The Crowded Room Episode 9 Recap: “Family” Shows How Hard It Is for Abuse Victims to Leave

Danny escorted by a guard through the courtroom in The Crowed Room Episode 9
Apple TV+ / Screenshot

The following recap contains spoilers for The Crowded Room Episode 9, “Family,” on Apple TV+

Editor’s Note: This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn’t exist.

Wow. What the fuck? These are a few things going through my mind after watching this episode. I really haven’t been this angry at a television character for a long time if ever, but here we are. The episode is called “Family” but it appears by the end, Danny doesn’t have any left.


Candy is washing dishes, mainly in a daze when the phone rings. When Marlin questions why she isn’t answering, she blames it on a magazine salesman harassing the neighborhood. Later, he accuses her of “screwing someone” when she neglects to answer again. It’s not a salesman or a side piece but mostly Stan trying to get a hold of Candy, with hopes of having her testify in defense of her child. However, she avoids his calls and subsequent subpoena, which he tells Rya is a crime.

Marlin makes it clear to Candy that she is not to answer the phone until the trial is over. In every scene they are together, Candy goes between appearing scared and then obvious annoyance. She never truly speaks up for herself or her son.

It does appear she is struggling though. She sneaks into the bathroom at night, where hidden under the vanity is a folder with newspaper clippings about Danny and his trial. She grabs a paper with a photo of Danny and holds it to her heart while crying. I was hoping as a mother, she would do the right thing.

Marlin testifies (more on that later) and comes home having the nerve to ask Candy how he looked. After throwing her child under the bus in court.

Why did Ariana have such bad aim? Just saying.

The phone rings again while Marlin is asleep. Candy rushes over to answer and quickly declares they she will not testify. It is Danny who I’m sure is hurt to hear those words come from his mother’s mouth. Candy is shocked and tells Danny she meant to come see him. He says he’s sorry and she tells him it’s not his fault. He apologizes again and hangs up.

Candy sits in the courtroom in The Crowded Room Episode 9
Apple TV+ / Screenshot

This apparently moves her enough that she shows up in the courtroom the next day. She sits quietly in the back where no one can see her.

Rya runs into her on the way out of the bathroom and tries to speak with her and Candy gets frustrated and questions what “you people” want from her and leaves.

By that point, my blood is at a simmer with this woman.

The next day Candy returns to the courtroom and later runs into Stan at a hot dog stand. He tells her they are going to lose and that their defense of Multiple Personality Disorder rests on proving Danny was sexually abused and right now they can’t prove it. He pleads with her to take the stand and tell everyone what happened to Danny. He says he can ask the judge to find her in contempt for ignoring the subpoena. She tells him to go for it.

The Trial

The prosecution makes its opening statements. I know it’s her job, but the district attorney is another character who makes me want to throw my TV. She goes on to say the evidence they have on Danny is irrefutable and the only thing not available is doubt. She closes with Multiple Personality Disorder being a made-up condition from a Sally Field movie and that wouldn’t life be great if we could all blame our mistakes on an alter.

Stan is next and I adore him. I believe his opening was spontaneous and from the heart. He plays off of some of what the D.A. said and contradicts her. He tells the jury it is easy to make flying nun jokes, but it’s hard to keep an open mind. He goes on about Danny’s abuse and that we all have a societal responsibility to take care of the most hurt and vulnerable. Everybody has failed Danny including his family (I’m glaring at you, Candy). He asks for the jury to spare him prison and help him get the help he needs in a hospital.

Stan fixes Danny's tie in The Crowded Room Episode 9
Apple TV+ / Screenshot

Marlin is up on the stand and the prosecution is questioning him. He claims he loves Danny and doesn’t want to give up on him despite him always stealing from him and doing drugs. He didn’t turn him in after the shooting because he is like a real son to him. Rya is disgusted the whole time. At one point Marlin looks to Danny and Danny can’t keep eye contact and looks away.

Next week have the drug dealer, Mr. Ruiz. He testifies to Danny chasing him with a bat and then shooting him. Stan, who is trying to prove Danny wasn’t the one on all these occasions, asks Mr. Ruiz if Danny ever seemed normal. Ruiz says Danny is the “craziest son a bitch he knows.”

It’s Annabelle’s turn on the stand. The D.A. questions her about the night of the shooting in the house. She said she never thought he was capable of murder until that night. Stan is next to question her. She says Danny was never violent and never her made her feel unsafe, if anything he was quiet and shy. The D.A. isn’t pleased and asks Annabelle one more thing. Has Danny ever on any other occasion acted violently? Annabelle tells them about the time Danny beat up her boyfriend in high school. The D.A. walks away with a smug look on her face.

My man Jerome takes the stand. He talks about Ariana and how unique and wonderful she was. He explains that Ariana and Danny are not the same people and that Danny is a stranger to him. Then the smug bitch starts her line of questioning. She brings up the sex they had in the bathroom and basically asks how well can you possibly know someone if your only intimacy is in a bathroom stall. I was hoping he didn’t testify because I knew she would use that against them.

Rya takes the stand and explains what Multiple Personality Disorder is and that it comes strictly when a child is abused sexually. She explains when it happens to a child and when it’s someone they know and trust, their mind can’t reconcile the two things and it breaks into pieces. Candy is seated in the back staring sadly at Danny.

