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S01.E08: Sweet Jane 2016.04.17

When I saw all the mantle photos it reminded me of families who take in many foster kids over decades.  They never have more than a handful at a time but they could have had dozens over a lifetime.  

 

I just don't think it's reasonable to write that a state agency just lost a missing kid in the shuffle, especially an 8 year old.  If he was considered a runaway, he'd be on a missing children list, not just written off.  

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I'm voting for foster parents keeping him "alive" to get their monthly state payments. Until they show me something otherwise. Nothing else makes any sense as to why no one was looking for Ben.

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I've just binge watched the series in the last day or two.  It's been a compelling story, and I'm still hooked, but it's starting to lose me with some of the plot contrivances which have been taking me out of the story.

 

I can hand wave a lot for the sake of a story, but I'm having a hard time with how "normal" Ben is considering what his life has been.  I know a lot of people are saying he's coming off as creepy, and he totally is, but not at all as creepy as I would expect him to be under the circumstances.  I mean, a small child growing up locked in a hole in the ground until adulthood, with or without another child for company, with or without the sexual abuse, would not be able to function as easily as Ben is doing. 

 

At the very least, I'd expect he'd be in serious, daily therapy for a long, long time, yet no one even suggested it until Claire mentioned it when she was wanting him to leave.  Yet, you can barely tell he's troubled.  That's what makes him creepy to me - he's functioning so normally instead of being freaked out by so much light and sound and stimulation after such an ordeal, not having nightmares, nothing.  Maybe he's dissociated.  Maybe a professional should have been talking with him to find out, and helping him cope with his sexual abuse.

 

In this episode, Jane hitting the FBI agent with the frying pan also took me out of the story.  I could believe Jane might not have known anything about Doug's activities all this time.  I have a harder time believing she would kill an FBI agent to cover up what Doug had done.  She isn't a pedophile and she isn't a kidnapper, so it just isn't believable that she would suddenly become a murderer.   Maybe there's more to her story that explains it, but I'm just not seeing a non-murderous person killing an FBI agent with a frying pan.

 

I wondered if Jane giving Doug another chance after finding out he has a serious problem with young boys was supposed to be a parallel with Hank's mom giving him another chance and trying to help him because he was her son.  Hank's mom wouldn't have had any way of knowing that it really "wouldn't happen again" just like Jane wouldn't have known it even if Doug had sworn on his life.  So far, it seems Hank's mother's faith was somewhat better placed, while Jane's faith was disastrous.

 

Anyway, I think Adam is buried under that shed, and now the FBI agent will be as well. 

 

Nothing else makes any sense as to why no one was looking for Ben.

 

 

Do we really know that no one was looking for Ben?  Maybe they did, and maybe they gave up after some years.  No one would consider Ben to be Ben when he showed up because he seemed to be Adam, so no one would step forward saying they, too, were looking for a missing kid.

Edited by izabella.
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I can hand wave a lot for the sake of a story, but I'm having a hard time with how "normal" Ben is considering what his life has been.

 

Well he is pretending to be someone else and determined to live this person's life and be him. I don't know that I'd call that normal. 

 

At the very least, I'd expect he'd be in serious, daily therapy for a long, long time, yet no one even suggested it until Claire mentioned it when she was wanting him to leave.

 

I think Ben was supposed to be in therapy when the family (except Willa of course) believed he was Adam but it just wasn't focused on. There was a woman present in the scene when he first talked about where Doug kept him and she was referred to as a therapist. 

Edited by truthaboutluv.
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It's been a compelling story, and I'm still hooked, but it's starting to lose me with some of the plot contrivances which have been taking me out of the story.

 

It's gotten bogged down by all the side plots, it would've been better streamlined.

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The HAPPY: FBI guy called Pocky by the nickname Pocky, after me and others here did!

 

The SAD: FBI looks to be dead. Bummer. I would have been behind a second mystery featuring the character.

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Typically, when a pedophile kidnaps a 2nd child while still holding the first one, it's because they have a particular age range they're attracted to, and the first child has "aged out". Ben and Adam were the same age.

Yes, it's weird. I also don't get how long he intended to keep prisoner what have basically become two grown adults captive for his pedophile inclinations (both being now 18 years old and well past puberty.)

