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Cause You Always Want What You’re Running From: Twisted “We Need To Talk About Danny” Review

By on July 24, 2013

Maddie Hasson as Jo Masterson, Ashton Moio as Rico -- Photo by: ABC Family/Eric McCandless

If you thought you’d already seen all the best tension Twisted could offer, episode 7 probably came as an emotional shock (and overload). “We Need To Talk About Danny” really worked the teen drama aspect of the series, but still managed to expertly keep all of its relationships equally front and center. Not only did this add an extra layer to each storyline, but it dramatically amped up the stakes for everyone.

The episode begins with a scene some may not have realized was a dream sequence until Jo popped up out of bed to remind us she’s definitely a hormonal teenager. This dream effects all of Jo’s decisions during the episode, and we watch her struggle with a desire to be closer to Danny romantically and still maintain her own identity. Rico is of course there by her side offering his own version of reality. Regardless of where his intentions lie, Rico’s words possess a certain level of truth one can’t ignore. His reasoning with Jo effectually snaps her out of that Danny tunnel vision and we get to see the pressing and independent thinker we remember from the pilot.

This Jo rears her head first when she meets up with Lacey in their old tree house. As Jo declares that it’s time for answers, Lacey is back to her Danny Desai game of emotional tug-o-war. Lacey is clearly protective of the world she built for herself after Danny went to juvie, but her want to reconcile with him keeps pulling at her heart strings. It was nice to see Lacey finally put her foot down in a meaningful way with Archie when she scolded him about his constant verbal attacks against Danny. However, it seems to have made Danny a larger target. Her meet-ups with Jo have a similar effect, but here she’s put the target on her own back.

At the end of the cemetery party, Sarita confesses to the Queen Bee that she knows who she’s been sneaking off to see. Before she stalks off, she leaves Lacey with an ultimatum. It’s either her popular friends or Jo and Danny, but Lacey can’t have both. It is this scene that’s been in the back of our minds; a scene from which Lacey’s largest storyline right now emerges. Which is more important: Who Lacey was or who she has become? And what is she willing to risk or give up to have either? Apparently a lot as in the next few minutes we find her at Danny’s side in the cemetery standing over Tara’s grave. It’s here that we finally hear out loud what Danny has been struggling with since day one: how is he supposed to be exist in a place where everyone would rather he didn’t? This hits Lacey hard and is the final blow to her wall. Lacey finally gives into her desire.

Avan Jogia, Grey Damon --   © 2013 ABC Family

Avan Jogia, Grey Damon — © 2013 ABC Family

While Danny may be winning both ladies over in real life and their dreams, he loses his battle to be on the soccer team. After one of his teammates mysteriously gets food poisoning, the team turns on him. In response, the coach “politely” removes Danny from the school sport. This sends him (understandably) into down spiral, bringing out a dark sadness we have yet to see form the boy with a flashy smile. Salt is only rubbed into the wound when Jo drags him around the cemetery party, where he has to hang out with some of the very same people who got him kicked off the team. This decision to attend, however, was dramatically vital.

During a meet-up away from the party, Jo and Lacey interrogate Danny about why he won’t tell them about what happened to Aunt Tara. He does his usual run around (with a strong John Bender vibe), eventually twisting it so far that the conversation lands on what the girls failed to tell Danny in last week’s episode. Why Danny was so upset that they had kept that tidbit from him as he continues to hide secrets from and between them might be a bit of a head scratch-er.

Still it upset him and he stomped off with Jo chasing after. This is where we learn that Danny seemingly didn’t kill Aunt Tara for giggles. He was protecting his family. This reveal could change our entire perception of Danny’s decision as we search for rhymes and reasons for what would have justified a murder to protect your own life. Especially when it risked the happiness of everyone you claim to be trying to protect.

Danny’s storyline was probably the most dynamic of the episode, in a way it really hasn’t been… ever. This has a lot to do with how exposed the soccer storyline left him. It was a side of Danny we knew was there, but weren’t expecting to hit us quite as hard as it did. Avan Jogia truly is a supreme talent and has fully encapsulated the complexity of Danny. In addition, the love triangle reared it’s (not so) ugly head, but hopefully changed some perceptions about its role in the trio’s development.

While Danny and Lacey’s relationship may feel a bit rushed, it would seem that Danny’s reintroduction – like it was for Jo – is the actual spark of Lacey’s larger development. Finally, Danny totally aside, it was nice to see Lacey and Jo working as a team – making it that much harder to watch Jo’s reaction once she discovers Danny and Lacey are now seeing each other. Can girl power still win out? Or has Danny Desai got us all so wrapped around his finger that this is nothing but his story to puppeteer?


