Things aren't looking good for Danny Desai (Avan Jogia) on ABC Family's new series Twisted. On Season 1, Episode 2 ("Grief is a Five Letter Word"), the town is reeling from the tragic murder of Regina Crane. Despite a lack of evidence, some people — especially Sheriff Masterson — still think Danny is the one to blame, but his former best friend Jo has his back.
"Grief is a Five Letter Word" picks up at Regina Crane's memorial service. Lacey paints a picture of a girl who loved the Beatles and Motion City Soundtrack. Funny, we thought Regina was a boy-crazy party girl who liked Taio Cruz and stolen necklaces. C'est la vie. While the town mourns for Regina, Jo, Danny, and Rico — a recent convert to the "Free Danny Desai" movement — brainstorm ways to get Danny off the hook. The most logical thing to do would be for Danny to tell the police he was with Lacey the night of Regina's murder. However, Danny isn't too keen on the idea of getting Lacey involved in his mess. Why? We have no idea. You'd think the kid would want an alibi! Then again, Lacey did fall asleep, meaning Danny could have slipped out at any time.
Sheriff Masterson is not happy that Jo is spending her free time with a potential serial killer. He's convinced Danny killed Regina, even if he doesn't have sufficient evidence to prove it. But Jo believes Danny is innocent. Sure, she may not have seen him for five years, but they were still childhood BFFs. That counts for something, right? (In all seriousness, though, I'm a little surprised Jo was so quick to hop on the "Free Danny Desai" bandwagon after she said he "ruined her life" in the series premiere. It's cute that they rekindled their friendship, but I'd be a little wary if I was her. Danny can be quite disarming — in a creepy way.)
Jo and Rico aren't the only one trying to get Danny off the hook for Regina's murder. Danny mother, Karen Desai, is upset that Mr. Masterson publicly pulled Danny out of school to call him into questioning. (How embarrassing, right?) So she goes to her former BFF, Tess Masterson, to help get him to see some reason, but Tess isn't about to get involved in her husband's cases, especially one as sensitive as Danny Desai. However, Karen is going to do anything to help Danny, even if it means hooking up with the school principal. That's right, Karen Desai got Danny enrolled in high school by sleeping with the principal, who also happens to have some weird fetishes. ("Can I brush your hair?" No, no you may not. Gross!)
Meanwhile, Danny isn't making any new friends at school. He accidentally calls Jo naive after he shoots down her idea to bring their moms together at a dinner party, and then he gets into a fight after Archie — yes, there is a student named Archie, and he's a jock — teases Jo for hanging out with the school socio. Things got ugly. Danny tells Archie they can be "roomies" in prison after the popular jock peaks early, loses his hair, and becomes just another drunk in prison. "You don't know me," Archie warns. "You don't know me either," Danny responds. Needless to say, punches are thrown. That's not a good way to help build your case, Danny.
Archie's punishment is a after-school grief session, but he doesn't want to go without Lacey, who initially passes because she can't bear to watch "Phoebe make Regina's death all about her." Being the hormonal high school boy that he is, Archie gets upset. "You're perfect, and everyone else can't handle their own emotions," he tells her before he storms off. Well, he does have a point. Regina was Lacey's best friend, and aside from a half-hearted speech at the memorial service, we haven't really seen her grieve. Maybe she used to losing her best friends — right, Danny?
After her fight with Archie, Lacey ends up at her, Jo, and Danny's childhood hideout — a secret fort in the middle of the woods — and it conveniently looks like Danny had the same idea. "This is where we went to unload, to tell secrets... to cry." Suddenly, I'm missing the fifth grade all over again. Who didn't build a secret fort with their best friends? Danny and Lacey share a semi-sweet moment before she leaves the fort to head back into the real world. One of the more interesting aspects of Twisted is the dynamic between Danny, Lacey, and Jo. I'd like to see this threesome have more screen time together.
