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'Ties That Bind' fan recap: You shoulda known

Season 1 | Episode 4 | “It Doesn’t Show” | Aired Sep 2, 2015

This week’s Ties that Bind felt a lot less like a police procedural and more like a made-for-TV movie. In this case, that’s a really, really good thing.

Even though there were a few obligatory moments of police work in the beginning, it is just so Allison can flex her police skills, so that we’re prepared for what the rest of the hour is. Once Allison gets the psycho killer to confess to the murder using only her law-enforcement wiles, the audience is completely convinced she’s pretty much a supercop.

Her friends Diane and Charlie think so too, as she recounts the story of the interview later over drinks at their house. Things are going pretty well until Charlie gets a little too deep in the glass, working on his third drink to Matt’s first. Then their daughter Krista comes in, and she’s so cagey and twitchy, it’s pretty obvious there’s a subtext there. Ties that Bind is damn good at gooey and heartfelt, but pretty awful at subtle.

Allison looks for Krista on Ties That Bind

As overtly promised by her nervous body language and lack of eye contact the night before, Krista turns up missing the very next day. Allison questions Diane about Krista’s routine, but as Allison and Devin dig into Krista’s life at school, they quickly find out that her mom is pretty clueless about what’s going on in her life.

Diane thinks Krista is a mousy little bookworm and too concerned with schoolwork to be interested in boys. But Allison’s magic cop sense is tingling, and the supposed yearbook-bestie helps her uncover a secret boyfriend at another school.

The secret boyfriend, Brent, is awful. At least, according to his ex-girlfriend, who has far more attitude than a high school girl has to right to when speaking to two police officers. She tells Allison and Devin that Brent slapped her once, but she left him immediately, because her mother taught her to do so.

Allison isn’t the only detective. This old girlfriend’s little nugget is all the clue I need to figure out that Brent isn’t the only abuser; Charlie probably is too. As it turns out, he is.

When Allison drops by Diane and Charlie’s house to collect pictures for the missing person’s report, Diane tries to hides her black eye behind the door, then concocts some silly story about tripping on the carpet. She obviously doesn’t know Allison as well as she claims, because she should know that Allison can see right through her story.

Once Allison figures out that Krista might have run away on her own instead of being kidnapped, things start to progress nicely in the case —including Charlie’s violence. He freaks when Krista sends her mom a pic announcing that she and Brent are married, and beats Diane up pretty badly. This was after he showed up at Allison and Matt’s house, angry drunk, warning Matt to “get control of your woman.”

Matt protects his family on Ties That Bind

It’s unclear why Matt is handling the belligerent drunk guy on the lawn when Allison is the one with the gun, but Charlie staggers away after Matt roughs him up a little.

Both Charlie and Allison figure out that the newlyweds, Krista and Brent, are holed up in a beach hotel, but Charlie gets there first. The abusers duke it out for a while, until Allison and Devin show up to break it up. Allison chooses this moment to lecture Krista about the difficulty of maintaining a good marriage, and Devin carts both dad and husband off to jail.

Thankfully, Diane comes to her senses after some pretty hard pressuring from Allison, and Diane decides to leave Charlie. Since Krista used a fake ID to get the marriage license, that’s all better too.

Everything wraps up very neatly on Ties That Bind, including the hint of neglect and child abuse in Mariah’s poetry. While Allison is running around trying to save Krista from her abusers, Mariah is writing some pretty dark poems about cold, dark rooms and rats gnawing on her bones.

Mariah writes some questionable poetry on Ties That Bind

Allison and Matt sort it out with one earnest talk, and Mariah admits to writing the poetry to get attention and that it probably gave the wrong impression. That impression being that her birth parents locked her in a tiny room and left her there for the animals to come for her. But she sees the error of her ways, so all is well now.

Ties that Bind succeeds when it leans on its “very special episode” roots, and this week’s “It Doesn’t Show” is a great example of that. What did y’all think?

Ties That Bind airs on Wednesdays at 9/8C on UP.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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