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The Cause, The Kid, The Course, The Charm: Twisted “The Fest and The Furious” Review

By on July 10, 2013

Avan Jogia as Danny Desai, Maddie Hasson as Jo Masterson -- © 2013 ABC Family

Tensions ran high in Twisted‘s fifth episode as the town showed its true colors after Danny’s attendance at Green Grove’s Fall Festival. The series’ lead characters show some surprising colors of their own during the dance.”The Fest and The Furious” also stopped playing poker with Danny and instead gave us an opportunity to see its themes shine.

Lacey’s dream sequence at the beginning of the episode was one of the most surprising scenes in the series so far. The only other dream sequence featured in the show was had by Jo in the pilot, and it played more like a memory – or nightmare – on loop. Lacey’s dream, however, broke a dramatic wall. While conversing with her dead best friend, Lacey is taunted by the specter with the gruesome details of her last night alive. While this may not initially seem important, it signals a shift in how the writers can dole out clues regarding Regina’s murder. In addition, Lacey’s relationship to Regina can now provide another lense from which to evaluate the main murder plot line.

The episode experienced another shift, this time an emotional one, that we saw most clearly between Karen and Danny. They were also two strong illustrations of the complexities of Danny’s guilty/innocent plot. Karen now knows that her son has the necklace taken from Regina after she was murdered. This information literally puts Karen in one of the toughest spots of any character on the show. Particularly when she danced around asking about the necklace as Danny proved one of her greatest fears: her son may be a killer. This scared Karen and rightfully so.

But after visiting a counselor about the signs of a sociopath, she found herself  – while fixing his tie for the Fall Festival – back at square one. When she looked at the boy in front of her all she could see was her son; the one person she has left and the only person she wants to protect. Karen’s decision seems to be pretty easy for her now and we see her throw the necklace into a lake near episode’s end, covering up its very existence. She wasn’t alone though and as Rico stood in the shadow of a nearby tree, he transformed from a sidekick to as big a part in this as any of the other characters.

While in past episodes we were privy to Danny’s supposed darker side, “The Fest and The Furious” offered more of an external look at his situation. Throughout we see people Danny once knew (like Tess) and those who barely know him (Tim “Destroyer of Pi Pies”) react to his presence at the fall festival. His moment with Tess – trying to make sure it was okay that he signed up for one of her classes – was fleeting, but tender. Danny revealed his fear of getting to close and while Tess acknowledged his fear she also tried to quell it.

Resident sociopath hunter Tim didn’t show Danny as much kindness and at one point physically pushed the teen. This is an important moment for several reasons. Firstly, Tim was there drumming up fear over Danny’s presence, and his physical violence and obnoxious ranting illustrated some of the trumped up fear we create when we have no answers, only scapegoats. Second, it highlighted how we treat individuals like Danny who have criminal backgrounds. We often treat their rights – to go to dances, to be in public, and frankly to exist around us – not as rights, but as privileges that we afford them. But if we never allow them to readjust and re-enter our communities, how are they supposed to move on to avoid repeating past mistakes? It sometimes can be like clipping a bird’s wings and expecting them to still fly.

While these various moments were enlightening, the best parts of the episode were the scenes between our contrasting duos, Jo and Danny and Lacey and Danny. The talent of Maddie Hasson, Avan Jogia, and Kylie Bunbury was visible from the pilot, but the young actors really nailed it here. From the heated scene in the diner between Lacey and Jo to the touching moment on the dance floor between Jo and Danny, our investment in these characters grew ten fold. There was also a dramatic shift for Lacey when, after uncovering a payoff letter to Regina she decides to let Danny know about it… and plant a big one on him while she’s at it.

Pictured (L-R): Kylie Bunbury, Maddie Hasson, Avan Jogia -- Photo by: ABC Family/Eric McCandless

Pictured (L-R): Kylie Bunbury, Maddie Hasson, Avan Jogia — Photo by: ABC Family/Eric McCandless

Of course this show is a murder mystery, but it’s also a modern day breakfast club. The characters of Jo, Lacey, and Danny very easily fall into stereotypical teen molds. It’s when they get together though that we see sides of each one in our self. This is one of Twisted‘s hidden treasures. You aren’t just watching a social conversation about personality disorders or how we treat released offenders; about how communities react to the unknown or how increasingly we feel more like the police are a threat instead of a protective force. This show is about kids growing up and finding out who they are; grappling with the molds we are given and finding the strength to be ourselves, even when we’re scared of where that leads us; having more in common than we think and letting our walls down to find that out.

Here are my twists, turns, and queries for this week. Share your thoughts on the episode or add to my list of twists and turns in the comments below.

Twists: 1.) Regina was being paid by someone to keep quiet about the necklace, 2.) Karen Desai tosses Aunt Tara’s/Regina’s (possible) necklace into the lake

Turns: 1.) Lacey has finally come around, in more ways than one, to Danny, 2.) Rico was there to see Karen throw the necklace into the body of water


  1. How much can Lacey help Danny and Jo if she isn’t willing to ruin Regina’s image?
  2. As things keep getting rougher between Jo and Rico, do we think he’ll Jo about what he saw or will he go to someone else?
  3. Does Lacey and Danny’s kiss change the trio’s dynamic? If so, is it better or for worse?
  4. What did we think about Karen’s decision to get rid of the necklace permanently with everything she knows? Could there have been an ulteriour motive behind it other than her simply wanting to protect Danny?
  5. Will Tess and Kyle’s rough patch influence how Danny is treated by people in the town or how much more fervently Kyle goes after him?

Twisted airs Tuesdays at 9:00 – 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.