Back at school, a grief counselor — played by Keiko Agena, other wise known as Lane from Gilmore Girls — comes to help the kids deal with their feelings over Regina's death. "Grief is a five letter word," she says. "You were her nerd pet," she reassures Doug, the class nerd. "Whenever your heart is ready," she encourages Lacey. In other words, this lady is crazy. And Lacey is having none of it. She tells it like it is — no one in that room knew Regina or even liked Regina. So why are they grieving?
Meanwhile, Danny takes Jo up on her dinner party offer, and invites the Mastersons over to his house. Unfortunately for him, he never thought Mr. Masterson would actually show up — with a bottle of pinot, no less! But that wasn't your ordinary peace offering. Kyle Masterson is on a mission to hunt for clues. After questioning Karen about the necklace, he knows the Desais are hiding something, and he just needs to find out what.
Cue the the most awkward dinner party in history. After Danny catches Mr. Masterson snooping around in his room, you'd think things couldn't get more uncomfortable. Well, that was until words like "psychopathic murderer" started being thrown around the dinner table. It all started when Rico tried to explain The Avengers to Danny. When Jo suggested they take Danny to the newly reconstructed park, her dad freaked out. He wasn't going to let his daughter hang out alone with a psychopathic murderer. Karen, now on her third glass of wine, takes this opportunity to lash out at the Mastersons for not letting Jo be a character witness for Danny at his trial five years ago. The Mastersons say Jo was too young, but Karen is still burned by the thought of her best friends not helping her son avoid juvie. "He's lucky he only got five years," Mr. Masterson screamed. (Guys, can we just go back to talking about Loki and The Avengers?) Needless to say, dinner was over.
Later that night, Tess tells Kyle about the photo she saw of Terra Desai. She thought it was strange the photo wasn't there when they left — "Maybe they saw it and were embarrassed it was sitting out like that." Judging from the look in Sheriff Masterson's eyes, it looks like he's piecing together the mystery of the necklace. He knows the Desais are hiding something, but how does he prove it? Danny is the only one who knows where the necklace is, and after he failed to destroy it in the woods, he's going to have to be careful it doesn't fall into the wrong hands. He already lost it once; here's hoping he doesn't lose it again.
— "Regina loved the Beatles. We'd always listen to "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" ... We'd always listen to Motion City Soundtrack and drive to the mall." Gone too soon, Regina. Gone too soon.
— Just catching up on the news. The Middle East is still a mess, huh?"
— "If you can't laugh, you might as well be dead."
— "She told me once that she wanted to be a weather person like Al Roker, but you know, white and a lady."
— "If there is a heaven, I know that Regina is there, and she's wearing the cutest outfits."
— "Sarita probably drowns kittens for fun."
— "Either you're going to prison, or you're pumping gas for the rest of your life."
— "I brought pinot!"
— "She was all like, 'I like you. I want to make you my nerd pet.' But I never got to be her nerd pet. I never got that chance!"
— "We'd stay up and talk about everything — boys, clothes, Jonas Brothers, that's when they were still kind of relevant."
— I originally thought I wouldn't like the obvious love triangle element of the show, but after tonight's episode... Danny and Lacey? Yeah, I'd ship it. Honestly, Danny has more chemistry with Lacey than he does with Jo. Sorry, Jo, but you're totally getting friend-zoned this season.
— As far as parents on teen shows go, no one will ever quite live up to Sandy Cohen — and those eyebrows! — but I'm intrigued by Karen Desai (Denise Richards). She's like Ashley Marin meets Julie Cooper, and I love it.
— The nod to Danny's father, Vikram, who we know very little about, explains a lot about Danny's character. "If you can't laugh, you might as well be dead."
— It's a little too early for me to guess, but my best Twisted theory is that Danny is covering for someone. Who? I have no idea, but I'm enjoying the ride, so I'll stick around to find out. However, I hope we find out more about his dad and aunt soon. I'm anxious for more clues!
Are you watching Twisted? What are some of your theories? Do you think Danny is innocent? Sound off in the comments!
Catch an all-new episode of Twisted on Tuesday, June 25 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC Family.