Edited by Andromeda.
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My first thought was that the house was supposed to be a meeting point where he would check in with Pocky and that the mantel of children were all kiddies Pocky had taken at some point over the years. I thought the entire bunker sequence we were shown was a misdirection and this house was actually where Ben had been held for years. Wow, I was way off in my own little world about all of this.

 

I was kind of there with you!  Not totally, because I wasn't sure where he was, but I did think that the photos were children who had been taken.  I thought it was a powerful visual, and it really made me sad   Now I don't know what to think!

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I give Hank a little credit for fighting his perversions. Some don't even try.

Hank volunteered for chemical castration. Some pedos  wouldn't choose that.

 

Yes, and he wouldn't let the boy inside the house for his piano lesson because he knew what might happen.  So he was protecting the young boy from himself.  Really sad and sweet at the same time, and it showed how he hates being that way and how tortured he is.

 

 

 

I loved the scene of Hank biting Claire's head off.  Seriously, she didn't realize new Adam is left handed?  I think he could've come back a girl or a black kid and she wouldn't have noticed.  

 

This made me laugh so hard!!  :-)

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I really liked how agent Clemmons's valium calm way of letting the investigation run at its own pace paid off. Too bad his instincts failed him at the critical moment.

Edited by dr pepper.
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Kids age out of the foster system at 16, I think. All in all, it's hard to see why Adam and Ben would be kept prisoner past 17-18. With John's infidelities, I wonder if Ben really is his son.

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Was "Adam" ever asked by police to describe Doug to a sketch artist?  

 

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Yes, it's weird. I also don't get how long he intended to keep prisoner what have basically become two grown adults captive for his pedophile inclinations (both being now 18 years old and well past puberty.)

 

I think that Adam was deliberately poisoned for that very reason. Not sure if the plan was to kill both, and Ben didn't eat the poisoned food, or if the plan was to keep him, since he was more docile.

 

Was "Adam" ever asked by police to describe Doug to a sketch artist?

Yes, during the episode when Pock and Jane took a road trip and were detained by the police, we saw the sketch

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I was kind of there with you!  Not totally, because I wasn't sure where he was, but I did think that the photos were children who had been taken.  I thought it was a powerful visual, and it really made me sad   Now I don't know what to think!

I'm not alone! The dog just made a connection for me. If it's just a different dog that was kind of misleading storytelling since a dog features so heavily in the pocky arc. Very mysterious. I had the impression that he was let out sometime and somehow had a key he wasn't supposed to have.

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I really loved this episode.

 

I did, too. I think this show has gotten much more interesting. For me it's found a good balance of shocking twists and good character stuff.

 

I wish there was more Danny though. They're wasting Zach Gilford. 

 

To me most of the characters come off sympathetic at times and horrible at others, which is good imo.

 

I'm with those who will be very disappointed if it turns out Ben is working with Pocky or just in some way bad. Initially I thought they'd go there but after the flashback ep I just really don't want them to make him anything other than a victim.

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I'm not really afraid of Ben being a bad guy, anymore.  I think his "bad" is all going to amount to being driven to manipulate people by his desperate need for family love.  I think he was a red herring now.  But I'm usually wrong, too.  

 

For some reason I thought there was one episode left but now I see there are four.  I wish it was faster paced.  I was a little disappointed not much happened in this one, but I had thought it was second to last, too.  We could see 3.5 more episodes of Danny skulking around getting drunk.  

 

We find ourselves very sympathetic to Hank, despite the bad stuff he's done.  To me, the worst was confessing to killing Adam, which called off the hunt for Adam.  I know he feels guilty for who he is and Nina bullied him into that confession but didn't he consider how it affected Adam, assuming Adam was alive somewhere, which he was?  

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I don't blame Hank for confessing.  He didn't actually do anything to Adam and was being falsely accused of murder and told he'd be given the death penalty.  Under the circumstances, Hank would be dead or on Death Row without his confession.  I don't blame him for thinking of himself and his own life.

 

I also don't think his confession did anything terrible to Adam, since we know that the police weren't ever going to find Adam even if they had kept looking the entire 10 years and knew that he was still out there.  Adam, and Ben, were locked in a hole in the ground and the police had zero, zip, nothing to go on.  They weren't going to find them.

