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July 24, 2013

Twisted Recap: We Need to Talk About Danny

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/twisted_recap_we_need_to_talk_about_danny/

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Twisted seems to have stalled out in the last few weeks; it feels like it's being mired down by the simplicity of its own plot, by a plodding hesitance to reveal anything for fear that anything might lead to everything. Last week we learned that Danny's dead father was sending murdered Regina hush money for keeping quiet about something (while they were both still alive, of course)-- whether it's a possible affair between the two of them or something connected to Danny's five year old murder case and Regina's recent death, we don't know. 

Also in the dark is Danny; Jo and Lacey decide not to tell him what they've discovered for fear that it will upset him. Instead, most of this week's episode is tied up in teenage lovesickness: Jo has a steamy dream about Danny and finally confesses her feelings to herself, and then to (a surely heartbroken) Rico, and finally her mother. It's hard to hear her so earnestly announce that she might be in love-- especially when Lacey shows up on Danny's doorstep in the episode's final minutes to say that she's finally had it with her boyfriend, Archie, and is ready to fall into Danny's possibly-sociopathic arms.

It's a fun thought experiment to imagine how different this show would be if anyone ever told anyone else the truth. If, for instance, Danny continued to keep whatever dark secret justifies his having murdered his aunt, but told the cops immediately when he found Regina's necklace in his locker, if Lacey had given the envelope containing the note and cash directly to the police. I don't think the mystery would be much farther along, but it would make it significantly more believable, more compelling and easier to watch.

 It's nice that the show isn't built around mysterious, impenetrable plot twists, but watching people lie to and withhold from one another gets old in its own way. It makes the show frustrating, because characters are working to piece together truths the viewers already know. It's a technique that can work when handled carefully and sparingly-- it's a very different show, of course, but The Wire's bodies in the vacants is a perfect example of this done well-- otherwise, it's hard not to feel like the show's plot is stalling and sputtering. You feel like you can see the hands of the writers at work, trying to spin out the plot to last as many episodes as they're required to deliver.

For what it's worth, though, this was also the first episode in which I felt legitimately creeped out by Danny, and I think that's a good thing. I've never believed that the show would have the guts to make him a serial killer but there was something seriously off about him this week. I want to believe he was framed for poisoning his teammate Cole, but part of my brain insists that there's something more devious going on here: Danny poisoning his teammate and framing himself  so obviously in order to gain sympathy from Lacey and Jo, and possibly to convince Jo to leave her boyfriend, Archie, who he blames for the incident. It would be a serious turn for the show to take, and a ballsy move for ABC Family, so I'm not getting my hopes up here-- mostly I'm hoping that this means something darker and more interesting on the horizon for Danny: less stonewalling, more twists and turns ahead. 

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