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Series / Resurrection

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Resurrection is an American drama that premiered on March 9th 2014 on ABC. It is about people who lived in the town of Arcadia, Missouri mysteriously returning from the dead and the investigation into what is causing it. The show is based on a book called The Returned by American author Jason Mott, but renamed to avoid confusion with a French TV series also named The Returned, which has a similar premise but is not based on the novel.


This show provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parent: Caleb Richards before his death (if his interactions with Elaine are to be believed, it was less physical and more neglectful, as he wasn't around on an emotional level). After returning from the dead, he claims he wants to become a better person, but it turns out he's lying... Or is he? We may never even know, since he's the first who disappeared - there's no indication that the Returned who vanish can ever come back, and Margaret - who has seen if before - believes it to be a Final Death.
    • The abusive dad in Bellamy's flashback.
    • Margaret Langston might be this, at least by modern standards of the trope: her response to son Fred's "You're not real" is to slap him, hard, and ask "Who am I?"; when he doesn't response and starts raising his gun (either to shoot her or himself), she slaps him harder and repeats the question in a harder tone of voice.
  • Advertised Extra: Caleb's actor is credited as a Regular throughout Season 1, but the character has more of a Supporting role compared to the other eight main characters, and we never see Caleb again after he vanishes in Episode 5. He's no longer credited in Season 2, thankfully.
  • Arranged Marriage: Margaret was forced to marry Henry and Fred's father to keep the truth of the factory fire a secret. Her father has no choice but to obligate.
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  • Arc Words: "Did I really die?"
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In episode 3, Henry admits to her wife that he just can't let go of their son (the one who died and whose body is still in the tomb), and asked how she could and accept the apparently-resurrected Jacob.
    Lucille: (visibly hurt) How dare you.
  • Author Avatar: Agent Bellamy, according to Epps.
  • Back from the Dead: The premise of the show: people from Arcadia who died are mysteriously reappearing alive around the world.
  • Big Eater: The people who came back from the dead eat a lot of food and have a higher metabolism. Demonstrated in different ways with the Returned who feature enough in the first season: Caleb ate all of the food in the fridge, despite his daughter having stocked-up very recently; Lucille had found a lot of candy wrappers hidden under Jacob's mattress which he thought she didn't know about, and mentions that he hasn't been sleeping many hours in the night as would be normal; meanwhile, Rachel complains of her hunger to her captors, who had already fed her while there. Along with that, Dr. Ward discovers that their cells could cure many illnesses - the high metabolism of the Returned manifests in not sleeping as much and needing more energy overall than most people. The reason that Caleb likely ate all the food in the fridge is because he was doing a lot of physical labour at the time in preparation for robbing the bank, and Rachel is pregnant, so her child likely demands even more than most people would because she's eating for two Returned (and babies grow rapidly pre-birth); Jacob's is more subdued because he's smaller and younger, but he still requires more food than a regular child of that age in order to accommodate his powerful metabolism.
  • Calling the Old Woman Out: Fred confronts his mother for what she did to Barbara and for keeping secrets. Margaret was furious, telling him she did what was necessary to protect her family and asked what good has Barbara ever done. Fred's answer: Maggie. Then he leaves so she can sink that in.
    • Henry does this as well in "Aftermath" when he learns about the fire in the factory.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Jacob at the beginning of the second episode.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A minor case. The ball that Marty keeps playing with once belonged to the kid who died after Marty returned him to the custody of his abusive father.
    • The porch Caleb has been working on.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The Thompsons' missing baby.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Ray Richards is a paranoid delusional. Naturally, he doesn't easily buy into his father Caleb's return.
    • Properly Paranoid/The Cuckoolander Was Right: Ray was right to be paranoid about his father; although he didn't exactly figure out his true motives or nature (he thought Caleb was an alien), he was correct in guessing that he was planning something bad.
  • Dead Guy Junior: An implied example - Maggie is shorthand for "Margaret", the given name of her paternal grandmother; Season 2 reveals that around the time of Margaret's death, Fred and Barbara discovered they were expecting, and this baby of course turned out to be Maggie.
  • Disappointed in You: James was upset with Agent Bellamy for allowing Rachael's birth to happen.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: By the end of Season 1, the townsfolk's collective fears about the returned have essentially turned into Fantastic Racism. Then the army shows up and there's talk of imprisoning the returned in special camps.
  • Driven to Suicide: Rachel, Tom's first lover, drove off a bridge because she was secretly unhappy with her life.
