I will say this: though I don’t think that Resurrection really has a plan in terms of its new Spanish flu development, it does make for some entertaining moments in these second season episodes. Maybe it’s because it gives real danger to the returned, something that has been missing from previous episodes; those people don’t feel like regular humans, because they don’t suffer from the same problems and have the potential to return after they die anyway. Introducing such a thing takes away any serious repercussions for many of the characters the show follows, and this includes Bellamy now. With the flu, at least, the returned don’t just die – they disappear.
This comes to fruition in “Will,” an episode that does a lot of Resurrection-style stalling until it gets to its surprisingly emotional conclusion. Margaret, the ever-posturing mother of Fred and Henry, forces Fred’s wife Barbara to feel like she’s simply in the way of Fred and Maggie living their lives, so Barbara willingly disappears. It’s a pivotal moment for the show this season – Margaret has always been the kind of naggy busybody that interferes, but now she’s just plain devious, and the fact that the returned can disappear of their own free will changes the way they are perceived.
If that’s the case, though, why don’t the sick decide to end their suffering and poof away? Maybe it’s an existential question like suicide, but at the same time, Resurrection doesn’t seem to want to offer many answers to either the audience or its characters. In “Afflictions,” Bellamy comes down with the flu and is forced to seek help through the government. Once he gets better, taking an experimental solution sort of like insulin that quells the effects of the flu, he gets answers from his government contact. Namely it’s that he was a double returned, having died once back in 1932 during a flood. What does it all mean, you ask? I’m not sure myself, and I don’t think Resurrection knows either, instead just playing with all the things it can do with double-,triple-, and quadruple-returneds.
The problem with this is that returning characters begin to seem less important. They can just come back. And returning people have been happening in Arcadia since long before the present, so the new crop of them should be less surprising. It’s unclear why it’s so noticeable now, too, and I think Resurrection often suffers trying to figure out what its main conceit really means. That it doesn’t know what to do with the issue is concerning; the show could, ostensibly, just keep bringing new people back, with new issues, without needing to explore what returning actually means.
That’s what the show has been doing for the most part, and Bellamy’s frustration at being kept in the dark by the government is basically the same for the audience. “Afflictions” plays in circles, attempting to explain the new Spanish flu – it was brought back by a returned, and then something with their metabolism mutated it to only affect returned – but then again not doing much to give answers. Bellamy’s medication must be taken every day, and so for all those returned, that’s going to be a shitty way to have to live life, especially when the solution is in such high demand with little supply. Why don’t they just die and return?
Resurrection can’t answer those questions, either because it doesn’t want to, or because it doesn’t have answers yet. It really feels like the show is making things up as it goes along, and while that results in surprises for the audience, they feel superficial. Of course the audience is surprised – all of the plot has been designed with little thought for endgame.