The Family: (S01E08) “Sweet Jane”


Ten years ago at Hank’s house there is some remodeling going on. Hank’s mom asked him how it went with Hilary. Hank said “We don’t have much in common.” His mom asks him if he’s gay and says that it is OK if he is. He says he’s not gay. Hank’s mom is teaching piano lessons in the house. That becomes important later.

Ben’s voice is talking about how we all wear masks and if we take them off we risk being seen. He is playing with the key. Claire comes into his room. She says you’re still up? He says he was waiting for her to come say good night to him. He says he loves her. She says good night but she does not say she loves him.

Willa is praying in church. She meets Patty, Governor Lang’s wife. Willa asks Patty what she can do for her. Patty has pictures of Claire in the convenience store buying liquor, drinking it in her car, and sleeping on a park bench. Patty says Claire has a lot of potential and can win when her husband’s term is over. Patty says that women can’t get away with behaving like this but men can. Patty says she can’t imagine what her family has been through. Patty never really says what she wants or what she is going to do.

Officer Nina has Doug’s wife Jane there in the police department. Nina asks Jane if she saw anyone in the mall in a blue jacket from the refinery on the day they were trying to draw out Adam’s kidnapper. She says no, she didn’t see anyone there from work. Jane has flashes of taking to Doug about what was going on at the mall. Jane goes home and tears through the closets but she doesn’t find the blue jacket because Doug threw it away at the mall.

We see Ben sneaking out of the Warren house and it is dark. Hank is watching from his window.

Ten years ago, a boy is out in the rain banging on Hank’s door saying he is there for his piano lesson. Hank is sitting in the dark in the living room with tears in his eyes. I don’t know where Hank’s mom is. No one is answering the door. Claire brings by Adam. I assume Adam is going to have a lesson too. Claire sees Hank in the house but says nothing and takes the boy Jack with her to get him out of the rain.

At Claire’s house she asks John when Mrs. Asher’s boy Hank came to live with her. John answers a few months ago. Claire Googles Hank.

In present day John and Ben are playing ball on the yard and Claire looks out the window at them. Willa comes into the kitchen and tells Claire they have pictures of her from the night she was out drinking. She tells Willa to fix it and that she has covered up much worse. Then John and Ben come in and John is excited saying Adam is getting his arm back.

Meanwhile across the street Hank is showing the house to a real estate agent. He wants to sell as soon as possible. Hank admits to being a sex offender.

Officer Nina’s partner says that Pocky, the pock marked man, a suspect in Adam’s disappearance, has a dog. Then a police officer comes in and says he has her kid, the Warren boy, and shows Nina a picture of him out at night.

We see Ben on the bus the next night and Officer Nina is on the bus undercover. Ben is making notes about something. Ben gets off the bus and Nina follows him. Ben goes up to a house and uses the key to get in. Ben is looking at pictures of several different children on top of a dresser. Who are all those kids? Did he run away from a foster family? Was he kidnapped by Doug from a foster family? He picks up a picture of a boy and looks at it. It has to be of him when he was younger. He drops it as a dog is barking. The dog comes up to him and stops barking and Ben hugs the dog. Ben looks happy. He lies down on a couch with the dog and sleeps with a smile on his face. Oh, the questions.

Ten years ago Hank’s mom comes over to Claire’s house to thank her for looking after Jack.  Claire says she doesn’t think the kids should take lessons anymore because of the thing about Hank. Hank’s mom acts like she has no idea what is going on. She must not know whatever it is that Hank has done.

Present day, Hank is knocking on Claire’s door telling Claire about Ben walking around in the middle of the night. He says he never hurt her son. He says he could have. Adam was at his house every day when he was younger. He says at least he is watching Ben. No one else is. He says that is why he disappeared years ago because Claire was not watching. He says the funniest line “It takes the friendly neighborhood pedophile to come over and tell you about your son.” Now there is a line I never thought I would hear.

Danny and Bridey are out at a bar. Apparently her phone is blowing up with notifications and Danny asks about who it is. Bridey gives away nothing. He teases her saying it is another boyfriend. I am guessing it is Willa. Who else would it be? Sure enough, Bridey picks up Willa by a storage facility. Bridey asks where to? Willa says this is work related. They kiss. Bridey says “Isn’t it all the same?” Willa hands Bridey some papers saying here is your story.

Later that night Officer Nina is parked by the bus stop. She must not have told her partner what she is doing but her partner figures it out and knocks on her car door with a bag of goodies. She explains that Adam sneaks out every night going to a house somewhere in this neighborhood but she can’t figure out what house or who because he was in that bunker for ten years. Her partner doesn’t seem worried about it. That is strange.

That night Claire has sat up and Ben is ready to leave and she asks him where he is going. He says outside to get some fresh air. She says it is 2 am. She lets him know she knows that it is every night. She tells him he can’t live here anymore. He needs a facility. He says mom please. She says I am not your mom. Ben says what about the election? What about dad? She says his name is John. He says I can tell you all about Adam. I can tell you everything about him. I never thought he would break down and tell Claire he wasn’t Adam!

