Twisted Season 1 Finale Review: Just Say No to Jo

By Lily Sparks

Apr 02, 2014

Twisted S01E19: "A Tale of Two Confessions"

What do you do with a show like Twisted? It has a phenomenal—honestly, phenomenal cast. Great production values. Cozy-ass setting. Fantastic, witty dialogue. It’s admirably conscientious about representation, and one of those rare teen shows that both acknowledges and supports gay romantic storylines. But unfortunately the writers’ room is determined to kill all suspense, which is strange considering suspense is possibly the most crucial element in a weekly mystery-thriller.

As I mentioned in my review of Twisted's winter premiere, the series excised a lot of what was unique about it when it revealed that charismatic Danny had never been a child murderer. Gone was a lot of the edgy tension that had set Twisted apart from a thousand other teen dramas. Danny was no longer an enigma, he was a wronged hero... and kind of unbelievably noble? Still, the show could have coasted by on its love triangle and soapier elements; there was enough of a fanbase for Lacey, Danny, and Jo as characters that the writers could have teased their various relationships indefinitely. But no, now they’ve gone and undermined THAT tension, too. Danny told Jo she was “always the one,” to which I say:

Maddie Hasson is a good actress doing a fine job, but Jo as written is well-nigh unendurable. Jo shrilly defended Danny at every turn when she thought he was a sociopathic murderer, but after she learned for a FACT he had not killed his aunt AND witnessed him killing Vikram in self defense, at THAT point she turned on him and told him he was a pre-meditated murderer and as bad as his father? Way to blow a season's worth of character-building AND make your proxy look extremely petty, show.

Adding to my frustration with Jo is that no matter many times Lacey tried to renew their friendship, Jo started sucking her teeth over the friendship they COULD have had, if Lacey had not grown as a person between ages of 11 and 16. While Jo can forgive Danny for just about anything, Jo's anger toward Lacey is as bottomless as her sweater drawer. And let's be real, Jo has the most comfortable situation on this show, even if she devotes all her time to pitying herself for getting her ass involved with other people’s problems. I’m sure whoever broke this season’s arc thought Jo would be the lovable, loyal underdog we’d all be rooting for in the face of the stereotypical "pretty-girl bitch" Lacey, but if that's the case, Lacey Porter was woefully miscast, because Kylie Bunbury has made the character so damned likable.

Bunbury has delivered a consistently nuanced, sympathetic, and endearing portrait of Lacey that’s turned a “popular mean girl” stereotype into something vulnerable, unique, and very human. Lacey and Danny have insane chemistry, and despite the fact Danny and Jo have lied to her at every turn, she’s been more loyal to Danny than even Jo has been. For Danny to consistently shun, cold-shoulder, and ultimately desert Lacey in favor of the increasingly petulant Jo not only felt disconnected to what we were seeing onscreen, but sort of hilarious. I mean, the premise is that these three are Ultimate Best Friends, except neither Danny nor Jo ever talks to Lacey, apparently? Lacey is a compelling character and watching her be left out in every episode since the winter premiere felt like a  contradiction of the relationship-building she and Danny had done. If there is one lesson this show wants you to walk away with, it’s that lying to protect people WILL ONLY HURT THEM.

As for Danny: Let me say upfront, Avan Jogia is a classic romantic lead in the style of Clark Gable and Brad Pitt. He’s got that swagger. But Danny's gone from being a suave vessel for Jogia’s charm to becoming an indefensible loony who's too neurotically hung up on his own moral purity to ever, ever stop complaining. It's really saying something that both Jo and Lacey, his diehard childhood forever-friends, got completely fed up with him this season for categorically refusing to chill.

Sure, when he was (unfairly) treated as a sociopath, Danny’s angst was understandable. But after he was cleared for murder, pushed his dad off a cliff purely in SELF DEFENSE, and gotten a cool $10 million in the bargain, Danny’s tetchiness seemed almost on the verge of OCD. Like, Danny, you killed your dad but honestly it wasn’t your fault. You can finish out high school without spending 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year being secretly moody/angry that people don’t know why you’re moody. Danny’s refusal to enjoy life because he was a “murderer” for not letting his dad kill both himself and Jo was a major weak point in the motivations for the season. Human beings have way more of a sense of self-preservation than that. 

Not to mention the fact that if Danny loved Lacey the way that, to all appearances, he did in the first half of the season, he would've immediately told her all the intricacies of his night at Post Church. He was, at the very least, very good friends with her. But the writers thought it would be more interesting to make Danny purposefully evasive with Lacey, and then wasteful with a $10 million fortune. His thoughtless flippancy with money and other people’s feelings, coupled with his penchant for relaxed-fit formal wear, turned him into a Halloween costume Tommy Wiseau via The Room.

And his reactions to people reaching out to him started feeling like one long, eternally repeating fever dream. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF his interactions with other characters went as follows:

1. Danny acts really weird

2. Friend/parent asks about it

3. Danny gets super evasive

4. Friend/parent tells him he’s being evasive

5. Danny screams, “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!”

6. Friend/parent is like, "Uh, yeah, because you aren’t telling me anything!"

7. Danny is like, “It’s for your own good!”

8. Friend/parent is like, “ZZZZzzzzzzz.”

SO MANY go-nowhere exhanges. If you cut out every time a character said “I need to talk to you,” you’d cut approximately two hours out of this series. And the ensuing conversations just underlined information we already had. If a season of television is a chili burrito, Twisted had so many potatoes in this half-season, by which I mean filler. Anyway, with Danny clouding his charm with insufferable angsty fits and Jo being super “eff you” about everything for no reason and Lacey problematically barred from main storylines, viewers were left to admire Charlie and enjoy Rico and Andie.

I will never stop praising Ashton Moio. He’s a natural, he's hilarious, he's too big for his role. It’s hard to take your eyes off him when he’s onscreen. But he was sucked down into a B-story vortex when a girlfriend with no ties to the main action of the series showed up. Their love story was sweet and naturalistic, but it felt like a disservice to both actors that they were stranded on No-Stakes B-Story Island all season long.

At least there was newcomer Charlie, right? Talk about fantastic casting: Jack Falahee is incredible bro! He managed to be compelling and creepy-yet-intriguing in the grand style of Christian Slater in Heathers, despite having to spout 90 percent exposition at all times. 

Poor Charlie had to spend the last two episodes in an Expository Fugue to help the climax crystallize, undermining the goodwill he’d built with the audience. His backstory became ludicrously improbable: Like, he got arrested and thrown in juvie so he could spend time with Danny, and then fortuitously BECAME DANNY'S ROOMMATE?! What are the odds, writers? What are the odds? (THE ODDS ARE ZERO DUH COME ON NOW.)

I’ll admit that the adoption plotline is so audaciously dark (the first baby died?!?!?! But it wasn’t her baby?!?!!?) and convoluted (thank goodness they decided to sledgehammer that desk) that it’s almost intriguing. Still, it’s also sort of a gothic trope to have a character Become Evil because he or she was given up for adoption, and the whiff of incest was one boundary I frankly didn’t need Twisted to push.

In terms of other newcomers, Jack and Whitney are fair-enough new characters, (Whitney! Another fantastic casting! Brianne Howey is smart and edgy, and you want to believe her even when you know you shouldn’t!) but the father and daughter also had their characters’ tension lopped off at the knees during this finale. "A Tale of Two Confessions" made it clear not only that they’re cartoonish, mustache-twirling baddies but also that they're somehow in cahoots with Charlie? Sure. You know what, if Charlie can randomly end up as Danny’s bunkmate in juvie, I guess in this world anything convenient to annoying the Desai family can happen. 

