The Crowded Room – Season 1 Episode 9 “Family” Recap & Review


Episode 9 of The Crowded Room begins with Candy’s condition at the house. Stan Camisa keeps calling her at home and keeps leaving notes for her at work. But Candy is afraid of what she will find out. Marlin threatens her not to pick up the phone until after the trial is over.

Danny’s trial begins and he is taken to court on the first day, dressed smartly in an indigo suit. Right before the jury is brought out, Stan corrects Danny’s crooked tie and asks him to stay relaxed. 

Patricia begins her opening arguments. She assures the jury that Danny’s guilt is a matter of fact that she will substantiate with dozens of eyewitnesses and camera footage. His fiasco left three people injured who were lucky to escape with their lives. The DA claims that a disorder such as MPD does not exist and it is one of the Defense’s key distracting techniques to take the jury farther away from the truth. Stan matches Patricia in his opening arguments. He alludes to his own reservations at first about the MPD but he kept an open mind. 

And that is what he asks of the jury. “This illness is how he survived,” Stan says of Danny, also touching upon the root of his illness – sexual abuse. Although his opening arguments were convincing, Stan confesses to Rya that the case is weak. They have no foundational eyewitnesses who can turn the tide for them. Candy is the only one but she keeps evading Stan’s calls. Rya cannot testify because Danny still thinks it was Adam who was sexually abused. That is what he told her, at least.

Marlin testifies in court. He brushes off the incident as being purposeless and characterizes him as a junkie, thief, and a menace in general. Marlin’s faux act of caring for Danny will likely incite a revolting spark in you, considering what he did to him.

The pain of seeing her innocent son end up in jail like this is eating Candy up from the inside. She is torn between her loyalty to Marlin and her love for Danny. He calls from prison but she is abrupt with him and he puts the phone down.

Candy finally decides to go to the hearings. Angelo and Annabelle testify, both of whom allude to Danny’s perceived history of violence and abuse. While the former’s statement is brief, Annabelle’s lasts longer. She seems like a neutral witness who could perhaps do more good to Danny than harm. There is a repeated pattern of the witnesses calling Danny “all over the place,” or someone with not a routine cadence of behaviour. Although it almost goes well, Patricia redirects Annabelle to speak about other instances of violence.

She mentions Billy and his friend, who ended up in the hospital because of Danny. But the part about them bullying him never came up. After the hearing that day, Rya tries to accompany Candy to a bar. But she refuses. Stan still maintains that they are losing the case and the only way they have a chance is if Candy testifies. Rya explains that at times, people can stay in bad relationships for far too long, scared to lose the touch of human connection. Reaching out and asking for help is a brave thing to do as Danny did.

Jerome testifies for the defence and lays out his story truthfully. Patricia cross-examines him and establishes that Danny and Jerome are ex-lovers who didn’t know each other very well. There was no way he could have known if Ariana was a cover for Danny.

Stan finally grabs ahold of Candy after the hearing near a food stall. He beseeches her to testify as Danny doesn’t even know that he was abused. He thinks it was all endured by Adam. But she refuses his invitations.

Rya testifies during the hearings and once again establishes Danny’s sexual abuse as the root cause for his split. Patricia brings up Rya’s personal motivations in the case –  getting tenure to save her academic career. She always knew this would come up. Despite the DA’s inciteful and hateful tone and tenor, Rya keeps her composure and maintains that she came in with the intention to help. The final nail is when Patricia asks if Danny ever told Rya that he was abused. Rya has no choice but to tell the court the truth: no. As she leaves the court amid a barrage of reporters, Rya breaks down. Candy follows her into the bar and blames them for Danny’s legal situation.

Rya tells her about an old patient of hers who also endured sexual abuse. Predators keep getting away with their actions because the victims are vulnerable. None of it ever is ever the victim’s fault. She even calls Candy a victim and empathizes with her lack of control to change the situation. “If you do take the stand, I hope you stop blaming yourself.” Candy breaks down in tears and has a decision to make: guilt or grief. The next day, she decides to leave the house and undo her guilt by confronting it.

Before she can testify, Marlin meets her in the elevator. His threats are veiled – if Candy testifies, she will lose everything. She is finally asked the question by Stan in court. In the most pivotal moment when her son needed her the most, Candy failed him She denies that Danny was ever abused. That is the case over for the Defence.

Candy quietly leaves the room, not even meeting eyes with Danny. She goes back home and Marlin walks in smugly, almost triumphantly. They have dinner together.

The episode ends with a disturbing scene, for which viewer discretion is indeed advised. Danny breaks the paper clip he stole in the last episode and cuts both his wrists, which start bleeding profusely as the camera pans to black. 

The Episode Review

What a tough episode to endure. Not because of any lack of merit, but because the substance was quite stirring. Emmy Rossum found herself as a mother torn between two tough choices – herself and her son. It would be nefarious and ignorant to obligate a parent with the sacrificial burden of always protecting their child, even when it comes to their own life. Such conversations are difficult and will always have different results for different people.

The final few minutes of episode 9 were the most heartbreaking of this season. The acceptance of Danny’s fate was riddled with a sense of betrayal and loneliness. Looking back at it from a holistic sense, the episode succinctly wrapped up the major parts of the trial. The writing was crisp and to the point without too many deviations. 

Even if this was the finale, I think the writers and the entire team have done a terrific job with this story. The first three episodes were lousy but midway, the show changed course and has swiftly moved up in terms of quality. 

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