  1. Ivy

    July 12, 2013 at 1:56 am

    Another well written and nuanced review! Here are my thought around what you bring up:

    I am very anxious on behalf of Karen — how will she adjust to her evolving belief that her son may truly be a killer (still) and a cold blooded liar? Its still entirely possible she has secrets of her own; just not sure if she’s a murderer.

    Yes, Rico moves more to the forefront as a player in this game. Knowledge is power. Ashton is also a very good actor – he plays his part perfectly.

    It was interesting to see some differing realistic viewpoints among the townspeople. I didn’t like that the only consequence that an adult gets for shoving a teen into a table (assault??) is a mild chastisement. Another aspect of a reduction in rights for a former criminal.

    I don’t like the way in which Jo speaks to Lacey of late — there is always snark/bite/sarcasm present. She’s giving a convicted felon more of a chance than she is the “popular girl”! Even though Lacey has done nothing outwardly mean to Jo at all. Why is it that girls often (in real life as well as on TV) seem to forgive the guy in some situation more readily than the girl?

    I loved the interaction between Jo and Danny at the dance — totally adorkable. I also like that Danny insisted that Jo be included in knowing about the blackmail note to Regina – she has been there for him and he’s not going to shut her out just because the girl he’s crushing on is starting to be won over.

    The chemistry between Danny and Lacey is off the charts. I think the kiss was a bit out of character for Lacey and perhaps too soon – I would have liked to see more build-up/tension. But cannot deny there is something palpably magnetic between them.

    I am not keen on a love triangle/pentagon (Rico likes Jo who likes Danny who likes Lacey who’s dating Archie) — but the friction it creates will certainly add to the dramatic tension and create some interesting plot dynamics (and I guess its pretty realistic for teens to have this sort of triangle thing going on at various times). I just hope that exploring the relationship between Jo and Lacey doesn’t get short-shifted by the romantic triangles.

    Lastly, I LOVE the multi-racial cast. Its rare to see a show with so many major characters being PoCs. It definitely is a huge step up from the cast of Bunheads or TLG, the show(s) Twisted might possibly replace if the ratings hold up.

    • Jennifer Griffin

      July 12, 2013 at 9:45 am

      What would happen if Archie were to develop feelings for Rico?

  2. Abbey White

    July 17, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    I completely agree about Karen. Karen has become one of my unlikely favorites of the series, but that’s largely due to the position Danny has put her in. It’s not at all any easy place to be and he isn’t always the nicest to someone who does so much for him (too much sometimes).

    Ashton does a really wonderful job of making you love Rico’s awkward charm. One thing I always watch out for in show’s is how well they use supporting characters. Everyone should have a serious purpose (not just a comedic, romantic, etc.). They gave him one this episode which was great.

    I could say lots of things here about how Kyle absolutely rubs me the wrong way, how Tim getting off from assaulting Danny in a public place and essentially destroying property as a result should have been addressed. But all I’ll say is this: I’m not surprised Kyle did nothing.

    I feel sometimes like Lacey is in more control of her emotions because of her temperament. Not to excuse Jo’s behavior, but clearly one reacts differently (or more passionately) to what is happening. I’ve never once thought though that Lacey doesn’t harbor similar feelings towards Jo on some level. Again, not to the same degree, but she has them.

    Side note: Have you ever noticed that whenever Danny, Lacey, and Jo bump into each other that generally Danny responds to Lacey first, Lacey responds to Jo first, and Jo responds to Danny first?

    I agree about the kiss being too soon. That kiss did two things for me: 1.) It shoved Lacey in the romantic interest corner and 2.) By doing so it could possibly impede her developing equally alongside Jo and Danny. Jo has gotten a lot of development these first couple episodes. I’d love it if Lacey could get the same in the back half of the season.

    Love shapes are my least favorite thing about any show. Not because they can’t be fun, but because they aren’t always executed the right way. I’m on the fence about how this love shape will unfold and if I even want it, but I do know this: it has the potential to create real tension and development (plot and character) for everyone involved. For that reason, I’ll give it a chance.

    I am so glad that Twisted is performing decently. I think it adds this other element to the inclusion conversation that a lot of people forget about. I don’t only want heartfelt stories that talk about challenges or provide inspiration. I want stories that recognize personhood and that writing characters of color into a story requires no “special experience.” Twisted does this and it actually helps break an inclusion barrier for actors in this way because it shows that you don’t need that special snowflake aspect to cast them.

  3. Ivy

    July 17, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Yes, Karen and Rico are excellently portrayed as supporting characters — the better TV shows do, as you note, develop their supporting characters as “heroes” in their own right.

    Good point — Lacey is more in control of her emotions, which means she is more mature and able to have empathy for another person. But she also is generally more “nice” in opening lines with Jo – she tries harder.

    I sort of have noticed the dynamic of who talks to/looks at who first, but didn’t realize it was consistent. Interesting… I guess it can simplistically be attributed to: Danny “like likes” Lacey. Jo “like likes” Danny. Lacey is both trying with Jo and also a little purposely distant to Danny.

    I feel the kiss was not only too soon, but also at an awkward moment – when the conversation had just been about including Jo. It also seemed out of character for Lacey. And I am also very wary of her character development as a friend first and foremost could possibly be derailed. Already, we have only seen her mom only once, while Karen and Jo’s parents have their own storylines. This worries me.

    Me too – thrilled that Twisted is doing well in the ratings, and even has some Teen Choice award nominations — that bodes well for renewal. Completely agree — most POC roles do not need “special awareness” (I’m talking to you Lena Dunham).

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