Charlie’s relation to Jo, Whitney’s chaos, and the Desai family fortune could have been compelling threads, but with Twisted making it clear that Danny is all about Jo, I don’t know if I can sit through that bad romance. Jo is just so completely undeserving of all the under-developed romantic interest being thrown her way, and so inconsistent with how she reacts to it (“Danny Staaaaahp” girl WHAT?! U LOVED HIM ALL UR LIFE), that I’m starting to grind my teeth whenever she walks onscreen. And she walks onscreen a lot! Meanwhile Lacey, who's easily the most compelling female character on the show, is getting exiled to B-story Island with Whitney? The promise of three best friends solving a murder has turned into three best friends constantly worried about Jo Masterson and her family. And frankly, that’s not enough stakes for me.


... Danny being into Jo: a WTF moment?

... Danny being married to his pain: tedious?

... Lacey: relegated too much to sidelines?

... Do you miss Rico? Why can’t he and Andie do cool stuff as well?

... Does Jo as an audience proxy make you want to stop watching?

... Is the adoption storyline so soapy that it’s genius, or what?

... Do you wish Whitney had been left ambiguous a little bit longer?

... Did that post-production gunshot after the credits make you feel unspeakable rage?

... Will you watch a second season of Twisted if it gets renewed?

  • Comments (77)
Add a Comment
In reply to :
  • Savvytvfan91 Nov 13, 2014

    I knew it had been cancelled before I watched the first season but I am so pissed that that is how it ended.

  • joshuabranson5 Jul 22, 2014

    Does that gunshot at the end mean charlie is definitely dead coz he was by far the most interesting character

  • Believe4015 Jun 05, 2014

    The reason Jo turned her back on Danny is because she was her that he was with Lacey when she was in love with him. You can tell from the start that Danny and Jo had something special. This show has helped me understand myself through the characters. Danny stays cool about the murder because he may be a sociopath. The show is still about their friendship and the struggles it brings and the struggles Danny has to deal with. I hope they have a season 2 so we can see how the characters have grown with the events that have happened on the show especially in the last episode.

  • chevalierdherblay3 May 26, 2014

    A humorless, "Clueless", with a Twist. (The Beverly Hills venue, clothes only a Trust funder can afford, spiffy dialogue, and a sinister, convoluted plot...)

    First the bad news: Denise Richards is no actress any longer. She's an emaciated stick figure apparently obsessed with becoming a skeleton. Her legs such as they are look like they will snap like a frozen string bean, and those platform spiky heels that must cost a thousand dollars a shoe are ridiculous on a woman her age. She should have been replaced in episode 2.

    Hung in till episode 14 and then my interest was killed off by the angst Danny acquires after a righteous killing of Vikram, whom we never did come to know ---by what appeared to be a strong character---- however evil he was.

    I could look at Kylie Bunbury forever, she is that attractive and natural (they are all excellent actors though, well cast). Marginalizing her after episode 14 was the coup de gras for me.

    No, I don't want a second season unless the writers are replaced with fresh, somewhat 'sensible surprises' not off the wall crap like Desai acting very very cool while under the suspicion of murder and then acting like an infant when he's cleared. The follow through on that is anti-Danny Desai, completely out of character, as if the original writers handling his role were replaced with interns.

    But give Bunbury a leading role of her own in another series. She at least deserves that shot.

  • Johnny2B Apr 25, 2014

    Repost: This whole 1B was a joke. It was like watching a really, really bad Scooby Doo episode. And I love Scooby Doo. I mean, really. Especially towards the end.
    This is how it went: The whole gang busts in through door and who do they find as the villian: CHARLIE!
    Fred (Danny): Oh, no gang! He's captured Jo! We have to save her!
    Daphne (Lacey): Jeepers Fred (Danny)!
    Velma (Jo): Ahh, Jinkies! Help! (again)
    Scooby and Shaggy (Kyle and Tess): Zoinks! Unhand her you fiend! Reah!!!!

    This was all atrocious.

  • Johnny2B Apr 25, 2014

    Repost: Why does everyone keep saying to "be a fan" and just enjoy the show? Umm, because the characters of the show that drew us in, from the beginning, are being reduced to Sarita level. And why would we sit down and enjoy a show that's focusing on one character for majority of the season? That's silly and ridiculous and it loses it's appeal, hence the low ratings.

