“The Family” recap (1.6): Willa has feelings


Hey! So ratings for The Family haven’t been great and ABC is getting a little desperate on their social media accounts.

“Lucky for me. I was never alone.”

Retweet if we’ll see you next Sunday. #TheFamily

— The Family (@thefamily) April 4, 2016

But hey, we have some fun developments with Willa this week, so let’s crack on.

Maybe-Adam has the opening/closing voiceover this week, and it’s about how being alone changes you and makes you capable of anything. OK.

Ten years ago, Craggy Doug plays with a dog and practices chloroforming it to see how long it will stay out under which dosage. So we’re pretty much done playing coy about whether not Craggy Doug is a kidnapper, though the show is still trying to keep it up in the air as to whether he’s the particular kidnapper we’re looking for.

Ten years ago, Nina Myer, with her hair ON POINT, has come over to suggest using Not-Adam as bait. We’ve only gotten as far as “use him as bait” and this is already a terrible plan. The idea is to draw Craggy Doug out into the open. Not-Adam says Craggy Doug bought him a red plaid shirt and liked him to wear it. Craggy Doug will get the message if Not-Adam wears it. OK.

The thundering herds of Red Pines reporters have converged in the Warrens’ driveway to ask Not-Adam to talk about what he missed most while he was in the bunker. Not-Adam mentions Bill’s Burgers, and that clip pretty much plays on a loop as Doug makes breakfast for his pregnant wife. Adam doesn’t say that he’ll be at Bill’s Burgers alone at noon sharp on Thursday or anything like that. He just lists it with other stuff like swimming and pizza. This is not a very good plan. One of the thousands of reporters finally asks if Not-Adam has had a Bill’s Burger yet and he says he’ll maybe have one tomorrow. I hope she gets a bonus for firming up The Plan.

(Also: Not-Adam does mention missing his friends. I realize many or most of them may be away at school, but NONE of Adam’s old playmates or their parents have come by? This feels either cold or really convenient, since they’d notice things about him. On the other hand, maybe they’re all reporters and this is a two-fer.)

Hank opens his front door to the woman from the bakery who sold him the cake last week. She says she’s here to bring him a reward card. And then she admits that she liked how he could eat by himself – To be clear, he an entire cake by himself – and she says she’s not good at being by herself and she admires him. She gives him her number in case he wants to eat together.

OK, hold the damn phone. Bakery Girl saw the bruised-face guy with no friends eat a cake that he’d had her ice “I win” on and decided that this was the hunk-a hunk-a burnin’ love for her? Is she that devoted to baked goods? Or was she just so excited to meet someone else in town who isn’t a reporter that she couldn’t control herself? (The actress plays the character’s extreme anxiety well, but seriously, show?)

Also, she bothered to invade Hank’s privacy enough to find his home address, but she did that without Googling him and discovering the sex offender rap and the false arrest for murder? That happened because of the sex offender rap? Did she go to the library and find a phone book and look him up manually instead of picking up her phone? Has he been listed at his home address for all ten years of his prison sentence? Or did she just go door to door? Bakery Girl just became the most intriguing straight character on this whole nutball show.

Willa arrives at a park bench to meet Bad Reporter. Willa tells Bad Reporter “I’m not interested in your ladyparts,” which is the second-most brazen lie she’ll be telling today.

Ep 6 Pic 1


Bad Reporter tells Willa she has Not-Adam’s paternity test and he’s not Adam, which makes Willa get all pissy. Bad Reporter says she’s into the truth, and Willa accurately calls bullshit.

Willa says that Adam is her brother but isn’t John’s son, and that Claire had an affair years ago. (Which brings Not-Adam back into play as Maybe-Adam. That was quick.) Willa also claims that if Bad Reporter prints all that about the affair, she’ll shatter the life of a boy who’s just pulling back from being kept in a bunker for 10 years and then reunited with the man who thinks is his dad, so maybe shut the hell up. Willa walks away thinking hard. For the dumber members of the viewing audience, we replay Danny suggesting that maybe Maybe-Adam isn’t Adam.

