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Where’s The Applause?: Twisted “Out With The In Crowd” Review

By on August 28, 2013
Avan Jogia -- © 2013 ABC Family

Avan Jogia -- © 2013 ABC Family

Twisted‘s summer finale “Out With The In Crowd” wasn’t the most jaw dropping thing ever delivered to tv viewers. However, it came very close to a return to form. In the case of Twisted (and in light of some storytelling snafus) this was a great step forward for a new round of twists and turns.

The show has grappled all summer with balancing its various plots. The first plot focuses on a young girl’s murder which is startlingly similar to a 5 year old murder committed by a teen recently released from juvie. The second is a tale of teenage friends growing up and reconnecting on several levels, including plantonically and romantically. The third illustrates the complexities of familial bonds. The fourth focuses on a community’s response to a convicted murderer living amongst them. The fifth deciphers what makes a sociopath. On top of this, there were individual plot lines running for many of the characters. In case you missed it, that’s a lot.

Still the show accepted the challenge, spending a large portion of the summer wrangling all of these plot lines into a cohesive story. Sometimes it was a hit and other times it was a miss. It never stopped trying though and as “Out With The In Crowd” ended, it felt like the series had literally hit the reset button. That didn’t stop all the show’s shortcomings from becoming more painfully clear, but it put the characters and plot lines back on the right path and served as a strong set up for the back half of the first season.

Secrets Never Lie With The Dead: Despite her death being at the center of a main plot line, we’ve spent very little time with Lacey’s dead best friend, Regina. It wasn’t until this episode that the series delved into her connection with the necklace and how it may have been linked to her murder. So what did we learn during the clue dump? Vikram is still alive; Tess knew all along; the Private Investigator shares license plates with the car bustling Regina back and forth to Connecticut; and Archie poisoned Cole. How does that last tidbit relate to everything else? Danny, of course. These reveals illustrate that all this activity is connected to Danny, but it doesn’t mean all the culprits are in on it with each other or for the same reasons. There could be several A teams at play, some good while others are definitely bad.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do:  Presumably the idea with the trio was to get them back together so they could become a powerful force to help clear Danny’s name. That’s not exactly how it went down though and the lies, love, and conflicting loyalties landed the teens back where they started – separated. This circle back worked well in that the characters have a second chance to do it right for the story and themselves (something that should make their real return to each other sweeter). Lacey is back to her in control self and is less constricted by the opinions of her friends. Jo has severed ties with Danny, leaving room for her to mature on a personal level and in her relationships. After everything went that transpired, Danny tried his hardest to make amends with the two people he cares about most.

On the flipside, this plot line ended up being both one of the most detrimental to overarching story development. The girls never came together for themselves and as a result their relationship with Danny gave us a sometimes awkward and time consuming love triangle. Not only did it leave very little room for more necessary development, but it left everyone a total mess. Jo ended up making an awkward and emotionally wrecking mistake with Tyler. Lacey has to find out how to regroup as she’s left her friends behind. Danny believes that he’s really lost Jo and Lacey, so he was willing to pack up and move on and now he’s doing that minus the suitcases. More love and less love might do these three a little good.

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: Danny and Karen’s relationship has been without a doubt one of the most turbulent of any on the show. It evolved, however, when we were provided more backstory. With unspoken feelings hashed out, the Desai’s were allowed to heal. The finale spent only a few scenes with them together, but they were emotionally sincere particularly for Danny. Oddly, the Masterson’s and all their bonding didn’t hit the mark and instead felt like filler.

Viewers spend a lot of time at home with Jo and her parents. Individually they’ve all had dynamic moments, yet together they less solid. Could it be that their interactions don’t seem like their own plot line – like the Desai family’s – but like a plot device for individual character storylines? Is it that we’ve spent so much time with the Mastersons their charm has worn off? Perhaps it’s the lack of family life for Lacey that makes the Masterson scenes feel so flat next to the Desai’s? Believe it or not, it can be harder to come in first when there’s only two players. Whatever the reason, family is a huge part of this show and has been from the beginning. The finale proved there wasn’t enough of it in the right way.

Green Grove Is A Battlefield: The town has on more than one occasion tried to take matters into their own hands with Danny. It’s nice that there’s been a sense of potential public shame keeping most of them from acting out. It didn’t stop the determined ones from devising plans to inflict hurt on Danny though. Regina Crane was successfully able to expel Danny from school. The Mayor’s hired PI was able to “find” the murder weapon with Danny’s prints, which would be the final nail in his returning to juvie coffin. Archie was able to convince his friends and a school that Danny poisoned one of his soccer teammates. All of this we just in the last two episodes of the show.

