The Crowded Room – Season 1 Episode 3 “Murder” Recap & Review


Episode 3 of The Crowded Room begins in Rya’s house. She shows Danny’s sketchbook to Matty, who is presumably a cop. He flips the pages and identifies Ariana as the shooter at the Rockefeller Centre. More ominously, Rya suggests that all the portraits of people in the book are “victims.” Is Danny a serial killer? The mystery for sure will remain hidden for some time since it is a long season. And no one wants to jump ahead and spoil all the fun. Anyway, moving on. Danny isn’t ready to talk about what happened to Adam, his identical brother, yet.

But he does tell Rya about how Ariana was molested as a child by her father’s friend. The trauma from the incident has left her unable to form emotional bonds with other people she cares about. The moment they get closer, she starts running and gets further away from them. Danny nods in agreement and says “Adam went through the same thing.” Danny suggests that is why he committed suicide.. We then see Danny doing Ariana “a favour” by asking Jonny to fix a meeting with Angelo, his drug supplier. It is clear he wants a gun.

But Angelo wants “more than just money.” Jonny warns him not to go with Angelo to the abandoned garage but Danny doesn’t listen to him. Angelo forces him to sodomize him but before that can happen, Jonny comes in and saves the day. Danny picks up the gun and the two friends catch the metro before they can be caught. Mike learns of the incident from Jonny and visits Danny’s house. Annabelle had promised to show up that day to spend time with him. It is clear they like each other but something prevents them from going all in.

Annabelle takes him to a field to fly a kite and they discuss Danny’s ambition to become an artist someday. They go back to Danny’s house and spend some more time together. Annabelle also promises to show his sketches to an art professor at Baruch. They fall asleep together – without the innuendo of physicality involved. We see a sudden change in tone as Angelo breaks into the house in the middle of the night.

He wakes up Annabelle and asks her to stay put in the room. Danny gets out and shouts to Angelo that he will give him the gun back but mishandles the bullets which then fall. He hides and Angelo finds Anabelle hiding. He drags her out as Yitzhak walks from Danny’s shadow and takes over. He beats Angelo mercilessly and aims a gun at him. Angelo pleads for his life and as Yitzhak shoots, he pees his pants. Yitzhak spares his life and Angelo scampers away. Annabelle is scared and runs away from the house as well.

Yitzhak loses his cool on Danny for bringing a gun to the house. Ariana intervenes and says she gave it to him. He asks Danny to leave the house. In the morning, Marlin drives past the house and beseeches him to come home. Before he leaves, Ariana comes to the room and suggests that her life would be easier if her rapist “is gone.” She puts the gun in front of Danny but asks him to only “scare him without hurting him.” The events of the day from episode 1 are replayed, only this time, with the suggestion that “Danny acted alone.”

He keeps resisting the temptation but Rya pushes him. The moment we see the man whom he was about to “scare” is when we realize what is going on. It was Marlin. But how could he have raped Ariana? It was too big of a coincidence to be true. Danny does not accept Rya’s suggestions and says that it was all a setup: for him to go and find his real father. And that is what he did by boarding a flight after the incident.

The Episode Review

The suggestion about Danny’s central conceit remained hidden until now. But it did surface in this episode quite frequently. It seems like the creators want to keep that under wraps for some more time and actually manifest it on the screen with a big cinematic moment. Based on the experience of just watching the show with no prior knowledge of the events, episode 3 confirms Danny has a personality disorder.

It is likely that Yitzhak and Ariana are just people in his head. If that is true, there might be some other people that don’t actually exist. This changes the whole perception of the show. Tom Holland keeps the viewer’s eyes locked on him with a stunning performance in this episode. He stood out on every occasion he was asked to reach deep and grasp at Danny’s mental psyche.

The next week’s episode should confirm most of our apprehensions. A lot of things need explaining and hopefully, there are some answers at the end of this tunnel.

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You can read our full season 1 review of The Crowded Room here
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