The Fest and the Furious, Episode 5

First, let’s address the elephant in the browser: yes, we are beginning the recaps of Twisted close to halfway through the season. What have you missed?

Danny Desai (Avan Jogia) has returned to Green Grove after spending five years in juvenile detention for killing his aunt when he was 11. He returns to find his two best friends, the surly and book-smart Jo Masterson (Maddie Hasson) and straight-shooter popular beauty Lacey Porter (Kylie Bunbury—someone read her The Importance of Being Earnest, stat!), have drifted apart like Pangaea and the inhabitants of the town he once called home all think he is a sociopath. Soon after his return, Regina Crane, Lacey’s best friend, turns up dead and the town is convinced—Danny Desai has struck again!

But is he really a murderous sociopath? The show makes a particular point of leaving that question up to the viewer, but still leaves hints that could go either way.

If we’re being honest, whether Danny is a “socio” or not doesn’t really matter, though my guess is on not; after watching a weekend’s worth of Hannibal, sociopaths seem much grittier than the warm-hued shots that fill ABC Family’s newest show. Much like Twisted’s lead-in show, Pretty Little Liars, Twisted is all about solving the mystery.

Why did Danny really kill his aunt all those years ago? My bet is on a family secret, something that involves his father. Danny refusing to reveal why he killed his aunt is his way of protecting someone, but we’ll just have to wait to learn the truth. Whatever the truth may be, Danny manipulating various people in the idyllic Green Grove is just plain fun to watch.

We pick up the story in episode 5, titled, “The Fest and the Furious.”

“Fall Fest is the most important day of the year for Green Grove. If anything goes wrong I’m holding you personally responsible.” – Ted Beneke Mayor Rollins to Chief Masterson

And we didn’t need to hear it from the mayor to know it was true. From Danny talking to Jo to Jo talking to her mom to Chief Masterson talking to the town, all anyone talked about this episode was Fall Fest. In this episode we get apple tossing, adults assaulting underage kids, illicit make-outs, and high hopes crashing to the ground. There’s even a ghost sighting! Working overtime to earn the television spot sandwiched between drama champions Pretty Little Liars and Catfish, Twisted delivered on some great interpersonal relationships. Let’s dig in.

Our first scene is of Regina scarfing down peanut butter ice cream in Lacey’s bedroom. But this isn’t a flashback episode, that’s dead Regina, and she’s convinced Danny killed her. Is she living in the same version of limbo as Ali DeLaurentis? Probably. After a few jokes about lying her way into heaven, dead-Regina disappears, but Lacey, now awake, is left with a heavy feeling of guilt. Well, it’s a good thing Fall Fest is around the corner to improve her mood!

As per usual, Chief Masterson’s (Sam Robards) main trouble this episode is that of ethos. He’s supposed to be the law enforcement authority in Green Grove, but from his morning breakfast when Jo broaches the topic of “the necklace,” to later at Fall Fest when wife Tess (Kimberly Quinn) allows Danny to sign up for her ceramics class to a town hall meeting in which a grumbly citizen calls him out for allowing his daughter to hang out with “the Desai freak,” Masterson is being tested on all sides. It especially doesn’t help that the Mayor is now looking over his shoulder, perfectly situated to call attention to the fact that the entire Masterson family seems more and more accommodating of Danny as days go by.

Every person who mentions Danny to Masterson pushes the chief’s buttons just a little bit further. He’s so convinced Danny is Regina’s murderer—do we think he’ll eventually plant evidence to ensure Danny’s found guilty?

At the Desai residence, Karen and Danny discuss Fall Fest. In one of the weakest points of the show—one that repeats almost every episode though almost everyone knows that the criminal records of minors cannot be publicized or broadcast—the same surly citizen from the town hall meeting with Masterson suggests Danny be banned from Fall Fest.

The Fest and the Furious

Meanwhile, Karen Desai (Denise Richards) eyes Danny as he uses a sharper-than-necessary knife to cut his bananas for breakfast. She tells her son that she plans on donating her late husbands belongings—his clothes, his comfortable chair—so she can get some closure. We can hear in her voice that she’s testing the waters and is wary of Danny. At the mention of the Chair of Secrets, Danny rejects the idea, insisting that he’s not yet ready to move on.

