THE FAMILY Review: “All You See Is Dark”

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Airtime: Sundays at 9PM on ABC
Episode: Season 1, Episode 2 (S01E02)

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Tweetable Takeaway: #TheFamily spins its wheels in episode 2, but the central mystery still holds promise  


Episode two of was considerably less exciting than the premiere. It felt as if the show was spinning its wheels, hammering home the same points again and again (mainly, Adam probably isn’t Adam and Hank isn’t completely innocent). However, the talented cast and central premise still hold promise, so hopefully the show can get back on track in the upcoming weeks.

The episode opens with side by side shots of both Adam and Hank waking up in the middle of the night. Adam memorizes where things are kept in the kitchen while Hank retrieves a canister hidden in a ceiling tile. Adam creepily watches his parents sleep.

Ten years ago, the family prepares for the fateful candidate rally. Adam runs to wait for the school bus, something that he’s missed multiple times before. This is because he visits Hank before getting on. Hank helps him with his ships in a bottle. The two seem close and friendly. Willa spies Adam leaving Hank’s.

In present day, John is upset that Claire didn’t tell him before announcing her candidacy for governor. Claire tells the family that they need to make things routine and normal for Adam. However, things aren’t normal. The police are there to discuss the case. Adam asks Detective Meyers if they’re going to hurt the man who kidnapped him when they find him.

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Last episode, Bridey said that the doctor who verified Adam’s DNA didn’t exist. This is because the hospital outsourced the test to a genetics lab. The doctor is real, but he killed himself two days after verifying the results. Claire tells Danny to take Adam to the mall and movies. Adam comments on that Danny fixed the tail light on his car. Hank is outside getting the mail. He asks if Adam remembers him, but John yanks him away. Hank goes inside and opens the canister. Inside are Adam’s gloves. Interesting. Adam didn’t seem to be wearing gloves the day he disappeared. It was a fairly pleasant day. Maybe he left them there after a morning visit?

Back to the past. Detective Meyer questions Hank, but Hank’s mom claims that he wasn’t even at the rally in the park. He was watching old movies with her. In the present, Detective Meyer leads a search in the woods. The pock-faced man from the end of the last episode is there, observing. At the mall, Adam asks Danny about football and recognizes a pair of shoes he used to own, but doesn’t remember his old best friend.

That night, Claire is woken up by a strange noise. Adam moved from his bed into the closet. He needs to touch the walls while he sleeps. This really is the first time the show has shown that Adam suffers residual psychological trauma from his ordeal, but his psychologist tells them that Adam is reacting normally. The show would rather deal with the mystery behind the disappearance than the its effect on the child, which is probably more engrossing television, but completely ignoring the victim would be irresponsible.

Detective Meyer searches the woods, but is being watched. Claire locks the closet door so Adam can’t sleep in there again. She so desperately wants her son to be normal that she’s completely disregarding what’s best for his recovery – which makes her character slightly unlikeable. Detective Meyer finds a metal door in the woods, but then a fire starts; she believes someone is trying to burn the evidence.

Danny goes to a bar to meet Bridey. They flirt, but she lies about her profession, claiming to work at Kinko’s instead of being a journalist. Her character is fairly easy to hate. She’s callously manipulating an alcoholic to get the scoop, forcing more drinks on him and hooking up with him to make him emotionally vulnerable, despite perhaps being a lesbian (last week, she told her editor she writes the paper’s lesbian lifestyle blog). John confronts Hank, asking him why he confessed to a crime he didn’t commit. John blames him for Adam’s disappearance, even though he didn’t physically do it, as his false confession caused the investigation to end.

Detective Meyer and a team investigate the basement they find in the woods. From the bed, she can see the “dragon” caused by the smoke. In a flashback, we see Claire completely freak out on Hank at a candlelit vigil. This causes Hank to go home and furiously clean his workroom with bleach. This episode is really, really trying to get viewers to place the blame on Hank.

Willa talks to Claire about the press conference they want to hold. They need the whole family there, but John is refusing. In the woods, the police chief tells Meyer that he turned the case over to the FBI, as her credibility to a jury is shot since she convicted the wrong man once before. Meyer acts like this is a horrible turn of events, but wouldn’t the FBI have better resources than a small town in Maine? Wouldn’t they be able to make more progress?

Bridey tells her editor that Danny has doubts about whether or not Adam is really Adam. He encourages her to find out more. Danny realizes that everything Adam remembers could be gleaned from the photos on the mantle. He goes to Adam’s childhood dentist to ask for his dental records, pretending that he needs it for a scrapbook, but Willa has already picked them up. Willa blackmails John into attending the press conference. She’s known about the affair with Detective Meyer for years and has been covering up his tracks.

Two episodes in and here are my current thoughts: Adam isn’t Adam, and Willa knows this (the confession in last week’s episode and picking up the dental records points to this). Hank had something to do with the real Adam’s disappearance, but what exactly he did remains to be seen.

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lives for two things: spreading the “Superstore” gospel and themed “Law & Order: SVU” marathons on USA. When she’s not binge-watching her favorite shows, she’s reading any book she can get her hands on.

: @jtrof

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