    • At the end of "Revelation", Fred Langston was about to shoot himself, until his returned mother Margaret slaps some sense into him twice.
  • Driving Question: What is causing people to rise from the dead? And why?
    • It's finally revealed why in "Will". According to Margaret, the Returned came back as a form of punishment for their sins. Barbara thought it was because they were given a second chance. Then again, Margaret is biased and a Hypocrite to boot, so her opinion should be taken with a grain of salt.
      • Ironically in "Aftermath", Margaret and Jacob's "punishment" is having to see their family suffer because of them.
    • In "Prophecy", Margaret believes the Returned came back to punish her family for her father's involvement in the factory fire.
    • By the end of the second season, it appears that the Returned are the catalyst of the Antichrist. Whether it's true or not remains to be seen.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Fred Langston, after learning that his wife had an affair before her death. And again, after his daughter won't talk to him and the town won't forgive him for bringing in the army.
    • Gary Humphrey, after his cousin was killed by Caleb.
  • Evil Matriarch: Margaret looks to be this.
  • Foreshadowing: After Maggie confronts the man her mother was having an affair with, the man returns to his house, saying "She found us" to an unseen person. Several episodes later, her mother is revealed to have returned.
  • Get Out!: In "Aftermath", Henry tells his mother to leave his home, saying she's been "dead for decades".
    • In "Prophecy", Lucille tells Henry to leave the house when he brought up her past guilt of losing Henry (see Ironic Echo).
  • Good Parents: Lucille plays this abundantly straight. Henry leans towards Parents as People in comparison, especially at the start, but this is explained to be largely a result of him struggling with the 32-year-old grief and pain from losing his son the first time; once he's able to confront and come to peace with this, he falls into this territory as well.
  • Guilt by Association: The True Living weren't too sad over Pastor Tom's death, due to being a Returned sympathizer.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: It was originally assumed Maggie's mother, Barbara, did this trying to save her nephew Jacob, but it turns out Barbara was the one who fell in, and so it was Jacob who pulled this trying to get her out It was also a Senseless Sacrifice in the end since both died, of course).
  • Hidden Depths: In "Old Scars", Lucille blamed Barbara for losing Jacob. Because the only reason she was by the lake where she drowned, was to be with the person she was having an affair with. If it weren't for her, Jacob would not have died, and he'd already be an adult, married and with kids of his own. Lucille also holds Fred responsible for Jacob's death, due to causing Barbara to have the affair in the first place. Though from "Prophecy", it may be to hide the fact that she blames herself for losing Jacob (see Ironic Echo).
  • Hypocrite: In "Schemes of the Devil", a secretary expresses her opinion that the Returned are causing problems in Arcadia. Then she gets a call that her sister's back, and she runs off.
    • Helen, a parishioner that's been causing Pastor Tom grief for the situation that his returned ex-girlfriend has placed him in, is quick to drop her criticism and assumptions that these people are temptations/demons sent from Hell rather than blessings from God when she realizes someone that she's lost has also come back.
    • Margaret seems to be this. Despite espousing her belief that the Returned are demons (to Jacob, in the form of a fairy tale), and apparently taking action to banish them (if Arthur Holmes and Barbara are any indication), and even stating that none of them - even Jacob - deserve a second chance at life, she's certainly not trying to have Jacob disappear and even advises Henry and Lucille to enroll him in school.
  • I Am Who?: In Season 2's sixth episode, Marty discovers that he's Jenny Thompson's baby brother, Robert, who died back in 1934 and Returned nearly 40 years later.
  • Identical Grandson: Maggie bears a fairly strong resemblance to her mother Barbara (as Jacob, not knowing who exactly she is, notes when they meet in the first episode), and she has the eyes of her paternal grandmother and grandfather. Margaret also tells Henry - who was in his 30s when she died - that he greatly resembles his father some 33-or-so years later.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Tom and Jacob look this way, but they're chronologically the same age and were best friends as kids. Played straighter with Marty and Jacob's friendship even considering that Marty is also a Returned, because Marty was a baby in 1934 while Jacob was born in 1974... He originally came back in 1972, only two years before Jacob's birth.
  • Ironic Echo: Barbara and Mikey in "Will", right before they disappeared.
    Barbara: I don't wanna do this anymore.
    Mikey: I don't think I can do this anymore.
