“The Crowded Room” begins reliant on Tom Holland, who continues to prove there is life for his career outside of being Spiderman.


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Plot Recap

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The Introverted Boy – Danny, Mike, Jonny, Marlin, Candy, Annabelle

Danny is a quiet boy. One who luckily has friends like Mike and Jonny who help keep him occupied and give him a chance to get away from his home environment. For while Danny’s mom, Candy, is nice, she works double shifts, so Danny is often stuck with his step-dad Marlin, who thinks he is spoiled and likes to pick on him.

But, alongside Mike and Jonny, a silver lining in Danny’s life is a transfer student named Annabelle. Mike, who is the most popular of Danny’s friend group, gets him and Jonny to a party, and Annabelle approaches Danny! This is startling but welcomed, but without having weed on him, he begins to think this is necessary to get and keep the attention of girls like Annabelle.

How Weed Changes A Person – Danny, Mike, Jonny, Annabelle, Eden, Bill, Marlin, Angelo, Yitzhak

Amazingly, when Danny has a problem, Mike and Jonny have a solution. Between stealing from Marlin, meeting a drug dealer named Angelo, and Jonny selling the weed they bought and making a profit, it seems all Danny has to do is not be an idiot. However, being attracted to someone, and thinking they feel the same, can make you act stupid.

What doesn’t help is when their friends are against you, in this case, Annabelle’s friend Eden, and Eden’s boyfriend Bill, who was already Danny’s bully. They make it hard for Annabelle to like or even hang out with Danny, and when Danny talks a bit too much about having weird on him, Bill snitches to try to take him down.

Now, what is Bill’s problem? That’s hard to say. It seems he is dating Eden, so it can’t be a jealousy thing, so is it just your usual gatekeeping and maintaining the social order of things? Who knows? The only thing that is made clear is that, throughout Danny, Mike, and Jonny’s adventures, and success, they meet Yitzhak, who has taken over the old rooming house, or “Ghost House,” and he becomes a notable figure in Danny’s life.

The Company You Keep – Yitzhak, Ariana, Bill, Eden, Annabelle, Danny, Rya

Rya (Amanda Seyfried)
“Rya (Amanda Seyfried),” The Crowded Room, “Exodus,” directed by Kornel Mundruczo, 2023, (Apple TV+)

While Annabelle and Danny had a good time, so he thought, to the point of him even drawing her a water-colored picture, the next thing he knows, Annabelle is sending Eden to tell him they can’t see each other anymore. On top of that, either Eden plants drugs on Danny, or he stupidly drops a joint, and the principal sees. This leads to Danny running home, where he hears a voicemail from his step-dad accusing his mom of taking money from his account.

That is not something Danny wants to deal with, on top of what’s happening at school, so he leaves his house to get some air, and there is Bill. He got suspended for accusing Danny of having weed on him the other day and thanks to Jonny, Danny wasn’t caught the first time. This time he was, but either way, Bill is pissed and wants to beat Danny up.

Unfortunately, after running home, Danny is a bit tired and isn’t able to outrun Bill and his friends, but luckily for Danny, he runs out of steam in front of Yitzhak’s house and with Yitzhak acquainted with Danny, he comes out and not only stops the beating but takes down Bill and his friends. Afterward, he invites Danny into his home, where he meets Ariana, and that is when things truly begin.

But, sadly, they end with Danny being interviewed by a woman named Rya, who keeps asking where Ariana is, hinting that Yitzhak may have been killed and that Danny might be more than the key to the mystery, but the one who is the cause of there being multiple dead, missing or injured bodies.

Review

Highlights

Holland Knows How To Play The Underdog Well

While Holland has shown his capabilities to play against type in movies like “Cherry,” his comfort zone is the underdog. The guy who people don’t expect much of, mainly since they don’t expect much of themselves, and Danny is the perfect match for his persona. Danny is made to be innocent at best, a naïve follower at worse, and you feel for the guy.

Yes, he has good friends in Jonny and Mike, who love him and I wouldn’t say are exploitative of him, but Danny’s path reminds you how easy it is to fall in with the wrong crowd when they present themselves at the right time. Danny was dealing with a public rejection, the accusation of bringing drugs into school, and a home life in which his mother tried but didn’t have the power to eliminate Marlin from their lives. So, you got a kid who had options but couldn’t execute the best ones he had when Yitzhak showed up and potentially became the fraternal figure Danny needed.

On The Fence

Hoping For More Out Of The Supporting Acts

Ariana (Sasha Lane)
“Ariana (Sasha Lane),” The Crowded Room, “Exodus,” directed by Kornel Mundruczo, 2023, (Apple TV+)

“The Crowded Room” is right now in that space where it relies on Holland’s star power and the question of, like most MCU actors, the question of whether it is the established IP or a combination of the actor and IP. So with that in mind, it is only natural that he is taking the lead and the main focus. The problem is that Holland is good enough to lead the episode but not carry a whole series. So we hope that, as Yitzhak and Ariana come more into focus, they can help carry the burden, amongst other supporting characters, for the problem with Holland playing an underdog means he needs an adversary, a mentor, and some sort of community backing him for the character to work.

Otherwise, as Bill said, he is just a loser dependent on the charity of others.

General Information

This section Includes information about the Director, Writer, and Cast.

More From The Series
Previous Episode: N/A Next Episode: Episode 2 “Sanctuary”
Release Date (Apple TV+) June 9, 2023
Director(s) Kornel Mundruczo
Writer(s) Avika Goldsman
Newly Noted Characters and Cast
Danny Tom Holland
Mike Sam Vartholomeos
Jonny Levon Hawke
Marlin Will Chase
Candy Emmy Rossum
Annabelle Emma Laird
Yitzhak Lior Raz
Ariana Sasha Lane
Bill Henry Eikenberry
Eden Nuala Cleary
Rya Amanda Seyfried
Angelo Stephen Barrington

FAQs

For More, Check Out The Character Guide (Coming Soon)

Why Is The Episode Called “Exodus?”

The meaning of “Exodus” is the road out, and this episode chronicles how Danny left his life as a normal high school student and ended up with Yitzhak and Ariana.

Danny (Tom Holland)
The Crowded Room: Season 1/ Episode 1 “Exodus” – Recap and Review (with Spoilers)
Overall
It feels too soon to judge “The Crowded Room” as it has Tom Holland bear the weight of the production, and with him only able to do so much, you’re left wondering if they have anything to offer beyond his story power and name recognition.
Highlights
Holland Knows How To Play The Underdog Well
Disputable
Hoping For More Out Of The Supporting Acts
79

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