THE FAMILY Review: “I Win”



Airtime: Sundays at 9PM on ABC
Episode: Season 1, Episode 5 (S01E05)


Tweetable Takeaway: A big reveal about Adam’s identity adds some much needed excitement to #TheFamily

In the final few seconds of this episode, finally reveals a major secret about Adam’s identity. According to the DNA that Bridey stole, he’s not the real Adam. And just like that, I’m into this show again. I have so many questions now! But first, let’s discuss the episode as a whole.

The episode opens thirty five years, with a young Hank Asher arriving home after school, having been beat up by bullies. His mom convinces him to believe in justice while singing a creepy song. No wonder the guy is messed up. In present day, Detective Meyer finds him in the hospital, delirious and badly injured. He says John Warren beat him up.

Bridey tells her editor that she got Adam’s DNA from a Q-tip and John’s from a coffee mug. Her editor tells her that’s illegal, but she’s already sent away for the results. Meanwhile, Claire watches of the election and looks sad and dramatic in the shower. John’s hand is bandaged, but there’s no way he beat up Hank. He’s too smart to leave the baseball bat at the scene of the crime.


Adam receives a postcard from his kidnapper. Apparently, the pock-marked man (Doug) had a list of touristy locations that he promised to take Adam if he were a good boy, and he’s sending him postcards from all of them. Sure enough, we see Doug and his wife on a road trip. Agent Clements has Adam make a list of all the places.

The show is pretty heavy-handed when it comes to making sure we know that Doug is a bad man. The camera lingers on a shot of a torn-up magazine Doug left behind. He tore up an advertisement featuring a picture of a young boy while looking creepily after a kid. The fact that we, the audience, know Doug is guilty makes this subplot a bit frustrating, especially later on in this episode when Doug is pulled over for not having his vehicle registered. The police station has sketches of a kidnapper/rapist that look very similiar to him, and we know that the FBI warned local precincts about him, but the police officer just lets him go.

At the Warren house, Detective Meyer is forced to arrest John. The security cameras outside their house were turned off, and he admitted to arguing with Hank earlier that night. Hank goes to a bakery and buys a cake with the words “I Win” on it. He clearly beat himself up, setting up John. Bridey decides to help the family by using the paper’s to promote the #PapaBear hashtag. John was only defending his family.

Claire tells Detective Meyer that she needs to get the charges dropped, playing on her guilt over sleeping with John. She investigates, and finds that there’s something off about the crime scene. Everything is destroyed except for a tile depicting a mother and son, something Hank remembers his mother by. She coldly breaks it on her way out.

There’s also a subplot about a young Willa finding John near black-out drunk at a baseball field. She calls Detective Meyer, and which is when her and John’s affair started. I’ve said it before, but their forbidden love is my least favorite storyline, and this insight into the beginnings of it didn’t change my mind.


Hank, spooked by Detective Meyer’s visit, drops the charges. We see in a flashback that he beat up himself, which was my guess all along. Willa thanks Bridey for supporting John, as the voters now love him. Bridey kisses her. That girl has no morals, manipulating yet another emotionally damaged person in hopes of a scoop.

Detective Meyer realizes that the pock-marked man is lonely and misses Adam, so she asks Claire if she can use Adam as bait. Bridey gets the results of the paternity test: Adam isn’t Adam. From the beginning, I guessed that this would be the case, as I’m sure many others did, but I’m excited to see where the show goes from here.

Now that we know the truth, here is my theory. “Adam” clearly was kidnapped by the pock-marked man and abused for many years. He had no family, and when he finally escaped, he saw the flyer about Adam Warren and decided to lie, in order to live in a loving home. But how did the DNA results initially come back as a match? Did someone in the Warren family bribe the doctor to fake the results, which is why he then killed himself, perhaps out of guilt? Is someone in the family responsible for his disappearance? Hopefully The Family can provide some satisfying answers next week.



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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