ABC's The Family: Will You Return, Like Adam Warren (Mayyyybe) Did?

The Family Series Premiere

In the event that ABC’s #TGIT lineup ever needs to fill a vacant time slot, might we suggest adding The Family to that OMG!-inducing block of programming?

I ask this because, even in its debut hour, the Joan Allen-fronted thriller served up enough plot twists and juicy unanswered questions that it would fit right in with the likes of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder. But what did you think of the series premiere?

Before you answer that question, here’s a quick recap of Thursday’s events (keeping in mind that The Family will settle in at its usual Sundays-at-9 time slot on March 6, hammocked between Once Upon a Time and Quantico):

The series takes place in Red Pines, Maine, where 10 years ago, Allen’s Claire Warren is seen campaigning for City Council. Aside from the fact that zero passersby seem interested in Claire’s political efforts, it’s an idyllic day: Her husband is supportive, two of her children are helping out on the campaign trail and Claire’s youngest, Adam, is keeping himself occupied on a bench a few yards away.

But just moments later, that picture-perfect family scene crumbles when Adam suddenly goes missing without a trace.

When we pick up with the Warrens a decade later, they’ve all moved on in some form, whether they’ve carved out a successful political career (Claire) or gone down the dark road of alcoholism (the eldest son, Danny,  played by Friday Night Lights‘ Zach Gilford). When a pale, frightened boy stumbles out of the woods and makes his way to the local police station, claiming to be the long-lost Adam, that’s when things really take a turn for the already-messed-up clan.

In the hour that follows, a number of mysterious storylines begin to unfold. In one corner, there’s the Warren family, torn between feeling overjoyed at Adam’s return and skeptical that it’s really him (despite the police station’s claims that they ran a DNA test on the boy, with positive results). In another, there’s Nina Meyer, the detective who investigated Adam’s disappearance a decade ago and is now hell-bent on finding the man who actually kidnapped him.

There’s also Hank, the Warrens’ onetime neighbor (and convicted sex offender) who was imprisoned for abducting Adam and must now cope with being an innocent man. And there’s Bridey Cruz, a local newspaper reporter — excuse me, “lesbian lifestyle blogger” — who wants to uncover the “real” story of Adam’s disappearance and reappearance.

In fact, even though The Family‘s series premiere is filled to the brim with secrets (what exactly is Claire’s daughter, Willa, confessing to her priest at church?!), it might just be Bridey’s subplot that becomes the most interesting. That DNA test I was telling you about earlier? Well, when Bridey follows up with the clinic, she makes one massively interesting discovery: the doctor who reported the results doesn’t exist. (Now tell me that kind of cliffhanger doesn’t fit in perfectly with all of Shonda Rhimes’ shows.)

Also intriguing? In the final moments of the hour, we watch as a rugged-looking man — presumably Adam’s captor, given how well he fits the boy’s physical description — stops into a convenience store, buys a newspaper with the Warrens’ photo on the front page and drives off in his exceptionally muddy truck.

OK, your turn. What did you think of The Family‘s first outing? Grade the episode via our poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice!

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