Well, if you were looking for season 2 of Resurrection to have all the same virtues and flaws of season 1: TA-DA. As usual, the interpersonal drama of the Langston family is beautifully handled by the cast. And, as usual, Omar Epp's Marty Bellamy is a pointless waste of time.
We're going to dispense with the bad news first. Remember when season 1 ended, and Marty was trying to escape with Jacob? But he got cornered by a bunch of soldiers and helicopters? And we found out from the Thompsons (a family of returned) that Marty had a crescent-shaped birthmark like the son they lost way too long ago?
Well, if any of that was supposed to be important, we're going to have to wait to hear about it. Marty shows up in Arcadia a week after everything from the season 1 finale. He calls his old ICE boss, only to run into some men and women in black. Turns out he was taken into custody and everyone was told he was unstable. And a bunch of Returned were taken somewhere. Except, of course, for Jacob and Rachael. Because, for whatever reason, the Returned who still have family that recognize them were allowed to stay. Also, the cover story is that it was all a hoax and mistaken identities. So the town's pretty ready to move on.
Marty, on the other hand, has recovered memories of being held as a prisoner and injected with drugs. The woman in charge of his imprisonment shows up to ask him to spy on Arcadia for her, while also saying things like "We needed visual confirmation to be sure" that he was Marty. Because whatever Marty's connection to the Thompsons, he's definitely a Returned now. That's how he escaped: He got shot while in custody and "returned" to Arcadia.
On the one hand, making Marty a Returned gives him a new point of view that is actually relevant. On the other, adding the mysteries of the government conspiracy and whatever happened when he was in custody to his connection with the Thompsons is too much. Especially for a character that's been roundly useless so far.
So, good news: The Langstons are still an amazingly messed up group of people. Joining their fabulous little band this season is Henry and Sheriff Fred's Returned mother, Margaret. She's played by Game of Thrones' Michelle Fairley. And there is a joke to be made about her playing a dead mother again, but any whiff of Game of Thrones spoilers draws the fury of a thousand poorly-composed comments. So I will let those in the know compose their own.
Henry, by this point, is pretty good at rolling with the return of his dead family members. Sheriff Fred, on the other hand, has managed to sink even further than he had last season. And he incited a military takeover of his small town last season.
But now, everyone thinks the whole Returned thing was a hoax and blame him for the giant government mess. And his brother won't talk to him because he turned in their son. And his daughter refuses to have anything to do with him. Sheriff Fred's only friend these days is booze. Booze at the bar, booze in his car — booze, booze, booze.
The only person who doesn't seem to hate him is Elaine. Elaine seems to have tapped into her own bitterness at the Returned, after what her father did. So she and Fred are united in their hate. She offers to drive Fred home, and he tells her to gun the car and turn on the sirens. They engage in some playful vandalism, and then Sheriff Fred takes a walk down creepy road. DUDE. Your daughter's friend was the last person left in town who didn't actively hate you. Don't hit on her.
Luckily, Margaret rapidly reveals herself as the fucking best. She's adorable with her grandson. She has monologues about her death. And she slaps Sheriff Fred across the face until he admits she's his mother and not an abomination or whatever. Those slaps have been a long time coming, and I super-love Margaret for delivering them.
So, whatever answers we thought we were building to last season are apparently off the table for the foreseeable future. Dr. Maggie's other doctor friend has left for his Baltimore lab. Most of the town has just accepted the hoax story. The Thompsons, who were the only last-second mystery I was actually curious about have been rounded up by the government, and we won't see them again until a writer remembers that they exist.
I'm not a huge fan of this time-skip/exposition thing this episode had. I actually felt like there was a lot of momentum coming out of the season one finale, and instead of showing us what happened, we got everyone telling us about the events of a single week. And it wasn't like they didn't know how to do it: Sheriff Fred's descent was nicely portrayed. From the acting to the state of his car to the booze in his glove compartment. I didn't need anyone saying "Fred's been humiliated and he's still angry about his wife leaving him."