    • In "Prophecy", we learn Lucille blamed herself for losing Jacob. She was studying for college, she fell asleep while studying and woke up to find Jacob missing. Maggie, who was initially angry at her aunt for blaming her mom for Jacob's death, tells her it wasn't her fault. Later, while arguing with Henry about the damage his mother done, she was angry at him for not realizing it. Henry, in anger about the accusation of it's all somehow his fault, tells Lucille he never blamed her for losing Jacob. Lucille then tells him to leave the house.
  • It Has Only Just Begun: Caleb states this as he is arrested at the end of "Us Against the World".
    Caleb: More are coming... more than you can ever imagine!
  • Jerkass:
    • Fred Langston runs the gamut of this at times. In the series finale, he tells his brother Henry and Lucille that their son isn't the real Jacob and that they'll eventually thank him for rounding up the Returned. Lucille slaps him, Henry tells him that their dad was right about him, and Fred gives them a dejected "thanks" and leaves.
      • It's indicated that the reason Barbara was having an affair was because she was tired of Fred's more controlling attributes - indeed, despite seemingly accepting her decision to leave him calmly, he then carefully calculates things to try and capture as many Returned as possible. Though he stated that she's not his wife since she refused to get back together even though he apologized for causing her to leave him.
      • Then again, as of the second season he's becoming more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Notably, in "Old Scars" he's just an uncomfortable as Henry and Maggie at Lucille's tongue-lashing of the remorseful Barbara, even while his mother looks quite pleased at the development. In the episode preceeding it, Margaret tells his daughter that not many people understand why he is that way, and that despite burying his feelings and seeming distant he loves very, very deeply (interspersed with a scene that reveals that Fred was the one to find his wife's body years ago).
    • Deputy Carl's Returned older brother Mikey in "Multiple". So much that Carl shoots him; like with Rachel, it doesn't take. Plus, Mikey seems to be holding something over Carl that's got to do with their deceased parents... Yet you can't help but feel sorry for Mikey as he was choking on his own blood and pleading Carl for help in "Will". Even Carl felt guilty after he disappeared. Nevertheless, he still hated him for treating him badly all his life; as he stated in "Miracles" he hated him when he was alive and hated him more as a Returned.
  • Knight Templar Parent: Margaret Langston, so very much; she believes the Returned are demons out to create discord amongst the living and is quite awful towards her daughter-in-law Barbara, yet is fiercely protective of her family and its legacy.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Tom and Janine have tried for three years to have a baby, to no avail. When Rachel returns, she turns out to be pregnant with Tom's baby from before she died. Janine notes the injustice that God would give a life to someone who tried to kill herself instead of her.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Margaret emotionally manipulated Lucille, to the point that the latter, while getting drunk on wine, loses all restraint in "Old Scars" and drives Barbara to the point of a Despair Event Horizon, which everyone but Margaret showed shock and discomfort by. Following this, she guilt-trips Barbara, who she never liked, into choosing to disappear. Good God...
  • Meaningful Name: The boy's name is Jacob.
    • The town is called Arcadia.
  • Moral Myopia/It's All About Me: Fred Langston suffers this badly; Foreshadowing for it is hinted at when he admits he'd kill the man his wife had an affair with if he got the chance, and after Barbara admits she's leaving him because despite his apologies she can't handle it anymore, he gets it into his head that the Returned are a threat to regular people and organises a round-up. However, as of Season 2 he seems to be getting better
  • My Greatest Failure: Agent Bellamy's dark secret is that he once returned a young kid to the custody of an abusive father, who later killed the boy.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Gary Humphrey, after he accidentally shot Rachel.
    • Fred, after calling in the military to deal with the "threat" of the Returned, only to lose control of the situation and seeing his daughter getting arrested as a result of his actions.
  • Not Quite Dead: Rachel is shot to death by Gary, and is later found alive by Marty.
  • One Steve Limit: A justified aversion with Margaret and her granddaughter "Maggie" - the latter's parents discovered they were expecting around the time the former was on her deathbed, and the former has since come back as a Returned.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Margaret doesn't like Barbara. In "Old Scars", she says that while her younger son Fred was never perfect, she believes Barbara only drove a further wedge between him and the rest of the family when they first got together. In contrast, she seems to get along reasonably well with Lucille but it's hinted that this might be simply a front to help push her own agenda forward.
  • Papa Bear: Caleb Richards.
  • Properly Paranoid: According to his mother, Fred's suspicion regarding the Returned (to the point of acting in the first season finale) is supposedly an accurate response to the situation. We find out why in "Old Scars": she believes the Returned are "demons".