    If well known critics and reviewers and unbiased bloggers/viewers are saying the exact same thing Lacey fans are saying, it's time for you Jo fans to stop promoting things that don't work.

  • Johnny2B Apr 25, 2014

    Repost: It is an absolute travesty that Twisted failed to live up to the premise of 3 friends reconnecting/renewing friendships. That the friendship has been demolished for the tired pretense of a boring love triangle. Why must female "friends" be pitted against each other over a boy? The intrigue and uniqueness of the show was gone when 1B turned into the "Jo" show instead of focusing on the a "16 yr old returning from Juvie and trying to reconnect with his 2 childhood friends." TPTB sacrificed originality for mediocre 'teen drama'. Shame, especially with a talented cast being sacrificed. Ratings = fans and critics' disenchantment. Disenchantment does not produce profit dollars when viewers have tuned out.

  • Johnny2B Apr 24, 2014

    Repost: LOL, this all I saw when watching Twisted:

    Vikram – We saw Vikram like what, three times and then boom, dead? WTF? And how many affairs did this guy have? Like, dang. He’s been sleeping with the whole town since high school! And what’s with the company? No other explanations? Is he a spy? A serial killer? A mafia member? Like really? Were/are they ever going to explain this?

    Tara – Still don’t know why Tara died and I pray it’s not because of Charlie because that makes NO freaking sense and this show really doesn't need any more reasons to make LESS sense. Because really, she died because of freaking Charlie and his crazy butt?? What, does he have, the cure to cancer or something? Why would they kill the person who raised him for Charlie? All this drama over Charlie? That’s what they want us to believe?? I can’t even.

    Charlie: This is hat happens when you split children up from the rest of their biological siblings and when you leave children alone too long. Crazy Charlie...

    Regina – Still don’t know why she was killed. Still don’t know why she had Tara’s necklace. Still don’t know why she was paid to keep quiet and still don’t know how she knew Vikram. But uhh, none of that is important anymore! So, moving along…

    Jake and Whitney – Really?? MORE bad people!? How many people in that town are bad or part of that company?!!?!? Like seriously! Holy crap. But I mean, of course they did that to their characters. We all know the show doesn't want Lacey with any friends, lovers, family, good reputation or anything really. And we all know Danny really needs one more frickin thing to screw up his life by taking away the only “good” male role model for him that he’s had recently.

    Tess – For the love of Frickin peace. WHY did they keep showing her AND give her a mini plot? Ahh, that’s right, to keep Jo’s family relevant and continue joining the Desai and Masterson family together. And this whole baby mess?? First it’s a girl she had at a farmhouse upstate, and now it’s a boy because Vikram lied to her but she didn't want to know the sex of the baby but somehow found out the “false” sex of the baby that she was hiding from everyone and that she didn't want to see? But if she didn't want to know the sex of the baby, what? Did Vikram just ignore her wishes and blurt it out? I mean, what the h3ll?? You mean to tell me she didn't know what came out of her "yahoo" and she just believed Vikram and called it a day??? She just handed the baby over to him like it was nothing and watched him leave? And why was he there with her again??? I thought no one was supposed to know! And NO ONE knew (except Vikram) that Tara was raising Charlie? See? This nonsense right here.

    Karen – Were they EVER going to give her more of a plot and story-line? Why didn't she already have all of that? She’s the mother of the MAIN CHARACTER!!!! Did they really make Vikram the point of her whole life and existence? "Oh, you know. I’m just the mother who keeps being played by all of the men in my life, who happens to have $10 million now and i'm hooking up with a possible bad guy right now with his just as equally bad daughter.” Is that her life?? Really? And I would've believed Charlie as Karen’s son more than Tess. Charlie’s story-line would've worked WAYYYYY better with Danny/Karen than the pre-incest story-line with Jo/Charlie/Tess! And it definitely would've made more sense.