(Please tell me people won’t start shipping this clearly doomed festival of poor life choices as a relationship. What are people going to call it? Brilla? Widey? Ugh.)

At City Hall, Willa is silently freaking while a staffer who does not read nonverbal signals well hounds her about Claire’s campaign. Willa has her own giant office with her own giant desk that’s just giant enough for her to crawl under it and hyperventilate. Actress Allison Pill does a great job of letting us know that this may not be the first time Willa has taken some crouch time under her desk. I know I rag on the show a lot for being insane, but this really is a top-notch cast.

Ep 6 Pic 2


10 years ago, Craggy Doug is working on a wooden craft project. It’s a boy-sized soundproof box. He drops a blaring radio inside to make sure that no one will be able to hear any screaming. Is that compatible with air holes? I don’t think that’s compatible with air holes.

Today, Maybe-Adam is worried that he won’t get seen by Craggy Doug when he’s out in the world being bait. Claire wants to ditch this and forget everything and take a road trip instead. Maybe-Adam says he can’t forget until he knows Craggy Doug is gone. Which is a fair point.

The next day, Maybe-Adam is in a red plaid shirt like the one Craggy Doug gave him. He’ll be surrounded by FBI and they’re putting a tracking device on him. Next Danny and Maybe-Adam are at Bill’s Burgers which is, wait a minute, at the freaking mall? Was there a contest to pick a place that would be harder to cover and monitor than the Statue of Liberty? Maybe-Adam tells Danny that he doesn’t want the cops to catch Craggy Doug; he wants them to kill him.

Maybe-Adam tries to send Danny away. He says Craggy Doug won’t come close if Danny is there, and he wants this to be over. So maybe he should have thought of a better story than really missing the burgers at the mall food court. And what do they think Craggy Doug is going to do? Stop to chat? Abduct a fully grown teenager from a busy food court. Maybe he’ll be inspired to shout “Hello! It is I, the man who abducted you!” I don’t think this is a good plan.

Pale, sweaty Maybe-Adam looks around nervously for Craggy Doug. Who, let’s be clear, could be in any direction and on one of at least two floors. How much manpower do they have here again? Claire, waiting in the surveillance van, is freaking out that Danny walked away and Maybe-Adam is alone. Meyer says Craggy Doug is there, and bango, Maybe-Adam sees him. What Maybe-Adam does not do is signal the 4,000 law enforcement personnel in any way. Did we really not think up a signal for “I see him,” kids?

Also Meyer has figured out that Maybe-Adam is staring up at Doug, but she doesn’t send squads of agents to the part of the mall where Maybe-Adam is looking. Is everyone on NyQuil today or what? And now Maybe-Adam just looks sick.


Ep 6 Pic 3


Back at the rally 10 years ago, Craggy Doug and his dog come up to Young Adam. He invites Adam to his truck to give the dog a treat. Yeesh.

Claire says Maybe-Adam, pale, sweaty, and staring in one direction, isn’t OK. Well, duh. Meyer and Clements run into the mall. Danny comes back to the table. Adam is sweating and acting afraid, but he’s not giving out any information about Doug, such as saying “The man on the railing in the blue jacket!” Or pointing. Or helping at all. Finally, they get a few words out of him and Clements radios out an order that no lone guy in his 30s with acne scars in a blue jacket gets out of the mall. Craggy Doug, walking casually away because Maybe-Adam did nothing to point him out, ditches his jacket in the trash and rejoins his wife.

This is the worst plan ever. Doug tells his wife all the fuss behind him is a bomb threat and they walk right out while Meyer looks helplessly around the food court. This was a TERRIBLE plan. What plans were rejected in favor of this plan? Blindfolding Maybe-Adam and spinning him around before dropping him in the food court? Running the whole operation in Times Square on New Year’s Eve? Having Maybe-Adam wander alone through a dark funhouse?

And if they really want to find Craggy Doug, why don’t they put Bakery Girl on the case?

The staffer who loves to bug Willa knocks on her office door and says that Claire called and it’s urgent. Willa, still under the desk, says she’ll call back.

Hank pulls Cake Girl’s number off the fridge.

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