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I really enjoy this show.  They've strapped on a jet pack--there's a big move about every five minutes.  (I stuck with Murder in the First and it was "all clues, no reveal.")

 

I couldn't figure out the mystery house either.  I was just glad Ben got some unconditional old dog love.  No one's ever needed it more.

 

Maybe there's a sub-bunker in the garage with a hospital unit where Adam and FBI are on the mend. 

: p

 

 

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If the search for Adam remained in the news maybe dumbass Jane would wake up and smell the Cheerios a little sooner.  I just know in Claire's shoes I would want the search to continue, and in Doug's shoes I would want it called off.  Nina literally drove into the woods one day alone and stumbled on that bunker with almost no direction.  Pot smoking hikers found it.  Doug went there daily, there must've been a nice path right to it.  

 

I personally think it's hard to put an innocent man on death row for a murder that didn't happen, with no body and no physical evidence besides a bottle in his drawer.  Real cops investigate fake confessions.  And real defendants have defense attorneys that know confessions given under duress aren't valid.  

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I don't blame Hank for confessing.  He didn't actually do anything to Adam and was being falsely accused of murder and told he'd be given the death penalty.  Under the circumstances, Hank would be dead or on Death Row without his confession.  I don't blame him for thinking of himself and his own life.

 

Maine doesn't have the death penalty and didn't ten years ago either. Did we actually see them threaten him with it in a flashback? I don't remember hearing that, and it would have set off a red flag for me if they said it.

 

I think they just threatened him with life in prison, which isn't much worse than 30 years for a middle age man. 

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Yes, that police officer, Nina?  She talked about how bad his child porn would look to people and they'd push for the death penalty.  So she lied, and got a false confession.  Why he had no attorney of any kind there while she was questioning and threatening him is beyond me.

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I don't blame Hank at all for the search for Adam stopping. He was pressured into a false confession by police bullying, not his fault.

The people to blame are Willa and the dad for planting evidence and Nina for getting a false confession.

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I recall Nina threatening the death penalty, too.  I feel like Hank apparently having no legal counsel is just convenient for the story, like so many other things.  Including Maine having a death penalty and a small town newspaper employing dozens of office based workers.  I don't even think a tv news show would run a story about 10-year-old romantic texts between the mayor's husband and a cop investigating his son's disappearance.  Maybe if John himself was a senator and it was a current affair and caught on social media, and there was no tragedy surrounding it.  

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Just coming on to say that the sympathy shown toward Hank is the primary reason I have so much difficulty with this show. He supports a business that profits off of the rape of children; he's guilty of a (albeit lesser) crime; he allowed a family to believe he killed ther child and refused to help them, thus ending their search; and he beat the hell out of himself to frame an entirely innocent man that he psychologically tortured for years. Not to mention, he would have gone to jail for the porn, anyway. It wasn't a false charge or an insinuation - there was proof. But he sure gets a nice edit. That voluntary chemical castration makes him someone we should feel sorry for? He just can't help himself? In real life, these guys are dangerous predators and just get worse, so I don't feel any desire to humanize them.

Edited by RedInk.
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Yes, that police officer, Nina?  She talked about how bad his child porn would look to people and they'd push for the death penalty.  So she lied, and got a false confession.  Why he had no attorney of any kind there while she was questioning and threatening him is beyond me.

 

I'm guessing that was a fail by the writers, rather than trying to show her as intentionally lying. Surely Hank would know if the state he lives in has the death penalty. He's a pedophile, but he hasn't been portrayed as dumb.

 

I don't blame Hank at all for the search for Adam stopping. He was pressured into a false confession by police bullying, not his fault.

The people to blame are Willa and the dad for planting evidence and Nina for getting a false confession.

 

I blame Willa more, because what she did was deliberate and Nina really thought Hank did it. It was dumb on her part to not investigate more (and not try and get the location of the body), but it wasn't criminal. If Hank found out it was planted he could probably file the lawsuit he tried to file against the state.

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Hank knows it was planted.  He just doesn't know who did it, and he can't prove it.

