"The next [four] really find a groove. They're my favorite episodes of the season," she tells TVGuide.com. "The first eight were leading up to the reveal. I've always said once you know Adam is really Ben (Liam James), that's when the story really starts moving. We had been building toward that and now you'll get a lot of answers."
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There's plenty of those in Sunday's episode (9/8c, ABC), which will also unleash a big bombshell at the end that will reshape everything you thought you knew. Here are eight things to expect the rest of the season.
1. Claire's candid camera
At the end of last week's episode, Claire (Joan Allen) lodged a camera inside a stuffed animal to spy on her faux son. Ben's no dummy and knows it's there. "He will not be happy about it," Bans says. But don't expect major fireworks from the confrontation. Instead, they'll actually use the situation to move forward. "The camera more explores the psychology going on around them more so than watching what he's actually doing in his room," Bans says. "It's more the idea, for her, no matter how many details he can tell her about her son, he's still a stranger living in her house. I think for him, he just wants acceptance so bad and that camera is a symbol of, 'Oh, my God, it's never going to get better.' So when it gets out, it opens a dialogue a little."
2 A house is not a (foster) home
That house that Ben snuck off to in the middle of night? If you couldn't tell by the myriad of photos of children, it was his old foster home. "Some foster homes are amazing and this one isn't the most amazing," Bans says. That explains why no one gave a flying bleep when Ben went MIA 10 years ago — a pointed observation on the media spectacle afforded to missing kids of wealthy, famous or powerful people like Adam while average — or, worse, unwanted — kids like Ben who go missing can fall through the cracks. "He came from a place of chaos. It's not the most organized, not the most well-run." But it's maybe the most soundproof? How did no one in there hear Ben drop the photo and the dog barking last week? "They're sleeping very soundly," Bans jokes. Sunday's episode will also offer a biographical info dump on Ben and, according to Bans, we'll meet a member of Ben's biological family later in the season.
3. She knows
Nina (Margot Bingham) will go inside the foster home on Sunday's episode and "get to the bottom of who this kid is," Bans says. As seen in the sneak peek above, she then heads to the Warrens' house, where she lets Willa (Alison Pill) and Claire know that she knows about Ben without actually saying it. Claire and Willa try to play it cool for now, but it will eventually culminate in what Bans describes as a "big Claire vs. Nina face-off." It has to. Otherwise, they'd just be like this:
4. The curious case of Clements
Poor guy. Took a frying pan to the head at the hands of Jane (Zoe Perry) last week and now Nina doesn't piece together right away that her partner has been AWOL. Once she does, though, she will be "driven" to find him. "Clements (Matthew Lawler) left her that voicemail before he went to Jane, so she retraces her steps," Bans says. "She's not going to go down the same trail Clements did [in connecting Doug as Adam's abductor], but she's going to have this burning through-line that she knows Doug has something to do with the disappearance of Clements and it's this far-fetched theory that not everyone around her will agree with." As for what Doug did to Clements' body, you will find out Sunday too.
5. Partners in crime? Part 1
After Jane whacked Clements, we learned that she knew Doug (Michael Esper) had done something akin to kidnapping young boys — if not exactly that — years earlier. Bans assures that Jane wasn't an accomplice in her high school sweetheart/baby daddy's dastardly deeds and rejects the "bad guy" label for her. "We find out in [Episode] 10 exactly what she knew," she says. "She doesn't have the full picture of who the man she's living with is and what a monster he is." Jane will also give birth in the 10th episode, which will "really influence" the choices she makes. "As she's beating herself up for her past choices, we'll learn how she was able to compartmentalize ... just the lies you tell yourself when you're in love with someone," Bans says. "You find something out about them and you don't want them to be a bad person. We'll see how she was sort of able to block that out of her head. In the upcoming episodes, I think it'll be clear how understandable her actions are."
6. Partners in crime? Part 2
Sunday's episode features the first interactions between Hank (Andrew McCarthy) and Doug, who repairs his cabinets in the present timeline. In the past, we'll see how Hank fits into Doug's abduction of Adam 10 years ago, which does not mean they were in cahoots. "They're not working together," Bans says. "Hank does not realize yet that Doug was the one who took [Adam]." Operative word being "yet." Hank will have a light-bulb moment by the hour's end that will make him the previously reported valuable resource Nina needs to crack the case. "We're watching Hank make the connection ... and figure out just how Doug spotted Adam," Bans says. "Once he figures it out, there's an object of proof and that becomes very interesting."
7. Uninvited guest
If you've seen the promo for Sunday, then you already know that Ben gets an unexpected visit from Doug, who creeps into the Warrens' house while Ben is home alone. No, he doesn't kidnap him again, but what exactly Doug wants with him is possibly tied to the revelation at the end of the episode.
8. Something's fishy
Let's just say that some things coming out of Ben's mouth are not adding up and red flags are at full mast for Willa. "There's a very, very big twist at the end of [Episode] 9, where we start to wonder if Claire's suspicions are valid, if she has let a person into the house that doesn't deserve to be there," Bans says. "Who he is now ... is not exactly what you think." It all builds towards election night, when Willa decides to tell her mother that "terrible secret." "It has to do with Ben and Adam," Bans teases. "The end of Episode 9 is 'do not miss.'"
The Family airs Sundays at 9/8c on ABC.