to kill them, but he's not that far gone. He's still only okay with treating Rachael this way because he's convinced she's the devil. He lets them leave but reminds them that if he gets caught, they'll be accomplices to the crime, so they shouldn't say anything.
Meanwhile, back in town, Pastor Tom and Marty have figured out that Rachael's missing and that Gary left his truck in front of the church over night. They go to Sheriff Fred, who doesn't open up to them but does notice one of the deputies who helped Gary acting squirelly. Sheriff Fred gets him to tell him what's going on, while Marty and Pastor Tom find out that Gary's gone to his cabin. Because, like Caleb, Gary has a cabin to do illegal things at.
Gary's decided to see if Rachael's human by bleeding her with a knife. Kathleen Munroe gives a powerhouse performance here. She starts talking about how he shouldn't come after her with the knife because, as he said, how can it hurt her if she's already dead? And isn't he convinced she's the devil? Plus, she something that "he can never understand." At the beginning, I was sure she was just playing on Gary's paranoia to stop him, but by the end I was starting to believe her. At least about how she's something he can never understand: all the other Returned have had some idea of what they are and what's coming, why not Rachael? I'm still not sure how much of what she said was stalling, and how much was truth.
Plus, it's at this point that Sheriff Fred shows up, along with this episode's major theme: Is Gary any different from Caleb? And are the people in Arcadia any different from the Returned? Because Sheriff Fred makes the mistake of telling Gary he just wants to prevent him from making the same mistake Caleb did. Which just provokes more ranting that he's nothing like the not-human, devil-Returned. So he locks the door and says no one's leaving until they figure out just what Rachael is.
Sheriff Fred tries to talk him down, but Gary's having none of it. Which is Marty's cue to bust in and point his gun at Gary. And Gary's cue to put the gun to Rachael's head. And then Pastor Tom's cue to come in and try to reason with the loon pointing the gun at his undead, pregnant, fiancée. It does not work, and Gary ends up, possibly accidentally, shooting Rachael in the chest. And she dies while Pastor Tom yells "No," "Stay with me," and other clichés.
Thus we come to the major revelations of the episode: When Sheriff Fred gets back to the station, he's greeted by silence. And then, all hell breaks loose as a Returned, who you know is a Returned and not just a hipster in a vintage suit because he's freaked out by a computer, enters the station. Then, all sorts of calls start coming in of Returned all over the town.
Earlier in the episode, we've met the only other child that's willing to spend time with Jacob, who Jacob runs away from the house to see. When his parents catch up to him, he introduces them to Jenny and her parents, who are "like him." Another nice little clue on the part of the show: Jenny's dress was enough out of style that you could easily guess that she was a Returned, so the real reveal was that she wasn't alone, the way the rest had been. They're the first of this new batch.
Marty's on the phone with Maggie about this week's other minor plot point — Dr. Ward's invited Maggie to join him in studying the returned at the NIH lab in Maryland, and she's probably going to go. Plus, he's got leukemia and a sample of Jacob's blood eliminated it from a sample of his — when he comes across a new Rachael wandering the streets.
Once Sheriff Fred realizes that all these undead might mean his wife'll be back, too, he abandons his job to run home. But there's only a crying Maggie there.
Maggie figures out that her mother probably went to the man she was having an affair with (as was hinted way back in episode 2), and, sure enough, there she is.
The bit I liked the best from last night was when Gary is taken in to custody, and the station's receptionist tells Sheriff Fred that all these Returned are "causing chaos." Which, yeah, in a way they are. In another way, save Caleb's awfulness, all Jacob and Rachael did was show up in their hometown and try to live their lives. The "chaos" was caused by people's reactions to them.
Rachael definitely didn't bring her abduction on herself, and it seemed like Gary might have gone off the deep end even if the person who had killed his cousin hadn't been returned from the dead. If Caleb had done the same thing the first time around, and managed to get away, Gary might have done the same thing to, say, Elaine. It may be easier to link the Returned to the devil, but not necessary for his vendetta.
Plus, Gary spent a lot of time denying Rachael's personhood, while simultaneously doing the worst things of the episode. On the other hand, he might have been right that he couldn't really do anything to her and she might have been telling more truths than lies to him, since she does return for a second time.
And now there are hundreds of people showing up. Before, it seemed like the ones who returned had specific connections to people living in Arcadia. But now, people are showing up from so long ago that you wonder how that could be. And the guy from Korea? Was the river connection just a red herring, or were his ashes spread there, too?
That's what this episode ended on: SO MANY DEAD PEOPLE, SO MANY QUESTIONS.