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Just coming on to say that the sympathy shown toward Hank is the primary reason I have so much difficulty with this show. He supports a business that profits off of the rape of children; he's guilty of a (albeit lesser) crime; he allowed a family to believe he killed ther child and refused to help them, thus ending their search; and he beat the hell out of himself to frame an entirely innocent man that he psychologically tortured for years. Not to mention, he would have gone to jail for the porn, anyway. It wasn't a false charge or an insinuation - there was proof. But he sure gets a nice edit. That voluntary chemical castration makes him someone we should feel sorry for? He just can't help himself? In real life, these guys are dangerous predators and just get worse, so I don't feel any desire to humanize them.

 

If it makes you feel better, I'm totally with you. I have never felt sorry for Hank and have always stated that I thought some were forgetting that he was, if nothing else, guilty of child porn which as you rightly stated is indeed a crime and a very serious one at that. And it's also why I've said I will really be really pissed if they try to make Ben into the bad guy somehow because then it will be, "feel sorry for the creepy pedophile guy but the bad guy is the poor boy who was kidnapped and sexually abused for a decade."

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If it makes you feel better, I'm totally with you. I have never felt sorry for Hank and have always stated that I thought some were forgetting that he was, if nothing else, guilty of child porn which as you rightly stated is indeed a crime and a very serious one at that. And it's also why I've said I will really be really pissed if they try to make Ben into the bad guy somehow because then it will be, "feel sorry for the creepy pedophile guy but the bad guy is the poor boy who was kidnapped and sexually abused for a decade."

Right? But he feels, like, super DUPER bad about himself! The hoops they're jumping through to paint him as another victim are ridiculous. I mean the state paid damages for his unlawful conviction as though he maintained his innocence and was given an unfair trial, even though he was guilty on related charges and confessed. He should be sued for obstruction and impeding an investigation. But Ben sure is sketchy! And that mother who made his life hell in prison for a heinous crime against her son -which he admitted to and for which he appeared to have no remorse? What a ruthless bitch.

Edited by RedInk.
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It doesn't help me hate Hank that we have no idea really what Nina saw on his laptop.  She suggested it was child porn but who knows if that's where the writers will be going with this.  It wouldn't surprise me if they'll reveal that he never bought anything actually illegal, just visited some sites that are legal but clearly targeted toward people like him.  

 

And let me be clear, I don't care either way, I'm just following the crumbs the writers dropped.  I don't promote child porn or excuse criminal acts.  This is a tv show.  Theorizing on a character's possible innocence is in no way excusing actual crimes.  

 

They're clearly writing all these people as morally gray, which is true of us all.  I like that about the show.  I see all of them making huge mistakes but I can kind of see why they are how they are and how they justify it all or just live with the shame of their actions.   Except Doug.  

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Kids age out of the foster system at 16, I think. All in all, it's hard to see why Adam and Ben would be kept prisoner past 17-18. With John's infidelities, I wonder if Ben really is his son.

As horrible monsters as people who hold children for decades or more are, they will keep people they took as children/teens into their 20s and 30s. Are there any known cases where a single kidnapper held someone 10 years then just up and killed them because they were too old? I'm sure that'd be much harder to document of course because you find a dead body of someone gone for years you don't really know for sure what happened to them, if you can even identify them.

 

I imagine in general it is because Stockholm Syndrome is a survival technique. The victim becomes all about their captor needs and thereby their captor forms an actual mental/emotional attachment to them, stops seeing them as a major threat, and stops seeing them as completely disposable. They can't 'let them go' as the person of course could cause them legal trouble then but they're also attached enough not to kill them so it just goes on.

 

After 10 years,  I would believe he could take Ben or Adam public places separately by that point without them attempting escape or asking for help as long as he was nearby. The BBC show Thirteen was a lot more realistic on that front.

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Kids age out of the foster system at 16, I think. All in all, it's hard to see why Adam and Ben would be kept prisoner past 17-18. 

 

I don't think you're right about aging out of the foster system at 16, but I do think your mind went where the writers intended it to about this particular pedophile not really being into having two adult males to care for forever.  Jenna Bans discussed it in the TV Guide article linked in the last episode thread.  I'm not sure if people would consider this clarification from her or a spoiler so I'll hide it but she said

"As time goes on, we will see just how hard it was for Doug to have two 18-year-old boys in there. I think Doug didn't really think about his horrible, disgusting plan. "Great, I have two boys in a bunker." But boys grow up. So yes, he chose his words very carefully there, which leads us to wonder just exactly how Doug got rid of Adam."

