The Crowded Room Episodes 1, 2 & 3: Recap & Ending Explained

The Crowded Room Episodes 1 2 3 Recap

The Crowded Room Episodes 1, 2 & 3 Recap & Ending Explained:  Tom Holland became a household name after getting the role of Peter Parker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Spider-Man films. Because of this immense popularity, any of his projects are bound to get an incredible amount of adoration and attention. Apple TV+’s new miniseries – ‘The Crowded Room’ is no exception. Holland’s fans seem certainly excited to see him play someone beyond his otherwise likeable persona. The actor himself became a part of the news just recently for his plan to take a year off because his work in this miniseries took a mental toll on him.  

Based on Daniel Keyes’ non-fiction novel ‘The Minds of Billy Milligan’, this psychological thriller follows Danny Sullivan (Holland) after his arrest for his involvement in a shooting. The narrative is mostly set in New York of 1979. The first three episodes largely follow a conversational and flashback mode of storytelling to get to the bottom of this incident. Let’s see what happened in the three-episode premiere of ‘The Crowded Room’, created by Akiva Goldsman. Please note that there are certain scenes in the plot involving abuse and mental torture. 

*Spoilers ahead*

 The Crowded Room Episodes 1, 2 & 3 Recap:

 Episode 1: Exodus

Danny Sullivan (Tom Holland) is on the subway with Ariana (Sasha Lane). He looks extremely terrified about something. Ariana assures him that he does not have to ‘do something’, but he gets off the train anyway. They walk through the streets of New York to eventually reach the Rockefeller Centre. She decides to block a person from the opposite side while Danny goes on to shoot him. But he backs off the moment he sees this man’s face. Considering his anxiety, she snatches his gun and shoots him herself but she misses and the man runs away. 

The police try to chase Danny but he runs off as well. He reaches a house where a middle-aged man asks him for Ariana’s whereabouts. Since Danny cannot answer, the man offers Danny his passport to go find his father. But when he is about to do that, he gets surrounded by feds right outside the house.

We then meet Rya Goodwin (Amanda Seyfried), referred to as ‘The Professor’, who is brought in by Detective Matty Dunne (Thomas Sadoski) to question Danny about the shooting. While speaking with Rya, Danny reveals that he was living with this landlord – Yitzhak (Lior Raz), on a rooming basis with Ariana. He says that they only wanted to scare off that person at the Rockefeller Centre. We get a look into Danny’s past before he started staying in Yitzhak’s house.

Danny used to live with his mother, Candy (Emmy Rossum), and his step-father, Marlin Reid (Will Chase). Marlin often bullied Danny, unlike Candy who cared for his emotional well-being. You can sense that Danny was living in a troubled household which must have affected his mental stability. 

In school, Danny was not a popular kid. Besides Jonny (Levon Hawke) and Mike (Sam Vartholomeos), he did not have any friends. He also got picked on quite often in school. We learn that he liked painting, and that he had an identical brother named Adam. He tells Rya that he misses Adam but does not delve into details about him.

At a party, Danny sees a new student named Annabelle (Emma Laird) and instantly gets attracted to her. She notices his interest and approaches him to talk. He is as shy in his responses as he always has been. Nevertheless, he is smitten by her and walks home genuinely happy by this awkward interaction. Back home, he notices that someone moved into a nearby ‘ghost house’. This someone is Yitzhak, and the house is where he moves into, later on.

Danny does recall seeing Ariana with Yitzhak at the time. However, he continues having a hard time with his stepfather. Mike decides to meet the ghost from that house. Yitzhak tells them his name and that he is from Israel. On the other hand, Jonny decides to help Danny get closer to Annabelle. He wants to buy a lot of pot by stealing money from Danny’s stepfather’s card so that Danny can smoke a joint with Annabelle and thus, find a way to connect with her. 

