A Friend of the Family season 1, episode 4 recap – “Articles of Faith”

By Eamon Hennedy
Published: October 9, 2022 (Last updated: October 13, 2022)
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The best episode of the series so far, this is perhaps the series at its most bitter and angry over not only how naive previous decades were to predatory crime but also in unduly unfair the system was at trying to put those behind such crime behind bars.

This recap of the Peacock series A Friend of the Family season 1, episode 4, “Articles of Faith,” contains spoilers.

A Friend of the Family has so far delicately portrayed how easy it was for Jan Broberg and her family to fall into the monstrous air of Robert Berchtold, then its fourth episode outlines just how much he managed to get away with his crimes for so long by manipulating the judicial system, those around him, and managed to get away with what he did for so long just by taking advantage of the naive air of the era. It’s a powerfully angry hour of television elevated even more by a masterfully creepy performance by Jake Lacey.

A Friend of the Family season 1, episode 4 recap

Mary Ann takes Jan to a doctor to have her examined who assures her that nothing sexual appears to have happened to her daughter during her abduction. When she takes Jan for ice cream afterward and tries to talk to her about Mexico, Jan becomes angry and insists that she just wants things to go back to normal.

Not long after, the Brobergs are visited by the FBI who tells them that Robert is on his way back from Mexico and that he will remain free at least until after any trial. Agent Walsh insists that they do not speak to him under any circumstances.

The Brobergs try to get back to normality, but when Christmas arrives and they return from church they find the house is chilly. One of the windows is open and when Jan goes to her bedroom she finds the wedding ring Robert gave her in Mexico sitting on her pillow. Later that evening Gail visits the house and asks to speak to Bob privately. Outside, Gail tells Bob she and Robert have hired a lawyer named Jennifer Ferguson and that it might be in the best interests of everyone if Bob and Gail talk to her too in order to bring everything to an end instead of dragging it out any further. Bob is reluctant until Gail tells him that Robert told her about his “sinful indiscretion” in the car with Bob two years ago.

Shaken by this, Bob returns to the house and ends up hinting heavily to Mary Ann about what happened between himself and Robert, which Mary Ann has a hard time believing. Soon, she comes to the belief that maybe they should visit Jennifer, and when they do the lawyer suggests they sign an affidavit claiming that they gave Robert permission to take Jan to Mexico, otherwise Bob’s sexual encounter with Robert will be made public knowledge if they go to trial.

The District Attorney is furious with them but also tells Bob and Mary Ann that it makes no difference that they signed it, a hearing will still have to take place. As long as they have the marriage certificate all will be fine, but Bob tells them that he sent it back to Mexico in order to get it annulled and made no copies.

The hearing goes badly as Jan insists that she wasn’t hurt in any way by Robert and Jennifer Ferguson makes Mary Ann look as if she is a neglectful parent during her testimony. The nature of Bob’s relationship with Robert is also brought up. Later, as Jan gets water from a water cooler, Robert approaches her and tells her to “stay on the mission” and to make sure she doesn’t touch any other man unless something bad might happen to her sisters or Robert’s sons.

Overcome with guilt over what he did with Robert, Bob admits his indiscretion to their local church leaders who say that they will have to disfellowship him from the church for the foreseeable future, something which he relays to his wife and kids at dinner. Consoling him, Jan holds his hand for a brief second, and then realizing what she has done, prays asking that nobody gets hurt as a result. The next day at church, Robert’s son Jasper is prayed for as he has become ill and Jan is overcome with guilt. She wants to visit to make sure he is okay, but Bob insists she can’t. After she storms off, Mary Ann asks why they can’t let her, but Bob reminds her the FBI has insisted they stay away from the Berchtolds. Mary Ann bitterly tells him that kids shouldn’t pay for the mistakes of their parents.

Visiting Gail, Mary Ann reminisces about the good times they’ve had, but Gail steers the conversation to Robert and tells her that he wants to meet Mary Ann to explain everything.

The ending

Telling Bob that she is going to visit her mum, Mary Ann pays a visit to Robert who is living in his motor home. He invites her in and tells her that he is in love with her and that it was she who he wanted to run away with to Mexico. They get to talking and soon they start to kiss,

What did you think of A Friend of the Family season 1, episode 4? Comment below.

Additional Reading

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