The Family: (S01E09) “Betta Male”


The Family opens with Nina in the police station with her partner’s, Agent Clements, voice telling her she knows more than she thinks. We see Jane smashing Agent Clements’ phone.  Nina is watching Adam’s sessions with the psychologist. Adam said the day began with breakfast and then school. He said they read books. He slipped up and said we had school, not I had school. The psychologist picked up on it and assumed that “Adam” created an imaginary friend named Ben. Ben just lets her think that. For some reason he doesn’t want her to know that there was someone else in the bunker with him. Oh boy. What does that mean?

Claire is watching her laptop to see what Ben is doing. She has put a camera in Adam’s old blue monkey. Ben knows it and turns the camera around. Claire closes her laptop.

The next morning Bridey and Willa are in bed together. Willa is already up using her laptop. They have to be at Bridey’s. There is no way this is happening at the Warren house.

At the Warren house Ben is getting rid of all of Adam’s toys, including the blue monkey. Willa comes in to the kitchen. Danny asks late night? Willa says early morning. There is a debate coming up regarding Claire’s run for governor. Willa says we need to talk about Dad’s affair. Willa says it will gain support. She says Claire and John need to show a united front and hold hands.

Doug is at Hank’s telling him about the damage in the kitchen cupboards and that he can get the work done today. He likes to work fast. Doug is acting like he is writing up the invoice but he is taking notes on the activity at the Warren house.

Flashback to ten years ago. Hank sees Adam on the swing but tries to walk by. Adam says you came. Adam shows Hank the ship in the bottle. Hank says to Adam that they cannot be friends anymore because he is so much older than Adam. Adam needs friends his own age. Adam says but we were going to make a model airplane next. Hank says friends should want what is best for each other but what Hank wants isn’t best for Adam. Adam looks confused. Hank gives him money for ice cream. Doug is right there listening to all this. He has his black lab with him. He is watching Adam.

One of Nina’s coworkers is giving her a hard time about her affair with John.  Nina keeps trying to call her partner but of course he doesn’t answer as he is (I assume) dead in Doug’s shack. Nina shows up at the foster house that Ben goes to visit at night. She interviews the man there and shows him a picture of a young Ben. The man says he doesn’t remember everything as he has so many kids. She threatens to call social services because she can hear a bunch of kids upstairs. The guy then says the kid was eight or nine years old when he ran off but he didn’t report it because there is little follow up. The guy asks if she is going to call social services. She said she already did.

Bridey is talking to her boss saying she had the biggest story and dropped it because Willa is such a good liar.

Nina is now at the Warren house asking more questions about the day Adam disappeared. She asks what Adam was wearing and Ben is able to answer correctly. Willa freaks a little when Nina asks about Adams’s underwear. Then Nina starts showing Adam pictures. One of the pictures is of a young Ben. It is the same picture she showed the man at the foster home.  “Adam” is looking at the picture and starting to look a little sick. Nina starts to say because it kind of looks like a young…and Claire interrupts saying they had enough for the day. Nina leaves.

Claire and Willa are talking about whether Nina knows. Claire asks what they are doing. Willa says she is putting their family back together. Claire says this is fraud. This is not OK. Willa says it is OK as they have a good DNA test. Claire says she has no idea who Ben is. Willa says he is Adam’s friend. Claire says that’s not good enough.

Danny is at the bar. Bridey comes up to him and buys him a drink. Danny is all dressed up in a suit. He says he is supposed to be at the debate. Bridey asks why he is bailing. He says he doesn’t know. I for one want to know why Bridey isn’t there covering the debate.

Willa goes into Ben’s room and he is dressed up. Willa says he looks nice but it might be better if he stays home tonight and that Claire needs more time to get used to him. Ben says what if she doesn’t? Willa doesn’t answer the question. Instead she says she will give him money for pizza. Willa is the queen of avoiding questions.

Doug is asking Hank about his mom. Hank says she is dead. Doug says he hopes that Hank got to spend time with her. Hank says he was away. Hank asks how much it will cost to get these cupboards done. Doug says he will do it for free. Hank asks why and Doug says he feels like he owes him. That is an odd thing to say. Claire drives up and sees Doug at his van and Doug looks up and sees Ben in the window.

Ten years ago Hank is at the event at the park the day Adam disappears. Hank is at a booth looking at birdhouses. The lady at the next booth says the guy has been gone for a little while. Hank wants to buy a birdhouse. The lady says he sells them for $10. Hank pays the lady and leaves with the birdhouse. Doug comes back and has the ship in a bottle wrapped up in a shirt.

The debate begins with the current governor, Governor Lang, talking about what he has done. Ben is home watching the debate on a tablet. Claire then says Governor Lang has fallen asleep at the wheel. Willa is texting Danny asking where he is. He is having sex with Bridey in the alley behind the bar. Claire is talking about how the governor has made it harder for her to keep her family safe. Governor Lang says that Claire is a one issue candidate. She had her son kidnapped and she deserves understanding and sympathy but she does not deserve the people’s votes. He says she doesn’t have the experience. The governor calls Claire out on using her son’s disappearance to become mayor and now his reappearance to run for governor. Claire tells the public that she did not get her son back. That her boy is gone and that she has a stranger in her home and she has to get used to that.

Doug gives Hank the invoice. Hank asks if that is his neighbor the mayor. Hank says yes. Doug asks who Hank is voting for. Hank says the other guy.

Ben takes delivery of a pizza. Pepperoni and pineapple of course.  Doug walks up to the Warren house, turns the doorknob, opens the door, goes up the stairs to Ben’s room and says “Hey Ben. Time to have a talk.” Ben turns around and looks as if he is ready to have a heart attack. Me too. Doug is fearless.

The Warrens arrive home and Willa is thrilled with how the debate went. Willa says Claire won. John agrees that Claire did great. Doug must be gone. John says Ben should have been there. Ben says he watched it at home. Willa asks if he is OK. He says just tired. He says there is pizza in the fridge, pepperoni and pineapple. He looks weird. I want to know what he and Doug talked about.

Nina is watching more interviews of Ben with the psychologist. Agent Clements’ husband comes to the precinct looking for him. Nina talks to the rest of the staff putting a BOLO out on her partner. She says he hasn’t been seen for 36 hours.

Back at the Warren house, Claire asks Ben what his name is. Ben answers Ben. Claire says your full name. He says Ben Murphy. Claire says Irish? Ben says he thinks his grandpa. Claire asks where he was born. Ben says Minnesota. Claire says she has never been. Ben says it’s cold. He comes from a little town. Claire asks Ben if he likes tacos as she will be making them once a week as they were Adam’s favorite. Ben says no, the way she makes them is too spicy. He calls her Claire. She says he doesn’t have to call her Claire. He says he is sorry he is not him.

Hank is in his kitchen inspecting his repaired cupboards. Hank sees a symbol on the cupboards and he gets a strange look on his face. He recognizes that symbol from the birdhouse he bought all those years ago. He goes out to the garage, gets the birdhouse, looks at it, and sees the same symbol. Meanwhile you could see Doug watching Adam from ten years ago. The look on Hank’s face when he recognizes that symbol is priceless.

Back at the Warren house Willa is up late working on her computer. Danny comes home. Willa asks where he was and who he was with. He just says he was out but he doesn’t say who he was with. Then Danny says he is sorry. She says for what? Danny says the debate. Willa says you are absolved. Probably because it went great.

Hank shows up at the police station with a paper bag.  I give you one guess as to what’s in it. I am assuming the birdhouse. Hank asks to speak to Captain Meyer. She is out. Hank says he will wait. The staff person tells Hank it could be a long one. Hank says it is worth it.

Nina is at Agent Clements’ house looking for clues and talking to her partner’s husband. Nina says they will bring him home.

Someone is carrying a tray of breakfast. It is Jane. She climbs down the stairs to where Nina’s partner is. He is alive but bloody. Jane says she is so sorry.

At the Warren house Claire is looking through cookbooks. She has found out Ben’s birthday is next week and she wants to make him something special. Willa tells Claire she is a good person. Claire says she is not. She will spend the rest of her life wishing Ben was the one who got sick down there so the least she can do is bake him a cake.

Willa asks Ben how Adam died. Ben says Adam fell and hit his head and then he got sick. He was sweating and burning up and Ben couldn’t do anything. OK? Willa says OK.

Ben asks the psychologist why her two betta fish can’t be together. She says they are both boys. One would kill the other. The psychologist says “Adam, shall we begin?” Ben says yes. OMG! Did Ben hurt Adam? It appears it could be true based on next week’s previews. It’s going to be a long week until the next episode.  What do you think? Do you think Ben caused Adam’s death?