A big part of this episode revolves around what now looks to be a love quadrilateral. As any sane person could see, Rico (Ashton Moio) has a crush on Jo, but she’s too busy crushing on Danny to realize it. I smell tough times for you ahead, Rico. Elsewhere on campus, Lacey and friends discuss Fall Fest only so Lacey can drop an obligatory line about how her boyfriend won’t be there. Seeing the points of this quadrilateral now, aren’t you?

At this point, we’ve heard enough about Fall Fest to recall our own personal memories of attending lame (but secretly awesome) town carnivals with our parents. But this newest Fall Fest conversation allows Jo the opportunity to ever so casually ask Danny to go with her to the festival, and then to the formal later that night. He says yes, of course, misunderstanding her intent. Context gets lost when it has to travel through so much hair before it reaches your ears.

When Lacey runs into them at the Diner (do none of your parents cook?!) and hears that Danny’s going to Fall Fest, she loses it.

Quick pause: I’m not sure that any of us have a real reason to, but I instinctively like Lacey as a character. There’s something inherently political about her—a sense of social savvy that hints at potential manipulation while at the same time managing to seem stalwartly genuine—but when she goes on these mini-rants I remember that other than mourning, complaining and not kissing Danny—which she should probably start doing soon because there’s no better literary device than a love triangle—she’s had very little to do over the past four episodes.

Which is exactly why she gets her own plot line immediately thereafter. Lacey stops by the Crane house to swap stories about Regina, but eventually ends up offering her organizational skills to keep Mrs. Crane’s condolence mail in order. While sorting that mail, she finds a letter addressed to Regina.

The letter is filled with $20 bills and a note that says, “This is the last payment. Keep your mouth shut or you know what will happen.” Hmm, definitely proof that Regina is hiding out in the same hell dimension as Ali from Pretty Little Liars.

But we’ve heard enough talking and now it’s finally here! Fall Fest! And Danny walks awkwardly through the stalls as the townsfolk stop and stare. After talking to Mrs. Masterson, Jo conscripts Danny to help her work for Rico’s Mathletes booth. A plot point that can only end in pain and heartbreak—and the death of dozens of Pi pies.

While selling Pi pies for the Mathletes, Danny is accosted by Tim, the same angry citizen from the town hall meeting. Tim shoves Danny and more importantly, the Pi pies are ruined, which doesn’t make a jealous Rico any happier that Jo brought Danny to the booth.

Another pause: Are we thinking that instead of being fiercely independent, Jo’s general unhappiness has made her more susceptible to Danny’s manipulations? Because when Rico suggests that Jo wants to go to the Fest just for Danny, she claims that “He needs me there. He can’t go alone.” It’s a very high school lie, a way to hide her crush, but I think somehow she believes it.

Twisted Fest and the Furious Twisted Season 1 Episode 5 ABC Family Danny and Lacey Kiss

Not one for festivities, Karen visits Danny’s therapist and asks about the details of what being a  sociopath actually entails. Good, maybe if she learns, she’ll be able to fill in the Green Grove High School population, because they throw the word around like sociopaths grow on trees.

It’s good to hear that most sociopaths aren’t murderers, but everything else the therapist says may fit the Danny bill. The problems with identifying a sociopath is that it’s all determined based on what people actually feel, what they actually care about. And we’re watching actors try to display emotional complexities that aren’t supposed to have identifiers. It’s a tough sell, but one the show tries to use to its advantage.

After a civil conversation with Chief Masterson post-altercation, Danny decides not to go to the Fest, and Jo tries to mask her disappointment. Be independent, Jo! You can do things by yourself!—But wait, did I say Danny didn’t want to go to the Fall Fest Formal? Because Jo shows up at Danny’s house decked out in a gorgeous, medieval-looking blue dress and convinced Danny to come anyway.