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About the death penalty thing, I just assume that in this fictional town in fictional Maine the death penalty is legal. It's not a documentary!
 

I recall Nina threatening the death penalty, too.  I feel like Hank apparently having no legal counsel is just convenient for the story, like so many other things.  Including Maine having a death penalty and a small town newspaper employing dozens of office based workers.

 
I live in a small town that has a newspaper that employs dozens of office based workers so it does happen!
 

They're clearly writing all these people as morally gray, which is true of us all.  I like that about the show.  I see all of them making huge mistakes but I can kind of see why they are how they are and how they justify it all or just live with the shame of their actions.   Except Doug.


I completely agree. I actually think the show has done quite a good job at making all the characters sympathetic while also kinda horrible and I personally appreciate that. Except, as you said, Doug and also maybe Nina tbh. She's just the worst!

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Yeah, I didn't think anything of the newspaper office when I watched, I just read this USA Today reviewer's comment and it sprang to mind when I was picking unrealistic details.

 

That mystery roils the Warren family, including the older, troubled son Danny (Gilford) and middle child Willa (Alison Pill), who serves as her mother’s press secretary and who behaves — and is treated — as if she just walked over from The West Wing. Which may be fitting, because the newspaper for this town of 75,000 people seems to have a staff that rivals that of The Washington Post.

 

 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/columnist/2016/03/02/review-abcs-family-dumb-pulpy-fiction/81149812/

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I have never even noticed how many people are working at the newspaper tbh. I feel like the newspaper office place has only been shown like 3 times. It probably is a bit big. It seems bigger than the one on Daredevil, for example, and that doesn't feel right.

 

But the newspaper/Bridey's place in the show is so insignificant to me that I don't really care.

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If the feud was viewed as impeding the sale, then I could see a realtor asking the seller to resolve the issue.

Except I doubt that a feud with a neighbor would impede the sale. I'd imagine the neighbor would be more in "Thank God HE'S moving!" mode and wouldn't want to do anything to interfere with that.

 

Cast-Iron Skillet of Doom

Hehehe awesome!!!

 

Though he should have been suspicious that she was sterilizing bottles for an unborn child--I think.  I assume that they would have to be sterilized right before use, not months ahead of time...

I thought that was incredibly lame, but I swear I saw in the background a pot with steam coming out of it. So is she that dumb that she was sterilizing bottles? I would imagine if it were something else, she'd just say "I have something on the stove, just give me a second to turn it off."

 

Kind of stupid to not tell your aged 8 and up kids about a sex offender next door because they're too young to know there are bad people in the world.

Right? I remember being in 1st/2nd grade having to see little movies in school about not talking to strangers/not getting in their car/not helping them find their "lost puppy" /etc.

About the death penalty thing, I just assume that in this fictional town in fictional Maine the death penalty is legal.

Absolutely agree...whether or not it's legal in "real" Maine is immaterial IMO. Edited by ByTor.
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Yes, she was actually sterilizing bottles.  I think the writers were afraid we had forgotten that she was pregnant because there hadn't been dialog that mentioned it in 7 seconds.  

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There is a lot of discussion happening that has been respectful (which I thank you all for!), but has really started to diverge from the actual episode,

 

So NEW TOPIC! Please take your discussion about the family members, Hank, Nina, Pocky, Jane, dead FBI guy, et al to the new topic - Shades of Gray: Is anyone here just good?

 

Posts that aren't about the episode from here on may be moved/deleted/edited. Please remember to respect each other when posting there, and thank you!

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Love the idea that the friendly neighborhood pedophile and the local politician will join forces to solve crimes for the betterment of the world, outpacing the police, reporters and amateur family sleuths. That's a fur piece from Cabot Cove.

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When we saw Willa find Ben wandering around after escaping from the bunker, he didn't seem to have any idea where to go, other than to tell Adam's family what had happened to him.  That led me to assume that he was taken too young to remember his life before the abduction, or perhaps he knew he'd been abducted from another city far from where he was held.  But somehow he remembers where that house is, and uses the key he'd kept all these years.  Why would he go there now, every night, and yet not go there when he first escaped?

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Why would he go there now, every night, and yet not go there when he first escaped?

