“A” isn’t the only one who’s getting twisted on Tuesday nights. Following the Season 4 premiere of Pretty Little Liars, ABC Family debuted their new series series Twisted, starring Avan Jogia (Victorious) — and it didn’t disappoint.
From creator Adam Milch, Twisted follows 16-year-old Danny Desai (Avan) as he re-adjusts to life back in high school after spending five years in juvie. When Danny was 11, he murdered his aunt — a local author — with a red jump rope. However, it becomes apparent in the first episode that Danny had his reasons for committing the heinous act... or for at least taking the fall for it.
Whoa. A murder mystery starring ridiculously attractive high school students? Yeah, we told you Twisted was the perfect companion to Pretty Little Liars.
Twisted begins at the scene of the crime five years prior. Danny’s two childhood best friends, Jo (Madelaine Hasson) and Lacey (Kylie Bunbury) are playing in the backyard when young Danny approaches them, red jump rope in hand, and tells them he “had to do it.” The “it” is referring to murdering his aunt, their babysitter. (Note: If this were anything like a scenario from Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, we’d have an entirely different show on our hands.)
Five years later and Danny, now a sarcastic teen branded a “Socio” by the media, is out of juvie and headed back to high school. What a drag. Meanwhile, it appears that the events of that day and the subsequent aftermath (i.e. years of therapy) have changed Jo and Lacey. Lacey is the popular Queen Bee — with not one, but two Monas and a hot boyfriend — while Jo is a social outcast with only one cute, but nerdy friend (Rico) to keep her company.
However, these former BFFs do have one thing to bring them back together: their shared anxiety over seeing Danny. Of course, Danny doesn’t seem to have any trouble at all approaching his former BFFs in the hallway, and we have to give him credit for the clever introduction: “Boo.”
Before things getting really awkward, Danny gets pulled away to the principal’s office, where his mother, and recent widow, Karen (Denise Richards) is waiting. It seems the principal just wants to remind Danny and Karen that his transition back into normal high school life isn’t going to be easy — especially when the entire student population fears you.
Danny isn’t giving up on trying to rekindle his friendship with Jo, but his persistence is driving her crazy. Jo isn’t so excited to see her former BFF-turned-socio standing next to her locker. He wants to chat; she wants to remind him how he gave her PTSD. He wants to remind her how he sent her letters from juvie (aw, sweet?). “They burn quickly,” Jo replies. It looks like getting on her good side again is going to be harder than Danny thought. Thank goodness for Psychology class with Mrs. Fisk (Kathy Najimy)! Conveniently, their first lesson is about... sociopaths. “Sociopaths may lack human emotion, but they’re damn clever at mimicking them.” This is what’s called foreshadowing, right?
But all of that talk in Psych class got Jo thinking about Danny and what happened the day her best friend turned into a murderer. Danny says he has a reason, but he “can’t tell that to anyone, ever.”
As for Lacey, well, she’s not half as interested in getting to know Danny as her best friend Regina is. Some girls just get really turned on by bad boys who can rock ponytails. When Lacey and Sarita call her out on being all talk and no action, Regina does the unthinkable: she invites the socio to her house party! Talk about a party foul. Danny accepts the invitation, but he seems way more interested in Regina’s necklace than her attempts to flirt.
Danny invites Jo to Regina’s party. (Sorry Jo, but it looks like on this high school social ladder, even socios are above outcasts.) He thinks it might “take some of the edge off.” Little did he know that drunk Jo is quite the handful. When Jo gets herself into a tricky situation with a jock (or, “rapist jock douche,” as Jo later says), Danny comes to her rescue. It turns out the easiest way to avoid throwing punches is whispering death threats into your opponent’s ear! Well, it looks like Danny’s social standing as the school’s socio is good for something.
Danny and Lacey bring drunk Jo back to her house, where Danny is met with awkward silence and death stares from Jo’s dad. You can be the town’s socio, but you cannot get the town sheriff’s daughter drunk.
With drunk Jo safely at home, this gives Danny and Lacey a chance to bond... over Doritos? That’s what true friendship is made of, y’all! Danny tells Lacey that he regrets not growing up with her and Jo and that he misses their friendship. “I think you miss it, too,” he says. “I thought the past was in the past,” she replies.
When Lacey falls asleep, Danny receives a few suggestive texts from Regina, who’s not giving up on getting him in bed anytime soon. But when he rejects her sexual advances (for the 500th time), he gets an ominous message: “Come over. We have to talk. I know why you killed your aunt.” Oh snap. The next morning, Regina winds up DEAD. Oh double snap.
Obviously, the student body blames Danny, who gets called into questioning during a school assembly. Awkward. But Jo wants to remind her peers that they’re just blaming the obvious person. “Just give him a chance! Don’t ostracize him any more,” she says. Wow. Jo really knows how to make friends.
Meanwhile, Jo’s dad, Sheriff Masterson, asks Danny if he had ever seen the necklace Regina was wearing. It was the only thing missing from the scene of the crime. Danny tells him he’s never seen the necklace before. However, in the closing scene of the episode, we learn that not only did the necklace belong to his aunt, but he also HAS THE NECKLACE.
Wait, does this mean he killed Regina? Or does he know who did? Somehow, Danny Desai is connected to Regina’s murder, but can he find a way to clear his name while keeping the secret of his aunt’s death under wraps?
— “Whatever. He doesn’t scare me. I spent a summer in theater camp. Those girls will mess you up.”
— “Her hair makes me sad.”
— “I guess I should get into this whole Twitter thing.” / “You really should. It’s a delightful waste of time.”
— “Nothing really counts before you’re 13 or 14.”
— “Really? I feel like I’m in an episode of Glee and everyone is about to break into song.” / “They let you watch Glee in prison?” / “Yeah, it’s part of our punishment.”
— “Oh my god, that was intense. I feel like I just slept through a Hitchcock movie.”
— “Do you think it was easy being the best friends of the child murderer? Yeah, it wasn’t. Forget the fact that you turned our childhoods into Children of the Corn.”
— “Jo, look at you! You’re so big! Not in a fat way, in a grown-up way.”
— “I even offered to bang her if she wanted to get banged. If only she would have listened.”
— ‘The wasn’t my agreeing face. That was my ‘What the hell is she thinking’ face.”
What did you think of the premiere of Twisted? Will you add it to your Tuesday night must-watch list? Sound off in the comments!