At the formal, Lacey is dressed in a perfect jewel-toned number, looking supermodel fashionable. Lacey and Mrs. Crane share brief memories of Regina in front of a memorial booth dedicated to Regina, and the pause in momentum makes me wonder why Lacey is there at all. None of her friends are there, and her boyfriend’s MIA, so did she really just show up to look fierce while she hangs with her mom?

Holding good to the traditions of middle-of-nowhereville, the town hosts an apple tossing competition at the Formal, because of course they couldn’t ask people to toss apples into water barrels during the day when they’re not dressed in expense to dry clean clothing. Randomly chosen from the ranks of guests is Danny, along with the Tim jerk from earlier.

Meanwhile, Rico is amazed at how beautiful Jo looks while she manages an obligatory “You clean up nicely” in response. Turns out this is the suit he wears every year, but he’s clearly getting an eyeful of her in a dress this year. Jo doesn’t have much time for him though, as Danny apparently sucks at apple tossing.

Jo has definitely got the embarrassing traits of a teenager in love down pat. The way she blows off conversation with everyone else just to watch Danny fail at tossing apples is one of those moments you know she’ll regret years (episodes, really) from now.

After the apple toss (Tim wins, but Danny clearly allowed that to happen) Jo and Danny realize what I’ve always wondered: What’s a festival without cotton candy? Again, Lacey crosses paths with Jo and Danny, but this time its Danny you can’t take his eyes off of Lacey. Really, that color does wonders for her skin tone. Lacey extracts herself from the situation rather quickly.

On the dance floor, we learn that Jo and Danny’s “funny dance” is in fact, more horrifyingly embarrassing than funny. And then there’s a slow dance. Watching from afar, Mrs. Masterson seems okay with the fact that Jo’s falling for Danny. Meanwhile, Jo’s making all kinds of sexy eyes at Danny, who’s very clearly ignoring them. Then Danny gets a mysterious text that I knew was from Lacey, and runs off, promising to meet Jo at the diner later.

Huddled in secrecy on the far side of an oversized tree, Lacey shows Danny the letter addressed to Regina. Because telling him about it won’t heap more suspicion on him. Smart, Lacey. Not. But then he wonders why she texted him. Why did she need to get him alone to show him this?

Twisted Episode 5 The Fest and the Furious Recap Danny and Lacey Kiss

Because the kissing, Danny, duh! And once their minds register that this is inevitable, they kiss and kiss and kiss. There’s going to be a lot of great hair in this relationship.

Once Danny is gone, Jo tracks Rico down (he’s only good enough in Danny’s absence obviously) and invites him to the Diner with her and Danny later. The way she says “Danny and I” is so possessive, we know something about to blow up in her face. And it seemingly does when Danny walks through the Diner doors with Lacey in tow.

This could have been the end but the Twisted writers didn’t want to let us go without something really, ahem, twisted. On his way home, Rico watches Karen throw “the necklace” into the lake.

Parting Notes:

  • The previews tell us that Rico runs to Masterson to spill the beans, but what will come of his admission? Would they really drag an entire lake looking for one necklace? Was Rico even close enough to see the tiny necklace? (Of course he was—when it’s convenient, everyone on TV has the eyes of a hawk.)
  • What do you make of the Danny-Lacey kiss? There was no “I have a boyfriend,” no “we shouldn’t do this.” We went straight from kissing to them walking into the diner together. She seemed pretty fine with the situation. Will this lead to some cheating for our girl Lacey? That would be pretty twisted.
  • Since this is our first recap, I want to float the idea that even though Danny may not be a sociopath, I think someone else on the show will turn out to be. I don’t have any strong opinions on who that may be, but I’m going to stick by this bet.
  • Jo’s parents seem on the fast track to serious marital problems if their relationship continues on this route, which is good since it may offer Tess the opportunity to grow a memorable personality.
  • Dead-Regina to Lacey about Danny: “You want to hit that, don’t you? I don’t blame you. That long hair, the menacing eyes.”
  • And last but most important, our three musketeers are finally back together in scheming formation. So much drama can only be good for the soul. Who’s with me?

What did you think about “The Fest and the Furious?” Are you wishing you had your own Fall Fest to kiss boys that aren’t your boyfriend or pine over your best friend? Leave your comments below.