The Family: All the Livelong Day – Willa’s Dream (Review)


ANDREW MCCARTHY

So at last the truth comes out, at least part of it, in The Family: All the Livelong Day, lots of Ben and Adam’s “backstory” comes out.  Most important is the news  that Adam is dead and he died just prior to Ben’s escape. Another thing that comes to light is that the reason for Willa’s actions are the result of a day dream.

Or was it a fantasy, similar to what Ben does (as a defense mechanism) where he can pretend that stale donuts are French toast and old bread is pizza. It is revealed that there is a lot going on in Ben’s head, some of which may have already been in this damaged teenager’s makeup  before the pock-marked man held him captive for so long.

At least now the immediate family members, as well as Hank Asher, can be let off the hook in terms of who killed Adam.  Unfortunately the cause of Adam’s  demise  is still up for debate. The scenario of Ben killing Adam (and the Warren boy did look dead laying on that cot) is still alive and well especially after that argument.

The moment that Willa has the day dream about Adam returning while the family are all in a panic and the resulting visions of Adam at christmas and his prom results in an epiphany of sorts. Willa then starts grooming Ben to become Adam.

(Although it is worth mentioning that Ben did go to the Warren’s house, which is where he meets Willa, and there is something going on with the teenager; he does like to hide things…)

When Claire (Joan Allenasks why, at the start of the show, Willa points out that the family was falling apart. In flashback,  John wants a divorce and Claire asks him to put it off, and the stress of running for mayor has put the  Warren’s even further on edge.   The disappearance of Adam was the final straw and Willa feels responsible.

(So too does Danny, but his answer was to crawl into the welcoming arms of substance abuse, whilst Willa’s was to “take charge” of Mom’s campaign.)

For the first time Claire’s fragile side is shown as are Willa’s strengths. A montage of “Adam training” is shown and Willa takes a lock of hair from Ben, obviously to aid in “faking” the DNA test.  Later it is revealed that Willa (Alison Pillthe manipulator and campaigner has never really outgrown her own guilt. Emotionally, she is trapped in that adolescent mindset of 10 years previously. Her inner child wants to fix, “her” mistake.

Later in the show,  the “collapse” of Claire is shown,  where she drinks a bottle of vodka after learning from Willa what she has done, and the woman passes out on the “Adam” bench in the park. This sequence  shows just how devastated the Mayor is.

Hank Asher seemingly tries to kill himself with a plastic bag, although it  is doubtful he would have succeeded as Hank only  holds the end of the bag closed rather than ties it.

At the last moment, Willa loses faith in her plan and gives Ben $10k to forget the whole thing and go away.  In an ironic twist, it is Willa that suggests the “lying” spin that Claire uses, “I don’t tolerate lying, just ask my kids.” This is exactly what Willa has been doing albeit because Ben did not go away as she paid him to.

More Ben backstory is revealed, how he escapes for example, and the two lads digging through the brick wall while singing “I’ve Been Working On The Railroad (all the livelong day)” and we see when Ben takes charge of the deception from Willa.

The young Warren woman  has created a monster and her dream has turned into a nightmare now that Claire knows the truth. The Warren family’s trials are not  yet over.  Hank Asher still has secrets to share as well and Ben has many layers waiting to be revealed.

The final shot of the present day Warren family  is a clear suggestion that things are far from over. Willa’ face all crumpled up with stress and pain, John oblivious to the tension offering up breakfast foods and Claire leaning in and hugging Ben while her face is a picture  of someone damned. Ben; on the other side of the hug, face expressionless, cold and chilling.

The Family‘s last sequence has Ben going back to the hotel room and retrieving the money he hid behind the light-switch plate, that cold look is still there and it is disturbing.

Andrew McCarthy as Hank Asher shows more about his mind set, in his “backstory.” Asher is frozen in time by a mother in firm denial of her son’s dilemma and true nature.  It is after her latest visit that he attempts suicide.

At the end of the day, there are a more than a few victims here.  They all have one thing in common; Adam.  As the show delves deeper into the story (hopefully to reveal just how pock-marked man escaped the bunker and where he deposited the body of Adam) one cannot help but wonder what Bridey will do with the information when she learns the whole truth.

The biggest question that remains is just how did Adam die.  Smart money has to be on Ben as it does look like the boy with the big imagination and ability to fantasize may have done Adam in.

The Family airs Sundays on ABC.

 

 

 

 

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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