TV REVIEW: Twisted Gets Its Groove Back in “Home Is Where The Hurt Is”
In the context of the show’s larger story, this week’s episode may have looked or felt like filler. However, it served a far great purpose as a testament to Twisted’s staying power and strengths.
The series is a thriller and mystery, but “Home Is Where The Hurt Is” proved – after quite the lull – that it can be a legitimately interesting teen drama. There’s awkward conversations, teen angst, romantic asides, and a whole lot of bonding that solidified this as the series’ best episode since its return.
Screentime was shared by all, providing us with an opportunity to see the ensemble and multiple plot arcs working alongside each other. This was a treat as not every character or storyline consistently gets its due each week. The characters also have differing dynamics and it was enjoyable to see nearly all of them out on the table. In particular, Danny and Lacey’s relationship was afforded significant time to develop as the two began working out how to deal with their different childhoods, outlooks and – for one – secrets.
This week also provided us with more of the growing and much welcomed friendship between Jo and Lacey as the two girls got ready for the dance. At the urging of Jo, Rico attended with Andie and the two hit it off in the cutest way possible. Jack, who lost some of that creep factor, finally came into his real role and with his development we saw there can be a (interesting) place and plotline for him with the Desai family. Charlie just got increasingly creepier, though some of his moves with Jo were a bit endearing. Meanwhile, Tess and Kyle’s relationship was tested (and it may have failed) as her secret surfaced.
Things weren’t all roses and chocolate for our teens, as Lacey and Danny had two rough patches this week. The first came when Danny gave Charlie the go ahead to ask Lacey to Homecoming (what?) upon Charlie asking if they were an official item. The second was with Danny’s homecoming king acceptance speech. The narrative has worked harder to round out Lacey as a person and not just as the conflicted popular girl trope.
Her development arc is among the best illustrated, and its added a new twist on her struggles with Danny. The two are now fully out in the open – which Lacey is excited about – and actively working on being together. It’s clear though that Danny’s current mindset will remain an issue if it keeps up, leaving us ponder what may happen if Danny reveals what he did. In spite of this, the two connected like old times at the end of the episode – chemistry and all – with hope in the relationship restored.
As for Danny, we watch as the weight of his guilt causes him to unravel publicly. Danny’s interactions with everyone are being affected. While most are eager to get Danny to open up, Jo – like me – wonders how long this can go on. Avan Jogia has always brought an authenticity to his acting and its good to see Danny with a moral conscience, but this could turn into overkill as the writing has a tendency to beat a dead horse. Hopefully his angst can continue to manifest as moving action if only to avoid the issue losing its emotional punch.
Jo seems to be doing somewhat better as she’s become more comfortable in her skin, in her friendship terms with Rico, and with Danny and Lacey’s relationship. In a few episodes, the narrative has brought her back to the down to earth, slightly awkward teen girl we liked so much. Her response to Charlie’s come-on and awkward dance moves were perhaps the funniest moments of the episode. Twisted has for a bit too long relied on telling us how Jo feels instead of allowing Maddie Hasson to use her strong acting skills to illustrate it. We got all all of Jo’s complexity this week without the unnecessary scenes or heightened angst.
Rico got a bit of his own development as he further dealt the reality that Jo just doesn’t like him that way. Instead of continuing with the down and out emotions, the show threw the character a lovely bone in the form of Andie – a fellow mathlete and new love interest for Rico. Their honesty with each other about intentions was super refreshing next to the show’s other relationship and their paired geekiness will hopefully lead to some good clean romance.
With Rico moving on, Jo was wide open for Charlie to swoop in on. He used just about every cheesy line and Jo might have fallen for it, but we haven’t. Charlie’s rebound only makes him look more suspicious. Why is he in Green Grove, why is he so interested in Lacey and Jo, and what exactly does this kid want from Danny? After expressing his interest in Lacey and now with Jo, we are eager to see how Danny reacts to the new guy’s odd interest in his life.
“Home Is Where The Hurt Is” wasn’t without a nice plot twist, as see Kyle discovered Tess knew all along about Vikram. Kyle has become a more empathetic character over the last couple of episodes, so it was hard seeing him betrayed by his own wife. It definitely made for some good dramatic tension as we watched though, with their explosive argument feeling particularly realistic and true to both characters. It was also a reminder that while the show hasn’t forgotten about its “twisted” roots, it knows how to better utilize them to keep the story exciting without turning into a soap.
The writing was strong this episode, not just reminiscent but on par with early Twisted. The show made leaps and bounds this week with putting all of its teen characters – and their complex relationships – at front and center. By doing this it proved that it does still know who its characters are. This is a huge confidence step since the fumbled premiere.
What little drama there was felt organic and the stakes didn’t seem overhyped. There were definite laughs, a decent twist, and plenty of “awh” moments from our favorite characters. While the writing was comfortable, it never failed to be dull, instead keeping the pacing up and viewers entertained. I guess you could say Twisted got its groove back.