Ten years ago Claire says to John that they need to warn their kids about Hank Asher. He exposed himself in the park. John says so did my friend, he peed in the park so John isn’t even worried about Hank.

Back to today, Ben and Claire are talking in the gazebo. Ben is telling Claire all about Adam saying he was smart, he liked to read. Claire asks what else? Ben says Adam came up with good escape plans. Claire asks if they tried them. Ben says every single one. It looks cold outside so now they are in the kitchen talking. Ben says Adam missed his room and his school. He would say be a little bit brave for a little bit of time. Claire asks Ben how did it happen. Ben says one day he just got sick.

The next morning Claire walks over to Hank’s house and sees him nailing up a for sale sign. She tells him thank you and walks away. Hank just looks after her.

Officer Nina’s partner is at a café going through paper work and ordering coffee. He finds a missing dog poster with the owner’s name listed as Jane. That is Doug’s wife. He immediately calls Officer Nina. He goes over to Jane’s house. He is asking Jane about her job at the refinery. She has been there sixteen years. He asks when the little one is due. She asks is there something you came here to tell me. He asks who the baby daddy is. She says her boyfriend Doug. OK. So they aren’t married. He asks how long they were together. She says since high school. I want to know why they didn’t get married in all this time. She asks if they were at the mall last Saturday. That was the day they tried to draw out Adam’s kidnapper. He tells Jane she has to come with him. She asks why. He says because he thinks she is in danger. The dog is there though so I am confused about the missing dog poster. Jane says let me get my purse and let me turn off the stove, I was sterilizing bottles for the baby. She comes back out and hits the officer with a frying pan just as he was collecting dog hair from the dog asking the dog if he would like to be evidence. Nothing like a little bit of humor in with your murder.

Ten years ago Hank is bringing groceries into the home. Hank’s mom asks Hank “Why did Claire Warren tell me I shouldn’t have kids over here and that I should ask you who you are. Why?” Hank at first tries to sidestep the question. Then Hank’s mom says I am your mom and I deserve to know. Hank says he didn’t lose his job to downsizing. He is not still single because he just hasn’t met the right girl. She asks him why he didn’t let Jack in the house. Hank says because he was safer out in the rain than alone with me. She just walks away.

Present day John is meeting with Officer Nina. She asks how Adam is. Is he OK? Is he adjusting? John says he isn’t sleeping in the closet anymore. He doesn’t flinch when he hugs him. His pitching arm is getting better. This triggers something in Nina’s memory and she goes to the file box and looks at pictures of Adam playing ball and he is right handed. She pictures the boy on the bus grabbing things with his left hand.

Now the Warrens are watching the news and it is announced on the news that John was having an affair. Willa says if those photos of Claire are released now they will feel sympathy for her because of her cheating husband. Willa said she neutralized it. Claire asks Willa where she went wrong with her. She says she was such a sweet trusting girl. She asks how are you now this person. Willa asks “Where would you be if I wasn’t. If I had left after Adam was taken? What if I went away to college?” Claire says she would be fine. Willa says “No you would have slit your wrists. You are going to be governor because I stayed and because I held you up. You are welcome.”

Back at Doug’s home, Jane is scrubbing a pan in a sink. Doug comes in. She asks Doug who the second box of Cheerios was for as they only ate one. Every week she had to buy two boxes of Cheerios. Doug says you have to stay calm for the baby. Jane says you promised this would never happen again. So she must know that Doug took some kids. She is trying to scrub the blood off the pan and there is blood on the counter. Doug asks Jane what she did.

Ten years ago, Hank tells his mom he will leave and find somewhere else to go until he gets back on his feet. She ignores him and says would you like some juice. She tells him no more parks, no more kids, it’s never going to happen ever again, she will help him and that they can do this. Hank says OK. Then he asks her why. She says “You’re my son.”

Back to the present day. Hank is in the house trying to fix the drawers. He can’t get them fixed. He finds a business card.

Danny is asking Willa if she wants to go out. Danny can’t handle the gothic vibe in the house. Willa says she is going to meet a new friend from church. Danny says that is OK. Then he goes by Willa’s room and he notices the pink penguin on Willa’s bed. It is the penguin from the night he was out with Bridey.

Claire is talking to Ben saying good night. He says he loves her. She says I love you too.

The next few scenes overlap each other in the final two minutes of the show. At Doug and Jane’s house, Doug is dragging the body of the police officer to the shed. Claire must have installed a camera in Ben’s room. She is watching him on her laptop. Ben’s voice is talking about how the masks we wear become part of our skin until it is impossible to tell what is really underneath. The next morning Doug rings Hank’s doorbell and is there to fix the cupboards! He was on the business card that Hank found. Hank says thanks for coming by I know it’s been a long time. Doug says I stand by my work. So Doug was in Hank’s house however many years ago installing or fixing the cupboards and drawers. He must have seen Adam there and decided he wanted Adam.

This episode kept me in a state of shock all the way through. What about you? What did you think of the episode? Whose house does Ben go to in the night? Who were all those kids in the pictures at that house? What will Doug and Jane do? Will she stay with him or leave? What are your theories on these questions? What comments, insights, or questions do you have about the show?