Danny is supposed to learn the PIN code of father’s card without him noticing. He sneaks out and takes out the cash to execute their plan. They go looking for someone named Angelo to buy pot from. Angelo (Stephen Barrington) shows up and terrifies them for asking for an ounce of weed. One thing leads to another and he holds Danny by his collar. Mike saves his friend by offering a deal to sell off that ounce to white kids to earn money. So, they manage to escape from danger.

Danny brings the pot to school and asks Annabelle to join him to smoke some of it with him over the weekend. Bill, who frequently bullied Danny otherwise, overhears this. He decides to snitch on Danny. But the teacher who checked Danny’s locker found nothing inside. So, he instead decides to take action against Bill for his baseless accusation. Turns out, Mike used some trick to take the pot out of Danny’s locker and saved him just in time. 

Danny eventually ended up going on a date with Annabelle where they smoked pot together and kissed each other. Back home, Danny decides to paint a portrait of Annabelle, thinking he will gift it to her. He puts it in an envelope with a joint. Unfortunately, the next day, Annabelle sends her friend, Eden (Nuala Cleary) to speak with Danny to end his hope of having any further relationship with her. 

Stunned on hearing that, Danny drops the envelope on the ground along with the joint. Since the teacher notices the weed, Danny ran for his life. He goes back home to hear a message from Marlin for Candy, asking about the low bank balance. Then suddenly, Danny finds himself in the middle of Bill and his friends, beating him left, right and centre. Yitzhak comes to Danny’s rescue and offers him shelter for the time being.  

Episode 2: Sanctuary

Rya walks into Yitzhak’s house and looks around for any signs of the investigation. She notices some handwritten notes, blood spots on a wall, and a book of paintings that includes one of Annabelle and one of Ariana. Rya takes it with her. During the questioning, Danny says that he procured the gun from the shooting incident, to ensure safety for Ariana. 

In the past, the day after Danny’s beating by Bill and others, Marlin arrives outside Yitzhak’s place, knocking on the door, expecting to bring Danny back home. Candy wants to handle the situation carefully but Marlin bullies her. Yitzhak notices that and intimidates Marlin to go away. So the stepfather walks back, accepting his defeat for the time being. 

Sasha Lane in "The Crowded Room," Episodes 1, 2, 3, now streaming on Apple TV+.
Sasha Lane in “The Crowded Room,” Episode 2, now streaming on Apple TV+.

Yitzhak allows Danny to stay at his place by paying rent and following home rules like no drugs, parties, or sex in the house. Danny is also told to finish his classes. Ariana tells him that Yitzhak allowed her to stay at the house as a favour. He recalls an incident from a while later when she returned home pretty late and could hear her weeping in her room.

Danny says he lived at Yitzhak’s place for years. Jonny sold a lot of weed and helped Danny pay him rent. When asked about doing errands for Yitzhak, Danny does not reveal any details. He only says that he was happy at Yitzhak’s place. Rya still finds it strange that Danny’s stepfather and his mother did not come to bring Danny back home. Danny says that he found a family through Yitzhak and Ariana.  

Years after the incident in school, Annabelle met Danny at a supermarket. They started talking and he suddenly decided to invite her to a party at his place even if though he had not planned one. Jonny and Mike help out Danny in hosting this party i.e., bringing some guests and weed back to his new house. Ariana walks in and sees Danny breaking the house rule of smoking weed. But still, she joins them to smoke some herself. 

Soon after, Annabelle arrives at Yitzhak’s place, smokes some pot with Danny, and enjoys her time with him. One thing leads to another and Annabelle soon ends up making out with Danny. Rya suddenly walks into that room and starts making out with Annabelle herself. As a result, Danny ends up sitting on the side.

The next morning, while Danny is doing the dishes, Annabelle asks if he is okay with the way the night turned out. He says ‘yes’. Ariana also asks if he is cool about the previous night and he says that he is. Ariana says that she was high at the time. Eventually, they end up going out to get a burger together and watch the ‘Rocky’ sequel. 

