The Crowded Room Episode 5 Recap: “Savior” Is a Sad Look at Grooming

Danny and Adam talk on the school bus.
Screenshot / Apple TV+

The following recap contains spoilers for The Crowded Room Episode 5, “Savior” on Apple TV+

I am excited to see that the story is pushing ahead at full speed. Episode 5 is another short episode of The Crowded Room, but it packs an emotional punch and fills in some missing pieces. This is my favorite so far. While I can’t stand the thought of Danny being abused, seeing how it all began was interesting to me.

I’ll start with Danny pre-Marlin. Rya sits with Danny who is reluctant to talk. Rya asks to go back to when he was little and asks for a happy memory. Danny flashes back to him and Adam lying in bed, discussing baseball. I noticed Adam and Danny were nearly identical and wondered if they were twins. Maybe he mentioned that before, but I just recall him mentioning his “brother Adam.”

According to Danny, their father had custody of Adam while Danny remained with his mother. This meant that Danny’s first day back at school would be alone and that Adam wouldn’t be there to protect him. He was right to be scared. Some little shit decides to ask Danny for 10 cents to buy a cookie. Danny only had the kind of money that folds and says they can get change. The kid says he’ll pay him back as he purchases every cookie from the container and passes them to his friends. They are amused as the kid shoves Danny and calls him a loser. Danny loses his shit and starts tossing baked goods all about. No one gets hurt but it’s a trip to the principal’s office for Danny and not the actual bully. Figures.

Back at home, Danny’s mom is making him a sandwich before she has to leave for her second job at the bar. Danny begs her to stay or to let him come with her. She says no at first and goes to the bedroom to undress. Things get a little weird. Danny stands in the doorway staring at her while she takes off everything except her knickers and brassiere. He then walks in and lights her cigarette. All of this seems normal to her and she agrees to let him go with her to work. I realize they have a close relationship at this point, but I’m sure her being OK with him watching her just adds to his crazy. Let’s not forget he even picks out her outfit. Weird.

Danny and his mom ride in a convertible in The Crowded Room Episode 5, "Savior"
Screenshot / Apple TV+

At the bar, Danny is chilling with a soda when a young black gentleman begins speaking to him. It’s a cute conversation about dinosaurs and the Museum of Natural History. No biggie. That is until the racist white guy playing pool notices. He begins to talk shit and Danny’s mom urges him to come to her side. The black man agrees and tells Danny to listen to his mom. The white dude is offended by this and the two men begin to fight. Blood splashes on Danny as he watches from the side.

Back in the present, Danny tells Rya he believes he was marked by the blood that night and that according to Judaism and Shakespeare, blood spilled in violence has magical powers that can ward off evil or summon it. I’m going to assume he meant the latter.

Here Comes Evil

Now onto Marlin. Marlin works at a detention center for the youth. There is a troubled kid in his office and Marlin speaks to him like he is his buddy. He even agrees to not tell anyone that the kid has contraband. It’s their little secret. It doesn’t get too detailed or graphic, but is a subtle way of showing how he must be grooming the kids housed there. I felt so bad watching it because these kids just have no clue what they are in for.

At the bar, on a separate night, Marlin comes in for a drink. Danny’s mom is the waitress and they begin flirting. Immediately, they hit it off. Marlin has lunch with Danny and his mom and all seems like it is working out. Danny’s mom tells him that they need a savior. Oddly enough, Marlin “saves” Danny from another pedophile.

Danny’s teacher asks him to stay after class one day. He sits a little too close and tries to rub his hand on Danny. Marlin walks in and chastizes the teacher. Ironic huh?

At this point, it is so easy to feel for Danny. As a viewer, we know what is coming and it’s terrifying to imagine a child having just escaped one attempted assault entering into another just hours apart.

Danny and his teacher sitting close in The Crowded Room Episode 5, "Savior"
Screenshot / Apple TV+

Yes, after Marlin takes Danny away from the teacher, he takes him and Adam (who just happened to be in the car waiting for them) on a drive. They end up at a large barn. Marlin encourages Danny to follow him inside. Danny is reluctant. I’m sure his gut was telling him to run, but as a kid, you are told to listen to the adults. He also didn’t want to mess things up for his mom since Marlin was making her happy. Poor kid.

Adam comes up to Danny and tells him not to worry, that he will take his place, and walks into the barn. Danny tells Rya that every time Marlin took him there, Adam took the abuse for him. Rya asks how he died but Danny won’t answer and redirects back to Ariana and the shooting at Rockefeller Center.

I think it’s clear now that Adam isn’t real. I was kind of holding onto hope that he was. The lack of acknowledgment from his mom and Marlin when Adam was around, was telling, but what sealed the deal was him taking Danny’s place at the barn the first time and every time after. Just another alter.

What is interesting is that Adam was there before Marlin even entered the picture. Was Danny abused by his own father previously? Did his mom abuse him? Something happened to bring Adam out. I’m sure he was being bullied at school long before the bake sale since Adam was the one who protected him at school. I don’t think that’s enough of a trauma to conjure up an alternate personality, but I’m no expert.

I said it before but I think Adam will be the key to Danny facing the truth about what happened to him. As far as he believes, Adam was the one being abused, not him. Once he is able to remember what happened and that Adam isn’t real, I think he will work with Rya to try and integrate. What I am hoping for (for the drama factor) is that he realizes this all while on the stand during his trial. It would make for some good television. We’ll see what happens next week.

Written by Felicia Nickens

Lover of television, film, & the macabre.


Leave a Reply
  1. Isn’t the thing that brought Adam out his Dad leaving? That’s my interpretation. Their discussions are all about his Dad leaving, only Adam getting to see their Dad, stories of exciting life in London. I’m not sensing abuse before this point.

    • It could definitely be his dad leaving but to me that doesn’t seem traumatic enough to produce a protective alter. Then again some people experience extreme trauma and are still able to cope just fine. I suppose that’s what’s fascinating about the mind. What causes one person to handle the same situation as another so differently? Pain in unique in that way. Maybe the dad was abusive to his mom and he witnessed it? I’m sure we will learn more.

  2. Clearly I’m months late to this party lol. Only found out about the show in November but it’s so eerie how spot on your recaps were. Almost like you wrote the episodes! Not sure if you caught it then (I’ve rewatched this at least 10 times) but the boy who bullied Danny as a kid is the same Bill who was an ass to him in high school.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *