A Friend of the Family season 1, episode 6 recap

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A slower and more methodical episode, but one that’s punctuated by some of the series’ strongest moments to date, not the least of which is a truly chilling final scene. Best of all, Anna Paquin and McKenna Grace’s performances are equal parts tender, angry and heartbreaking.

This Peacock series summary A Friend of the Family Season 1 Episode 6 Son of Perdition contains spoilers.

An episode particularly highlighted by the work of everyone in front of the camera McKenna Grace and Anna Paquin, who are great at capturing the heartache and confusion created by being in the orbit of an increasingly monstrous one Robert Berchtold.

A Family Friend Season 1 Episode 6 Summary

Bob is working at the flower shop when Mary Ann and the kids come to tell him that Jan Broberg Ran away. Jan himself arrives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where she is picked up by Berchtold, who drives her to his new business, the Family Fun Center, which he runs with his business partner Tom Bunsen, whom he calls “Bunny”. When they arrive, they meet Robert’s son, Jasper, who works there as a popcorn server, but the machine isn’t working properly. Both she and Jasper catch up when Robert is called by an employee who tells him that “Bunny” killed himself in front of his wife. Robert barely reacts to this news and says they should get the popcorn machine working again.

Mary Ann and Bob are visited by Agent Walsh, who tells them that since Jan ran away and is not ruled kidnapped, the FBI cannot officially intervene this time, and that they must convince her to come home. He then says he will put them in touch with a lawyer he knows named Mark who can help them. When the Brobergs visit his office, he calls Berchtold’s attorney, Horstmann, and states that if he doesn’t convince Berchtold to return Jan, he will take care of Berchtold’s livelihood and family and find a way to do something about his five-year suspended sentence. Horstmann says he will do it immediately.

Back in Wyoming, Jan and Robert play cards, but Robert starts stroking Jan’s hand, telling her that he was fixated on her from the moment he met her. She feels uncomfortable and apologizes for a moment. As she moves away from Robert, he begins speaking to her again, reminding her of the importance of the mission, what “Zeda and Zethra” want, and the baby they promised them.

The following evening he takes Jan to a play he had talked to her about in the previous episode, where he introduces her as his daughter to an actress friend named Alice, who talks to Jan about acting and using the method in her performance speaks, as well as a breathing technique that allows it to become a character.

The next morning at the Family Fun Center, Robert talks about the future he sees for himself and Jan, who live in a house by the sea, and all the scripts she’s reading for an acting job that’s in her future. Robert’s brother Joe and his mother arrive. Joe expresses his concern about the situation, but Robert says there is nothing to worry about as Jan ran away from home and they are not in Mexico this time. As Robert and his mother catch up, Joe takes the time to talk to Jan and asks her how she is doing. She says she’s having a great time, but Joe wonders if she wouldn’t rather be home. Jan replies that Bob is her eternal companion. Robert receives the message that Horstmann is on the phone for him. Jan leaves to hear what is being said but is not privy to the conversation, but as he hangs up the phone Robert says he needs to hear her say that she will be his “eternal companion”. She tells him it’s her.

On the day of Jan’s 14th birthday, Mary Ann and Bob are back with their new attorney, Mark, who is asking Horstmann on the phone why Berchtold hasn’t sent Jan home yet and that he promised he had it done a few days ago . He tells them he’ll have it ready by tomorrow. Back at the Brobergs’ home, Agent Walsh pays them a visit and, in one of the most chilling scenes of the episode, explains to them that a friend of his at Quantico outlined the kind of obsession that Berchtold has for young girls that can’t be cured and Berchtold certainly can could be called a psychopath.

For Jan’s birthday, Robert throws her a party at the Family Fun Center in the presence of his mother, brother Joe, and son Jasper, and gives her an expensive sewing machine as a gift. He is called again to take a call from his attorney demanding that he send Jan away. Robert argues that he couldn’t do that if he had permission from either parent to marry her, but Horstmann tells him he won’t get that from either of the Brobergs. He tells Jan about the situation, but when she suggests she could explain it to her mother to get her on board, Robert tells her that won’t work as Mary Ann is also in love with him. He manipulates Jan with lies about how he told her mother to stay away from him and how Bob showed up on his porch one night and threatened him about the situation. He explains to Jan that maybe part of Zeda and Zethra’s plan is to go home and that she shouldn’t worry, nothing will separate them. He gives her a quarter and tells her to call her family.

Bob drives his recently purchased gun in the passenger seat to meet up with two of them. He considers using the gun but is distracted by Jan asking for help. Just before he drives off, Robert cheers Bob on by telling him he’s always been good at “hands on”. As she gets into the car, Jan notices the gun. When they get back inside, Jan goes straight to her bedroom and Bob puts the gun in one of his bedside drawers. They ask Jan to have dinner with them, but she refuses, saying that she loves Robert and wants to marry him. Both Mary Ann and Bob pay Mark a visit and ask what they can do to keep Berchtold behind bars forever. He tells them that since there is no physical evidence of sexual assault, they would need Jan to talk about their experience with Robert.

Over in the Berchtold house, Robert is on the phone and pretends to be Frank Tobler. We’re not privy to the other side of the phone call, but whatever is said doesn’t make him happy, and when he hangs up, he puts “Seattle” on a list of other cities and phone numbers with the name Frank Tobler at the top. Gail joins him in the kitchen and tells him about their first date and how magical she found it. Barely registering her words, Robert tells her that the divorce will be finalized soon as he has to live with what makes him happy now.

Jan is upset that her sister is staying with one of Jan’s best friends. Mary Ann explains that Jan can’t go anywhere without either Mary Ann or Bob. Mary Ann tries to talk to Jan about Robert but she gets angry and says her mother is just jealous. Bob intervenes and tells Jan that Robert will be judged for what he did, but that only makes Jan angrier. In her bedroom, Jan cries and prays, saying she will do whatever is asked of her as long as it protects her family and those around her.

Later that evening, Mary Ann is watching TV when Jan shows up. Mary Ann invites her to join her, but Jan simply asks her mother why she isn’t as angry as her father. Mary Ann replies that she loves Jan and that’s the feeling she’s holding on to. Jan goes back to her bedroom but listens for her mother to go to bed.

The end

In her bedroom, Bob asks Mary Ann if she tried to speak to Jan. Mary Ann notes that her daughter is suffering, and Bob regrets that he used to get angry with her. He considers apologizing to her at that moment, but decides to wait until morning, unbeknownst to either of them, that Jan snuck out of their bedroom and ran off again. The next day, Mary Ann tries to wake her daughter to find an empty bedroom and a handwritten note from her daughter. They contact Agent Walsh, and Bob reads the note to the FBI agent over the phone. Walsh wonders if it was written by Berchtold just to make it look like Jan ran away again. When Bob hangs up, he leaves to explain the situation to Mary Ann, but the phone rings again. Mary Ann answers, only to hear Robert’s voice on the other end. Mary Ann asks if Jan is with him but he says no. He explained that he spoke to her and that she just ran away, that she went to the freeway and hit a truck. Mary Ann doesn’t believe him and yells into his phone that he’s a heartless, vile excuse from a man and will take her daughter away from him if it’s the last thing she does. She slams the phone down as Robert hangs up in Wyoming and goes downstairs at the Family Fun Center, surrounded by small children.

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Additional reading

https://readysteadycut.com/2022/10/20/a-friend-of-the-family-season-1-episode-6-recap/ A Friend of the Family season 1, episode 6 recap


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