  1. sam

    July 24, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    One thing…jo didn’t drag danny to the party. He wanted to go because tyler saI’d lacey was going to be there.

    • Abbey White

      July 24, 2013 at 1:32 pm

      I was referring to the part of the episode where Jo and Danny are standing behind a mausoleum and Danny states “Why do we have to wait for Lacey? Can you just tell me why you dragged me out here?” There was of course the scene where Danny perks up after hearing Tyler mention that Lacey is going to be there, but I was more evaluating the necessity of Jo and Lacey pressing Danny to help move all three characters along in their development.

  2. Ivy

    July 24, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Great parallel: “It was nice to see Lacey finally put her foot down in a meaningful way with Archie when she scolded him about his constant verbal attacks against Danny. However, it seems to have made Danny a larger target. Her meet-ups with Jo have a similar effect, but here she’s put the target on her own back.”

    Seeing Danny sad and despondent was such a difference from calm, confident, in-control Danny – it was amazing.

    Great summation: “Can girl power still win out? Or has Danny Desai got us all so wrapped around his finger that this is nothing but his story to puppeteer?” Especially given the smirk on Danny’s face after Lacey left him at Tara’s grave.

    • Abbey White

      July 25, 2013 at 11:54 pm

      I connected with the Danny I saw in this episode. I understood him on a level I had yet to, and I feel like we saw a part of him that was almost necessary for us to believe in his humanity and his innocent story line. As you said, he’s always calm, confident, and in-control. In this episode though we see a side that reminds us he’s a 16 year old kid and all he really wants to do is be that. We’ve all desired to be happy, but not all of us have access to it in the same way. He put down that shield that’s been up since the pilot and was really honest when it counted. I loved the graveyard scene (except for the making out on Tara’s grave. That literally gave me the willies).

      I saw that smirk coming from a mile away! And I thought it was such an interesting time to bring it out. I love how this show is so careful in which Danny we get see when. Dramatically it’s always rewarding, but developmentally it makes him a challenge and I love that.

  3. Ivy

    July 26, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Yes! I like the graveyard scene as well –such a connection between Danny and Lacey – but so creepy when they fell to the ground over Tara’s grave (interesting… um… choice by the writers to say the least)! I think Lacey needed to see this vulnerable side of Danny before the last of her walls could be broken. Her heart completely went out to him when he confessed his deepest fears.

    However, I am still obsessed with that smirk/grin and the various ways it can be interpreted (would love to know your theory if you get a chance to respond):
    1) He manipulated Lacey by pulling on her heartstrings so her walls would break down faster (not that he wasn’t truly sad but he played it very specifically to affect her), and got what he wanted.
    2) He looks at the gravestone and it says “There is nothing in the world so wonderful as to love and to be loved”. He looks towards where lacey has walked off and finally feels that Lacey definitely cares about (maybe will eventually will love) him so he smiles because he feels a shot at happiness is within his grasp.

    Perfectly stated: ” Dramatically it’s always rewarding, but developmentally it makes him a challenge and I love that.”

    • Abbey White

      August 3, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      I always view Danny’s actions through a darker lens before I view them any other way, so the smirk read to me as a manipulation. I prefer this interpretation because before it happened I knew how the scene would break down. As soon as they hit the ground, I immediately thought “Lacey is going to look over, see the headstone, and walk off.” And I knew that Danny’s response was going to be a smirk. This read like writers were playing with us, tossing in a small reminder that Danny isn’t all chivalry and misunderstanding. There’s a dark undertone to him whether you believe he is a sociopath, has sociopathic tendencies, etc., or not.

      The irony interpretation is also a great one, but even then he is looking at the headstone of the woman he killed and feeling something other than sadness/regret/anger. There seemed to be something bitter between Vikram and Tara, something Danny was aware of so how one kiss could suddenly wipe all of those negatively associated feelings away… it strikes me as a bit odd.

  4. Ivy

    August 5, 2013 at 1:29 am

    Thanks for your thoughts on the smirk! I do think the writers are purposely keeping Danny ambiguous so that some of his actions can be interpreted in multiple ways. Making sure the audience sees a darker side of Danny, even momentarily, is one of the things that keeps us on our toes, guessing, and riveted. As a counterpoint, we get an entirely new side of Lacey in the following episode. When her walls are down, and she’s sweet, carefree, adorable, open and affectionate. Her hidden side is like the polar opposite of Danny’s hidden side. This is why exploring their relationship is a pure gold in terms of character-driven story and plot development.

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