    Kyle – Does this man stay at his job? Is that all he does? Did he not have any connection with Vikram? I mean, everyone else apparently did since high school . I mean there’s nothing else to his story-line? He's just there for legal purposes, really?

    Rico and Andie: Everyone loves them. They're so cute!

    Lacey – Her dad coming out…oh, wait that’s it. Ok, her mom…who hasn't been seen ever again. Alright, her sister…who’s never been seen, at all. Ok, really this time. Her friends……oh, yeah they abandoned her…..Wait, ok,……..That sex tape!!!!!……….which wasn't discussed ever again and made her lose her popularity status. Oh, ohh!!!! But that lesbian kiss she had with Whitney though………who now turns out to be a possible enemy and who is also no longer her friend anymore…………ok…….BUT, remember when she was with Danny, her now ex who has been crushing on her and vice-versa since childhood, who left her in a matter of days for his other bestfriend, who he thought of and told was a sister only and didn't even blink an eyelash for in 1A. Lacey, she……..dang! Well, at least she’s pretty and has a wonderful personality, cause that’s it with her character…

    Jo – *Error! Sorry! Talking about Jo requires multiple posts and will probably take days to complete. You do not have enough space to complete this action. Your session will end now.*

    Danny – The main character that went to juvie for five years for a murder he didn't commit that was actually done by his own father. Currently he is on break from solving that mystery and other secrets involving his messed up life/family at the moment to make Jo his priority for no other reason other than Lacey telling him to say, "Jo is the one". Obsessively, he had to protect Jo from who knows what and make her “the one” right after telling Lacey he loved her. As soon as Danny gets back to the main storyline, we will let you know. Thank you.

    Clearly, there needs a season two to find these things out but uhh, things really need to be fixed and explained.

  • Johnny2B Apr 24, 2014

    Repost: The failing of this show had nothing to do with bad promotion. Clearly, everyone knew about it. If you didn’t know about the show by now, you weren’t paying attention or you just didn’t care enough to watch it. There was plenty of promotions and advertisements. If you knew about and/or had time to watch Pretty Little Liars, Fosters, Switched at Birth or anything else during those times, you're lying about not knowing about Twisted. This show was everywhere. You can blame it on not being able to watch it somehow or another, but bad advertisement? Nah.

    Ratings shouldn't “marinate” over time to get better. If your show has to “brew and cook” to get better, your plan for the show is/was whack. Ratings should’ve been higher than they were for this show in the second part. The Foster's didn't flop in ratings. Pretty Little Liars didn't flop in ratings. Switched at Birth didn't flop in ratings. I think a part of it has something to do with the writing… Just saying.

    1A: Lacey & Danny = High/er/est ratings. (Viewer Rating Average= 1.624)
    1B: Jo & Danny = Low/er/est ratings (Viewer Rating Average = 0.726)
    First half good. Second half bad. Why are we promoting Jo again??! If something doesn't work, STOP USING IT! When did this show even become about shipping?!? It needs to be about Danny. This is a murder/mystery show. Go back to it.

    Stop saying this second half of the season or the last few episodes were the best. No, it wasn't. Look at the ratings. They weren't surprising, shocking, exciting, new, grand, great, awesome, wonderful, or worthwhile. It had little to do with DVD/online/store sales or people not watching on Tuesdays. It just sucked and it was a disaster. Majority of the people did not want to watch Jo and Danny’s fingertip – ET moment or their grand 5 second hugging moment. This second half was a train wreck. So, if there’s a next season, lets all get our minds straight and promote real things that work and doesn't cause low ratings. Lets try that!

  • Johnny2B Apr 24, 2014

    Repost: Exactly! Ratings down equates bad writing and bad story telling. No matter how many "save this show" campaigns go around, unless the writing changes and the new show runner is fired, this show is doomed to fail. Perhaps a petition to fire Chuck Pratt Jr. would have served a better purpose. This half of the season was bad and such a waste.

  • See More Comments (53)