 

I guess just because he really wanted to let Adam's family know what happened to him. He seemed to grow very close to Adam so it doesn't seem crazy to me that he'd do that.

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Why would he go there now, every night, and yet not go there when he first escaped?

 

Because he didn't have the key, which made sense since it was hidden in the wall of the bunker and he was too busy trying to escape Doug to grab it. He got it back when Nina and company found the bunker and brought him to confirm that was where he was held. That was also why he asked about the code for the alarm so he could leave and return without Claire and company realizing. 

Edited by truthaboutluv.
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 Why would he go there now, every night, and yet not go there when he first escaped?

 

That's one of the big questions (for me) at this point.   There is some direction from this article below.   I guess since the foster home doesn't seem abusive or dangerous it could just be that the occupant is incapable of caring for a damaged 19 year old but has help with his/her dog, etc.?  Like it's an invalid, maybe?  I don't know.  Or maybe Ben just figures since he's aged out of the foster system his alternative to pretending to be Adam is to go to the cops and hope they can get him the help he needs.   Or he doesn't know they'd get him help and figures the Warrens are his last shot at being in a family and being cared for.  Which may be true.  

 

http://www.tvguide.com/news/the-family-postmortem-willa-ben-adam/

 

Interviewer:  So what are his motives? He could've gone anywhere, especially after Willa gave him the money, but twice he went to the Warrens' house.

Bans: We'll answer why he didn't necessarily have anywhere else to go. He's spent 10 years with Adam, who was basically his brother at that point, and I think his motive when he comes to the house is simply to say, "This is where we've been for the past 10 years." The fateful moment is running into Willa at the gate. And Willa, ever the master puppeteer, knows her mother has this huge speech coming up ... so she puts him away for a day, which gives her the time to come up with this idea.

 

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That and the fact that he's probably not getting tons of other offers. I mean, it's not as if Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay are knocking his door down begging him to star in their blockbusters.

 

Eh, his IMDB makes it look like he was working pretty steadily.  He might not have been the star he was during the 80s, but it looked like he was getting solid work. 

 

 

But somehow he remembers where that house is, and uses the key he'd kept all these years.  Why would he go there now, every night, and yet not go there when he first escaped?

 

It doesn't make a huge amount of sense.  I can believe that if he was a foster child, he might not have lots of people remembering him, but the picture on the table he was looking at made it appear he was old enough to be attending school, so you would think there would still be people in town who would remember him. 

 

I just kind of roll my eyes at the cop who goes off by himself to confront someone over the fact he believes that they are in cahoots with someone who is extremely dangerous.  I just can't stand when a show has its characters behave stupidly for no real reason.     

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Even worse, he didn't even tell anyone he had figured out how Jane was connected, and that her baby-daddy is the the guy they've all been searching for. 

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Maybe he was trying to score one for the Feds, instead of letting the small town cops get all the glory.

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Eh, his IMDB makes it look like he was working pretty steadily.  He might not have been the star he was during the 80s, but it looked like he was getting solid work. 

It looks like he's been mostly directing the past 5 years, which is usually seen as a step up from acting.  He's directed more Orange is the New Black episodes (9) than any other director.  

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Just caught up on this episode and I am confused about something. The flashbacks establishing that Claire sees there is something creepy about Hank and kids (when she rescues Jack from the rain)--when was that supposed to have happened? Because unless I've forgotten something (entirely possible), Adam seemed to be visiting with Hank and having a friendly relationship with him up until the time he disappeared. Did I miss where it was established before his disappearance that he had been forbidden to go to Hank's house anymore?

 

Also, I remember that John expressed his frustration that there wasn't evidence against Hank and that's how Willa got the idea to frame him with the ship in the bottle. But does John know what Willa did?

 

This show! Maybe a bit too much going on for my simple mind :)

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Also, I remember that John expressed his frustration that there wasn't evidence against Hank and that's how Willa got the idea to frame him with the ship in the bottle. But does John know what Willa did?

 

This show! Maybe a bit too much going on for my simple mind :)

 

I don't think anyone knows what Willa did with planting the bottle. Hank obviously knows someone planted it, and Nina realized it was planted after Adam returned. But they don't know it was her.

 

I think if John knew she planted the bottle he wouldn't have made the 911 call back then.

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