THE FAMILY Review: “Of Puppies And Monsters”

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Airtime: Sundays at 9PM on ABC
Episode: Season 1, Episode 3 (S01E03)

TB-TV-Grade-B

Tweetable Takeaway: The pock-marked man is out there, but is Adam really Adam? #TheFamily  


This week’s episode of reveals more details about the pock-marked man who kidnapped Adam (or should I say “Adam”, because I’m still not convinced he’s actually their child). Not everything completely works, but to the show’s credit, I’m still hooked on the mystery. I need answers!!

Adam asks John why they stopped looking for him. The answer is pretty obvious: they thought he was dead because his killer confessed, but John guiltily tells him that he doesn’t know. A staffer helps set up the house for Claire’s tell-all interview. Willa icily tells Danny to stay sober. He mentions the dental records.

ZACH GILFORD

A too-peppy-for-being-interviewed-about-a-murder-investigation employee at the oil refinery tells Detective Meyer that anyone working there could have had access to the hideout she found in the woods. Back at the precinct, the FBI agent now in charge of the case introduces himself to her and asks for her help. They catch up the Allen family with the progress. They want Adam to revisit the scene to see he can remember anything else. Claire doesn’t want him to, but he insists on going.

The FBI agent can magically tell that Detective Meyer and John are sleeping together from being in the same room as them for five minutes. Um, ok. He’s law enforcement, not a psychic. He isn’t judging, but remarks that statistically most childhood murders are done by someone in the family. Indeed, ten years ago the police question Claire about John’s whereabouts. Apparently, he disappeared for over an hour the day Adam disappeared.

Claire questions John. He claims he went to get flyers, then says that he turned on “the game” and drank a beer. Of course. Men and their sports! Young Willa overhears their argument while praying. In present day, Adam goes inside the creepy underground lair in the forest. Hank buys a puppy. What a weird scene. A giggling middle-aged man letting puppies crawl all over him. Are we supposed to think, oh this guy couldn’t have hurt a child, puppies love him? Who knows.

In the forest, Adam remembers the place. He imagined it as the same layout as his family’s house. He remembers eating fast food, which prompts Detective Meyer to wonder how the kidnapper kept it warm. Did he drive into the woods? Adam asks for a minute alone and takes a brick out of the wall to reveal a hidden key. Did he have the opportunity to escape the whole time?

Ten years ago, John confronts Detective Meyer about being a suspect in Adam’s case. She remarks that she can’t get a warrant for Hank’s house. In the present day, Claire, acts snarky with the Republican Party representative helping her prepare for her interview. She’s preoccupied by thinking about what Adam suffered through. The representative tells Willa that if she doesn’t turn it around, they’ll lose the party’s endorsement and money.

Bridey plays yet another role, pretending to be a student super interested in DNA analysis to question an employee at the genetics lab about testing Adam’s DNA. I really don’t like her character. I know it’s a reporter’s to get the story, but she seems to have no regard for the Warren family’s emotions. Danny is at her apartment, looking to hook up. He finds her press pass, which prompts a ten step process complete with flashbacks for him to realize that she’s been lying to him and she’s a journalist. Completely unnecessary. Anyways, he wisely gets the hell out of there. Great. Maybe her character can finally go away now.

In present day, Willa finds an increasingly unpredictable Claire drinking. She can’t stop thinking about where Adam was held. In the woods, the FBI find tire tracks. We see the pock-marked man drive his truck to his home, where he lives with the pregnant oil refinery employee Detective Meyer questioned earlier in the episode. From the tire tracks, they narrow down the car type to a Ram truck. Detective Meyer is happy, but the agent asks her about the 911 call that got her into Hank’s house. Who made it?

MATTHEW LAWLER, MARGOT BINGHAM

Flashback: John made the call and lied, saying he heard screaming coming from Hank’s house. The police break into his house and find him sitting on his bed, examining the ship in the bottle. In present day, Detective Meyers has listened to the call, seemingly for the first time. It’s clearly John’s voice. She calls him in to confront him and accuses him of planting evidence.

It’s interview time. Claire goes completely off the rails, spiraling and advocating for micro-chipping sex offenders in order to track their movements. This just didn’t ring true for me. She’s been so focused for ten years on her , but she can’t hold it together for ten minutes? But hey, maybe her new very tough on crime stance will win her the Republican voters she needs.

The newscast is playing at the house where Hank is picking out a puppy. They show his picture on screen. No puppy for you. Bridey’s editor smells a conspiracy. Claire’s new micro-chipping platform would make the genetics lab millions. This connection seems like a stretch and I’m not sure where he’s going with that line of thinking, but I guess we’ll see.

Ten years previously, the Warrens receive a call telling them that Hank confessed. In the present, Claire’s emotional breakdown won her fans. Willa thinks she must have planned her tears, but Claire insists they were genuine, saying, “Don’t be so cynical. It gives you wrinkles…on your soul.” Totally normal phrasing. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Bridey scribbles down conspiracy theories on a piece of cardboard when Danny shows up, promising her a story. Police begin questioning Ram truck owners, which involves lots of ominous close-ups of the Ram logo. Weird bit of product placement. The search turns up nothing. The pock-marked man shows his wife that he sold his truck and bought her a min-van. The truck is destroyed at a junk-yard. How does this guy consistently stay one step ahead of the police? If there’s a conspiracy anywhere, it’s there.
TB-TV-Grade-B

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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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