“Pilot” (Episode 101)
October 2, 2019
If you watched the promos for the new Jason Katims show, Almost Family, you already know the premise. If you didn’t watch the promos, well here is the skinny: A famous fertility doctor, Leon Bechley, spent most of his storied career using his own sperm to impregnate women. When this story breaks, only child, Julia Bechley, has to deal with the fallout and the realization that she may have many, MANY siblings out in the world.
Without any more preamble, read on for our recap of the pilot episode of Almost Family … BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!!
Meet Julia Bechley (Brittany Snow), devoted daughter (and only child) of renowned fertility doctor, Dr. Leon Bechley (Timothy Hutton). Her personal life is a bit of a mess (she meets guys to have sex in bar bathrooms and manages to forget her shoes) but she knows that her calling is to help out her father. While he is receiving a lifetime achievement award, he is confronted by a reporter asking if it’s true that his “genetic material” was used in the conception of dozens of other babies. Bechley has a heart attack and we meet the other important players.
Roxy Doyle (Emily Osment) is a former Olympic athlete with money grubbing parents. She’s a bigger mess than Julia, and her parents (Timothy Busfield and Victoria Clark) are pretty awful. She keeps a mess of pills in her bag and has anger management issues.
Edie Palmer (Megalyn Echikunwoke) is a put together defense lawyer, married to Tim (Mo McRae) another attorney and the daughter of a kooky mom (Tamara Tunie). Edie grew up with Julia and married her ex-boyfriend. Edie and Tim have intimacy issues, but that may stem from a developing attraction between Edie and Amanda Doherty (Victoria Cartagena), a prosecutor. More on that later.
good doctor in the hospital, all hell is breaking loose at Bechley’s clinic. Julia, wanting to get to the bottom of the story and not getting answers from her father, decides to invite anyone who thinks they might be a “Bechley Baby” to come take a DNA test so she can prove that this is all a story. The line is long and includes Roxy, Edie and, oh look, bathroom sex guy from earlier and his wife. The ick factor is high as Julia realizes she boned her bro. Barf.
Sweet Tim notices that Julia, Edie and Roxy all tap their front teeth when they think and Roxy gets very excited when she learns they can all roll their tongues into cigars.
** I know that there are weird tongue gene things, like the people that can flip their tongue over or curl it into weird shapes, but can’t everyone roll it, taco or cigar style? I may need to investigate. I can do it, can you?**
Things seem to be going from bad to worse for all of our women. Roxy’s parents are meeting with a lawyer to try to get damages from the Bechley clinic for their “pain and suffering.” Edie jumps when Tim touches her knee, leaves the apartment and then jumps Amanda when she meets Edie at the bar.
At the clinic, Julia arrives to find it swarming with cops, who seize everything.
Julia heads to the hospital to have it out with her dad. He basically confesses, but then asks her to destroy a certain laptop. When she finds the laptop, it turns out that he kept tabs on a lot of the “Bechley Babies” and destroying it would be very bad (thanks Tim). Julia goes to the park and sits on a bench dedicated to her dead mom, talks to her for a bit and then turns the laptop over to the police.
Julia is concerned about Roxy when she sees her singing on some kind of app. Roxy is having a hard time with life, y’all. She finds Roxy mostly passed out in her car and offers that Roxy can stay with her. But Julia is a city kid and doesn’t drive, so onto Julia’s bike Roxy goes.
Roxy is quite the house guest, demanding her own bathroom with tub. Julia provides and suddenly, Edie shows up too. They all spend the night and when they are having coffee in the morning, Edie and Roxy get their DNA emails. They are a genetic match to Dr. Bechley and the three of them are officially half-sisters. But it also means that they are half-siblings with countless other people as well.
And if things couldn’t get any worse, the episode ends with Dr. BabyDaddy being perp-walked out of the hospital as the sisters watch in horror. Oh, and Amanda (Edie’s potential love interest) is the prosecutor … the city is charging the doctor with assault.
I love Brittany Snow but her characters are pretty much the same. Even back in the American Dreams days, that was a similar character to Julia, but it fits here, so I’ll go with it. I think they made her a redhead so the “sisters” could be as different as possible. Otherwise, she and Roxy would look pretty similar. There is a weird, L&O: SVU-esque, ripped from the headlines vibe in Almost Family, especially the prosecutor press conference. But, going forward, it should be balanced with the family and love storylines … those are Katims specialties.
As we digest this Pilot and look forward in the series, I have some questions (and I imagine you do too) …
- Will Tim and Julia get back together? That hand-holding scene was cute.
- Is Roxy an addict?
- Will Edie and Amanda’s potential romance crash and burn because Edie is now Bechley’s daughter (conflict much?), to say nothing of being a defense attorney?
- How long will Roxy and Edie live with Julia?
- Is that Julia’s apartment or is it her dad’s brownstone? And will they all be homeless once this is over (criminal cases, class actions, all possible, all very costly)?
- Are we going to see court cases or will this become more of a family drama?
And, most importantly, is this show going to make it? That’s the big question. I know it’s a Jason Katims show, and what he touches is usually TV gold, but this show is a little schizophrenic and I’m not sure about it’s staying power. Time will tell.
What are your thoughts and questions? Will you be back next week?