THE FAMILY Review: “Feathers or Steel”



Airtime: Sundays at 9PM on ABC
Episode: Season 1, Episode 4 (S01E04)


Tweetable Takeaway: Nobody’s completely innocent on a slow-moving #TheFamily  

It’s four episodes in , and the only remotely interesting thing about this show is the question of whether or not Adam is really who he says he is, but that isn’t really explored much in this episode, which instead focused on another missing child and Claire’s gubernatorial campaign. At this point, we know that the pock-marked man really was the one who took Adam, so the only tension that remains is when the police will find him, which isn’t the most thrilling storyline. As a whole, it was perhaps the most boring episode yet.

This episode starts eight years ago, with Claire visiting Hank in prison. She’s used her powers as mayor to visit him and demand him to tell her where Adam’s body is, so she can finally have a proper funeral. Of course, Hank can’t give her that information, as he didn’t do it. In present day, Hank awakens to find someone has spray-painted “Monster” across his garage door—a direct result of Claire calling him one on live .


Willa is ecstatic about the news surrounding Claire’s interview. She’s all but locked up the party’s endorsement, so now it’s a race between her and the incumbent governor. Danny comes downstairs, with Bridey. I guess they’re a couple now? He’s forgiven her for lying, but I haven’t. She’s a bad person! But maybe they’re using each other now? Adam tries to help Hank wash off the graffiti, but his parents call him back inside.

At the police station, Agent Clements tells Detective Meyer that an eight-year-old boy has disappeared in broad daylight, just like Adam. The pock-marked man creepily disappears into his shed, opening a trapdoor while ominous music plays. The police consider the possibility that the same man took this child, to replace Adam.

Reporters ask Claire and Willa about the new missing child. Claire gives an impassioned speech about catching the culprit, while the governor heads to his own press conference, only to find that no press are there. I really don’t care about this subplot. I don’t care whether or not Claire gets elected governor, or what Willa will try to exploit to get her there. I’m in this for the Adam mystery—for my political election drama, I’ll just watch House of Cards.

Bridey’s editor, who’s even more loathsome than she is, wants to run with the story that Danny is suspicious as to whether Adam is real right away. A police officer knocks on Hank’s door. The Warrens have filed a restraining order against him, forcing him to keep 1000 yards away from Adam—extremely hard to follow, as they live across the street.

Detective Meyer and Agent Clements investigate the new missing child. They get a picture of the pock-marked man and the white van and go to ask Adam if that’s the man who took him. Adam freezes, completely freaked out. He definitely recognizes him.

Eight years ago, Claire hires the assistant warden at the prison as the head of her security team. She’s been using him to try to get more information about Adam out of Hank. In prison, Hank finds a razorblade in his sandwich and two other prisoners walk towards him with a knife. Wow. If Claire arranged for someone to try to beat answers out of Hank, she’s a lot eviler than I thought she was. In present day, Hank wants to sue the Warrens for slander and defamation, but the lawyer doesn’t want to take the case.


Danny tells Bridey that he’s having doubts about running a story. She lies (AGAIN) and says she hasn’t told anyone else. The pock-marked man’s wife tries to go into the shed, but he tells her it isn’t safe for her to go inside, making her promise not to. Detective Meyer and Agent Clements follow up on a tip, finding the van, as the pock-marked man’s wife calls him and gets his voicemail—from this, we’ve learned his name is Doug, so that’s what I’ll refer to him as from now on. They find the missing child passed out on a bed, and Detective Meyer shoots the man in the bathroom as soon as he exits, killing him, despite the fact that he’s unarmed—his gun is on the dresser. WOW. It isn’t Doug.

Eight years ago, the Warrens celebrate Christmas, but John isn’t home. Claire drives past Detective Meyer’s house and spies him with her through the window. Agent Clements tells the Warren family that the man they killed isn’t the same as the one who took Adam, as he was in prison at the time. Detective Meyer is questioned about the shooting. She lies, saying she shot in defense of the boy after the suspect pointed a gun at her. Agent Clements backs up her story. This has to come back to bite them at some point, right? They staged a crime scene and shot an unarmed man. No one is innocent in this show.

John promises Adam that no one will ever hurt him again, showing him how to work the alarm. Adam writes down the code, which is “his” birthday. Hmm, if that date was truly his birthday, why would he have to write it down to remember? He places the key he took from the underground lair next to it.


Claire meets with the governor to discuss the campaign. He doesn’t take her seriously as a candidate. She accuses him of being an adulterer. Boring, boring boring. Bridey goes back to the Warren’s, claiming to have left her phone behind, but searches Adam’s room, taking a used Q-tip to presumably sample his DNA. Willa suspects something is up.

Detective Meyer’s captain orders her to get a psych evaluation. He knows that there is something fishy about her story. Claire holds a press conference, announcing the safe return of the child, but first she confronts Detective Meyer about her sleeping with John. She says that she isn’t the only one, but it stops now.

Willa tells Danny that Bridey came back to snoop around Adam’s room. Doug’s wife descends into the creepy shed, only to find that Doug has been building a crib for their future child. Danny confronts Bridey. The two of them seem done for real now. Willa masturbates thinking about Bridey—the ultra conservative Christian is a secret lesbian, shocking.

Hank takes a defiant step past the boundaries of the restraining order. John notices this, and later we see Hank’s house destroyed, with him laying in a pool of blood next to a baseball bat with Adam’s initials on it. Come on. John isn’t stupid—he wouldn’t attack Hank and leave the weapon right next to him. My guess: Hank did it himself in an attempt to frame the Warrens, bitter that the lawyer wouldn’t take his defamation case. We’ll see how this develops next week, but my interest in the show is quickly waning.



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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