Before getting into today’s episode, I need to address the homophobic attacks on Tom Holland for playing a queer character in The Crowded Room, with people saying he isn’t their Spider-Man anymore (even though Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield have played queer characters before). Is this what things have boiled down to? Is this how illiterate people have become? I won’t even say “media literacy.” This is evidence of your inability to perceive what’s happening before your eyes and of masking that ineptitude with hatred. When I initially reviewed the miniseries, I critiqued its decision to correlate queerness with sexual abuse and how casually it shows a White man playing a queer Black woman. But due to all this discriminatory noise, these tropes are getting a free pass. We aren’t even having a conversation about whether or not cis-het actors should play queer characters. Things have regressed to “being gay is bad” times. We’re in 2023, and if this is how people react, humanity is truly a lost cause. Go and get educated, seek therapy, and refrain from being a bigot if you can. With that out of the way, let’s talk about the penultimate episode of the Tom Holland-led miniseries.
Marlin Gets To Speak His Piece
Episode 9 of The Crowded Room opens with Candy taking care of things at home, going to work (she’s a nurse, FYI), and then returning home to tolerate Marlin’s nonsense. I say “tolerate” because she has to go to the bathroom, which is where she hides the files and newspaper clippings on Danny and cry. Danny arrives at the courtroom for his hearing. There’s this small attempt at humanizing Danny in front of the people present there, especially the judge, as Stan fixes Danny’s tie as a parent does to their child. The jury arrives, and DDA Patricia Richards goes first and fills them in about what Danny is guilty of while establishing her stance on the dissociative personality disorder angle. She thinks that if Danny is allowed to walk by putting the blame on one of his other personalities, every criminal in the country will do the same after committing a crime.
Then Stan addresses the jury to erase the prejudices that Patricia has poured into their minds and put forth the fact that Danny is innocent until he is proven to be guilty. Stan proceeds to give a basic idea of how dissociative identity disorder works and makes himself more relatable by saying that he’s figuring it out as well so that the jury doesn’t feel that they are alone in their state of confusion. Last but not least, Stan underscores the fact that Danny is a victim of sexual assault and that his dissociative identity disorder is his coping mechanism. There is a recess that happens after these opening statements, which is when Rya and Stan have an argument over calling Candy a witness to the crimes that were inflicted upon Danny. They are unsure if their argument is going to hold any ground if Candy doesn’t testify. Stan thinks their approach to the case is useless, while Rya is hopeful that Candy’s love for her son will allow her to come out of her shell. After the recess, Marlin appears and paints a very unsympathetic picture of Danny while portraying herself as an innocent stepfather who was trying to protect his stepson after the shooting by not pressing charges against him.
Rya Has To Back Herself Up
When Marlin returns home, he tries to start a casual conversation with Candy, but she expresses her disdain for Marlin’s approach to this case. Both of them know what has happened, but they don’t want to admit that they’re at fault for how things have gone downhill for Danny. There’s nothing casual about this situation. So, it’s really idiotic for Marlin to pretend that he’s the victim here. Later that night, Danny calls Candy from the prison, and she talks to him in a very hostile manner. It is obvious that the immense amount of guilt that she’s bearing on her shoulders is eroding her soul and is appearing externally during these moments of outburst. The following day, though, Candy does appear in court. She finds herself a seat among the audience and watches Angelo and Annabelle testify against Danny. Stan tries to illustrate the fact that both of them encountered multiple versions of Danny, while Patricia tries to point out that, as a person, Danny is a violent individual. This disturbs Candy, and it seems like she’s about to leave the court without testifying.
Rya catches up with Candy and tries to convince her to help them (Rya and Stan) prove that Danny is innocent and a victim of sexual assault. Through a montage that goes from Candy to Stan and then to Danny, Rya shows us that everyone is in need of help and that we’re susceptible to staying with the people we hurt because we are so used to the pain. The following day, Jerome takes the stand and talks about his time with Ariana. Like before, Stan tries to take Jerome’s perspective and show that Ariana and Danny are two people. However, Patricia tries to show the jury and the judge that it’s all a hoax for Danny to express his closeted gay feelings. During a recess, Stan tries to convince Candy to take the stand, but she refuses. Therefore, despite her unwillingness to do it, Rya takes the stand. She takes a scientific approach to helping people understand the cause and nature of Danny’s condition. That said, Patricia accuses Rya of using Danny to get her grant, thereby insinuating that Rya doesn’t actually believe in Danny’s case; she just wants to succeed so that she can make money off of her thesis in the future. To make matters worse, Patricia brings up Rya’s relationship with Matty Dunne and asks Rya to explicitly state whether or not Danny ever confessed to being sexually abused. As soon as Rya says, No,” their defense falls apart.
Why Didn’t Candy Support Danny?
Rya confronts Candy at a diner and gives it one last go to convince Candy to take the stand. Candy won’t budge because she wants her name and Marlin’s name to be in the clear, which is truly shocking. Meanwhile, Rya won’t budge either because her objective is clear, despite all the allegations that have been leveled against her. She says that victims of abuse need a second chance, and since Candy is the only person who has been preyed upon by Marlin, she must understand Danny’s situation and help him out. So, after putting up an act in front of Marlin that she’s going to work, she goes to the court to finally take the stand. Her trick doesn’t work because Marlin apparently follows her and shows up at the court too. This messes things up.
It has taken several rounds of convincing to get Candy to speak her truth. But in Marlin’s presence, she runs the danger of going back to her original mindset of throwing Danny under the bus and protecting her and Marlin’s reputation. At the stand, Stan asks some questions about Danny and then requests Candy to give her opinion about Marlin allegedly sexually abusing Danny. Before Candy can answer, Patricia says something infuriatingly weird. She states that unless somebody is a witness to sexual abuse, they cannot claim anything. Stan counters it by saying that such incidents usually happen in secrecy, and there aren’t any witnesses present when they happen. And that’s true and weird because Patricia’s excuse is used all the time by men when it comes to defending sexual abusers. Anyway, when Candy opens her mouth, she says that she doesn’t believe that Danny was ever sexually abused, and then she leaves!
At the end of The Crowded Room, episode 9, we see Candy going back home, setting the table, and sitting down to have dinner with Marlin. And we see Danny using the steel binder clip that Jonny stole from the infirmary to harm himself. I think everything about Candy is supposed to incite hatred while also making you think that a victim of abuse can’t be expected to do something radical. They aren’t the ones in control, and if their abusers are around, they won’t be able to fight their own fights. The judicial system and society in general need to be improved so that such situations don’t come down to the testimony of a person who is under extreme duress anyway. In addition to all this, it does look like things aren’t going to end well for Danny. Given how he has resorted to self-harm, it’s possible that his alter egos are going to emerge once again. We can only hope that it doesn’t get the better of him and that it allows him to speak his truth. To be frank, if his alter egos do show up at the court, it’s possible that they’ll do a better job of convincing the jury what he’s suffering from. Well, we have to wait until next week to watch what happens in the last episode of this miniseries.