A Friend of the Family Episode 7 “The Great Deceiver”: Created by Nick Antosca, ‘A Friend of the Family’ is a riveting drama about the terrifying nightmare faced by a suburban family. The indoctrination by an untreated psychopath creates a scary reality for those, who believed in the safe image he put forth to the world. Through the narrative of the kidnappings of Jan by Robert Berchtold, the miniseries sheds light on several sociological and cultural factors that fuel such evil forces than resisting them. It examines these details through a series of discoveries that disclose more about what enabled B to act as he pleased. While we see Jan leaving her house in the previous episode, the frightening aftermath awaits in this one.
A Friend of the Family Episode 7 Recap:
Episode 7 – The Great Deceiver
Written by Nick Antosca & Brian Chamberlayne, the 7th episode titled ‘The Great Deceiver’ is directed by Jamie Travis. After Jan (Mckenna Grace) sneaks out of her house in a disguise, she meets B (Jake Lacy) sitting right outside, in his car. He seems happy seeing her again and goes on to tell her the plan she needs to follow. While he is not going to be with her for a while, he is keeping her in someone else’s company. He makes Brobergs leave no other option but to see her as nothing more than a runaway – considering the letter she leaves that mentions leaving out of her will.
Mary Ann (Anna Paquin) and Bob (Colin Hanks) get worried for their daughter, and the FBI official – Pete Welsh (Austin Stowell) tells them that his department cannot take the case since it cannot be seen as a kidnapping case considering the nature of her departure. However, due to working on Jan’s case over the period, he is committed to helping them out. He puts a recording device in their house and guides them to make B confess to kidnapping Jan by making him feel that they share the worry about missing Jan. While it is hard for them to go along with it, they decide to follow the plan to know her whereabouts.
One day, B calls their house to tell her about his concern towards Jan’s well-being. Mary Ann cannot control her anger and bursts out over B through the phone for kidnapping Jan. As a result, she and Bob cannot acquire any specific detail. Meanwhile, Pete follows B and tries to get more information about Jan. While he observes B from a distance, sitting in his car, B somehow gets a hint of it. He goes on to confront this officer and threatens him of filing a case of harassment. He smugly mentions that Jan is a runway, which gives the FBI no right to follow him.
As he says, he files a harassment complaint against Pete, who is then told by his senior to stop following up with the Brobergs case altogether. Meanwhile, Gail (Lio Tipton) arrives at the Brobergs’ house and speaks with Mary Ann. She broaches the subject of B’s marriage with Jan, which, in her opinion, would resolve the matter altogether. She requests Mary Ann to give B permission for marrying Jan. She (Mary Ann) sees this as Gail, being under B’s spell, still complying with his whims. She finds even the thought of B and Jan’s marriage repulsive.
The next time when B calls their house, Mary Ann goes with a different approach where she apologizes for her behaviour before and shows signs of empathy for him. He goes on to convey that it is due to Jan’s choice that he will agree to marry. While they obtain a request out of him for their marriage, that is not enough for Pete to proceed with an FBI investigation, while he was already on thin ice. Meanwhile, they get a call from Bishop Matthew Paulsen (Joe Chrest), who mentions seeing B driving with Jan in his car near Ogden. While they request the FBI to take an action, there is not enough for Pete and the bureau to give any executive order at the time.
When Pete goes back home, he gets worried for his own young daughter, who doesn’t return home for an entire night, without leaving any note or message. This incident makes him empathize with the Brobergs and he asks the police from Ogden to keep an eye on Robert Berchtold. Meanwhile, Bob and Mary Ann reach Ogden to get a closer look at B and to see whether Jan is with him. He gets out of his car with two different girls, which makes them assume that Sherif may have confused one of them for Jan.
The narrative shifts to a few weeks before where B is spending time with Jan near a desolate seashore. He keeps up with his manipulation, convincing her to act according to his wishes for their collective well-being and to protect others from Zada and Zethra. He leaves her at a convent and warns her to beware of the nuns around. He also makes sure to note that she should not pollute her mind by speaking with others her age and making friends, for they are supposed to be together. This might be his way to not get his plan leaked and also to ensure his control over Jan’s mind.
Jan enters the school with a portable TV, and an aloof look plastered on her face. She seems awfully scared to communicate with anyone around her even if they are warm and friendly. Before leaving, B narrates a carefully woven tale to the nuns so that they won’t raise their brows when Jan is there. At one time, Jan goes to the nun’s office, probably wanting to ask for genuine help, the nun considers it as her crying due to missing her mother. The next time, when B meets her and takes her out on a creepy romantic detour, he shares an eloquently written letter by him and makes her write the same contents in her handwriting. The letter then goes to the Brobergs, which describes Jan, willfully submitting to B and wanting to marry him.
A Friend of the Family Episode 7 Ending, Explained:
What details does the Bishop tell about B?
The efforts of the FBI officer working on Brobergs’ case continue, despite the bureau trying to resist them. He goes to meet the bishop, who earlier mentioned seeing Jan in B’s car. The bishop notes B showcasing bad behavior toward his daughter in the past. While the officer pushes him to share more details about Robert, he nonchalantly mentions them. B, who was on the high council of their clergy, confessed to drugging the young girl at times. When she was asleep, he took advantage of her to fulfill his sexual desires. The bishop then notes that all of these incidents happened before the first act of kidnapping.
The officer gets shaken by the thought of their religious organization not taking any action. The reason for them for not notifying law enforcement was their faith in repentance for every individual despite their mistakes. Yet, their single action could have possibly stopped years of indoctrination of a young girl and the destruction of a happy family of Brobergs. The protection provided by such an organization to the perverted psychopath shakes him to the core, and the series unfolds another layer of the story, which it merely hinted at until now.