If there's one thing we've gathered since the premiere of ABC Family's new series, Twisted, it's that Danny Desai knows more about Regina's death than he's willing to admit. Sure, he may not have been the one to bash her skull in, but he somehow ended up with her favorite necklace in his possession. But on Season 1, Episode 3 ("PSA de Résistance"), we find out Danny isn't the only teen with a dirty little secret tied to the night of Regina's murder.
Oh, and the episode also reminds us how much high school can suck. "PSA de Résistance" was full of so much teen angst, I thought I was in a Wheatus music video. Alas, no such luck.
The angsty hour picks up at rehearsal for Phoebe's drunk driving PSA for Sobriety Awareness Day. "It's a heartbreaking, cautionary tale of the dangers of drinking and driving," she says in all of her neurotic, preppy glory. (Side note: Phoebe is definitely becoming one of my favorite characters.) Apparently, Lacey, Archie and Sarita would rather embarrass themselves in front of the entire school than write an essay. Don't worry, readers. I promise this plot is important.
While the cool kids are rehearsing their play, the "Free Danny Desai Club" (Jo, Rico, and Danny) assembles at the diner to discuss the task at hand: how are they going to clear Danny's name if they have no idea what happened to Regina? If they can find someone else with a motive, that would take Danny off Chief Masterson's most wanted list. Unfortunately, Danny doesn't realize he's talking to the school's biggest nerds — Jo and Rico know more about their teachers than their peers. "So you guys go to school, then you come here and study?" Yep, Jo and Rico are useless. But what about Lacey?
Sure, Lacey and Danny aren't exactly on speaking terms, but maybe he can get her another bag of Doritos and they can bond over their shared hatred of Glee? It seemed to work the first time. However, Lacey is way too stressed over the statement she has to give Chief Masterson for a nom-sesh on Danny's floor.
It looks like Chief Masterson is collecting statements from every student who went to Regina's party, and Lacey is up next. At first, Lacey does what any terrified teenage does and lies, telling the Chief she went home after dropping drunk Jo off at their house. It might have worked if Danny's mom Karen hadn't already told Chief Masterson that Lacey spent the night at the Desai residence. Lacey comes clean about that night, telling Jo's dad that she slept over at Danny's — but nothing happened. She was too embarrassed to tell the truth. But that wasn't the only bit of info Lacey tells the Chief; she also says Regina got the necklace sometime last spring. Would that have been around the same time as Vikram Desai's reported suicide?
Needless to say, after that embarrassing confession, Lacey isn't exactly lining up to give Danny a friendly hug. She thinks he's the one who told the Chief about their little sleepover, and she's furious. Danny, however, knows who's really to blame — his mom. Enter Karen Desai, still as fabulous and slightly tipsy as ever. (Have we ever seen her without a wine glass in her hand?)
But Karen has something she wants to confront Danny about, too. Chief Masterson knows someone someone moved the photo of Terra, and if Karen can't find it, that gives him reason to suspect Danny. It also gives Karen a reason to suspect Danny. She knows Masterson is after the necklace, the one that was previously owned by her sister-in-law, and she's starting to put the pieces together. Danny tells Karen he got rid of the photo because it reminded him of the traumatic day everything changed. He can't possibly move on if there are constant reminders of Aunt Terra.
Back at school, Danny isn't having any luck winning over Lacey and her boyfriend Archie, either. Danny wants to rekindle his friendship with Lacey, but she would rather he stay away from her. Meanwhile, Jo is on a mission to "blend in" after her discussion with Danny. She wants to meet new people and try new things, which unfortunately means ditching her chemistry partner Rico for mean girl Sarita. Jo soon realizes that fitting in with the popular kids is a lot harder when you're in the "Free Danny Desai Club." So she tries her hand at extracurricular activities — and brings Danny along for the ride.
