A Friend of the Family Episode 9 “Revelation”: With the increasing viewership for shows like Monster and You, it is evident that people are more and more interested in shows with sinister characters. The True Crime genre is also getting a push from streamers, who see the benefit in taking such shows live. While ‘A Friend of the Family’ falls in the same vein, it is the careful handling of the subject that makes it stand apart and turns it into a compelling miniseries. Until now, it showed the control Robert Berchtold (B) had over Jan Broberg’s thought process. The final episode of the miniseries delicately showcases the slow and gradual process of Jan realizing the falseness of B’s claims and learning to live with her parents in a way like before she knew the sexual predator.
A Friend of the Family Episode 9 (Finale) Recap
Episode 9: Revelation
The 9th episode of this miniseries titled ‘Revelation’ is directed by Lauren Wolkstein. Written by Nick Antosca, Brian Evenson, and Alana B. Lytle, the script focuses on the aftermath of Jan’s (Mckenna Grace) return and B’s (Jake Lacy) police arrest. The last episode ends on a note that showcases her unwillingness to get back with her family as before. The finale begins with B getting smitten by young Jan (Hendrix Yancy) and calling her Dolly as if she is his own special ‘doll’.
The narrative shifts to their beach meeting where he notes the importance of getting her impregnated before her 16th birthday to save her family members from the wrath of Zada and Zethra. He threatens her to comply with it without which Susan will be the aliens’ target. Then, back to the present where she sits in front of her therapist (played by real-life Jan Broberg) and tries initiating a conversation about her past. Jan feels that she and B are being treated as criminals.
Back at home, Brobergs still struggle to bring Jan back to her normal self. She is still under B’s spell and considers any bad thing happening to her family’s life as a result of her lack of faith in her and B’s mission. She sends him a letter filled with thoughts of care and affection for him and for fulfilling their mission before turning 16. In a trial for B’s conviction, Mary Ann (Anna Paquin) is questioned by his attorney about how she did not realize B’s sexual provocations toward her daughter. He also questions Bob (Colin Hanks) whether the FBI coerced him into giving B, a bad reputation.
Both of them stand firm on their thoughts about B’s depravity and do not let his attorney make them say something that will go against their side of the case. In the end, due to B’s immense power and contacts, he manages to get out of his jail time and is sent to a medical facility for his unsound mental health. While Jan is struggling to sleep at night at her home, Bob is worried that she is not speaking with them with openness. Jan’s therapist advises him to be patient with her and since these are her growing years, to not control her and let her open up at her own pace.
She shows him a drawing done by Jan that shows Bob present in her idea of a family. He gets emotional and agrees with her advice. Meanwhile, B’s jail mates start a fire in Bob’s flower store. Luckily, Bob is not present in the store when it happens and saves himself. However, Jan sees the danger to his health as her fault for not bearing B’s baby in her womb. In his medical facility, B charms one of the nurses and manages to make her work according to his whims. She gives him a note that says, ‘Did it’, after reading which, he starts manically jumping around in joy.
Sometime later, in the fall of 1977, B calls Brobergs’s house and Jan happens to pick up the phone. He invites her to meet at a place to fulfil their mission and end her worries. She drives there, to meet him with his motorhome. Seeing her with red lipstick, he wipes it off and tells her to appreciate her natural beauty instead. After their sexual intercourse, she asks him whether this will end the looming danger to her family. He denies it stating that it depends on whether she bears a baby or not. He also mentions telling her parents to sign their marriage request to help save them.
All his actions still note his obsession with this young girl, who still believes in his good nature. Meanwhile, his bad mood after the intercourse might just be for one of his selfish reasons. When she is about to leave, he indicates Susan as his victim if not her. B’s invasion into the Broberg family’s life not only hurt Jan but also Mary Ann & Bob, who still struggle to find any semblance of intimacy. He does not feel ready to open up about what happened between him and B on that one night in the past.
Later, on Jan’s 16th birthday, Bob plans a celebration for her and invites her schoolmates. A friend named Eric asks her out as his prom date, but she rejects for still considering B as her male companion. Despite the joyful atmosphere around, she finds it hard to mingle with them. When she walks into Susan’s room, she sees a speaker – similar to what B had attached to his motorhome – from which the aliens communicated with her. She soon learns that her young sister has brought this device to help her sleeping problem with its white noise.
Jan hugs her and cryptically opens up about her bad past. She cries herself to sleep and the next day finds herself and all her family members sound and healthy. She learns that even their two dogs, who were unwell the previous day, are healthy. That breaks her understanding of her world coming to an end and her soul evaporating if what B mentioned to happen, does not happen. Later, she decides to go to prom with Eric. When she touches him, a boy besides B, she does not evaporate.
Even when he asks her to dance along in the prom, she initially refuses but eventually agrees. While dancing, she sees her younger version dancing along with B. Despite her and Eric being closer, nothing bad happens to her. When she returns home, she realizes that nothing bad has happened to her family either. It challenges the belief system built by B in all her adolescent years. During that time, she has flashes of memory where she sees the top window from B’s motorhome.
A Friend of the Family Episode 9 (Finale) Ending Explained
After witnessing her family’s safety, Jan has a meltdown and starts sobbing uncontrollably. Her sisters try to comfort her and ask her the reason. She starts opening up about B’s actions right from the start. Soon after that, she apologizes to Mary Ann & Bob for lying to them. Seeing her cry, both of them make her comfortable sharing her burden. She opens with B telling her about aliens needing her to have B’s baby to save them. They get emotional listening to this tale of horror that they were not aware of and make her understand that she is not at fault in this situation. Afterward, when she becomes emotionally closer to her family, B calls their home out of nowhere. But she hangs up the phone and goes back to their joyful routine.
Afterward, we learn the details of the case proceedings. While Robert kept trying to get in touch with Jan throughout the 1980s and 90s, she ignored him He continued his evil manipulation after her, with other young girls. In 2003, Jan told B in a court proceeding, about how wrong he was for doing everything that he did. Soon after that incident, he committed suicide. About 42 years after it happened, Bob finally told Mary Ann his sexual experience with Berchtold. The narrative ending displays how Jan taking control of the narrative flipped B’s narrative on its head. The details are shown afterward, showcasing the possibility of a satisfying life (also stating Jan’s acting career) even after such a traumatizing incident.
A Friend of the Family Episode 9 (Finale) Review
One of the things that fascinate me about this episode or the miniseries in its entirety, is how it never tries to make us sympathize with a sexual predator. In a narrative exploration sense, it would be amusing to unpeel the dark layers of Robert’s personality. However, ‘A Friend of the Family’ keeps showing him as a terrifying presence in the Broberg family’s life and as a selfish, vile, and obsessive pedophile. The outlook makes it subtly empowering. As mentioned before, the delicate handling of Jan’s mental state after the return and her learning over the period is dealt with the utmost sensitivity. That makes this episode, a remarkably directed one.