Last week’s episode of The Crowded Room was essentially a recap of the first five episodes of the miniseries, i.e., the events leading up to Rya’s meeting with Danny. It pretended to offer some new information and, instead, just retread old ground to probably pad the runtime. I cannot for the life of me understand why the showrunners hate concise and precise storytelling? Why does everything need to be bloated and long? Is that what showrunners think prestige TV is associated with nowadays? If they tell a story in 30 well-paced minutes, are they afraid they aren’t going to be taken seriously? Or are they unable to come up with enough material to pack into their nearly hour-long episodes? Filmmakers used to make hour-long films back in the day. Just go back to that so that even if your narrative is hollow, people will sacrifice only one hour of their lives instead of 10 hours. Anyway, let’s get on with today’s episode.
We Finally See The Titular Crowded Room
On the day of an eclipse, Rya arrives for her usual conversation with Danny, who notices that she’s a little nervous. Before getting to the point, Rya subtly tries to convince Danny that he and Jack are the same person and there’s no one in London. She even gives him the pair of glasses that Danny wears while pretending to be Jack. But Danny continues to be oblivious to the fact that all the characters we’ve seen him interact with during times of distress are a figment of his imagination. Therefore, Rya tries a different approach. She plays the VHS tape of the CCTV footage of the shooting at the Rockefeller Center. And it shows nobody but Danny shooting at Marlin. Danny accuses Rya of messing with the tape, as if Photoshop was available back then or as if this is a sci-fi TV show. Rya assures him that the tape is authentic and urges Danny to come to terms with the fact that he was the only one at the Rockefeller Center. That’s when Yitzhak takes over Danny’s body.
When Danny wakes up, he finds himself in front of the barn where Marlin used to assault him. Danny steps in, and the inside of the barn turns out to be an infinite labyrinth of wooden panels, floors, beams, and stairs. As he ventures deeper into the structure, he finds out that it’s essentially the inside of his mind. There’s a window of light that gives him access to his conscious self. That’s used by Jack, Ariana, Yitzhak, Jonny, and Mike. When they’re using it, they put the original Danny into a kind of slumber. As Yitzhak continues to rage out and almost harm Rya, Jack pushes Mike into the light and avoids sending Danny (his physical self) to solitary imprisonment. Once they are out of danger and Mike is in control, Jack and Yitzhak discuss what’s going to happen to Danny since he’s not only aware of his dissociative identity disorder, he has seen compelling evidence that he’s the only one responsible for the shooting. Jonny uses this opportunity to steal the light away from Mike.
Rya And Stan Try To Prevent Danny’s Case From Going To Trial
Jonny’s priority is to get drugs, because he’s a drug addict, and be erratic because that’s what his personality is like. One of the inmates says that he has the thing that he asked for. Jonny assumes it’s drugs, but it turns out to be a box of crayons. Obviously, Jonny doesn’t realize that it’s Danny who must’ve asked for it and asks the inmate to take it back and give him cocaine. When that doesn’t work, he goes up to a group of inmates working out in the gym and asks them for drugs. This leads to a violent altercation, thereby prompting Yitzhak to take over Danny’s body. He wreaks so much havoc that the guards are forced to intervene, and so is Jack. While all this is going on, Rya seems to have fallen asleep in her car, and she’s woken up by Stan. Rya says that Danny is too unfit to stand trial and that he needs to go to a hospital. Stan uses his realist attitude to make it abundantly clear that that won’t be possible. Rya reveals that Danny has seen the shooting footage, and it seems like Stan didn’t want that to happen. In Rya’s defense, she didn’t want Danny to see that footage for the first time at the courthouse in front of a room full of people ready to judge him.
Rya and Stan proceed to meet a world-renowned psychiatrist, Dr. James Whitman, who basically claims that dissociative or multiple personality disorder isn’t a thing. So, the plea to not let Danny stand trial can’t be accepted. After the plea appeal is dealt with, Danny is brought in. Rya essentially tells him to admit that he has multiple personalities existing inside his brain so that the judge can send him to a treatment facility. D.A. Patricia Richards asks him some questions, and Danny (being controlled by Jack) answers them in a pretty straightforward fashion. Stan steps in next and asks Jack who was with him at the Rockefeller Center, and he says that he was alone. Stan asks him to describe Ariana and Yitzhak, and he says that those are the names of his cats. Rya tries to point out that it’s one of Danny’s alter egos speaking for him, but nobody believes her. Hence, the case goes to trial. Stan tries his best to convince Patricia to let Danny go to a mental hospital. Patricia points out that there are people of color who are in jail for far less. Hence, why should Danny get a pass for his mental illness? Even though The Crowded Room brings up an important point about the skewed justice system of America, it comes off as lip service. If the show was really that concerned about how minorities are mistreated by the law, they should’ve made the miniseries about them, not Danny. Rya gives Jack the lowdown that his plan is going to harm Danny because Federal Prison is way more brutal than Rikers.
Does Danny Confront The Voices In His Head?
Jack, Yitzhak, Mike, and Jonny have a discussion about whether they should go to trial or listen to what Rya is saying and let her prove that he isn’t of sound mind and he needs to go to a mental hospital. Yitzhak tries to reason with everyone by saying that they need to let go of Danny and let him be who he wants to be. Jack doesn’t agree with Yitzhak. So, he kills him. It’s all metaphorical. Yes, you can argue that the existence of a sentient personality means that it is a fully formed person and whatnot. The personality also resides in a flesh-and-blood body. But can the personalities be considered “real” if they weren’t the original inhabitants of Danny’s body, thereby making their birth and death meaningless? I don’t know. Anyway, Yitzhak is “dead,” and Jack is in full control of Danny, as he is adamant that Danny needs him and the rest to survive.
At the end of The Crowded Room, episode 7, Ariana finally appears in front of Danny, and they have a conversation about how his personalities are there to help him. Ariana takes Danny to the flooded section of the crowded room and shows him all the dead personalities that have been killed by Jack because he thinks he knows what is best for Danny. Jack tries to convince Danny that Rya is their enemy. He says that Danny shouldn’t agree with Rya’s decision to send him to a mental hospital because that’ll kill his personality, and there’ll be no one to protect him. He thinks that Danny won’t have a severe sentence because nobody got hurt during the shooting. With that in mind, Jack allows Danny to step into the light and control his body. However, as soon as Danny is confronted by Rya, he admits that he is finally aware of all the entities in his head that are trying to control him and that he needs help. It’s too little, too late because Jack’s performance has messed up the pre-trial. Everyone wants to see Danny go to Federal Prison for righteous and personal reasons. So, Danny’s change of heart isn’t going to prevent him from being questioned by lawyers. That said, it’s possible that this is a step in the right direction, and it’s going to help to come to terms with the bigger picture, i.e., he’s a victim of sexual assault, and that is why he picked up the gun and shot at Marlin at the Rockefeller Center. Well, we’ve three more uninteresting episodes to go. Stay strong.