TV REVIEW: Twisted Continues Unraveling Its Mysteries With “Sins of the Father”
This week’s episode of Twisted had a decidedly different tone as it continued to answer (and set up a few more) questions.
“Sins of the Father” saw Danny and Jo trying to grapple with unintentionally killing Vikram. While early on it appeared as if Danny would have to flee, he and Jo agree that it’s better for him to simply turn himself in. This stays the plan until Kyle – with some serious help from Lacey – apprehends Marilyn and charges her with Regina’s murder. Meanwhile, Karen tries to get a handle on Jack and Danny’s new secret, Charlie’s interest in Lacey grows, and Jo works to repair her friendship with Rico.
While this wasn’t the best episode the series has had, it was a sure improvement over last week’s reveal and drama heavy hodge-podge. We were presumably offered an end to the Regina murder storyline with the arrest of Marilyn on top of several subtle and charming moments between the show’s characters. The former left a bit of an investment hole as Twisted was sold on the mystery being its narrative core. With that said, the new issue – Danny’s internal struggle over killing his father and how he felt about it – should provide him with meatier development and generate more authentic drama for all the characters.
The latter though is what gave the show’s first batch of episodes their heart. It’s also exactly what Twisted has been missing for some time. The moments between Jo and Rico at the diner were honest and touching, while the scenes between Jo and Lacey felt pleasantly natural. More specifically, the conversation between the two girls over Lacey’s feelings for Danny was extremely satisfying as it alleviated the love triangle tension set up in episode 7. What started out as one of the most compelling parts of this show – how the trio would come together after their childhoods were rocked and lives completely altered – got swept aside for an overused writing cliche.
Not only that, but it resulted in exaggerated and oversimplified versions of all of characters we were rooting for, best evidenced in last week’s premiere. What this development illustrated is that the characters and their personal relationships – especially that of the girls, who most of the show’s audience identifies with – were the priority. It’s no longer the shocking and high drama plot developments. Overall it was a positive sign for the intrapersonal and interpersonal aspects this show, and I’m excited to see it move back in this direction.
The rest of the episode focused on identifying and catching Regina’s murderer as Danny and Jo decided how they would deal with their new secret. Lacey and Kyle worked as a tag team again, with her stringing together small clues as he took what she gathered to interrogate the bigger players. These two, in the span of two episodes, did more than the entire Green Grove Police Department in eleven. While this might be funny, it acted as a double edged sword.
They answered so much so quickly that Twisted has lost most of its “thriller” appeal. However, because Lacey has spent the last two episodes trying to prove Danny’s innocence we’ve gotten to see her in different environments and in new, more casual ways. Her characterization feels different, but she’s also not around the popular crowd who for an entire season influenced part of her decision making process. From believing Danny killed her best friend to trying to control romantic feelings for a supposed murderer, Lacey was pretty self-contained. Those pressures are gone now, so we may be seeing a side of her that got lost in the shuffle.
As for Jo and Danny their writing this week was more mature, definitely reminiscent of the version of Twisted I love. How they worked out what to do gave us a decent illustration of the conflict between their points of view and current situation. From Jo not wanting to keep things from her parents and Danny wanting to flee, to Danny agreeing to face the consequences and Jo arguing that Vikram’s death is best kept a secret, we watched as both got back some of that volume they lost in the premiere. Overall, their scenes felt stronger which increased my investment in the storyline they now share.
With this said, the show is moving at a different pace than last season. Emphasis is on the emotional drama surrounding the larger mysteries instead of character development and interactions growing out the suspense. There is also the issue of the parental plot lines which act as actual screentime eaters and negatively affect the pacing of the show. The parents have always worked better as supports to their teens’ storylines. What we have right now though is Karen going back and forth about whether its morally right for her to care about a pretty uninteresting Jack, when the tension between her and Danny is far more interesting.
As for Tess, she had multiple freak outs about Vikram that could have easily been condensed into one scene. The rest of the time could have been spent on better setting up for the bomb-shell reveal awaiting her daughter. Then there’s Judy Porter. How does she feel about her daughter flitting around town and questioning the mother of her murdered friend? The Porters marital drama could add some tension to Lacey’s plot – especially with what’s coming as Danny cuts himself off more emotionally. Yet, we don’t even know if Judy exists.
Charlie, on the other hand, got more intriguing. Fresh off an internet search about Danny, Charlie was everywhere Lacey was, eager to help. It’s clear his “interest” in her goes beyond a potential crush. Charlie works for Gloria Crane as a helping hand of some sort, but Gloria just exposed her affair with a man who set up his own son for murder – twice. Charlie has the potential to fill that “bad boy” hole the show is now missing since Danny’s apparently not a sociopath, which makes learning more about him more enticing.
In spite of the narrative direction change, this week was a certain improvement over the premiere. However, the show will have to re-focus its attention on Danny and his emotional struggle – or better yet equalize screentime between the three leads and their families – to round out the larger plot and return the show to its former glory.
Twisted airs Tuesdays at 9:00 – 10:00 pm ET/PT on ABC Family.