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Twisted – Recap: Truth Ache

Recap and review of Twisted – Season 1 Episode 9 – The Truth Will Out:

Twisted has spent several weeks dividing its time fairly evenly between the relationship storylines and the mystery, except for an episode here and there. Last week’s installment was heavy on the relationship drama (and surprisingly still worked like a charm), while “The Truth Will Out” doubles up on the mystery. As the enigmatic nature of Regina’s murder increases, the show has to dive deeper to unravel the complexities. This makes for some pretty solid drama all-around.

Credit: ABC Family

Credit: ABC Family

In short, there’s a ton to unpack this week, from the possibility of an affair between Regina and Vikram Desai, to the question of the apartment rented under Vikram’s name, and whether or not Karen (Denise Richards) knew about it. The episode’s plot springboards right off of last week’s cliffhanger, in which Karen confessed to the murder of Regina. A lesser show might have made a big to-do about the likelihood that Karen actually committed the crime, but the show smartly has absolutely no one who buys her story, and Karen’s desperation to be believed makes her guilt seem even less likely. But the show isn’t hurt by the decision to double back on the cliffhanger from last week: it’s not really about whether Karen did it or not, but how her confession creates a ripple effect around her. Some of these conflicts are larger than others, but taken together, these stories make for an episode that’s rich with complexity, even if not all of them have immediate relevance to the mystery or the romances.

Credit: ABC Family

Credit: ABC Family

So Karen has confessed to Regina’s murder, and nobody is buying it, least of all Kyle (Sam Robards), who understands exactly why she’s doing it. Tess (Kimberly Quinn) understands too. Karen has residual guilt over the shoddy job she’s done making Danny (Avan Jogia) feel loved, recalling a conversation she had with Tess six years ago in which the young Danny overheard his mother say that she wishes she’d had a daughter. She tries to apologize to him, but young Danny insists that she meant it, saying “You don’t want me. You never wanted me.” He tells her “All you love is yourself, and your friends, and your parties.” She calls him a spoiled little brat, and in that moment, Danny looks like he’s about to throttle the entire world. This is a fascinating scene, in the sense that it’s the first we see of the genesis of Danny’s dark side, as a neglected son who grows resentful of his self-absorbed mother. And one could only imagine it grew worse over time, creating the Danny who killed his aunt — a boy who grew into the enigmatic kid we know now. A kid who works with his ex-nemesis to help exonerate the mother he once believed didn’t love him.

Credit: ABC Family

Credit: ABC Family

It’s a fairly straightforward investigation, with amusing detours here and there, such as when they discover lewd photos of the school principal on Karen’s hard drive, prompting Danny to confront the man and discover about the “understanding” he had with Karen. Danny wants to solve the case for reasons other than his mother’s well-being, as he’ll have to move in with family in Arizona if Karen goes to prison. When Kyle reaches his wits’ end with Karen, Danny asks for alone time with his mother, and she reveals that she’s confessing because she wants to be a good mother this time. It’s one of the best scenes of the series so far for both Denise Richards and Avan Jogia, and not simply because tears are involved. There’s a genuine feeling of remorse pouring out of Karen, along with Danny’s desperation not to lose his mother. There’s real love there, and Danny forgives her all her transgressions. It’s much more powerful than I was expecting. There really is a certain emotional heft to the story of a boy and his mother. Of course, there’s more going on beneath the surface, as Karen has a flashback to Vikram telling her about going to Connecticut and asking her to lie for him by telling anyone who calls that he’s in Manhattan on business. So while Karen didn’t kill Regina, she still knows more than she’s letting on.

Credit: ABC Family

Credit: ABC Family

But not everything has immediate import to the investigation. There’s an engaging, though disconnected, storyline in which Jo (Maddie Hasson) discovers that Lacey’s father is gay, catching him kissing the gymnastics coach in the closet during a birthday party for Lacey’s sister. Despite promising Lacey’s father that she wouldn’t reveal the truth to his daughter, Jo blurts the truth out to Lacey (Kylie Bunbury), and right as Lacey is about to tell Jo the truth about her and Danny. The importance of the storyline seems to center on the fact that Lacey and Jo each have secrets they’re keeping from one another, and these secrets threaten to do damage to their newly-mended friendship (seriously, is there a cuter series of scenes than Lacey and Jo patching things up at the party, and then resolving to still be friends even if Danny has to move away?). I’m not really sure what the show is trying to say by having Lacey keep her secret from Jo while Jo confesses her secret to Lacey right away, but I don’t think we’re meant to think poorly of either girl for their decisions. It’s a vastly different set of circumstances, and Lacey isn’t simply keeping things with Danny a secret out of spite, she’s taking Jo’s feelings into consideration. Both girls are in untenable positions, but they do the best they can with their situations. When Lacey confronts her father and he flatly denies what Jo saw, we realize just how strong this new friendship between Lacey and Jo has become, as she opts to believe Jo rather than accept the false comfort that her father hasn’t been lying to her. Lacey thanks Jo for telling her the truth, to which Jo states that friends don’t keep secrets from one another. This prompts Lacey to come clean about Danny, but before she can, the girls get a call from the boy in question…

Credit: ABC Family

Credit: ABC Family

Danny wants to meet with the girls to offer a confession: Karen got Regina’s necklace from him. Danny swears he didn’t get the necklace from Regina, that it simply appeared in his locker the day after her murder. But Lacey doesn’t believe him, lashing out at Danny for withholding this from them, and wondering how either she or Jo could ever trust him again. “I can’t believe I let you–,” Lacey states, before stopping herself. But Jo seems to immediately take the meaning. “We’re done,” Lacey says, and storms off. Jo, meanwhile, walks off, her heart completely shattered by what she’s learned. Maddie Hasson’s zombie-like trance as she leaves Danny behind is my favorite acting choice of the episode, as it really communicates Jo’s shock and heartache at how everything has turned out. And the worst is still yet to come: while at the diner, Rico (Ashton Moio) gets an email with a video attachment showing Danny and Lacey making out the night of the party (the same video taken by the person in the creepy Danny Desai mask). To top it all off, Kyle is getting closer to the truth, as he discovers that the pattern of Regina’s necklace matches the symbol for a real estate company. It’s mysteries all the way down! And I love it.

Credit: ABC Family

Credit: ABC Family

“The Truth Will Out” is heavy on the mystery, but it works every bit as well as last week’s “Docu-Trauma,” which doubled up on the romance to great effect. We’re getting closer to the summer finale, and the show is really ratcheting up the tension between its three leads while bringing more high-stakes developments for the mystery to the fore.

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