The camera pushes forward, taking us with it, across a deserted, wooded hilltop toward an inviting country house. We're transported through the door, along the hallway, and stop in front of a display case on the far wall.
It's a framed collection of butterflies. Marked by delicate wings yellow and blue, red and green, they are firmly affixed to the back board with pins.
Almost imperceptibly, one of the creatures stirs. It flaps its wings more deliberately now, and flies out. Crash! It goes through the glass, shattering it as it flies away.
That scene is a perfect distillation of the themes that pervade and haunt The Returned, an extraordinary, sublime mini-series premiering at 9 p.m. Thursday on the Sundance Channel.