While walking back home, a man kept calling Ariana but she does not reveal who that man was to Danny. Rya points it out as a sign that Ariana was not doing well. In a past scenario, we see Ariana meeting Grace (Evelyn Giovine) at a bar. The bartender tells Ariana that Jerome (Elijah Jones) is looking for her. Ariana decides to spend her night with Grace instead of thinking about that. She gets on the dance floor and drinks on Grace’s tab. 

Soon after, Jerome walks in and asked Ariana why she ditched him. She then starts dancing with him. He has sex with her in the washroom. Soon after, she again starts kissing Grace on a couch. It bothers Jerome, who thinks she betrayed his love. She decides to run away from the scene. Ariana returns home that morning asking Danny for his help. 

Rya asks Danny whether Yitzhak posed any threat to them and Danny gets angry. The episode then ends in a leaking wooden house, filled with water quite a few inches above ground, with two bodies inside. Ariana walks into this place. Who these bodies are of is not revealed. We do not even know if this is a figment of someone’s imagination or a real situation. In case it is real, Ariana’s lack of any reaction to the dead bodies indicates her prior knowledge of their existence.  

Episode 3: Murder

Rya shows Matty paintings of all the people that Danny mentioned in his stories – from the book she got from the boarding house. Matty asks her if she thinks those are all Danny’s victims. In a past sequence, we see Danny and Rya at a diner, after that dreadful morning. While speaking with Rya, he says Ariana’s later dialogue led to the New York shooting incident. Ariana mentions an incident from her past where a friend of her father’s took advantage of her. She recalls the horrific ordeal that made her run away from that past. 

To get rid of that nuisance from Ariana’s life, Danny suddenly decided to get hold of a gun. To acquire it, Danny asks Jonny to get him to meet Angelo. Angelo gets angry asking for a gun instead of money and asks for sexual favour instead. Jonny tries to stop Danny, but they part ways for the time being, because of their disagreement. 

Danny walks up to a place with Angelo, where the man asks Danny to get down on his knees for the favour. Jonny arrives there at the right moment to rescue his friend from this scum. At that moment, Danny also manages to acquire the gun before running away. 

Back at the boarding house, Danny shows Rya the gun. Danny tells Rya that he stole this gun just for safety purposes and not to use. Sometime after that night, Annabelle arrives at the boarding house, asking him to fly a kite with him. They go out chatting about their pasts and future aspirations and have a pleasant time together.

The Crowded Room Episode 3 Ending Explained:

After flying the kite, Annabelle walks back to that house with Danny, drenched from the rain. She sees his book of paintings and praises him. They eventually get into a bed together and she spends the night with him. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, someone breaks a glass and walks into the house. It happens to be Angelo, enraged by what happened before. While Annabelle hides in the closet, Danny walks out saying he will return the gun. 

Yitzhak, who overhears the dialogue, suddenly pulls Danny aside, hides him from Angelo, and stops him from saying anything more. Angelo ends up finding Annabelle and approaches to attack her. Then, to save Annabelle, Yitzhak approaches Angelo with a gun and scares him away. Annabelle runs out of the house, scared for her life.

Afterwards, Ariana approaches Danny to use the gun to scare off the man who abused and raped her. Danny says he planned to shoot over the man’s head to make sure he would not return to the house. Ariana says that the person goes to OTB on Fridays. While realising that there is a coincidence, Danny stills joins her to find out that the man is his step-father, Marlin. He is shocked by this revelation. 

In the end, we see Danny getting on a plane after his dialogue with Yitzhak. Maybe he is going to meet his father with the passport he received from Yitzhak. At the moment, the story leaves with more questions than answers. So let us wait for further episodes to learn what actually transpires. 

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The Crowded Room Episodes 1, 2 & 3 Links – IMDb
The Crowded Room Episodes 1, 2 & 3 Cast – Tom Holland, Amanda Seyfried, Will Chase, Emmy Rossum, Sasha Lane
Where to watch The Crowded Room
Akash Deshpande

Obsessed, fascinated, and always nerding out about cinema! You can find me in the corner of a room ruminating over the last TV series I watched.