Twisted – Summer Finale Recap: Heartbreak Buffet
Recap and review of Twisted – Season 1 Episode 11 – Summer Finale – Out With the In-Crowd:
For a summer finale, “Out With the In-Crowd” was a bit overstuffed with plot, but it made for an absolutely entertaining mess, perhaps Twisted‘s most story-packed episode. The story jumps somewhat aimlessly from one plot point to another, but we get plenty of huge developments that pay off storylines that have been building all season, while setting up some awesome storylines for January, when the show returns. Say what you will about the questionable logic of some of the decisions in this episode, or the monster bombshell that closes it, but this felt like a worthy summer finale: a big, explosive episode that fundamentally changes the status quo for the series.
I could have guessed that Vikram Desai (TJ Ramini) was still alive, but I don’t think I ever would have expected to learn that not only did Tess (Kimberly Quinn) know, she’s also (possibly) in league with him in whatever shady dealings he’s pursuing. It’s a hell of a twist, the kind that reframes the previous ten episodes, as Tess immediately becomes a character worthy of suspicion, where she wasn’t one before. Throughout the series, there’s been an undercurrent of mystery surrounding Vikram Desai’s “death” that’s never been resolved, yet much of that mystery has been transferred to Danny (Avan Jogia), who is every bit as vague and unknowable as the circumstances of his father’s disappearance. But this is clearly intentional, as one of the driving points of the series is the Desai family’s auspicious nature, and I get the feeling that the show took this direction in order to distract viewers from all the other points of interest in town. Green Grove is littered with families and individuals every bit as secretive as the Desai clan, yet the townspeople turn a blind eye to their own flaws and prejudices, pretending that those traits simply didn’t exist before Danny brought them into the community. Revealing that Tess has secrets of her own, and adding her into the fold of potentially sinister figures in the narrative, is a stark choice that serves as the biggest bombshell in an episode loaded with revelations and bold decision-making.
Where to start with the rest? Let’s itemize things:
Jo: So Jo (Madelaine Hasson) is still reeling from seeing the video of Lacey (Kylie Bunbury) and Danny hooking up. Despite their best attempts to apologize to her and earn her forgiveness, Danny and Lacey strike out, and inadvertently bring Rico (Ashton Moio) down in the process by spilling that he knew about the video long before it leaked. In essence, Jo is more alienated than she’s ever been. Of course, the problem with this storyline is twofold: on the one hand, Jo’s heartbreak and feeling of betrayal is understandable from a teenage perspective, as Lacey and Danny did lie to her about their relationship and went out of their way to keep it from her; however, Lacey and Danny’s private romance wasn’t really anyone else’s business but their own (well, I guess you could argue that it would have been Archie’s business, since Lacey was being unfaithful to him by cavorting around with Danny while they were going out). I could definitely see why Danny and Lacey would think it best to wait until they’ve figured out their relationship before telling Jo, but unfortunately, they weren’t really given the time to figure things out before the video leaked. But I’m still not sure that serves Jo’s argument that she should have been told. Though she’s a favorite of mine, this was pretty much the first week where I could completely understand why so many fans of the show don’t like Jo.
In the wake of her fallout with Danny and Lacey, Jo’s parents try to take her out for a family night on the town, but she ends up bailing on the festivities to go out with Tyler (Chris Zylka), who’s won his way back into her good graces. Things escalate pretty quickly, as they make out and, later, end up sleeping together. Jo herself seems surprised by her own impulsiveness, and though Tyler is very sweet about being her first, it doesn’t keep Jo from feeling uncomfortable with her actions, as she asks him to turn away from her while she dresses. Afterwards, Jo meets with Danny to finally clear the air, as she can’t move on with her life until she knows for sure that there’s absolutely no chance that Danny could ever care about her the way he cares about Lacey. Danny tries to skirt the issue by insisting that the friendship they have is the most important thing in the world to him, but when Jo asks him, point blank, if he still has feelings for Lacey, Danny is unable to deny it to her. So she storms off back to her house, where she finds Rico waiting. Desperately in need of a friend, Jo explains to Rico that while she was mad at him for hiding the video from her, she could never hate him. For Jo, Rico is a constant in her life that she can’t imagine doing without. However, Rico misconstrues this as his opportunity to come clean to Jo about his feelings for her. He tells her that he’s in love with her, and steals a quick, awkward kiss that gets him nowhere. Jo has no idea what to say to her best friend, so Rico rushes off, embarrassed. It’s heartbreak, man. Heartbreak all-around.
Lacey: Poor Lacey is stuck in a completely untenable position, as her friends have completely shunned her for hooking up with Danny. She doesn’t have a single friend left in the school, and to make matters worse, the friends she did have are hardly even being civil with her anymore. Sarita (Jamila Velazquez) is her usual miserable self, calling Lacey to the carpet for “hooking up with Regina’s murderer.” Meanwhile, Archie (Grey Damon) naturally assumes that Lacey’s hook-ups with Danny were happening before she broke up with him, and he’s not entirely wrong. Faced with complete exile, Lacey makes a snap decision. At an event at the diner celebrating the soccer team’s accomplishments, Lacey sides with Archie in an argument against Danny, saying that hooking up with him was a mistake, and she wishes she’d never known him. It’s probably Lacey’s nadir as a character so far, as she shirks her own culpability in the hook-ups in favor of vilifying Danny. But this plot point is necessary to build her back up into the Lacey we’ve come to know and love, as she quickly realizes the error of her ways, particularly after Archie confesses to her about poisoning Cole (John DeLuca) with the help of Scott (Todd Julian). Lacey spills the secret and sides with Danny, shunning Archie and the rest of her vapid former friends (except for Phoebe, because Phoebe is great), and Cole quickly follows suit, quitting the soccer team for what Archie and Scott have done to him. It’s a defining moment for Lacey as a character, as she rises above the need to be validated by a group of people who can’t see past their own shallowness and ingrained prejudice. It’s a compelling character arc, and Kylie Bunbury does a great job with it.
With everything out in the open, Lacey meets with the one person she can still talk to, Phoebe (Brittany Curran). The two friends share old stories about their past and discuss a memory in which Regina (Karynn Moore) accused Phoebe of giving her a gash on her forearm. Phoebe, however, sets the record straight, revealing that Regina received the scratch from a mysterious third party that dropped her off at the school in a black luxury car with Connecticut license plates. This deepens the mystery, as we suddenly have another potential suspect in Regina’s murder…
Danny: …and it may be Kyle’s (Sam Robards) new partner, Marilyn, who was appointed to the investigation last week by Mayor Rollins (Christopher Cousins). She drives the same vehicle with the same plates as the car that dropped off Regina in Phoebe’s recollection, and it’s that car which she and Kyle drive to the Desai house to arrest Danny. As it turns out, the police have discovered the murder weapon, and it’s covered with Danny’s fingerprints. Karen (Denise Richards) is able to get a hold of this information and gets the jump on law enforcement by getting Danny’s things together to make a run for it. She insists that there’s nothing left for them in Green Grove, and despite Danny’s protestations of innocence, Karen doesn’t want to see her son hauled back off to the slammer. Kyle and Marilyn arrive on the scene, but it’s too late: Danny is gone, prompting Marilyn to put out an APB for the boy. Danny is on the lam, and Green Grove’s finest are hot on his trail. When Tess learns, she puts in a call to the only man who might be able to help: Vikram Desai. Bring on January already!
“Out With the In-Crowd” is overstuffed with narrative excess, but it’s in service of the most eventful episode of the season. Whether the series will be able to keep up this pace when it returns in January is anyone’s guess, but I imagine the creative forces behind the series are damn sure going to try.