Last week, episode 4 of The Crowded Room introduced us to Jack, a former associate of Danny’s father and a friend of Yitzhak who lived in London and worked at a travel agency. After hearing about Danny’s predicament, Jack tasked him with retrieving money from a gangster called Reggie, as he owed it to Pete Sullivan (Danny’s dad). It was supposed to be a lesson on courage and standing up for oneself that hadn’t actually happened. It was all in Danny’s head, with Jack, Yitzhak, and possibly many others who we have seen in the miniseries being fictional in nature.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Danny Talks About Candy
Even though the previous episode ended with Rya sitting down to talk with Jack, episode 5 of The Crowded Room begins with yet another conversation with Danny, where she prompts him to go all the way back to his childhood. He talks about the night before Adam went away to London to live with their father and how he had to tackle school time all on his own. When he was bullied, Candy was unreachable, and his father was obviously unavailable. So, Danny was put under the care of a counselor named Mr. Jones, who would look into any issues that Danny had at school.
When Danny went back home, he didn’t reveal anything to Candy and instead talked about the ghost house. Candy apparently worked as a nurse by day and a bartender by night. And although he stayed alone at home while Candy went out for work most of the time, the day he was bullied, he pressured Candy into taking him because he didn’t want to be all by himself. Rya interjects this memory of Danny’s by revealing that she talked to Candy recently, i.e., after Danny’s arrest. When Rya says that Candy wants to meet him, Danny gets a little elated and starts remembering his time with his mother a little more fondly. We see that although the owner of the bar where Candy used to work didn’t like the idea of having a kid in there because it’s illegal, he allowed him to stay. However, a racist incident scarred Danny, and currently, he’s under the assumption that that incident began a chain of events that has led him to where he is.
Danny Is A Victim Of Child Abuse
After talking about Candy, we get to see Marlin’s backstory from what seems to be Danny’s perspective or knowledge, of course. He worked at a juvenile detention center and was seemingly pretty good when it came to handling kids. His charm also extended to his flirting skills, and that was how he wooed Candy. Rya questions Danny about the veracity of this whole love affair between Marlin and Candy, and Danny simply says that everything he’s claiming feels true because he has “heard” it so many times. So, this practically plants the idea that whatever we are hearing from Danny’s mouth should be taken with a grain of salt.
With that in mind, Danny continues with the flashback involving Marlin, Candy, and himself. He apparently saw Marlin and Candy getting a bit too intimate. Since Danny saw Marlin as someone who was getting between Candy and him, he started to ignore Marlin. And that was when Adam randomly showed up, thereby proving the theory that whenever Danny experienced any kind of tension, he conjured one his alter-egos. Adam was one of the first characters that he created. As he grew up and things got tougher, the characters got more complex and older. That said, Adam was nowhere to be seen when he was almost molested by Mr. Jones. It was actually Marlin who appeared to rescue Danny from that awful situation.
What Did Danny Reveal About Adam?
Although Marlin showed up to “rescue” Danny, and it seemed like Adam had called Marlin to help Danny, it was actually a case of getting out of the frying and jumping into the fire. Marlin did start conversing with Danny about marrying Candy and sharing a secret that would be exclusive to Danny and him. As soon as Danny agreed to it, Marlin veered away from the usual route and took him (and Adam) to a barn. In the present day, Danny requests Rya if he can stop telling this part of his backstory, but Rya urges him to continue because it’ll allow them to progress instead of going in circles. So, Danny soldiers on, and it becomes apparent that Danny used to pretend to be Adam whenever Marlin sexually harassed him. That’s why he has this story in his mind that it wasn’t him who was victimized; it was Adam. In his mind, Danny feels that Adam was his savior when it came to tackling Marlin, while he just stood outside the barn (which is metaphorical in nature).
At the end of The Crowded Room, episode 5, Danny wonders what any of this has to do with the shooting at the Rockefeller Center. Rya doesn’t respond, but it’s incredibly clear that she’s trying to open Danny’s eyes to his reality. He is a victim of sexual abuse, and he tried to kill his abuser, i.e., Marlin. There’s no grand conspiracy here. He wanted revenge, and he almost got it. None of his friends or associates actually exist. Rya hopes that that’ll help Danny deal with his demons in a rational way. However, as mentioned by Jack, Danny has created this alternate reality to not deal with his life. So, once he realizes that he is not just someone who is accused of murder but also someone who has been abused by his stepfather, who knows how he’s going to react? Now, why this particular story needs to be told over the course of 10 excruciatingly long episodes is beyond me. There’s no in-depth exploration of Danny. His alternate realities don’t offer too much insight into him. Additionally, since it has been played by different actors until now, it hasn’t allowed Tom Holland to flex his acting skills. Amanda Seyfried’s talents are also wasted. Well, at least we are halfway there.