Episode 7 of Apple TV+’s The Crowded Room brings us deep into Danny’s fractured mind and unearths some startling revelations.
This recap contains spoilers for Episode 7 of The Crowded Room.
Episode 7 of The Crowded Room is, by far, the best episode in the series! Not only does it hold some pretty big revelations both for us as viewers and for Danny (Tom Holland), but it also features some outstanding performances from Tom Holland and gives us an idea of just how big a battle Rya is facing in trying to legally prove Danny is mentally ill. In this recap, I’m going to keep the focus solely on Danny and what he’s experiencing. For all the subtext, you’ll have to watch the full episode!
Episode 7 confirms that Danny does, in fact, have multiple personalities, only he’s completely unaware of any of them. If you remember, in Episode 6, Rya meets Jack (Jason Isaacs) and learns he isn’t real; he is just a figment of Danny’s fractured mind. This confirms her theory of other identities. Here, we find out just how many there are, and when and why they showed up as we’re finally taken deep into the heart of Danny’s splintered psyche where his various personalities fight to protect him.
Now, I have to say that the confirmation of multiple personality disorder comes as no real surprise, because the series started dropping those breadcrumbs as far back as Episode 2. The sheer existence of multiple personalities explains the significance behind The Crowded Room’s title: Danny’s room (head) is indeed crowded, and now we know why.
Episode 7 opens on the day of a solar eclipse with Pink Floyd’s megahit “Time” guiding us gently back into Danny’s story and I must say, what a brilliant song choice for this episode of this particular series. It works really really well and is used at key moments throughout to reinforce that which Danny does not have. I can’t boast enough about the genius of this song selection and placement.
In the interrogation room, Rya (Amanda Seyfried) tells Danny eclipses are “harbingers of rebirth,” according to Carl Jung, of whom Danny is not aware. I love the use of metaphor here, because Danny absolutely experiences an awakening and subsequent rebirth after Rya confronts him with his truth when she plays for him the videotape Matty (Thomas Sadoski) gave her, proving that no one will ever find Ariana (Sasha Lane) because she doesn’t exist. The tape is security camera footage from the shooting showing Ariana was never at Rockefeller Center. Danny was the sole shooter. The disbelief in his eyes in this scene is just shattering.
As Danny begins to panic and freak out, his protective personality, Yitzhak (Lior Raz), appears and takes control by touching Danny’s shoulder and telling him to “sleep.” He then angrily wreaks havoc on the interrogation room and, through a thick Israeli accent, threatens Rya, warning her about her actions, telling her she’s made a big mistake. Before things get out of hand, though, Mike (Sam Vartholomeos)—Danny’s charming jock friend from high school—takes over and calms the situation before guards return Danny to his cell. And now we know Mike was never real; neither was Danny’s magician friend Jonny (Levon Hawke).
While all of that is going on, something important is happening with Danny as he sleeps: he confronts his trauma. We see him lying in a field watching the eclipse when he looks over his shoulder and spots the barn where Marlin (Will Chase) frequently abused his brother, Adam (Zachary Golinger). This time, he goes inside and symbolically enters the most traumatic event he ever witnessed as a child. In doing so, he confronts the truth that what he saw was so traumatizing, it changed him and caused his personality to splinter, and that’s why his identities are all there, in that barn, together.
In that barn, Danny discovers a giant hole in the floor that opens up to a cavernous labyrinth of rooms within a weak, crumbling structure—no doubt a metaphor for Danny’s fragile psyche. As he descends some stairs with cautious innocence, he comes across Yitzhak, Jack, Jonny, and Mike all together in the same room (i.e., the crowded room). They all see and speak to Danny except for Yitzhak, who is standing in a spotlight cussing and flailing his arms at Rya back in the interrogation room. In a split second of confusion, Danny is fast asleep.
When Danny re-awakens, he is Johnny and offers some much-needed levity, which, like Pink Floyd, is well placed and timed, as he lightheartedly peruses through the cafeteria at breakfast looking for “some blow.” When he asks the wrong inmate for cocaine, he gets the crap beaten out of him … until Yitzhak takes over and destroys the inmate with some of the strongest punches and kicks to the face I’ve ever seen coming from such a little dude like Holland.
This fight scene, while short-lived, is quite fun to watch for the fighting and the personality changes. As the guards rush in to subdue Danny (Yitzhak), Jack emerges to smooth things over. I must say, Holland’s fluctuations between personalities are fluid and effortless. He’s really fascinating to watch—much like Edward Norton in Primal Fear, James McAvoy in Split, and Sally Field in Sybil are.
Meanwhile, Rya’s hopes of convincing a judge, the district attorney, and a renowned psychologist of Danny’s mental illness are dashed when Jack takes control of the entire pre-trial hearing and convinces everyone, except for Rya, that all is well, and Danny is sane and in his right mind. He makes her look like a fool.
Back in Danny’s psyche, tensions rise as his identities argue with Jack that Rya’s advice might just have merit: Maybe they should leave (i.e., die) so Danny can stand on his own two feet, Yitzhak says. In a shocking turn of events, Jack shoots and kills Yitzhak, who disappears from the room. Jack believes “the system” is breaking down, that Rya is “a liar,” and they cannot let Danny talk to her anymore; thus emerges “the plan” to keep Danny and Rya separated by never allowing him the spotlight. When Danny awakens again, he finds Ariana next to him in the barn, and that’s when he finally learns and tries to accept his truth.
“We’re all you,” she explains to Danny as she shows him the spotlight where each personality takes over for Danny when he’s in trouble. “We come when you need help or when you’re feeling lonely or scared. I take your loneliness. Being close to others is painful for you.”
Ariana then leads Danny down to a basement full of standing water and bodies … lots and lots of bodies who, we find out, are the “undesirables”—other personalities that Danny created but had no purpose to serve. Here, Yitzhak now sits. Ariana then tells Danny that what happened in that barn with Marlin made him want to die; instead, he broke, and his personality splintered into other identities.
This is the revelation that confirms, at least for me, that Marlin was, in fact, abusing Danny in that barn, not Adam. Adam was showing up around Marlin because Danny was scared. Now, all the questions around when and how Adam appeared in previous episodes seem to have an answer. Adam did die at some point (because of Marlin?) but after that became one of Danny’s identities.
The personalities try to convince Danny to keep his distance from Rya because she “wants to kill” them and, “if we die, you die, too.” Then, in a most manipulative effort, which is just heartbreaking because it comes from the very identities Danny created and most trusts, they convince him not to plead insanity.
In the last scene of the episode, Danny finally awakens and emerges, shakily begging Rya for help.
“Help. Please,” he nearly cries. “There are voices in my head. Help me.”
Rya replies, “I’m here,” and the episode ends.
Talk about bone-chilling! What will happen next? Tune in next Friday, July 14, to find out!
The Crowded Room Episode 7 is now streaming on Apple TV+.