He's on a mission to talk to Lacey, and she's trying to fit in, so obviously, joining Phoebe's Sobriety Awareness Day PSA is the best idea ever, right? Wrong. The script is a total mess, and no one is particularly happy with the new volunteers — except for Phoebe, who doesn't care as long as she has more minions to boss around. Danny can see the play is stressing Lacey out, so he decides to help out be re-writing the entire script — because what else was he doing in juvie besides washing his luscious locks, growing facial hair, and writing short stories? — into a story of forgiveness.
Phoebe loves the darker script, but Danny has two conditions: one, he wants to help direct, and two, Jo gets the lead role. How's that for fitting in, amirite? Archie isn't too happy with the last-minute changes. "You manipulate other people to make them like you so you can get what you want. That's what you do. You're a sociopath." Well, someone was paying attention during psychology!
Archie knows Danny is trying to get closer to Lacey, and he even suspects that Danny has a crush on her, and Danny was pretty unconvincing in his denial. (Dacey is REAL, y'all!) The school jock apparently gets so fed up with Danny, that he quits the PSA, conveniently leaving an open spot for Danny to join Jo and Lacey on stage. We know Jo, Danny, and Lacey are talking about drunk driving, but the hidden subtext of the entire dialogue was forgiveness — Danny wants everyone to forgive him for what happened, to move on. Sadly, the tender moment among our Holy Trinity is cut short by a video, which can only be described as an autotuned remix of Jo's "Free Danny Desai" speech. Humiliated, Jo runs off the stage, and Rico goes after her.
Lacey knows Sarita is behind the prank, but as far as Sarita is concerned, Danny killed her best friend, so she has a right to be angry and Danny and his No. 1 cheerleader, Jo. Lacey tells Danny that she had nothing to do with the video, and he believes her. Meanwhile, he tells Archie he doesn't want to fight anymore; he's just trying to "blend in." Archie tells Danny that he's never blend in, he'll always be the murderer. So, logically, Danny joins the soccer team, which can only mean more heated confrontations with Archie. Yay, testosterone!
Speaking of Archie, Jo and Rico realize that Lacey's boyfriend wasn't exactly truthful about his whereabouts during the night of Regina's murder. He says he went home to rest up before a big game, but it turns out he actually borrowed Scott's car. So why did Archie need Scott's car? Did he go back to Regina's house after the party? Is he trying to frame Danny? Jo and Rico better act fast because Chief Masterson has already found the evidence he needed to suspect Danny of Regina's murder — a photo of Aunt Terra wearing the same necklace that was stolen from Regina. Could this missing link tie Danny to both murders?
— "That Phoebe is a perky demon monster." Archie is full of perfect one-liners.
— "You have me doing chemistry with someone who uses birth control!"
— "It's like she's giving my soul a STD."
— "But my mother is still the same, still screwing up my life, but in new, more interesting ways."
— "Yeah, I just tweeted that this thing is going to be awful... lowering expectations, duh."
— "Drinking alone, mother?" "It's only my second glass."
— Phoebe might be my favorite character. She's like Taylor Townsend 2.0, and it's amazing.
— There is so much chemistry between Danny and Lacey that it's kind of unfair to poor Jo. Friend-zoned for sure, but at least you have Rico! #Dacey4eva
— Sarita is a total bitch, but I kind of love it. In fact, is anyone on Twisted truly unlikable? Sure, Sarita is a bitch, but she's hilarious and, therefore, slightly more likable. OK, pulling an "autotune the news" of Jo wasn't cool (in fact, it was downright nasty), but Jo did take her part in the school PSA — not to mention Sarita really believes Danny killed her best friend. She's not going to be Jo and Danny's BFF anytime soon.
— Another week, another knitted beanie on top of Jo's matted little head. Is this supposed to mean she's edgy or something?
— #TeamRico. Is anyone else hoping he somehow hooks up with Phoebe?
— Danny joined the soccer team, which is just another reason why Twisted reminds me of The OC. Ryan Atwood = Danny; Marissa Cooper = Lacey; Seth Cohen = Rico; Taylor Townsend = Phoebe; Anna Stern = Jo.
Are you watching Twisted? What are some of your theories? Do you think Danny is innocent? Sound off in the comments! Catch the next episode on Tuesday, July 2 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC Family.