  • Psychotic Smirk: The abusive father gives one to Bellamy, as if thanking him for returning his son to him so he could kill him.
  • The Show of the Books: Of Jason Mott's novel The Returned.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: Since the Returned come back the same age that they died, there's a lot of this—Margaret is younger than both of her sons, Barbara is about the same age as her daughter, and Michael Kirk looks younger than his grandson.
  • Tear Jerker: Dealing with loved ones coming back, this was a given.
    • "Old Scars" was a massive one. Jacob wants to apologise to his aunt Barbara for the fact that he wasn't able to save her when she fell into the river, but he can't because she wasn't invited to dinner until Henry and Fred intervene. When she sees him, Barbara begins to tear up; when he apologises, she does too, sobbing and embracing him. It gets worse when dinner has gone well underway: Lucille, tipsy on wine and with Margaret's words about Barbara ringing in her head, ruthlessly rips into her; she furiously derides her for the fact that her affair with Sam Catlin was the reason she fell into the river that day and why Jacob died trying to save her, meaning she and Henry did not get to see him grow up and for 32 years, she had to live without "[my} heart". She continues on this tirade even as Barbara is obviously remorseful over this and tries to apologise, until she finally flees the table. And while Jacob is too young to fully understand what's going on, his father, cousin and uncle are all looking progressively more uncomfortable as they are forced to watch this and unable to stop it.
  • Tech Marches On: In the pilot, Jacob picks up touchscreen-based smartphone gaming quickly (as children do) but without so much as a "Wow, that's cool!" Though he does head straight for Donkey Kong rather than a more recent game.
  • Title Drop: "Us Against the World."
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Jacob, beginning in "Multiple". Due to his and Margaret's little talk in "Echoes". He becomes even more Stoic. He wasn't even that sad when his friend Tom got killed. Yet he starts to feel guilt for making his parents suffer due to his presence.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After divorcing Tom offscreen between Seasons 1 & 2, Janine has mellowed out and is more empathetic towards Tom and Rachel's situation - she lets them both stay with her and even recommended that Tom start a new church after stepping down as pastor to take care of Rachel and their baby.
  • The Un-Favourite: A line of dialogue in the Season 1 finale suggests that Fred was this to their late father, compared to his older brother Henry. Some episodes earlier, he snapped at his brother for knowing that his wife Barbara had been having an affair when she died and never telling about it - accusing Henry of using it as leverage against him.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Sheriff Langston towards his daughter Maggie, ever since his wife's death. Maggie feels he blames her for her mother's death. Their relationship strained further after he called the army to deal with the Returned. But it appears to have been fixed now.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Henry and Fred's mother, as revealed in "Old Scars".
    • James in Season 2.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Schemes of the Devil", the penultimate episode of Season 1. Let us count the whams:
      • First, a drunken Gary Humphrey shoots and kills Rachel.
    • Second, the young girl Jacob had befriended at the park turns out to be one of the Returned, along with her parents.
      • Third, Rachel crops up alive again mere hours after being killed.
      • The audience barely has time to react to these last two surprises before they realize that the phones ringing off the hook at the police station are all due to people returning from the dead en masse. Cue the realisation of Maggie and Fred, who search for Barbara... who shows up not at Fred's house as they both expected, but at the house of the man she was cheating on him with before she died.
    • Then, in "Torn Apart", it's revealed that Barbara has been back for about a week, staying with Sam Catlin - to Maggie's aggrieved anger. And at the end, the final few seconds reveal that Agent Bellamy has a crescent-shaped birthmark that Jenny's baby brother was stated to have - he one of the Returned as well.
    • In Season 2's "Multiple", we discover that two other people returned during the late 30s - multiple times, as they each left three copies of identical skeletons. Not only that, both men were murdered. And it appears that Margaret was involved in some way, since she was digging up bodies in the old factory. In "Old Scars", it was revealed she was part of the mob that executed them many times until she found a way to kill them for good.
    • In "Miracles", Ray somehow caught the same illness the Returned have.
  • Wham Line: In "Prophecy": "I never blamed you for losing Jacbo."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In "Aftermath", Rachel drove back to Arcadia after learning of Tom's death. After the train pass, clearing a way for her, her car hasn't moved...
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In "Aftermath", a member of the True Living calls Henry out for allowing his grief over Jacob's death to close down the factory, ruining the town.
  • What Year Is This?: One of the Returned asks this near the end of "Schemes of the Devil."


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