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The Crowded Room Episode 9 Recap

Episode 9 of The Crowded Room explores the family conflict that led to Danny’s fractured psyche, and the revelation will have your heart bleeding all over the floor.

As we near the finale of Apple TV’s The Crowded Room series, revelations abound, and as seen in this week’s episode, they abound through pain and suffering. If the events of Episode 8 hit you like an arrow through the heart, the events of Episode 9 will leave you standing open-mouthed, watching your pierced heart bleed out all over the floor as it explores the family conflicts that led to Danny’s fractured psyche.

This week, Danny heads to trial, where it’s crucial that Stan (Christopher Abbott) and Rya (Amanda Seyfried) must prove two things: multiple personality disorder (MPD) does exist, and Danny has it. To prove this, though, they must first provide evidence of severe childhood trauma, which Rya says is the catalyst that caused Danny’s psyche to splinter. For that, they need Candy to testify.

So far in the series, we haven’t seen or heard as much from Candy (Emmy Rossum) as we’d perhaps like to where her son is concerned. If you’ll remember, we didn’t even see or hear much from her where Marlin’s (Will Chase) obvious abuse of Danny in the first few episodes was concerned. Episode 9 tells us why: Marlin. He’s a real piece of work, that one—a sadistic sleazebag who feeds on intimidating and manipulating those around him just to watch them suffer.

The episode opens with a peek at what Candy’s life is like at home with Marlin. She literally takes care of everything: cooking for Marlin, cleaning up after Marlin, feeding Marlin, running errands for Marlin, agreeing with Marlin, tolerating nonsense from Marlin—even hiding from Marlin by locking herself in the bathroom just to read about her son in hidden newspaper clippings and cry. It’s clear she is miserable, but it’s even clearer she is just another one of his victims suffering in silence.

loud and clear reviews the crowded room episode 9 apple tv+ series show
Christopher Abbott and Amanda Seyfried in episode 9 of The Crowded Room, now streaming on Apple TV+.(Apple TV+)

As Danny’s trial begins, the courtroom tension is palpable with both the district attorney and Stan pleading their cases to the jury. The D.A. (Carmen Ejogo) comes out swinging, noting how strong and irrefutable the evidence is against Danny, then mocking his defense claim of MPD. She claims no such thing exists and if it did, who’s to say any criminal can’t use the claim to lessen or negate a prison sentence?

When Stan has the floor, he admits he was just as in denial about MPD as anyone until he opened his mind to different possibilities. He then requests the jury consider Danny’s case with an open mind as he explains Danny’s alters developed out of past trauma to help him survive the emotional confusion of childhood sexual abuse. He doesn’t need imprisonment; he needs a hospital.

While Stan successfully makes his case, he and Rya still face a huge problem in proving their argument: Danny never technically admitted to Rya it was he who was sexually abused; he always claimed it was Adam. Stan and Rya both know they need Candy to testify in order to prove this, because as a mother, she should know. They both proceed with separate attempts to bring her in, to no avail, despite the subpoena.

When Marlin testifies, he portrays himself as a kind, loving soul who only ever tried to help Danny. The master manipulator he is, Marlin makes the jury believe Danny is a lost cause, saying Danny does questionable things simply because that’s who he is. Without shame, Marlin says he tried to love and protect Danny like he was his own son—a lie the prosecution uses to try and strengthen their case.

Back home, Marlin attempts to prove this emotional connection with Danny to Candy, but she doesn’t buy it. After dinner when he falls asleep, the phone rings and it’s Danny. This is the first time since his arrest his mother has spoken to him, and when she hears his voice and he breaks down and apologizes, saying that whatever happened to him is his own fault, Candy makes the decision to attend the trial.

When she does, she walks in to hear Angelo (Stephen Barrington) testify against Danny, telling the jury Danny seemed normal but admits he is, “the craziest SOB I know.” When Annabelle (Emma Laird) testifies, she notes Danny seemed like two different people at times. The D.A. uses this to try and prove Danny’s history of violence in addition to the time he tried to shoot Angelo at the Ghost House.

Outside the courtroom, Rya again makes every effort to get Candy to testify, but she refuses and walks away. Stan and Rya know they’ll lose the case and Danny will “go away for the rest of his natural-born life” if Candy doesn’t testify. Rya continues making a case about the presence of Danny’s alters and how their presence was his way of seeking help to avoid the pain, recalling what Jack said to Danny about the fear of pain being worse than the actual pain itself.

Is this why Candy isn’t testifying? Perhaps. But what is the actual truth, and where does it begin? Throughout the series, there’s been a huge mystery surrounding Danny’s father and where he is. We never see him in Danny’s memories, so is he dead or just in hiding?

When Rya takes the stand, the D.A. destroys her, suggesting she’s only using Danny and his case to get famous and secure funding for mental health research and tenure, leaving Rya feeling hopeless about helping Danny survive. Then, in a pivotal moment in the story, Candy follows Rya into a bar. As the two women engage in a final conversation, Rya figures it out and tells Candy, “You and Danny were prey, and I suspect Marlin isn’t the first predator in your life.”

This is huge, because we’re now left to consider that maybe Danny’s father didn’t leave him and Candy; they left him. Why? Was he, not Marlin, the first person to sexually abuse Danny? If so, this would mean Danny’s father is the source of his MPD and that he’s responsible for paving the way for predators (like Marlin) to take advantage of Danny’s innocent, sweet nature. Now we begin to have a deeper understanding of what all contributed to Danny’s condition. I don’t know how childhood sexual abuse can get any more horrifying, but it just did.

The next morning after Marlin leaves for work, we see Candy dressing for court and packing her bags. We’re hopeful she’s going to do the right thing and defend her son, then leave Marlin. As she steps onto the courthouse elevator and the doors begin to close, who appears to intimidate her? Marlin. He tells her to consider what’ll happen if she testifies: you’ll be the source of gossip, you’ll lose your husband, you’ll lose yourself.

Our hopes are dashed when Candy lies on the stand and says that no, Danny was never sexually abused.

“He was always too sensitive … too tender,” she claims before stating that he was never abused, that they were all each other ever had. This begs the question of what actually happened to Adam. Was the boys’ father abusing them both and went too far with Adam in an act that left him lifeless? Is that when Candy finally left?

The look on Danny’s face when he hears his mother lie echoes the pain and abandonment he feels. If he can’t trust his own mother, who can he trust? As Candy steps down from the witness stand, she walks right past her son without ever looking at him—an act which destroys any part of himself Danny had left. As he follows her with his eyes and his gaze is never met, he hangs his head in sadness … then slowly looks up with an entirely different countenance.

That evening, while back in his jail cell, it’s clear Jonny is present as he pulls back the sheet on his bed, digs into a slit in his mattress, and pulls out the binder clip he took from medical at the end of Episode 8. Jonny breaks the clip apart and does just what we hoped would never happen: he slits his wrists. As blood oozes down his palms and drips from his fingertips, he lays his head on his pillow, closes his eyes, and the screen fades to black.

Will he survive? If so, who will survive, Danny or the alters? And what will the court’s judgment be? Tune in next week for one explosive finale.

Watch on Apple TV

The Crowded Room Episode 9 is now streaming on Apple TV+.

The Crowded Room Episode 10 Recap – Loud And Clear Reviews
Recap: The Crowded Room ’s Episode 10 finally exposes the whole truth behind Danny’s jigsaw psyche as we learn the fate of his future.
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