Resurrection – A Long Dead Boy Returns Home and Secrets are Unearthed!


ABC’s Resurrection (Sundays, 9/8C) has a set up that reminds of Sundance TV’s brilliant The Returned. A young boy wakes in a Chinese rice paddy and is returned to his home in Arcadia, Missouri – thirty-two years after he died. His return baffles everyone – from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent who has taken him home to his best parents and best friend.

When Jacob (Landon Gimenez) awakens in a rice paddy without a passport, or any form of identification, he is sent back to the U.S. where he is met by Agent Martin Bellamy (Omar Epps). To keep the boy, whom we learn is named Jacob, occupied, Marty lets him play Donkey Kong on his phone – he has to tell the boy how to use it – before Jacob figures out how to use the phone to tell him where’s he’s from.

Despite not saying a word, Jacob is able to direct Marty to his home, where we meet his parents, Henry and Lucille Langston (Kurtwood Smith and Frances Fisher) – who are dumbfounded to say the least. We learn how he died – both versions of the story (the official story and what Jacob remembers – seeing his parents has jolted him back into speaking).

We meet Jacob’s grown up best friend, and other related characters in relatively short order – including a mysterious man in a hoody who hitches a ride to Arcadia because, ‘I’ve got a kid there…’


Resurrection is based on the novel The Returned by Jason Mott – it has no relationship to the brilliant SundanceTV series The Returned, which was based on a movie called They Came Back. Though both series find someone returning home alive years after they died, in Resurrection, young Jacob is no form of zombie. Rather, he is exactly who he appears to be – a real, live, human boy.

Developed by Aaron Zelman (Damages), and directed by Charles McDougall (The Office, The Mindy Project), Resurrection seems to be setting up the idea of faith and belief in God – Jacob’s grown best friend, Tom Hale (Mark Hildreth (The Tudors, the V reboot) has become a pastor – then turns, inexplicably, in another direction. It sets up clues that are ignored in appalling ways – a photograph mentioned by Joshua being the prime example – and sets up secrets that have characters behaving in less than natural ways.

Sheriff Fred Langston (Matt Craven) certainly seems to be in another series and a character introduced in the second episode, Unearth, comes off as more ominous than seems necessary. Even Marty has a secret, apparently, though he at least is intent on finding out what is actually going on.

Henry and Lucille seem to be of differing opinions on how to proceed following Jacob’s return – though Henry clearly believes, he seems determined not to allow his belief to let me be Jacob’s father, while Lucille soon becomes a doting mom.

Resurrection seems to be trying to be simultaneously wondrous, uplifting, mysterious and a bit ominous. That’s just too many balls to keep in the air, so it never quite succeeds at any one of them. The two episodes available for review are okay, but following the superb The Returned, it feels half-baked. If you haven’t seen the SundanceTV series (and chances are that you haven’t), chances are that you will enjoy this – and there are enough intriguing elements to warrant following the Three Episode Rule (give it three episodes to hook you). I’m not sure there’s enough substance to it to hold my attention, but the excellent cast and the sincere effort to try to produce something even a bit different makes it worth a look.

Final Grade: C+

Photos by Bob Mahoney and Guy D’Alema/Courtesy of ABC