In The Family: Feathers or Steal Hank’s life is made a misery after Adam’s mother calls him a monster on television. Hearing breaking glass in the middle of the night, the man discovers a broken window and later he finds “monster” spray painted on his garage.
The episode begins with the camera panning through a house that has been trashed as the result of a fight. There is blood on the floor and Joan Allen’s Mayor Warren asks, via voice-over, whether the viewer is made of feathers or steel. By the end of the episode there is no doubt what Claire Warren has inside of her; steel.
Another child is taken. The police have a lead, a picture of a man and a white van. The photo is shown to Adam who begins quivering. He drops the tablet with the picture on it and collapses. The boy tells the authorities that this was the same man who took him and a BOLO is put out.
Eight years ago, Claire Warren (Joan Allen) visits Hank Asher in prison. The Mayor asks him to tell her where Adam’s body is. Hank replies that he cannot help her. Twice.
A short while later, Warren hires the deputy warden of the prison as her head of security. She asks him if there is anything he can do about Hank (Andrew McCarthy) . In the prison chow hall, Asher bites into his sandwich and something in it causes his mouth to bleed. Prison guards turn the other way as another inmate approaches Asher with a knife.
Detective Meyer (Margot Bingham) and Agent Clements (Matthew Lawler) find the white van outside a hotel. The two enter and start checking the rooms. Meyer finds one with the missing child laying on the bed, tied to the headboard and obviously drugged.
Moving into the room, she sees a gun on the bureau and can hear someone in the bathroom. Seconds later, a man exits the bathroom and Meyer shoots him immediately without saying a word.
Hank covers his window with cardboard and goes out to scrub the word “monster” off his garage door. Adam comes over to help and Asher asks him to leave. This results in Hank having a restraining order taken out by the Warren family. “He came here,” protests Asher.
Clements and Meyer cover up the murder of the kidnapper. They also learn that he was not the same man who took Adam. Bridey (Floriana Lima) stops by the Warren’s house saying she left her phone in Danny’s room. Willa reluctantly lets her in.
The journalist stops in Adam’s room and grabs a cotton swab from his rubbish bin. She obviously wants a DNA sample but she screws up by putting the swab in a plastic zip-bag. (DNA samples must go in paper bags.) Willa (Alison Pill) almost catches Bridey in the act.
After a confrontation, Willa sends the journalist down to Danny’s room. Later, when the Warren woman is in her bedroom, she is kneeling by her bed. It looks as though Willa is praying but instead she is fantasizing about Bridey and masturbating.
Claire Warren proves to the governor that she is a real threat to his post during a meeting meant to put the mayor off her stride. Danny (Zach Gilford) breaks into Bridey’s apartment and ends things with her and the two insult one another before he leaves her apartment.
Hank Asher, who was earlier told to stay behind the tree in front of his house to keep 100 yards away from the Warren home across the street, steps into the street and looks at the house. John Warren (Rupert Graves) sees Asher and reacts.
As Joan Allen’s character begins her last voice-over, the camera pans across the debris filled floor to the bloodstains and reveals Hank laying on the floor with blood on his face and mouth. He does not appear to be moving as he lays next the baseball bat that Adam and John Warren were using earlier in the episode.
The Family is maintaining the mystery and piling on doubts of Adam’s identity as well as building up the suspense of just what the pockmarked man (Michael Esper) has hidden in the basement beneath his work shed. This is a very dark program, the characters all have flaws and secrets that when added up equal a pretty unhappy world, even before the kidnapping.
Allen’s character is definitely steely. Her excitement at Meyer and Clements killing the kidnapper and saving the boy is evident when she wants to declare the detective a hero at a conference. However she takes time, just before the event, to tell Meyer to stop sleeping with her husband. “Do you think you’re special?” Claire asks. “You have no idea how many girls drop their panties for the father with a lost son.”
Warren may care deeply for her returned son, but the woman is cold and controlling.
The ending shot of Hank Asher lying in his floor unmoving with that incriminating bat makes it appear that Adam may have done it. Especially with his having that mysterious key. This looks, however, like a red herring. Clearly the boy is not Adam and the key has some significance to him apart from the Warrens.
Each actor has brought a certain truth to their character. Hall, as usual, shines in her role of political mother and the newest member to the cast, Matthew Lawler is excellent. The chemistry between Clements and Meyer is perfect.
Major kudos to Alison Pill who makes Willa Warren a mass of mixed up emotions and motivations.
The Family airs Sundays on ABC.