The D.A. verbally attacks Rya. She brings up the research grant and that Rya is up for tenure. She accuses her of using Danny to propel her career. Danny and Candy both sit shocked as if Rya is the problem all of a sudden. Rya denies any of it but then the D.A. brings up her sexual affair with Detective Doyle and poses her last question of “Did Danny ever admit to being sexually abused?” and since Danny never admitted he himself was abused and only Adam, Rya has to say no.

She leaves the courthouse in tears and makes her way to a local restaurant.

The End

Candy follows Rya into the Restaurant and accuses her of using her son. Candy goes on to say that everyone wants to accuse her of letting Danny down but in actuality it’s not her, it’s all of them. Her denial is unbelievable at this point.

Rya tells her she gave Danny everything she has and her heart is broken, but her conscience is clear. Candy says hers is as well. Rya tells her she wouldn’t have come here if it were. She then tells Candy she doesn’t blame her for anything.

Candy calls bullshit but Rya begins to tell her about a previous patient who was abused by multiple men by the time she was 19. She goes on to explain that victims of abuse get away just to be abused again by someone new. That it is the way of nature for some and that abusers are adept at finding and grooming their prey. None of it is the victim’s fault and none of it is under the victim’s control.

Candy is crying and the conversation leads me to believe Candy was abused as a child as well and that it carried on into her adulthood when abusive men could sense it and prey on her.

Rya tells Candy that she and Danny were hurt and Marlin wasn’t the first predator in her life and that they did nothing to deserve it but Rya hopes that by taking the stand and telling the truth, it will help Candy to stop blaming herself.

Candy is scared of Marlin. Rya asks which she can live with, guilt or grief.

The next day Marlin eats his breakfast while Candy is in her nurse’s uniform for work. He leaves and Candy runs to change her clothes and begins packing her suitcases. Hell yeah, this is the moment I personally was waiting for. Danny deserves her help and she was taking the steps necessary to do it. She looks like a woman on a mission and there is even empowering music in the background.

She gets to the courthouse and enters the elevator where Marlin suddenly squeezes in too. He knows what she’s planning on doing and he doesn’t plan to stop her he claims, but if she says what she’s planning on saying, then the world will forever judge her for allowing that to happen to her child. He reminds her that she will lose her husband, home, and identity.

She walks to the stand and Danny looks so happy that it breaks my heart. When Stan asks her if Danny has ever been sexually abused, she lingers but says no. Gasps all around. He repeats the question and she again, says no. When she leaves the stand, she walks right past Danny and doesn’t even look at him. His face was in agony. Like the last little bit of love and hope he held onto just vanished.

Later, Candy is back home setting the table for a grand dinner. Marlin sits and she serves him as if nothing happened. In the background, “I Remember” by Molly Drake plays. It’s a somber oldie that flows with a melancholy ending. The song plays still as we see Danny sitting on his bunk. He pulls out the clip he stole last week. He uses the sharp metal end to slit his wrists. He sobs for a second and lies down. The blood drips down the side as the episode ends.

I really am not sure who I hated more by the end of this, Candy or the D.A., but at least the D.A. is doing her job. Candy there are just no words for and I’m sure as Rya says, it’s psychological the need to stay with your abuser because it’s what you know, but damn, at your child’s expense? She could’ve had Marlin put away for what he did to Danny. Danny could’ve been set free. They could’ve rebuilt their relationship. So many positives could’ve come from her just doing the right thing but this is what’s left.

I suspected when he stole the clip and said “just in case” that a suicide attempt was the most likely outcome. I’m certain it isn’t successful but sad nonetheless. What does the defense have left to save him? Again, I think Adam is key to everything here. Danny is still protecting himself and it’s going to end badly if he doesn’t realize what happened to him and he needs to be able to tell the jury. One more episode to find out.

Written by Felicia Nickens

Lover of television, film, & the macabre.


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  1. okay, help me out it’s driving me crazy! if Rya knows that Adam is an alter, and therefore IS Danny, how is that not the same as Danny admitting to being abused?? especially if in the eyes of the DA and the jury, the alters aren’t even real. whether they are real or not, they share Danny’s body and what happens to them physically happens to him physically! I do not understand why she wouldn’t tell them that he admitted to his alter, his twin brother alter, being sexually abused by Marlin! wtf! am I missing something!

    • I think there were a few reasons for this.

      1. Danny still hasn’t put that one piece together for himself. He still thinks Adam was his real brother. He doesn’t realize Adam was another alter. For Ray to drop that bomb on him while she is on the stand, could possibly be a catastrophe for Danny. To process all of that in a courtroom. Who knows if the stress of it would allow another alter to take over and rage out. The DA drilled it into the jury that MPD is not real nor recognized by professionals. They would see it as Danny being violent and unstable and not the result of an alter taking over.

      2. Rya is being honest. When you testify you are swearing an oath to tell the truth and the truth is Danny never admitted to being sexually assaulted. He truly doesn’t believe he was. He believes his brother was. As a collective audience I believe we think it was silly for her not to mention that he thinks Adam was abused but that’s because Adam was an alter created to handle the abuse. But again, the damage it could’ve done to Danny in the moment could have had severe consequences. And who is to say anyone would believe it.

      I think Candy would have been more believable because she is his mom and to admit to sexual abuse would put her in an extremely bad light as a mom, so why would she lie? She would probably have been believed which is why she was so important but she couldn’t do it. It makes me angry but on the flip side I have never been in an abusive situation so I couldn’t speak on how I’d react. We like to think we would protect our kids but history has proven that not all parents do.

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