“The Family” recap (1.2): Exciting Writing with One Very Tired Trope

Well, I want to give this show a fair shot, but this is highly disappointing, to say the least. The Family‘s writing team are clearly very talented and very invested in making the show something that’s genuinely unusual and special …Except for relying on the age-old Lying Ruthless Voracious Bisexual trope. Which is pretty gross in general and, oh, yes, causes active harm to an entire class of human beings.

It’s honestly baffling that a team that is clearly invested in trying to travel more interesting ground than the average suspense drama has managed to plump for such an easy stereotype. Even if they’re just using Bridey’s broad sketch as a place marker until they get around to making her interesting, even if they’re planning on a Big Surprise to make her innovative or, at least, a real, rounded character, it’s pretty obnoxious to reinforce this nonsense in the short run. And that goes double when Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is treating male bisexuality so well right next door on Monday nights.

Anyway, we’re going to take a pretty quick tour through this episode. They get more words when they deserve them.

Previously: Dead kid back–maybe! DNA test suspect!

We start off with an interesting juxtaposition (see how much fun it is to be different and interesting, show?) as Maybe-Adam and Hank, in split-screen shots, both roam around their pre-abduction homes as new/old residents Hank finds himself a thin scraping tool and Maybe-Adam memorizes the kitchen, so he knows where stuff is.

Maybe-Adam looks at sleeping parents while Hank pries open his ceiling and pulls a canister out of a hidey hole. Maybe-Adam, this week’s intro/outro voiceover, says he came back, but he didn’t come home.

Ten years ago, the family is at breakfast, and Young Adam obsesses over his not-done ship in a bottle. He runs out to catch the bus and Willa wonders how he keeps missing it when the stop is right there. Ew ew ew. He keeps missing it because Hank, who we will recall had child porn on his computer and was busted for indecent exposure in a park, is the one teaching Adam about ships in bottles.

Family Ep 2 Pic 1

Willa sees Adam coming out of Hank’s garage.

Now Claire is saying she was totally going tell John she was running for governor–whoopsie!–before the press announcement and then dumps out one million treats for Adam to make up for the last 10 years.

Nina talks to the family about wanting to catch the Bad Man. Adam asks if she’ll hurt the Bad Man when they catch him. Claire is freaked and says they’ll keep Adam safe. This would be a great moment if ABC’s marketing department hadn’t already ruined the upcoming surprise moment where Adam says he’s not worried for the Bad Man; he wants them to kill him.

Back at the Tribune, Gus tells the reporters to make him cry. Bridey doesn’t quite have the same scoop she had last week about the doctor who verified the DNA test not existing Bridey says the DNA test was outsourced to a genetics lab and then the guy who verified it threw himself in front of a train. Well, at least she’s doing some solid reporting legwork in between the other kind of leg work.

Family Ep 2 Pic 2

Claire tells Danny to take Maybe-Adam to the mall and have fun and buy him shoes and see a movie JUST LIKE BROTHERS HAVE FUN, DAMMIT AND BE BROTHERS. Adam looks at Danny’s old car and remarks on him finally getting his tail light fixed. Adam makes eye contact with Hank at his mailbox, and Hank says “Remember me? I’m the guy that killed you.”