For now it seems that the town won out. Danny fled – to who knows where – in an attempt to avoid going back to jail. On the upside, Archie was outed and should now have to face the consequences of poisoning a teammate – that is, if they can prove he did it (or preferably he fesses up). If Archie fesses up, Danny can return to school giving him the knockout punch in his battle with Gloria Crane. Before any of this can happen though, Danny has to figure out who put his prints on that murder weapon. This has ended up being one of the most interesting plot lines this season, made all the more exciting now by the question “Did Danny flee or is he hiding in his closet? And no matter where he is how long can he stay hidden?”

To Be Or Not To Be: Danny started the season as an incredibly complex and layered character whose every move and motive was questioned. As time went on he devolved into an innocent kid who couldn’t catch a break. While this should certainly be an aspect of Danny’s development – as it adds some emotional realism to his situation – it shouldn’t consume it. That’s not what makes Danny so compelling; that he was a strong player in a professional poker game with a town full of secrets (while still maintaining he may be a villain) is. It had been a while since we were privy to this version of Danny, but he showed back up and it was one of the finale’s biggest gifts. Danny’s complexities (and whether we can trust him) was and should remain a focal point not only of his own development, but in the show’s. When Danny shines, so does Twisted.

Here are some questions the finale left us with. Feel free to drop your answers to my finale questions in the comments, or share your questions and thoughts about the summer season as well as the new January promo (which you can view below).

  1. Jo and Lacey’s defining moments have hopefully matured them. Do you expect they can come back together in their new found growth?
  2. Who do we think Danny will go to now that he’s on the run?
  3. Should we see Vikram upon the show’s return in January? What do we suspect is Tess’ involvement?
  4. Will Rico remain in a perpetual state of awkward?
  5. What are some things you’d like to see happen in the show’s new batch of episodes?

One Comment

  1. Ivy

    August 30, 2013 at 4:57 am

    Another really thoughtful review Abbey! I like your identification of the various plots as well as acknowledgement of the show’s shortcomings (not unexpected given its freshman season).

    I really appreciated the Regina-related flashbacks as well as they helped flesh out some back-story and helped the audience care about her as a character. I would love to see a little more of that going forward as well as some scenes of the trio as kids.

    Avan’s acting was amazing in some of the scenes. In particular, when he was trying to find the right words to tell Jo he cares for her but only as a friend and that he still has feelings for Lacey, his facial expressions, eye contact and body language were the very picture of wrestling emotions. Maddie was great in that scene as well, as she tearfully put Danny on the spot over and over again in an effort to get the truth out of him.

    I too am perplexed by the lack of balance between the three leads and their respective storylines/plots/family/friends. The Mastersons are featured even more than Danny’s mom at times and certainly highly disproportionately more than Lacey’s parents. I guess its because the show is written as them being involved as players in the mystery in a way that Lacey’s parents are not, but the unequal POVs of each of the leads is problematic on many levels. I sincerely hope that there is a more equal development for each of the three leads as their relationship dynamics is just as compelling as the mystery and its impossible to faithfully explore their individual selves and interconnected relationships if only one of them is well fleshed out.

    This is right on the money: “Danny’s complexities (and whether we can trust him) was and should remain a focal point not only of his own development, but in the show’s. When Danny shines, so does Twisted.” I agree that one of the most compelling aspects of Danny’s character, the entire show really, is the complexity of Danny’s motives and facility with manipulation. I hope we’ll be seeing more of that in the second half of the season.

    Re, some of your questions:
    – I am not sure where Danny will flee – he doesn’t seem to have anyone left to turn to. Some possibilities: his grandmother in Arizona, the apartment in Connecticut or the secret clubhouse in the woods.
    – I am certain we will see Vikram very early in the back half – he holds the key to a number of clues I believe. Tess has become a highly suspect character, befriending both Karen and Danny, all the while being in secret contact with their supposedly dead husband and father.
    – In the next 8 episodes, I hope for: Archie and Scott to be expelled for trying to frame Danny by poisoning Cole; Doug and Eloise to be also be expelled for distribution of child pornography; more equal POVs between Danny, Lacey and Jo; Danny consciously using his manipulative side for bailing himself out of some dilemmas; Regina’s murder solved; more interactions between Danny and townspeople that explore the social dynamics of a reformed convicted killer living among them.